Episode 6 Australian Universities
Hi this is Tenielle from Study in Australia TV.
In our last episode we talked about Vocational Education and Training or VET courses, industry links, the skills required and potential career paths associated with VET courses.
In this Episode today, Episode 6, we’re going to concentrate on Higher Education or University study in Australia.
We’ll cover the following topics:
What kinds of qualifications does the Higher Education sector provide?
What is the organisational structure of a University?
What proportion of Universities and their campuses are located in capital cities?
How is the quality of Higher Education providers maintained?
How do you choose which University to study at?
What is “internationalisation” and why is this important to Australia’s education industry?
There are 43 Universities in Australia; 40 Australian Universities, two international Universities and one private specialty University.
Many Australian universities have overseas branch campuses, twinning arrangements and exchange programs for students and teaching staff worldwide.
Australian Universities have around 7000 agreements with Universities and similar institutions around the world.
Australian Universities have three primary roles:
• Storing knowledge
• Transferring knowledge to others
• Creating knowledge
In addition to this, Australian Universities provide consultancy services to business and industry, and are a source of advice for Government and the community in general on a range of issues and topics.
They are closely involved with their local and wider communities.
Diversity and autonomy are central features of Australian Universities.
Each University is self-governed which means it has the freedom to specify its own mission and purpose, modes of teaching and research, the make-up of their student body and the range and content of their educational programs.
This variety is reflected in the range of goals and objectives, staff profiles and the emphasis placed on particular courses at different Universities.
Higher education in Australia is well regarded internationally with many of the Universities ranked highly around the world.
Australian Universities are part of a clearly recognised international community of scholarship, with academic staff recruited internationally, and students also choosing to come from overseas to study in Australia.
At the same time there are increasing numbers of Australian students and staff on study and work exchanges overseas.
Australian Universities are located in all major State and Territory capital cities as well as in many regional centres in Australia.
So now I’ll talk about which Universities are located in which states and cities in Australia. TE / TERRITORY UNIVERSITY NAME
In the Australian Capital Territory or Canberra we have:
The Australian National University also known as ANU
and the University of Canberra or UC
In New South Wales we have the following Universities located in Sydney:
Australian Catholic University or ACU
The University of New South Wales or UNSW
The University of Sydney
University of Technology Sydney or UTS
and Western Sydney University
Also in NSW, but located in regional centres is:
Charles Sturt University, located in Albury-Wodonga
Southern Cross University, located in Lismore
The University of Newcastle, located in Newcastle
The University of New England, located in Armidale
and the University of Wollongong, located in Wollongong
In the Northern Territory we have Charles Darwin University located in Darwin
In Queensland we have the following Universities located in Brisbane:
Queensland University of Technology or QUT
The University of Queensland or UQ
Also in Queensland, but located in regional centres is:
Bond University, located on the Gold Coast
Central Queensland University or CQU, located in Rockhampton
James Cook University or JCU, located in Townsville and Cairns
University of Southern Queensland or USQ, located in Toowoomba
University of the Sunshine Coast, located in Maroochydore
In South Australia we have the following Universities located in Adelaide:
The University of Adelaide
University of South Australia or UniSA
Carnegie Mellon University Australia
Torrens University Australia
In Tasmania we have the University of Tasmania located in Hobart
In Victoria we have the following Universities located in Melbourne:
Deakin University, which also has a campus in Geelong
La Trobe University
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology or RMIT
Swinburne University of Technology
The University of Melbourne
University of Divinity
Also in Victoria is Federation University which is located in Ballarat
In Western Australia we have the following Universities located in Perth:
Curtin University of Technology
Edith Cowan University
The University of Western Australia or UWA
Also in Western Australia is The University of Notre Dame located in Fremantle
Many Australian Universities also have branch campuses in other locations around Australia.
All of Australia’s public Universities were established or recognised under government legislation.
The Federal Government has responsibility for funding the public Universities.
The formal governing body of each Australian University is the Council.
This is presided over by a Chancellor who is elected by the members of the governing body.
Members are drawn from government, industry, the community, academic staff, graduates and students.
The chief executive authority rests with the Vice-Chancellor who is sometimes also called the President.
This person is accountable to the Council and is responsible for the academic and administrative operations of the University.
Teaching and research disciplines are typically organised in several faculties and schools with dedicated Research Centres linking into the faculties.
There are also a number of administrative or central divisions that cover University wide responsibilities like the International Office or Research Centre.
There are some important facts about Australian Universities that are useful to know:
Courses can vary slightly in content, entry requirements, duration and method of assessment between Universities.
