Online/distance education


Advances in information technology have led to the expansion of distance education opportunities in Australia. A wide selection of Australian qualifications can now be completed from the convenience of your own home.

What is online and distance education?

Online and distance education programs allow international students to obtain an Australian education without having to leave their home country, which may not be possible for some people with family, work and other commitments. You may also have the option of combining study at home with some study in Australia. You can choose from a large range of VET and higher education courses — from hospitality to business — at a number of institutions.

Course delivery

Online and distance education courses are delivered in a variety of ways.

This includes:

  • studying online courses delivered through the internet
  • studying through distance education with course materials delivered through the post
  • studying at home combined with classes taught in association with institutions overseas
  • studying at home combined with some visits to study centres (offshore campuses) set up by Australian institutions in other countries
  • studying at home but with Australian lecturers and tutors providing periods of face-to-face tuition outside Australia.

While some providers allow essays and exams to be submitted online, others require students to complete exams at overseas venues such as offshore campuses.

Many institutions provide flexibility through part-time study as well as trimester and term systems that allow you to spread out or accelerate your studies. Some providers may allow you to enrol in single units (rather than an entire course) to trial a particular area of study. Online and distance education also makes it possible to begin study in your home country before making the move to Australia to study on campus.

Student support

Online and distance courses are often supported by technology such as online student forums, virtual classrooms and electronic library resources, allowing you to interact with other students, share your work and opinions, access readings, listen to lectures, consult tutors and submit assessments. Institutions also provide online and distance students with support services such as counselling, academic advice and technical assistance.

Entry requirements

International student entry requirements (such as academic and English language requirements) for online and distance education courses will typically be the same, or very similar, to those for the on-campus equivalent of the course. You will need to check with individual institutions for specific course entry requirements and starting times — some courses allow you to apply and start studying at any time, while others have set dates.

You can also check the general entry requirements required by Australian education providers for each study type within the Types of Education section.

Subscribe to our newsletter