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Chapter 1: Higher Education System

Section 1.1: Schematic Description of the Higher Education System

Section 1.1 Australia

Section 1.2: Description of Higher Education System

The higher education sector in Australia is made up of universities and other higher education institutions that award Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level 5 to 10 qualifications. There are three main cycles of higher education, which lead to the awards of Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral Degrees. There are also sub-degree undergraduate qualifications and other postgraduate qualifications.

For more detail about the qualifications see www.aqf.edu.au 

Certificate I, II, III and IV

Certificates I, II, III or IV qualifications can be gained through a number of pathways including RTO-based training, school-based training, apprenticeship, traineeship, and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

In addition to literacy, numeracy and communication skills, students are expected to achieve competencies in their chosen field. The depth and breadth of these competencies becomes more complex with each certificate level. Graduates can progress to further VET or higher education or employment.

Certificate I

Certificate I courses are preparatory and graduates achieve basic functional knowledge and skills in a narrow area of work or learning. Knowledge and skills at this level relate to basic practical skills, basic communication skills and the ability to undertake routine and predictable activities with limited autonomy. Courses are usually six months to one year full-time.

Certificate II

Certificate II courses qualify graduates to achieve basic factual, technical and procedural knowledge in a defined work or learning context. Knowledge and skills at this level relate to the ability to undertake routine activities and apply known solutions to a limited range of predictable problems with autonomy and judgement. Courses are usually six months to one year full-time.

Certificate III

Certificate III courses qualify graduates to achieve factual, technical, procedural and theoretical knowledge and skills in a field of work or learning. The qualification is intended to lead to skilled work and further learning. Knowledge and skills at this level relate to the ability to undertake routine and some non-routine skilled technical tasks in known contexts, apply solutions to predictable problems and manage unanticipated issues. The ability to transfer skills and knowledge is introduced at this level, and courses emphasise responsibility for outputs and assuming limited responsibility for the work of others.

Courses are usually one to two years full-time. Many Australian Apprenticeships lead to a Certificate III, and commonly require three or four years of training or employment.

Certificate IV

Certificate IV courses qualify graduates to achieve a broad knowledge base including factual, technical and theoretical knowledge in a field of work or learning. The qualification is intended to lead to skilled work and further learning. Knowledge and skills at this level relate to specialised technical tasks or functions in a known or changing context, applying technical solutions to problems, technical communication skills, and supervision and leadership in the workplace. Courses are usually six months to two years full-time. Many occupations and fields of study are covered at this level including a small number of Australian Apprenticeships.

Undergraduate courses and qualifications

Diploma

Diploma courses prepare graduates for paraprofessional work or further learning based on an applied academic course. Knowledge and skills at this level demonstrate understanding of a broad knowledge base incorporating theoretical concepts with depth in some areas. They include the ability to analyse and plan approaches to technical problems or management requirements, transfer and apply theoretical concepts and/or technical or creative skills to a range of situations, and to analyse and evaluate information, applications or programmes. Courses are usually one to two years full-time.
Diploma graduates can continue to employment or further education in the higher education sector with up to one year of credit granted towards a related Bachelor Degree course. The Diploma is also offered as a vocational education and training (VET) qualification.

Advanced Diploma

Advanced Diploma courses prepare graduates for paraprofessional or advanced skilled work or further learning. Knowledge and skills at this level include broad theoretical and technical knowledge of a specialisation or a broad field of work and learning. Graduates are expected to demonstrate specialised knowledge, problem-solving and analytical skills and communication in a range of specialised situations. Courses are usually one-and-a-half to two years full-time.
Advanced Diploma graduates can continue to employment or further education in the higher education sector with between one and two years of credit granted in a related Bachelor Degree course. The Advanced Diploma is also offered as a VET qualification.

Associate Degree

Associate Degrees are more academically focused and prepare graduates for paraprofessional work or further learning. Knowledge and skills at this level focus on underpinning technical and theoretical knowledge. Graduates are expected to demonstrate initiative and judgement, problem-solving, decision making and analytical skills, and communication in a range of paraprofessional situations. Courses are usually two years full-time.
The Associate Degree and the Advanced Diploma are at the same level on the AQF. The difference is in their focus. Associate Degrees are more academically oriented, whereas Advanced Diplomas emphasise vocational or occupational specific skills. Associate Degree graduates can continue to employment or further education with usually one-and-a-half to two years of credit granted towards a related Bachelor Degree course.