The academic teaching year is generally from February to November.
The year is normally divided into two semesters, although some Universities offer three semesters in one calendar year for certain courses.
Some Universities also offer some Postgraduate courses over 4 terms throughout the year.
And Research course start dates may be more flexible upon negotiation with the University.
The following qualifications are offered by Australian Universities and listed on the Australian Qualification Framework or AQF:
Diploma which is offered by some Universities and University associated colleges. The duration is between 1 to 2 years.
It is the same qualification as a Diploma offered by a VET institution.
Bachelor Degree, is an Undergraduate University qualification required for entry to a profession. The duration is between 3 to 4 years depending on the discipline area.
Study involves acquiring a systematic and coherent body of knowledge, its underlying principles and concepts, and associated problem-solving techniques.
Students develop the academic skills and aptitudes to comprehend and evaluate new information, concepts and evidence from a wide range of sources.
Also, students learn to review, consolidate, extend and apply the knowledge and techniques that they have learnt.
Course content is to a significant depth and progressively developed to a high level.
This also prepares students for further postgraduate study if desired.
Bachelor Degree with Honours takes an additional year after a Bachelor Degree with a focus on research. The duration is 4 years.
Graduate Certificate is a Postgraduate qualification and typically involves broadening individual skills already gained in an Undergraduate program. The duration is 6 months.
Graduate Diploma is also a Postgraduate qualification and broadens individual skills obtained in an Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate program. The duration is 12 months.
This qualification involves further specialisation within a systematic and coherent body of knowledge.
Masters Degree by Coursework is also a Postgraduate qualification which enhances specific professional or vocational skills. The duration is 2 years.
A Masters is typically gained by coursework and some research.
Study involves acquiring an in-depth understanding of a specific area of knowledge usually by independent research.
Masters Degree by Research is a Postgraduate research degree studied over 2 years.
The Master of Philosophy program aims to provide research training that develops independent research skills including:
the ability to formulate a significant problem;
the mastery of appropriate conceptual and methodological frameworks;
and the capacity for articulate and critical analysis.
Admission requires a Bachelor degree with Honours but students may be admitted after completing a Graduate Diploma and having significant work experience.
Doctoral Degree or Doctor of Philosophy, commonly known as a PhD. The duration is between 3 to 4 years.
The Doctoral Degree is the highest award offered by Australian Universities.
Although traditional PhDs are research degrees, some programs may have a coursework component.
There are three components to a Doctoral Degree:
a review of relevant literature, experimentation, or other systemic approaches to a body of knowledge;
an original research project resulting in a significant contribution to knowledge and understanding and the application of knowledge within a discipline or field of study;
a substantial and well-ordered thesis, demonstrating the relationship of the research to the broader framework of the discipline or field of study.
The Higher Education sector is also made up of Non-University Institutions like Private Colleges that also offer Higher Education qualifications.
While they mostly offer courses to a Diploma level, some courses are offered through to Bachelor degree level.
Some of these institutions offer degrees in specialised areas that aren’t offered at University.
For example, the Australian Defence Force Academy also known as ADFA offers degrees in military subjects.
Or the Endeavour College of Natural Health offers degrees in alternative medicine.
Australia has for many years welcomed overseas students into Australian Universities.
Many leaders of Business, Government, the military and even the nobility from many countries have studied and obtained their qualifications at Australian Universities.
Australia is now a world leader in the provision of education to overseas students.
Australian Education International, also known as AEI, provide excellent up-to-date information on international education enrolments.
In 2019, there were over 841,000 international students enrolled from over 190 countries studying on a student visa in Australia.
This makes Australia the third most popular destination for international students behind the US and the UK.
The most popular source countries for Higher Education are China, India, Nepal, Vietnam and Malaysia.
In 2019, students from China made up 38 per cent of all Higher Education international student enrolments in Australia.
India was the next highest at nearly 19 per cent, Nepal was just over 8 per cent, Vietnam was 3.7 per cent and Malaysia was 2.7 per cent.
Nationalities in the top ten countries together made up 83 per cent of
the total Higher Education international student enrolment numbers.
Now let’s talk about entry requirements into Australian Universities..
International students need to meet both a sufficient level of English language proficiency and the minimum academic requirements before they can be admitted to an Australian University.
Universities set their own English language requirements based on a number of factors like Academic and Professional requirements.
The language proficiency entry levels are measured by the common international English language testing systems like IELTS, TOEFL or Pearsons Academic Test.
