Study System in Australia

By | June 12, 2021

Even if Australia is on the other end of the world, the study system there is basically similar to the German one – although there are some special features. Just like German universities, Australian universities also award bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. In addition, the study system in Australia also has degrees that are unknown in Germany.

In addition to academic and vocational qualifications in the field include Vocational Education and Training (VET) for the tertiary education sector ( Tertiary Education ) in Australia. Some of these so-called VET programs are even offered at universities, but also at other institutions in the Australian university landscape. These can be so-called TAFEs or private colleges. These in turn can also award academic degrees such as a bachelor’s degree. There is no such strict separation between academic and vocational training as in Germany.

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) standardizes Australian qualifications across the country. The AQF is an important tool for quality assurance in higher education in Australia.

The structure of the study system in Australia

The Australian study system is divided into two sections: the undergraduate section and the postgraduate section. These sections include various degrees that build on one another. Those who do not yet have an academic degree can first complete an undergraduate degree. The study programs in the postgraduate area are mainly aimed at students who have already completed a degree in the undergraduate area.

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The classics: Bachelor, Master and PhD in Australia

The most important degrees in Australia with Bachelor, Master and PhD degrees are the same as in Germany.

Bachelor Degree

The bachelor’s degree is the classic graduation in undergraduate range. A bachelor’s degree usually lasts at least three years. Some bachelor programs can also take longer. The bachelor’s degree qualifies both for entry into a career and for further studies. Australian universities offer bachelor’s degrees in all subjects, from agricultural and forestry to language and cultural studies to economics.

Bachelor Honors Degree

The so-called Bachelor Honors Degree is largely unknown in this country, but is widespread in Australia. Particularly good graduates of a bachelor’s degree are given the opportunity by the universities to obtain such a degree within one year. In this usually research-based academic year, students can further specialize in their subject. Whether or not students have a Bachelor Honors Degree also has an impact on the duration of a Master’s degree.

Master Degree

Those who have successfully completed their bachelor’s degree can still do a master’s degree in Australia. In Australia, there are essentially two types of master’s degree. On the one hand, students can complete their studies as a Master by Coursework. With this type of master’s degree, you take various courses, write term papers and write exams – so it works like we know it from Germany. In addition, there is also the Master by Research in Australia, in which the students’ independent research work is in the foreground and an extensive master’s thesis must be written. How long the master’s degree lasts depends on the type of bachelor’s degree: for students with a normal bachelor’s degree, the master’s degree takes two years. Students who have a Bachelor Honors Degree only need to study for one year to obtain a Master’s degree.

Doctoral degree

The Doctoral Degree is the highest degree in the study system in Australia. Anyone wishing to study for a doctorate in Australia must have a Master-by-Research degree or a Bachelor’s Honors Degree. It usually takes three to four years to graduate.

There are essentially two doctoral degrees in Australia:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Professional doctorates

In courses leading to a Ph.D. degree, students mainly pursue their own scientific research and write their dissertation on it. Australian universities offer Ph.D. programs in almost every subject.

The Professional Doctorates are designed to be practical. In addition to research, coursework is an important part of the course. Professional doctorates are offered in a wide variety of subjects.

Typical degrees in the study system in Australia

In addition to bachelor, master and doctoral degrees, the study system in Australia has other degrees.

Associate Degree

The associate degree is the “lowest” degree in Australia. Associate studies are part of the undergraduate section and last two years. Courses leading to an associate’s degree are available in various fields of study, for example in business administration or design. It is not possible to have the associate degree recognized as an independent degree in Germany. However, it can enable entry into the third year of the relevant Bachelor’s program at an Australian university.

Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma

Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are degrees in the postgraduate sector. These are postgraduate courses in which students can either expand the knowledge they have acquired in their bachelor’s degree or gain knowledge in a new area. A postgraduate course that ends with the Graduate Certificate usually lasts six months. Students who want to obtain a graduate diploma usually have to plan a year. Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are not recognized as independent degrees in Germany. However, you can still do so for German students be interesting, for example as an additional qualification with which they can score points on the job market.

VET degrees as an opportunity for further training

Many universities in Australia also offer courses that lead to a Certificate, Diploma or Advanced Diploma. These are actually degrees from the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and thus from the vocational sector of Australia. These degrees are not recognized in Germany. However, it is possible to use them as training programs.

Shorter study trips to Australia

International students can complete a full course of study in Australia, but they also have various options for coming to Australia for a shorter study period:

  • A semester or two abroad in Australia is a great opportunity to explore Down Under while enjoying world-class academic education.
  • Summer Sessions are short courses lasting just a few weeks. They take place between the semesters of the academic year and are offered from November to February.
  • In language courses, students can improve their general English skills, train them specifically for academic purposes or get fit in business English. You can also prepare for language tests such as the IELTS or TOEFL.

The study system in Australia compared to Germany

Even if the main degrees in Australia and Germany are the same, there are some things that make the Australian system of study different from the German one. There are, for example, the typical Australian degrees of Associate Degree, Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma as well as the various certificates and diploma degrees in the field of vocational education and training. Another difference to the German system is that professional and academic training are less strictly separated from each other in Australia. Also the Bachelor Honors Degree is unknown in Germany, as is the distinction between the Master’s degree in Master by Coursework and Master by Research. The Australian grading system, which is very different from that in Germany, is certainly also unusual for German students.

Study System in Australia