Bachelor Degree

Bachelor Degree courses include development of knowledge and skills in one or more specialisations. Courses focus on progressive development of knowledge, critical analytical skills, and research and problemsolving techniques, which prepares graduates for postgraduate study or for professional work.

Some institutions offer Bachelor Degrees which cannot be entered directly from senior secondary school and require a Bachelor Degree for entry. Most of these courses are in professional specialisations. They are known as graduate-entry Bachelor Degrees. Students can enrol in a double or combined Bachelor Degree which leads to the award of two Bachelor Degrees. This is most common in arts, commerce, law and science. Such courses are at least four years full-time.
There is no prescribed length of study for a Bachelor Degree. Arts and science degrees can range between three to four years of full-time study, and professional degrees can range between three to six or more years of full-time study. Regardless of length or specific course requirements, all Bachelor Degree courses are quality assured and must conform to the AQF.

Bachelor Degree graduates are eligible for admission to Masters Degree study and other postgraduate qualifications such as the Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma.

Bachelor Degree course requirements

Bachelor Degree courses differ depending on the major subject area, the department and/or faculty and the institution. Courses are highly focused on the major field of study from the first year onwards, and there is no significant general education component. Courses include mandatory core subjects, specialisation subjects and elective subjects.

Professional courses include a higher number of compulsory core subjects, with few choices for specialisation or electives. Non-professional Bachelor Degrees allow for a wider choice of specialisations. Courses must normally have at least one major specialisation that is studied over the duration of the course. Many students undertake two or three majors. Universities have regulations concerning the minimum and maximum numbers of units to be completed each year. A unit is a component of a qualification, and in Australia it may also be called a module, subject or unit of competency.

Courses may involve lectures, tutorials, seminars, laboratory work, and fieldwork or supervised practical work. The number of class contact hours per week varies according to the nature of the course of study. Assessment usually involves exams, research assignments and reports, presentations, field or practical work, individual or group research and performance in tutorials, seminars and laboratory work.

Bachelor Honours Degree

Bachelor Honours Degrees focus on the development of advanced knowledge and skills in research principles and methods in one or more specialisations. A research thesis or significant project is required.

An additional year of intensive study after a Bachelor Degree is required, or it may be undertaken as a four-year integrated course. The additional year normally involves specialised study and research, and the submission of a thesis. Students specialise in one field of study, or more for a combined Bachelor Honours Degree. This is usually the field of study the student majored in. Bachelor Honours Degrees
are available in most specialisations.

Bachelor Honours Degrees are usually awarded with the abbreviation ‘Hons’—for example, BA (Hons)—and in a class or division—for example First Class or Second Class (Upper Division). Graduates with Honours in the First or Second (Upper Division) Classes may enter a Doctoral Degree course directly.

In the past Bachelor Degrees using Honours terminology on the basis of academic achievement were often awarded in some professional specialisations (for example, Bachelor of Laws with Honours). In such cases, an increased course load and/or thesis may have been required.

Postgraduate courses and qualifications

Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate courses are designed for professional or highly skilled work or further specialised learning. Graduate Certificate courses usually require one semester of full-time study.

Knowledge and skills at this level emphasise specialised theoretical and technical knowledge in either
a new or existing discipline or professional area. Graduates are expected to demonstrate initiative, analysis, planning and evaluation in a range of specialised functions. Courses may extend the knowledge and skills gained in a preceding Bachelor Degree or other qualification.

A Graduate Certificate may be awarded if a student undertakes postgraduate study such as a Masters Degree but does not fully complete the course.

Graduate Diploma

Graduate Diploma courses are designed for professional or highly skilled work or further learning. Graduate Diploma courses usually require one year of full-time study, and cover a wider breadth and/or greater depth of knowledge in a particular field in comparison to the Graduate Certificate.

Knowledge and skills at this level emphasise advanced theoretical and technical knowledge in either an existing specialisation or area of professional practice or the development of new professional or vocational skills. Graduates are expected to demonstrate initiative, analysis, planning and evaluation in a range of specialised functions. Courses may extend the knowledge and skills gained in a preceding Bachelor Degree or other qualification.