If a student’s English language proficiency score does not meet the course entry requirement, there are many English language courses offered by English Language Centres to prepare them prior to commencing at University.
All Australian Universities either have their own English language centre or have links with English language Colleges located in Australia.
So now let’s talk about Academic entry requirements..
Universities determine the academic requirements for entry to their courses.
These requirements depend on:
The level and content of the study the student has completed in Australia or their home country;
And the level and academic standards of the institution at which they completed their study.
In general, however, the following criteria apply for entry into Undergraduate or Bachelor degree courses:
Bachelor degrees require an Australian Senior School Certificate of Education, or High School Year 12, or the overseas equivalent.
Some degrees may also have certain pre-requisite subjects and grades.
For international students who have attended an Australian High School, entry to University is normally based on completion of Year 12 and determined by the student’s ATAR or Australian Tertiary Entrance Ranking.
Tertiary Admissions Centres located in each Australian state assess the international student’s ATAR on behalf of the Universities in the same way as they do for domestic students.
STATE/TERRITORY TERTIARY ADMISSION CENTRE
The Tertiary Admissions Centres located in each state are:
Universities Admissions Centre or UAC assesses entry for NSW & ACT Universities
Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre or QTAC assesses entry for Queensland Universities
South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre or SATAC assesses entry for South Australian Universities
Victoria Tertiary Admissions Centre or VTAC assesses entry for Victorian Universities
Western Australia Tertiary Institutions Service Centre or TISC assesses entry for Western Australian Universities
Tasmania and the Northern Territory Universities assess their own entry.
Most Universities have specialised pathway programs, such as Foundation courses or Diploma programs that enable international students who do not meet academic requirements to gain entry.
Postgraduate Course entry is usually assessed by each University but some Universities also use the Tertiary Admissions Centre in their state.
Entry to Postgraduate courses requires the completion to a satisfactory standard of a Bachelor degree from a similar discipline area, but this is not always the case.
Prospective students may also need to demonstrate research ability or relevant work experience depending on the course.
Australian Universities are well regarded internationally for the quality of their courses.
Some of the factors that ensure the level of quality is maintained are based on the regulatory systems in place in Australia.
TEQSA, also known as the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, is the regulatory authority that monitors the Higher Education sector in Australia.
TEQSA is an independent body with powers to regulate University and Private higher education providers, monitor quality and set standards.
TEQSA registers providers, carries out evaluations of standards
and performance, protects and assures the quality of international education and streamlines current regulatory arrangements.
Universities Australia is the peak body representing Australian Universities and operates a Code of Ethical Practice in the Provision of Education to International Students by Australian Universities.
The code provides ethical practice guidelines for Universities about promotion and marketing, agents and partners.
It also provides guidance on:
• the admission of students,
• arrival and orientation,
• student support,
• tuition fees and refunds,
• university infrastructure,
• returning home and support.
The Code of Practice provides overseas students with clear assurances with respect to:
• maintaining academic standards,
• being accurate and honest in the provision of information to prospective students,
• the welfare of international students,
• being sensitive to the culture, customs and linguistic needs and characteristics of international students,
• delivering to students the commitments made to them by education agents or others representing the University,
• the refund policy for overseas students.
So now we’ll talk about how best to choose which University to study at..
International Students often want to know which are the ‘best’ Universities in Australia.
There are a range of ranking systems which can guide a student’s decision.
However, the ranking systems are complicated and may not always fully reflect the best choice for a student depending on the discipline area or specific needs of that student.
Students often refer to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings or the QS World University Ranking systems or the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities or ARWU.
It is rare to find a University anywhere in the world that is the ‘best’ in all courses offered.
However, there are a number of possible indicators that show the relative standings of Australian Universities.
While entry levels are fairly consistent into Australian university degrees, different Universities do have different requirements for entry into similar courses.
The relative academic levels can illustrate which Universities are more regarded.
This can show how, in general, academically more able students choose
one university over another to do a similar course.
But there are various measures of success like career outcomes, student support and facilities that should also be taken into consideration.
There are various University Groupings that indicate where their strengths and specific orientation is.
Universities that share common characteristics have formed groups and networks that illustrate a particular focus area and the commonalities of those within the group.
These groups may be linked through a formal network, such as the Group of Eight, Australian Technology Network of Universities or ATN, and the Regional Universities Network which have their headquarters
situated in a regional centre.
All Australian Universities are members of Universities Australia, the peak body representing the University sector.
The Group of 8 are the research intensive Universities and are amongst the oldest in Australia.
