Qualification Recognition in Australia

If you are unfamiliar with the Australian education system then you might be wondering how your overseas qualification fits in and whether Australian institutions will recognise your previous studies. Read through the following information to find out whether your previous qualifications will be recognised for admission.Group of students look at laptop

Qualification recognition for vocational courses

Entry to Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) courses usually requires you to provide evidence that you have successfully completed the international equivalent of Australian Year 10, 11 or 12. Your provider should have a list of recognised overseas qualifications and minimum academic requirements for entry into vocational education courses. Certain courses may also require the completion of tests, auditions or portfolios. The qualifications and experience you require to enter vocational studies varies between courses, so check with your education provider for details.

Qualification recognition for undergraduate courses

There are a number of different qualifications accepted by Australian higher education institutions for entry into undergraduate degrees. Here we discuss some of your options:

Complete secondary school in Australia
International students who complete Year 12 in Australia are able to apply for admission to undergraduate degrees in the same way as Australian students. This requires them to complete the Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education offered in their state or territory and gain an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), or an Overall Position (OP) in Queensland. The ATAR (or OP) is the ranking (or score) that Australian students gain when they graduate from secondary school after completing their final assessments. It is the most common selection method used to admit Australian secondary school graduates into undergraduate courses. Required ATARs vary depending on the course and institution for which you are applying. You will find the ATAR required for entry into your preferred course listed in the institution's course handbook or on its website, along with any other requirements (such as the submission of a portfolio of work for art and design courses, the completion of an audition for performing arts courses or secondary school studies in mathematics for engineering courses).

Complete secondary school overseas
International students who complete secondary school in their home country or elsewhere overseas can often apply for entry to Australian higher education institutions using their overseas secondary school qualifications. The international qualifications recognised by each institution vary, so you will need to check whether your institution recognises the overseas secondary school qualification you completed. You might also find a list of recognised overseas secondary school qualifications and the score required for entry into your chosen course on your institution's website. If your qualification is not recognised, you may need to undertake preparatory studies to meet the entry requirements, such as completing a year of university study in your home country, completing a vocational qualification equivalent to a certificate IV or diploma in Australia or your home country, or completing a recognised foundation course in Australia. Contact your institution for more information. In addition to these academic entry requirements, you will also be required to meet English language requirements and any other requirements specifed for your chosen course.

Complete an international qualification
If you are completing secondary school overseas and intending to study an undergraduate course in Australia, you might consider completing an international qualification for tertiary preparation such as the International Baccalaureate (IB). Growing out of the need to facilitate the international mobility of students, the IB specialises in preparing students for a more global environment. The two-year pre-university IB Diploma Programme is completed by secondary school students aged 16 to 19 and is recognised in around 140 countries for university entry (including every major tertiary institution in Australia). Scores can be easily converted into Austalian ATAR rankings (refer to the chart below). See the International Baccalureate organisation website for more information. Other international qualifications that may be recognised by Australian institutions include GCE A Levels and the Advanced International Certificate of Education. Contact your institution or see their website to find out which international qualifications are recognised and the score required to enter your chosen course.

International Baccalaureate combined rank and notional ATAR table

Approved by the Australasian Conference of Tertiary Admission Centres and passed by the International Baccalaureate organisation, this table can be used to convert 2018 IB scores for 2019 tertiary admissions in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. The ATAR conversion is different in South Australia and the Northern Territory, so students considering tertiary study in these regions should check with institutions for details.

2018 passing IB scoreCombined rank/notional ATAR

Qualification recognition for postgraduate courses

As a minimum, entry to postgraduate courses in Australia generally requires you to provide evidence that you have successfully completed an appropriate undergraduate qualification that is comparable to an Australian bachelor degree from a recognised institution. For entry to some courses, the undergraduate qualification needs to be in a similar field, while other courses accept undergraduate qualifications in any discipline. Certain courses may also require the completion of tests, auditions or portfolios.

Entry to higher levels of postgraduate study (such as a masters or doctoral degree) may require completion of a bachelor honours degree, a graduate certificate or a graduate diploma. Certain postgraduate courses may also require relevant work experience or research ability. In some cases, institutions may admit applicants who do not meet the academic entry requirements but who have significant work experience in a relevant field (this is common in management programs such as MBAs). The qualifications and experience you require to enter postgraduate study varies between courses, so check with your education provider for details. See Higher education — Postgraduate for further information about postgraduate entry requirements.

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