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Australia's education system
The Australian education system is, for the most part, based on the UK's - however degree content is often a lot more flexible. Australian universities offer the following kinds of degree:
- Bachelors Degree - An undergraduate degree lasting three years
- Graduate Diplomas - A one year course for people who want to study a Masters but don't have a Bachelors in that subject
- Masters Degree - A postgraduate degree that takes two years to complete after your Bachelors
- Doctorate (PhD) - An original piece of research, usually lasting at least 3 years, completed after a Masters degree
The degree structure in Australia is usually more similar to the USA than the UK, and therefore tends to be more flexible. As a student you select the subject you want to major in, and 2/3 of the module you study will come from this area - the last 1/3 can come from anywhere. With this system you can double major (where you study two subjects equally). Or, if it's not right for you, you can change major part-way through your degree.
Generally, Australian university teaching involves a mixture of lectures and seminars, with specific courses also running tutorials, placements and practicals.
Rather than just trying to get you to remember facts, Australian universities concentrate on helping you thoroughly understand a topic through encouraging debates and independent, creative thought.
What also differs from the UK is the structure of the Academic year; instead of starting in September, the first term runs from February until June and the second term from July until November. Then the long holiday is in the summer months - between November and February.
How much will it cost?
Tuition fees in Australia for international students will differ between institutions and courses. General prices you can expect to pay are listed below, however expect certain subjects such as veterinary medicine and medicine courses to be much higher.
For an undergraduate degree, you'll be paying around A$15,000 - A$33,000 (£8,000 - £18,000) per year.
A Masters Degree will cost you $20,000 - $37,000 (£11,200 - £22,000) per year.
While a PhD will cost you $14,000 - $37,000 (£8,300 - £22,000) per year.
Your living costs will cover everything from accommodation, to food, to socialising. While how much you spend will depend on where you live and your eating/socialising habits, here's a general idea idea of what you might expect to be spending every month:
- Accommodation: AU$280 - AU$1,000 (£152 - £543)
- Food: AU$320 - AU$800 (£174 - £435)
- Electricity/Gas/Phone/Internet: AU$320 - AU$600 (£174- £356)
- Public Transport: AU$40 - AU$200 (£22 - £109)
- Social activities/Other: AU$200 - $400 (£109 - £217)
The currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar, depicted by AU$. The current exchange rate is AU$1 : £0.54
Exchange rates can change quickly and, while this value is correct at the time of writing, it's worth checking again before you travel.
The Australian government and educational institutes provide a number of scholarships, bursaries and grants to international students in order to financially support their studies. The type of financial support you qualify for will depend on your home country, the university you are studying at, course, and many other factors.
Working while you study
While studying in Australia, you are allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during term time - and full time during the holiday periods - in order to help financially support your studies.
However, international graduate students have unlimited work rights once their course has started.
Living in Australia
What to expect from people
In general, Australians are friendly, easy-going people who consider democracy and equality important - holding the belief that everyone deserves a fair chance and must be treated equally.
Australian society is made up of people from over 210 different nationalities, according to La Trobe university. With such a culturally diverse community you're sure to meet some really interesting people and learn a lot from them.
As Australians are so easy going, if you have any religious/moral/other reasons for not wanting to eat or drink something or take part in an activity, most will be very understanding and there won't be a problem.
Outside of the university
Outside the university campuses, Australia is generally a very safe place to live. Around cities there's a strong student night life and, with the legal drinking age being 18, it is common for students to meet up and go out to cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs.
When getting around the cities, cycling is very popular among students as it's cheap and reasonably easy. However, each territory also has it's own public transport system, so getting around by train or bus is also possible and easy.
Where to study?
Australia is home to 43 universities, including the prestigious 'Group of 8'; the oldest and wealthiest universities in Australia - seven of which have appeared in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2013/4. The Group of 8 is listed here with their world rankings listed in brackets:
- Australian National University, Canberra (27)
- University of Melbourne (31)
- University of Sydney (38)
- University of Queensland, Brisbane (43)
- University of New South Wales (52)
- Monash University, Melbourne (69)
- University of Western Australia, Perth (84)
- University of Adelaide, Adelaide (104)
However, if you don't fancy any of these, Australia still has plenty of other quality universities to choose from:
- Australian Catholic University
- Bond University (471-480)
- Central Queensland University
- Charles Darwin University
- Charles Sturt University
- Curtin Universtiy (331)
- Deakin University
- Edith Cown University
- Flinders University (481-490)
- Griffith University (324)
- James Cook University (350)
- La Trobe University (401-410)
- Macquarie University (254)
- Murdoch University
- Queensland University of Technology (285)
- RMT University (304)
- Southern Cross University
- Swinburne University of Technology
- The University of Notre Dame Australia
- University of Ballrat
- University of Canberra
- University of New England
- University of Newcastle
- University of South Australia (333)
- University of Southern Queensland
- University of Tasmania (401-410)
- University of Technology, Sydney (264)
- University of the Sunshine Coast
- University of Western Sydney
- University of Wollongong (283)
- Victoria University, Melbourne
- Carnegie Mellon University, Adelaide
- University College London, Adelaide
- Torrens University, Adelaide
- Federation University Australia, Victoria
More from TSR
- Australia Forums
- International study forums
- How to apply to university in Australia
- Student Visas and what you need
- Accommodation for students in Australia
- Sponsored Feature: Study at the University of Melbourne
General external links
- The Complete University Guide: Australia
- Studies In Australia: The International Students Guide
- StudyAbroad.com: Australia
- Study in Australia
- Top Universities: Study In Australia