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Post Graduation Programs

Australia has a national set of qualifications that are endorsed by the Australian Government. This means that there is national and international recognition of each qualification and the level of education it represents.

Postgraduate courses are offered by universities and private colleges. Some fields are only offered by universities, such as medicine and architecture. Entry into most higher education courses in Australia is highly competitive, and a high standard of English language is required for postgraduate study. Each education provider will have different entrance requirements, so it’s important to contact individual providers to check. You can use the Institution Search to search for and contact individual higher education providers.

The main types of postgraduate qualifications offered by most higher education institutions are:

Graduate certificate/diploma: These qualifications are generally designed for specific vocational purposes — either the broadening of skills and knowledge already gained in an undergraduate program or the development of vocational skills and knowledge in a new professional area. The typical requirement is six months to a year of full-time study for the graduate certificate and one to two years of full-time study for the graduate diploma. Entry usually requires a bachelor degree or advanced diploma.

Masters degree: Masters degrees provide a mastery or high-order overview of a field of study or area of professional practice. They typically involve one to two years of full-time study. The masters degree may be offered in three formats:

  • Masters degree (coursework): These consist of coursework, project work and research in varying combinations. Entry typically requires prior completion of a bachelor degree, a bachelor degree (honours) or a graduate certificate or diploma.
  • Masters degree (research): These are at least two-thirds research and include a substantial thesis or research project, which is often externally assessed. Entry normally requires a bachelor degree (honours) or masters preliminary year.
  • Masters degree (extended): These may consist of a work-based project. Entry requires a relevant qualification and professional experience, or extensive relevant professional experience.

Doctoral degree: Doctoral degrees recognise a considerable original contribution to a given field in the form of new knowledge or the adaptation, application and interpretation of existing knowledge. They are usually completed over three or four years of full-time study. The doctoral degree may be offered in two formats:

  • Research doctorate (PhD): These consist mainly of supervised research resulting in the completion of a thesis. Entry requires a masters degree by research or a bachelor degree (honours).
  • Professional doctorate: These combine coursework and research for professionals wanting to advance their knowledge in their field without the research commitment of a PhD. Entry typically requires a masters degree by research or a bachelor degree (honours). In addition, considerable professional experience is required either before or during the course.

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