Most of the Go8 are regularly listed in the top 100 Universities in the World and have a strong emphasis on research and the publication of their research efforts.
The Go8 members are:
Australian National University
University of Melbourne
University of New South Wales
University of Queensland
University of Sydney
University of Western Australia
and the University of Adelaide
The Australian Technology Network of Universities or ATN is a grouping of four Universities that share a common practical or technological focus in their teaching and research.
The ATN members are:
• Curtin University of Technology
• University of South Australia or UniSA
• Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology or RMIT
• and the University of Technology Sydney
The Innovative Research Universities Australia also known as IRU
Australia is a grouping of seven Universities committed to inclusive excellence in teaching, learning and research in Australia.
The IRU members are:
• Charles Darwin University
• Flinders University
• Griffith University
• James Cook University
• La Trobe University
• Murdoch University
• and Western Sydney University
The Regional Universities Network or RUN are Universities that are committed to delivering higher education in rural and regional Australia.
The RUN members are:
• Central Queensland University
• Charles Sturt University
• The University of New England
• Federation University
• University of Southern Queensland
• University of the Sunshine Coast
• and Southern Cross University
The International grouping of Universitas 21 includes the following Australian Universities:
• University of Melbourne,
• University of New South Wales,
• and the University of Queensland.
Internationalisation has been a major focus for Australian Universities over the past 10 years.
Internationalisation can be measured in the following areas:
The international content of curriculum and subject matter
The possible international profile of students undertaking a program
Student mobility & exchange of students undertaking a portion of their studies in another country
International students undertaking their ‘study abroad’ in Australia
Institutional partnerships that Australian Universities have formed with international groups and bi-lateral arrangements to collaborate in research and the delivery of specified programs
Private provider partnerships with public Universities that cater for the international education market
International students represent anywhere from 10% to 30% of the total student population in many Australian Universities.
International alumni associations have become important as the number of graduates return to their home countries enriched with an Australian experience.
While Universities have a variety of administrative structures, their
international activities are headed by a senior management position such as Deputy or Pro-Vice-Chancellor International.
Typically, an administrative Director of an International Office manages the strategic international relationships and marketing of the University.
Some universities have off-shore administrative staff and marketing staff and offices aiding their activities in that particular country.
Universities have begun to develop means of delivering their programs that increase access for international students such as:
Flexible online delivery,
Off-shore twinning arrangements with another institution,
Off-shore partners that deliver all or part of their courses
In some cases, regional Australian Universities have established metropolitan campuses in capital cities due to the attraction of the larger cities for international students.
So how good are Australian Universities you might ask?
Australia has traditionally been the home of inventors and scientists right from its early settlement.
This has happened partly out of necessity because in our early days, we were a long way from the rest of the industrialised world so we had to rely on what could be produced locally.
However, it is also true that our education system and especially our Universities are responsible for developing a culture of innovation and
This culture of innovation aims to:
• make the best use of national and international information networks,
• encourage creativity in all forms of research,
• promote collaboration between University researchers and industry,
• disseminate the outcomes of research to the wider community.
Australian scientists and researchers have been responsible for many advances in business and industry and have made significant contributions in medical science.
Australia has been a pioneer in solar energy research and other potential energy sources for instance.
Australian advances in technology include the development of the black
box flight recorder, bionic ear implants, heart pacemaker, vaccines for some cancers and various leading computer hardware and software systems.
Australians have won prestigious international awards, including eight Nobel prizes for Physics, Medicine, Chemistry and Literature.
Significant Australian inventions include:
• Penicillin by Howard Walter Florey
• Ultrasound scanners or Sonography
• Radio telescopes
• and Photovoltaic cells or Solar cells
Australia has an outstanding Higher Education system.
International students report almost 90% satisfaction scores for their living and study experience in Australia, according to the International Student Survey conducted by the Department of Education.
Australia provides world-leading education in many study areas.
The 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings rated Australian institutions highly in the following fields:
Arts & Humanities
Clinical, Pre-Clinical & Health
Engineering & Technology
Over the past 50 years, 2.5 million international students have graduated from Australian educational institutions, according to the International Education Association of Australia.
These graduates are now part of a global alumni network that is making an impact around the world.
So that’s the end of Study in Australia TV Episode 6 on Australian Universities and the Higher Education system in Australia.
I hope you learnt a lot about the University system and understand more about Australian Universities, the qualifications, quality of the Higher Education system and what factors are important in choosing which University to study at in Australia.
Please let us know if you have any questions on this Episode.
We’d love to hear from you and can always help you to find the right course to study in Australia.
Bye for now!