University Levels

There are four levels of higher education provided in Australia:

Bachelor Degree

The duration of Bachelor degree in Australia is generally 3 years (excluding some programs such as Architecture, Medicine, and Engineering, which are longer).

After completion of a Bachelor Degree, most Australian universities select a small group of students who have achieved academic excellence to continue onto a Bachelor Degree (Honours) program for an additional 1 year in order to achieve an honours degree after graduation.

For some Australian universities, students who have gained a Bachelor degree (Honours) may be offered the opportunity to continue their study into Doctoral Degree straight away without completing a Master Degree.

Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma

These are short-term academic courses typically lasting 6 months or up to 1 year, and are for students who would like to gain more academic knowledge in their specific field of interest. Student wanting to apply for these courses must graduate with at least a Bachelor Degree in any major first. After graduating from a Graduate Certificate or Diploma, students can transfer credit points towards a further study program (eg. Master level).

Master Degree

The duration of the course normally depends on the major area of study. A Master degree could be 1, 1.5 or 2 years. There are two types of Master Degrees:

  • Master Degree by Coursework: This type of course focuses on studying the theory of knowledge and critical thinking by exchanging and challenging ideas with classmates, tutors, lecturers and academic staff.
  • Master Degree by Research: This type of course is for students who would like to focus on a specific area of research and compose their own thesis. This course is typically for students who would like to continue into a Doctoral Degree. This type of Master Degree puts strong emphasis on academic and scientific research and writing, rather than class participation.

Doctoral Degree

This is the highest level of educational qualification in Australia. It involves undertaking extensive academic research and submitting a detailed thesis. The duration of the course is in typically between 3-5 academic years. To meet the entry requirement for this type of program, students must have graduated with a Master Degree by research, or Bachelor Degree (with Honours) with an academic thesis or research.

There are preliminary studies for students who have not met the criteria for further study into a Doctoral Degree, which last 1 year. For those who have not met the criteria, it is possible to study a Master Degree by Research for 1 year and then apply for a Doctoral course later on. However, entry into the Doctoral degree is also dependent on the student’s academic results and the university’s discretion.