Australia, located in the southern hemisphere is a sophisticated and culturally diverse nation with a world-class education system. These qualities, combined with the fact that it's an English speaking country, make Australia an extremely popular destination for international students. Most of the population lives along the south and east coasts. Australia is a highly developed country with the world’s fifth-highest per capita income. Major industries focus on Australia’s abundant natural resources, including agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, forestry, and minerals. Australia's Legal System Derived from British influence, Australia follow a common law system consisting of court-enforced statutes. Australian states and territories are governed by their own court systems with an overseeing federal body. Australia’s legal system is known for its maturity and rich history.
The cost of tuition in Australia varies depending on the institution and academic program chosen. Students in Australia pay tuition to attend degree programs and many Australian students subsidize their education with scholarships, grants and other types of financial assistance based on need or merit. Some of these financial options may be open to international students and it is best to contact each university directly to find out about tuition costs and funding options.
Study in Australia
University courses of study include bachelor’s degrees at the undergraduate level. At the postgraduate level, graduate certificates and diplomas are offered in addition to master’s and doctorate degrees. Master’s programs are available in many disciplines including social sciences, engineering, health sciences, business, and economics. Master’s degrees usually involve research or coursework, or a combination of both.
Why Study in Australia?
In addition to Australia being a great place to live, Australian master’s degree programs are among the highest quality in the world. The Australian academic environment fosters innovation, creativity, and independent thought.
Australia is committed to ensuring international students have a good experience in Australia. Institutions that admit international students must adhere to a strict set of requirements regarding marketing activities, course delivery, facilities, and student services such as legal and health services.
Four of Australia’s 39 universities are ranked in the top 100 by the 2012-2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. These schools include the University of Melbourne (28th), Australian National University (37th), the University of Sydney (62nd), and the University of Queensland (65th). About 230,000 international students attend higher education programs in Australia, with about 90,000 graduates each year.
Tuition and Program Duration
International students must pay tuition and fees before beginning master’s program studies. Typical tuition for master’s degrees is A$15,000 to A$36,000 per year depending upon the university.
Masters degree programs take 1-2 years to complete. The course of study is usually two years after a bachelor degree; however, a master’s degree can be obtained in one year if the student’s bachelor degree was obtained with honors.
The academic year in Australia begins in early March and runs through late November. Most schools offer two semesters each year, but some schools use a trimester system and other schools offer summer courses from December to February.
A master’s degree in any discipline from an Australian institution makes a graduate more valuable to employers worldwide. In addition, recent legislation was passed that permits international graduates of Australian institutes to obtain a post-study work visa that allows them to work in Australia for up to four years after graduation.
However, although international students may be eligible to work in Australia after graduation, students should not undertake studies in Australia for the sole purpose of migration. Australia provides preferential migration treatment for individuals on a Skilled Occupations List, but the skilled migration process is separate from the student visa process. There is no guarantee that a student studying for a master’s degree in Australia will be able to migrate to Australia.
After completing a master’s degree, students may also continue their studies if they are admitted to a doctoral program and obtain an additional student visa.
To obtain a student visa, students must be enrolled in a full-time course that is registered with the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Students enrolled in a short course of less than 3 months can study on a visitor visa. However, only students with a student visa will have access to Australian health care and part-time work. Students may apply for a student visa once they receive a letter of offer or electronic confirmation of enrollment.
Australia has a special health insurance program for international students called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Students should buy OSHC before arriving in Australia and coverage must be maintained for the duration of the student’s stay on a student visa. OSHC covers medical or hospital care and partially covers prescription medication and ambulances.
Much of Australia is unsettled and visitors need to be aware of the hazards associated with travel in the outback. Even when not in the outback, sun protection should be used at all times, and travelers should drink plenty of water.
Bush fires are a common hazard, especially from late spring to summer. Travelers should maintain awareness of the location of fires at all times.
Other hazards include poisonous snakes, spiders and marine stingers. These hazards can be avoided with situational awareness and appropriate clothing and footwear.
Anyone enrolling as an international student on a course lasting four months or more in Australia will need a student visa. In order to apply for an Australian student visa, you must:
- Have an unconditional offer of place at a university
- Have accepted that place in writing
- Have paid the required tuition fee deposit
The program you choose must be between 12 and 52 weeks in order to be eligible for a student visa.
For all programs of study, you will need to apply for a subclass 500 student visa. New Zealand nationals wishing to study in Australia should apply for the Special Category visa (subclass 444).
Visit the official Australian Government website to find out more about studying in Australia and Australian student visas.
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