A Graduate Diploma may be awarded if a student undertakes postgraduate study such as a Masters Degree but does not fully complete the course.

Masters Degree

There are three types of Masters Degree courses—research, coursework and extended. Most Masters Degrees require one to two years of full-time study following a Bachelor Degree. There are several other pathways to complete a Masters Degree.

Knowledge and skills at this level focus on analysis and evaluation of complex information, ability to generate and evaluate complex ideas and concepts, and communication and research skills to present coherent knowledge to specialists and non-specialists. Graduates are expected to apply knowledge and skills to new situations, exercise high-level autonomy and accountability and to deliver a substantial piece of research or a research-based project. All Masters Degrees include research principles, methods and skills and require the completion of a substantial piece of research, a research-based project, a capstone experience, a piece of scholarship or a professionally-focused project. Graduates can continue to a Doctoral Degree course.

Masters Degree (Research)

Masters Degree (Research) courses are designed to provide graduates with advanced knowledge for research, scholarship and further learning purposes. Courses are at least two-thirds research with
a substantial thesis, which is externally examined. Courses normally require one to two years of
full-time study, depending on the preceding qualification and if it is in a related specialisation.

Masters Degree (Coursework)

Masters Degrees (Coursework) courses are designed to provide graduates with advanced knowledge for professional practice, scholarship and further learning purposes. Courses normally require one to two years of full-time study, depending on the preceding qualification and if it is in a related specialisation to the student’s previous qualification(s).

Masters Degree (Extended)

Masters Degree (Extended) courses are designed to provide graduates with advanced knowledge in preparation for professional practice and further learning. Courses usually require structured learning and independent research involving substantial collaboration with organisations engaged in professional practice. Courses are usually three to four years full-time.

Doctoral Degree

Doctoral Degrees are the highest level of academic study and focus on a critical understanding of
a complex field of learning and highly specialised research skills. Graduates are expected to undertake research that makes a substantial original contribution to knowledge in the form of new knowledge or significant and original adaptation, application and interpretation of existing knowledge. Courses are usually three to four years full-time.

All Doctoral Degrees require completion of a thesis, dissertation or similar. It is usually examined by two or three expert academics of international standing, at least two of which must be external to the institution.

Doctoral Degree (Research)

Research Doctoral Degrees are by supervised research and an original thesis. At least two-thirds of the course must consist of research. Advanced coursework may be included to support research outcomes and the student’s contribution to original knowledge.

Doctoral Degree (Professional)

Professional Doctoral Degrees require significant professional practice either prior to or as part of the course. Courses include structured coursework and independent supervised study. At least two years of the course consists of research. Research-based professional practice with a professional, statutory or regulatory body may also be included in the course to support research outcomes.

Section 1.3: Number of Higher Education Institutions

There are three types of higher education institutions in Australia:
  • Universities
  • other self-accrediting higher education institutions
  • non-self-accrediting higher education institutions.

All higher education institutions are quality assured by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and recognised institutions can be found at www.teqsa.gov.au. All higher education institutions that offer Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualifications must be registered with TEQSA.

The Australian higher education sector comprises of 43 universities; 40 Australian universities (37 public and 3 private), 1 Australian university of specialisation and 2 overseas universities.
Universities operating in Australia must be established or recognised under federal or state and territory legislation. Universities are multi-disciplinary, self-governing institutions that
are responsible for their own management structure, budgets, staffing, admissions, internal quality assurance (including course accreditation) and curriculum.
There is a small number of self-accrediting higher education institutions that are established or recognised under state and territory legislation and can accredit their own courses. These institutions generally focus on offering courses in a specific field of study. They are usually institutes, colleges or schools.
There are 123 non-self-accrediting higher education institutions registered by TEQSA to offer accredited higher education courses. They must meet TEQSA’s registration standards in addition to offering at least one course accredited by TEQSA.

Section 1.4: Number of Students in Higher Education

  • A total of 1 513 383 domestic and international students enrolled at higher education institutions in 2017, an increase of 3.9 per cent from 2016.

  • There were 1 081 945 domestic students in 2017 (71.5 per cent of all students), an increase of 1.5 per cent from 2016. Overseas student enrolments increased by 10.3 per cent over the same period to 431 438.

