Learn English in Australia
Overseas students coming to study English in Australia will find themselves immersed in English language and culture. Australia is proud of the reputation and quality of its English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).
What is ELICOS?
Average tuition costs
- English proficiency tests
- View a list of English language institutions
- Search for a course
ELICOS courses are designed to help international students and visitors develop their English language skills so that they can fully participate in Australian life. In the case of international students, ELICOS courses provide a great way to develop your English language skills so that you can meet the English language requirements of your institution or simply develop confidence in your English abilities before beginning your studies. A number of institutions are affiliated with English language schools and will 'package' English language preparation courses with vocational or higher education courses.
Students coming to Australia on a student visa to study ELICOS are required to study full time. There are generally no set course entrance requirements for ELICOS study but you should always check with your education provider. Tourists and visitors to Australia can also participate in ELICOS study during their stay as long as the course is fewer than 12 weeks long. Courses combining study and tourist activities have been designed specifically for student visitors. You can find details of visa requirements on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.
Australia is proud of the reputation and quality of its English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS). The National English language training Accreditation Scheme (NEAS) maintains the high standard of Australia’s ELICOS courses.
All prospective ELICOS providers must register with NEAS before they can offer ELICOS courses. NEAS maintains the high standards of Australia’s ELICOS courses and monitors providers to ensure that they continue to provide a high-quality education. NEAS looks at classroom sizes, teaching materials and the support services available for international students. You can find full details of the accreditation process and a list of accredited providers on the NEAS website.
Education providers who wish to offer courses to international students are also regulated through the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and associated legislation, which is managed by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). This legislation ensures the protection of international students’ rights at all times.
The ESOS Act requires all providers offering education to international students to register on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). It is illegal for providers to offer courses to international students unless they are CRICOS registered. You can find further information on CRICOS legislation and registered providers on the CRICOS website.
Institutions offer a wide range of courses suited to all learning needs. Courses include:
- General English
- English for Academic Purposes
- English for Secondary School Preparation
- English for Special Purposes (for example, English for Business)
- IELTS and TOEFL test preparation
- Cambridge test preparation
- study tour programs (which include other extracurricular activities).
These figures were sourced from the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website in 2012. Please note that fees vary widely, depending on the course duration and institution chosen, and should always be sourced from the relevant provider.
There are a number of tests in Australia designed to assess the English language proficiency of international students wishing to gain entry to Australian courses. Four tests are also accepted for Australian student visa applications: the TOEFL test, the IELTS test, the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test, the Occupational English Test (OET) and the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic test. See the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website for more information.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
The TOEFL test measures all four English language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing. Successful completion will give you the English skills you need to succeed academically and socially when you study abroad.
The TOEFL test is widely accepted by more than 8500 institutions in over 130 countries, including nearly all universities in Australia. Recent changes in Australia mean students worldwide can use the test to apply for a student visa in Australia.
The TOEFL test is popular with over 27 million test takers from 180 countries and very accessible with over 4,500 test centres worldwide. It is available as a paper-based or internet-based test. You can find further details at www.toeflgoanywhere.org.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
The IELTS comes in two test formats: ‘academic’ and ‘general training’. All test candidates take the same speaking and listening modules, but candidates have the option of general training or academic reading and writing modules. Academic modules are aimed at students wishing to study at university level. General training modules emphasise basic survival skills in a broad social and educational context and are suited to candidates wishing to attend secondary school or undertake training programs that are not at degree level or immigrate. The test is widely recognised by universities, employers, professional bodies and immigration authorities around the world. You can find more details at www.ielts.org.
Cambridge English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
- Cambridge English: Advanced, also known as the Certificate in Advanced English - CAE
- Cambridge English: Proficiency, also known as the Certificate of Proficiency in English - CPE
The OET tests the English language proficiency of overseas-qualified medical and health professionals wishing to undertake training programs or examinations in order to gain professional recognition and practise in Australia. You can find further details at www.occupationalenglishtest.org.