  • Postgraduate students increased by 6.4 per cent to 427 685 while undergraduate students increased by 3.0 per cent to 1 037 373.

  • More than half of all students enrolled were female (55.5 per cent).

  • Over seventy per cent of students (71.3 per cent) were studying full-time.

  • Over ninety per cent of students were enrolled at Public Universities (90.5 per cent). Public University enrolments increased by 3.4 per cent in 2017 (1 369 423 students, up from 1 324 506 students in 2016), while Private University and Non-University Higher Education Institutions increased by 8.5 per cent (from 132 703 students in 2016 to 143 960 students in 2017). In 2017, there were 97 institutions classified as Private Universities and Non-University Higher Education Institutions.

https://docs.education.gov.au/node/51301 

Section 1.5: Structure of Academic Year

In higher education, the academic year is from February to November. Most institutions use the semester system, where one semester is 16 weeks long, including a mid-semester break and exam period. Some institutions have a trimester system or summer and winter sessions which are in addition to the two semesters. Some institutions run courses year round.

Section 1.6: National Qualifications Framework (or Similar)

In the AQF there are 10 levels with level 1 having the lowest complexity and AQF level 10 the highest complexity. The levels are defined by criteria expressed as learning outcomes.
There are 14 AQF qualification types from across all education and training sectors and each, with the exception of the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, is located at one of the 10 levels.

Graduates at this level will have knowledge and skills for initial work, community involvement and/or further learning​.

Level 
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Summary
Graduates at this level will have knowledge and skills for initial work, community involvement and/or further learning
 Graduates at this level will have knowledge and skills for work in a defined context and/or further learning
Graduates at this level will have theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for work and/or further learning
 Graduates at this level will have theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for specialised and/or skilled work and/or further learning
Graduates at this level will have specialised knowledge and skills for skilled/paraprofessional work and/or further learning
Qualification Type
Certificate I
Certificate II
Certificate III
Certificate IV
Diploma

      

Level 
Level 6
Level 7
Level 8
Level 9
Level 10
Summary
Graduates at this level will have broad knowledge and skills for paraprofessional/highly skilled work and/or further learning
Graduates at this level will have broad and coherent knowledge and skills for professional work and/or further learning
Graduates at this level will have advanced knowledge and skills for professional/highly skilled work and/or further learning
 
Graduates at this level will have specialised knowledge and skills for research, and/or professional practice and/or further learning
Graduates at this level will have systematic and critical understanding of a complex field of learning and specialised research skills for the advancement of learning and/or for professional practice
Qualification Type
Advanced Diploma
Associate Degree
Bachelor Degree
 
Bachelor Honours
Degree Graduate
Certificate Graduate Diploma
Masters Degree
Doctoral Degree

  https://www.aqf.edu.au/sites/aqf/files/aqf-2nd-edition-january-2013.pdf

 

Section 1.7: Learning Outcomes in Higher Education

Each qualification type is defined by a descriptor expressed as learning outcomes.
The learning outcomes are constructed as a taxonomy of what graduates are expected to know, understand and be able to do as a result of learning. They are expressed in terms of the dimensions of knowledge, skills and the application of knowledge and skills.

Knowledge is what a graduate knows and understands. It is described in terms of depth, breadth, kinds of knowledge and complexity, as follows:

  • depth of knowledge can be general or specialised

  • breadth of knowledge can range from a single topic to multi-disciplinary area of knowledge

  • kinds of knowledge range from concrete to abstract, from segmented to cumulative

  • complexity of knowledge refers to the combination of kinds, depth and breadth of knowledge.

Skills are what a graduate can do. Skills are described in terms of the kinds and complexity of skills and include:

  • cognitive and creative skills involving the use of intuitive, logical and critical thinking

  • technical skills involving dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments

  • communication skills involving written, oral, literacy and numeracy skills

  • interpersonal skills and generic skills.

Application of knowledge and skills is the context in which a graduate applies knowledge and skills. Specifically:

  • application is expressed in terms of autonomy, responsibility and accountability

  • the context may range from the predictable to the unpredictable, and the known to the unknown, while tasks may range from routine to non routine.

The criteria for each level and the descriptor for each qualification type include the three dimensions of the learning outcomes. The levels criteria are expressed broadly to allow for more than one qualification type to be located at the same level. The descriptor for each qualification type is more specific to underpin consistency in graduate outcomes for the qualification type regardless of the discipline.
A volume of learning is included as an integral part of the descriptor for each qualification type. The volume of learning is a dimension of the complexity of the qualification type. It identifies the notional duration of all activities required for the achievement of the learning outcomes specified for a particular AQF qualification type. It is expressed in equivalent full-time years. Generic learning outcomes are incorporated into qualifications in the development process and their application is specific to the education or training sector.

Generic learning outcomes are the transferrable, non discipline specific skills a graduate may achieve through learning that have application in study, work and life contexts. The four broad categories of generic learning outcomes recognised in the AQF are:

  • fundamental skills, such as literacy and numeracy appropriate to the level and qualification type

  • people skills, such as working with others and communication skills

  • thinking skills, such as learning to learn, decision making and problem solving

  • personal skills, such as self direction and acting with integrity.

Section 1.8: Admission Requirements to Higher Education

Undergraduate admission requirements

Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree, Bachelor Degree

Undergraduate admission is usually based on a student’s Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). The ATAR is calculated by a state or territory Tertiary Admission Centre (TAC) (see table on following page) based on a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education course of study. The ATAR is reported on a scale of 0 to 99.95 with increments of 0.05. It indicates a student’s ranking relative to student cohort. For example, an ATAR of 90.00 puts a student in the top 10 percent of their cohort. The ATAR is used in all states and territories except Queensland, which uses a similar ranking system of Overall Positions (OPs) and Field Positions (FPs).
Other undergraduate admission pathways include:

  • a vocational education and training (VET) qualification, such as a Certificate III or IV

  • tertiary education preparatory short courses

  • additional requirements such as an interview, portfolio of work, prerequisite courses, and/or work experience relevant to the study course

  • mature-age entry for students over 25 years based on relevant work experience, an entrance exam, interview or portfolio of work.

 State/Territory

 Responsibility for Domestic Undergraduate Tertiary Admissions in each State and Territory

 Website                              

 Australian Capital Territory
 Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) 
 New South Wales
 Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) 
 Northern Territory
 South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC)
 Queensland
 Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC)
 South Australia
 South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC)
 Tasmania
 University of Tasmania (UTAS)
 Victoria
 Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC)
 Western Australia
 Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISCOnline)

Postgraduate admission requirements

Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma

  • Entry is normally based on a Bachelor Degree but it can also be gained through relevant work experience, depending on the field of study.

Masters Degree

  • Entry is normally based on a Bachelor Degree.
  • For a research Masters Degree, a Bachelor Honours Degree, research-based Graduate Diploma, or preparatory course may be required, where credit may be granted towards the Masters Degree by research.
  • For a coursework Masters Degree, entry is usually based on a Bachelor Degree, though entry can be gained through a Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma, where credit may be granted towards the Masters Degree by coursework.
  • For a Masters Degree (Extended), entry is usually based on a Bachelor Degree.

Doctoral Degree

  • Entry is normally based on a research Masters Degree or a Bachelor Honours Degree (First or Second Class, Upper Division).
  • International students may require additional requirements which depends on the country of education. Compulsory English language requirements are also required for international students.

Section 1.9: Grading System

There is no national grading system in Australia. Each institution has its own grading system, and there are variations of several main types of unit/subject grades (see table below).
The grading system is usually indicated on the transcript or Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS).

 Descriptive Grade
 Percentage
 Percentage
 Letter Grade 
 Numeric Grade 
 High Distinction
 85%-100% 
 80-100% 
 A
 7
 Distinction
 75%-84%
 70-79% 
 B
 6
 Credit
 65%-74%
 60-69%
 C
 5
 Pass
 50%-64%
 50%-59%
 D
 4
 Fail (conditional)
 46%-49%
 Below 50%
 E/F
 3
 Fail
 Below 45%
 N/A
 F
 2
 Low fail
 N/A
 N/A
 N/A
 1

Some institutions use a conditional or conceded pass, but the number of conceded pass results accepted in a course is limited to one or two per student. Failed subjects must be repeated or an alternative taken in its place to complete a course.

Classifications for Bachelor Honours Degrees

Bachelor Honours Degrees may be classified. There are four levels of classification. Each classification can be described in a number of ways:

  • First Class, HI

  • Second Class (Upper Division), Second Class Division A, Second Class Division One, HIIA,HII/i

  • Second Class (Lower Division), Second Class Division B, Second Class Division Two, HIIB,HII/ii

  • Third Class, HIII.

Second Class Honours may not be differentiated. Third Class Honours is rarely awarded. A Bachelor Honours Degree may be awarded in the Pass Class if the level of academic achievement is low.
Some institutions may use these classifications for individual subjects, (particularly in a Bachelor Honours Degree course).

Postgraduate grading systems

Most postgraduate qualifications are awarded unclassified, although exceptions may be made with research-based Masters Degrees. Some institutions award Masters Degrees ‘with Honours’
but unclassified.

Section 1.10: Tuition Fee System for International Students

Higher education in Australia requires students to contribute to the costs of their tuition. The amount a student has to pay and when they have to pay depends on the type of student and education institution. Fees range from A$6500 to A$11000 per year. Eligible students may enrol as a Commonwealth supported student if their course and institution attract a Government subsidy, or may enrol in fee paying courses for places that are not subsidised.

The Government administers the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP), which includes a number of loans to assist students with the upfront cost of their tuition fees. Students are only required to begin repaying their loan when their income exceeds a minimum repayment threshold.


For more information on financial assistance including scholarships see www.studyassist.gov.au 

International students fee structure varies from institution to institution.

Section 1.11: Graduation Requirements and/or Qualification Awarding Requirements

Undergraduate courses and qualifications

Diploma courses prepare graduates for paraprofessional work or further learning based on an applied academic course. Knowledge and skills at this level demonstrate understanding of a broad knowledge base incorporating theoretical concepts with depth in some areas. They include the ability to analyse and plan approaches to technical problems or management requirements, transfer and apply theoretical concepts and/or technical or creative skills to a range of situations, and to analyse and evaluate information, applications or programmes. Courses are usually one to two years full-time.
Diploma graduates can continue to employment or further education in the higher education sector with up to one year of credit granted towards a related Bachelor Degree course. The Diploma is also offered as a vocational education and training (VET) qualification.

Advanced Diploma courses prepare graduates for paraprofessional or advanced skilled work or further learning. Knowledge and skills at this level include broad theoretical and technical knowledge
of a specialisation or a broad field of work and learning. Graduates are expected to demonstrate specialised knowledge, problem-solving and analytical skills and communication in a range of specialised situations. Courses are usually one-and-a-half to two years full-time.
Advanced Diploma graduates can continue to employment or further education in the higher education sector with between one and two years of credit granted in a related Bachelor Degree course. The Advanced Diploma is also offered as a VET qualification, see page 23.

Associate Degrees are more academically focused and prepare graduates for paraprofessional work or further learning. Knowledge and skills at this level focus on underpinning technical and theoretical knowledge. Graduates are expected to demonstrate initiative and judgement, problem-solving, decision making and analytical skills, and communication in a range of paraprofessional situations. Courses are usually two years full-time.
The Associate Degree and the Advanced Diploma are at the same level on the AQF. The difference is in their focus. Associate Degrees are more academically oriented, whereas Advanced Diplomas emphasise vocational or occupational specific skills.
Associate Degree graduates can continue to employment or further education with usually one-and-a-half to two years of credit granted towards a related Bachelor Degree course.

Bachelor Degree courses include development of knowledge and skills in one or more specialisations. Courses focus on progressive development of knowledge, critical analytical skills, and research and problemsolving techniques, which prepares graduates for postgraduate study or for professional work.
Some institutions offer Bachelor Degrees which cannot be entered directly from senior secondary school and require a Bachelor Degree for entry. Most of these courses are in professional specialisations. They are known as graduate-entry Bachelor Degrees.
Students can enrol in a double or combined Bachelor Degree which leads to the award of two Bachelor Degrees. This is most common in arts, commerce, law and science. Such courses are at least four years full-time.
There is no prescribed length of study for a Bachelor Degree. Arts and science degrees can range between three to four years of full-time study, and professional degrees can range between three to six or more years of full-time study. Regardless of length or specific course requirements, all Bachelor Degree courses are quality assured and must conform to the AQF.
Bachelor Degree graduates are eligible for admission to Masters Degree study and other postgraduate qualifications such as the Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma.

Section 1.12: Relevant Current and Prospective Reforms in Higher Education

Not applicable.

 

Chapter 2: Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Section 2.1: Quality Assurance Body in Higher Education

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is Australia’s independent national quality assurance and regulatory agency for higher education.
https://www.teqsa.gov.au/about-us-0 

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for Australia’s vocational education and training sector.
ASQA regulates courses and training providers to ensure nationally approved quality standards are met.
https://www.asqa.gov.au/about 

Section 2.2: Quality Assurance System

Study programme
Institution
Further explanation
Voluntary
 
 
 
Compulsory
X
X
 
Regularity
 
 5- 7 years
Will vary depending on the status (private/public)
External
 
 
 
Internal
 
 
 
Further information:

Section 2.3: Link Programme Authorisation with Quality Assurance

Explain the link between programme authorization and the system of QA in your country.
Please indicate a website or link with all programmes that are accredited or officially recognized on the basis of external quality assurance.

TEQSA - https://www.teqsa.gov.au/
ASQA - https://www.asqa.gov.au/

 

Chapter 3: Credit System in Higher Education

Section 3.1: Description of Credit System

Australia does not have a national credit system, though the AQF indicates the typical volume of learning required in years of full-time study and provides a credit transfer and articulation policy. As there are quality assurance arrangements in place to support national consistency and institutional autonomy, each institution has the flexibility to develop its own credit system to represent the quantitative load of a course of study.

For example, a Bachelor Degree may require a total of 24 credits at one institution and 600 credits at another. This does not mean that a Bachelor Degree requiring 600 credits is more substantial than a Bachelor Degree requiring 24 credits. It only means that the institutions are using a different credit system. Both Bachelor Degrees would have the same status as an AQF qualification. Credits are used to represent full-time study load, not contact hours. A subject may be worth 1 credit or 25 credits, and it may have different contact hours and study hour requirements depending on the system the institution uses. Therefore, the various credit systems used by Australian institutions cannot be converted into contact hours or study hours.

Section 3.2: Credit Transfer System(s)

Credit transfer is available in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, at the discretion of the education institution. Credit can also be given for previous vocational education and training (VET) study. The Australian Qualifications Framework Qualifications Pathways Policy specifies the minimum amount of credit recommended for a range of VET and higher education qualifications.

https://www.aqf.edu.au/sites/aqf/files/aqf_pathways_jan2013.pdf 

Section 3.3: Additional Information

Decisions about credit transfer and recognition of prior learning (RPL) are made separately from admission decisions. Students usually need an offer of enrolment before any decision on credit or RPL is made.

Section 3.4: Application of Credit System in Higher Education Institutions Obligatory?

Credit transfer is at the discretion of the education institution.

Section 3.5: Number of Credits per Academic Year/Semester

Australia does not have a national credit system. Each institution has the flexibility to develop its own credit system to represent the quantitative load of a course of study.

Section 3.6: Number of Credits per Higher Education Cycle

Diploma
Up to one year of credit granted towards a related Bachelor Degree course.

Advanced Diploma
Between one and two years of credit granted in a related Bachelor Degree course.

Associate Degree
Between one and a half to two years of credit granted towards a related Bachelor Degree course.

Bachelor Degree
Bachelor Degree graduates are eligible for admission to Masters Degree study and other postgraduate qualifications such as the Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma.

Section 3.7: Description of Credit Unit

The various credit systems used by Australian institutions cannot be converted into contact hours or study hours.

Section 3.8: Link between Learning Outcomes and Credits

The AQF indicates the typical volume of learning required in years of full-time study and provides a credit transfer and articulation policy. As there are quality assurance arrangements in place to support national consistency and institutional autonomy, each institution has the flexibility to develop its own credit system to represent the quantitative load of a course of study.
Credit agreements negotiated between issuing organisations for credit for students towards AQF qualifications at any level, vertical or horizontal, will take into account the comparability and equivalence of the learning outcomes.

Last updated in 2018
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