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General Eligibility Requirements

To begin studying in Australia, there are a range of entry requirements you may have to meet.

English language requirements

In some cases, you may need to provide results of an English language test. Be aware that the English language skill level required by an institution can be different from the level of skill required for your student visa application. You should carefully check student visa information on both the Department of Home Affairs(opens in a new window) website and the institution website for any English language requirements.

Academic requirements

The academic requirements (including evidence of English language skills) you need to study in Australia will vary depending on the level of education you want to study. Institutions can have different entry requirements, so read the course information on their website carefully and contact them to ask for advice.

Here is some general guidance on entry requirements for the different levels of study:

  • English language – Entry requirements vary between institutions, and according to the level of English language course you want to study.
  • Schools – Entry requirements vary between schools depending on the state or territory you will be studying in. Academic performance and ability is considered during the application process.
  • Vocational education and training – In most cases there are no entrance exams for VET institutions. However, some courses may have specific pre-requisite subjects or work experience requirements.
  • Higher Education Undergraduate – To gain entry into an Australian undergraduate course you will need to have an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (Year 12), or the overseas equivalent. Some undergraduate courses may also have specific pre-requisite subjects.
  • Higher Education Postgraduate – As well as the satisfactory completion of at least one degree at undergraduate level, your institution may take research ability or relevant work experience into consideration.

Tip: To meet the academic requirements of an Australian high school qualification, consider taking a Foundation course. Also called bridging study, they are intensive courses that will help you meet the entry requirements. They are usually one year long and are offered by most higher education institutions.

Visa requirements

The student visa you need depends on your chosen course of study. As a guide, the typical key requirements you will need to meet are:

  • Issued an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) certificate.
  • Meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement. Read more about this on the Department of Home Affairs(opens in a new window) website.
  • Sufficient funds for airfares, course fees and living costs.
  • English language proficiency.
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Acceptable Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Read more about the Student Visa Key Requirements(opens in a new window).

The Department of Home Affairs(opens in a new window) website provides detailed information on student visas. It also has a Visa Wizard(opens in a new window) to help you identify which visa you might be eligible for.

Overseas Student Health Cover

Australia has a special system of health cover for international students called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). It will help you pay for medical or hospital care you may need while you’re studying in Australia; it will also contribute towards the cost of most prescription medicines and an ambulance in an emergency. When studying in Australia, you will need OSHC for yourself, and any family travelling with you, before you arrive. It is a requirement of your student visa that you maintain OSHC for the duration of your time on a student visa in Australia.

Find out if you are eligible to apply

Each immigration program has different application and eligibility requirements. You will need about 10-15 minutes to complete the form.

You may be asked questions about your:

  • nationality
  • age
  • language ability
  • family members
  • education
  • work experience
  • income and/or net worth
  • details on any job offer

Based on your answers, you will be advised on programs you may be eligible for, so be as accurate as you can.

If you are eligible, you will get a detailed list of instructions on what to do next.

Prepare for Standardized Tests

As part of the application process, most undergraduate programs require one or more U.S. standardized test scores. Your test scores, academic record, and other factors are used to predict how well you will do as a university student. The test scores are one way to compare students from the United States and international students from different educational systems.

In the United States, there is no national college entrance examination administered by the government that students must pass to gain admission to higher education. Rather, different universities or schools establish their own admission requirements, including which third-party standardized test they accept.

Standardized tests should be taken a year to 18 months before you plan on studying. Many students take the exams more then once to achieve higher scores. There are many websites, books, and tutors available to help you prepare.

English Language Ability Tests

Being able to communicate in English is a basic requirement for successful undergraduate study in the United States. If English is not your native language, U.S. colleges and universities will ask you to take an English Language proficiency test before admission.

The most common tests for English language ability are the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), and the Pearson Test of English (PTE).

Admissions Tests

Most colleges and universities in the United States require standardized testing for undergraduate admissions. Admission requirements vary, so be sure to confirm which test(s) you need with the institutions that interest you.

ACT: a curriculum-based multiple-choice assessment that tests reading, English, mathematics, and science, with an optional essay section. The ACT is widely accepted at accredited two and four-year colleges and universities in the United States, and hundreds of institutions around the world.

SATa test that measures critical reading, writing, and mathematical abilities. The SAT Subject Tests measure knowledge in specific subject areas. The SAT is widely accepted at accredited two and four-year colleges and universities in the United States, and hundreds of institutions around the world. (Please note that an updated SAT made its debut in March 2016 and impacts students in the class of 2017 and younger.)

Full-time degrees and degree-level courses

You can study a full-time recognised UK degree or degree-level course which leads to an approved qualification. The qualification must be at Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) level 6 or Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level 9 or above.

You can browse the list of colleges and universities which award recognised UK degrees. Their websites will give you information about their academic requirements and how to apply.

Tier 4 (General) students are subject to time limits on how long they can study degree-level courses.

Part-time postgraduate courses

Sine 11 January 2018, some Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have been allowed to issue CAS for part-time postgraduate study (courses leading to a qualification at RQF level 7 or SCQF level 11 and above).

Tier 4 students studying part-time are subject to certain restrictions:

  • no work
  • no work placements
  • no dependants
  • no extending under Tier 4 in the UK. This includes Tier 4 applications to work as a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer or for the Foundation Programme for postgraduate doctors and dentists
  • not eligible for the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme

If you are interested in being sponsored under Tier 4 to study a specific part-time postgraduate course, contact the institution which offers the course direct.

Study abroad

Study abroad means you are currently studying a course outside the UK which is equivalent to a UK degree, and as part of that course you come to the UK for a short period of full-time study.

If you want to check that your course is equivalent to a UK degree, contact UK NARIC.

Courses below degree level

Courses below degree level must involve at least 15 hours a week of organised daytime study and lead to an approved qualification. Pre-sessional courses need not lead to an approved qualification.

The qualification must normally be at RQF level 3 / SCQF level 6 or above. If you will be studying at an institution which is a Probationary Sponsor and you are 18 or older, the minimum course level is RQF level 4 / SCQF level 7 or above. The Home Office’s Register of Tier 4 sponsors ​lists Probationary Sponsors.

Tier 4 (General) students aged 18 or older are subject to a time limit on how long they can study courses below degree level.

Pre-sessional courses

A pre-sessional course prepares you for your main course of study.

The pre-sessional course must normally be at RQF level 3 / SCQF level 6 or above. If you will be studying at an institution which is a Probationary Sponsor and you are 18 or older, the minimum course level is RQF level 4 / SCQF level 7 or above. The Home Office’s Register of Tier 4 sponsors ​lists Probationary Sponsors.

Tier 4 (General) students aged 18 or older are subject to a time limit on how long they can study courses below degree level.

English language courses

To be eligible under Tier 4 (General) student requirements, your English language course must involve at least 15 hours a week of organised daytime study and it must lead to an approved qualification at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

If you want to study an English language course which is below level B2, or if you want to learn English at an institution which does not have a Tier 4 (General) sponsor licence, you can normally come to the UK as a short-term student instead.

If you are 16 or 17 years old and you want to study an English language course, you must apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa, or as a short-term student (child). You cannot apply as a Tier 4 (Child) student.

Re-sits and repeats

Your institution may be able to to issue a CAS so you can apply as a Tier 4 (General) student to re-sit an exam or to repeat a module as part of your current course. You will be granted enough leave to re-sit the exam or repeat the module.

In practice, your institution may not be able to issue a CAS for a Tier 4 extension application in the UK if there is too long a period when you have no required participation on the course.  In this case, they will expect you to leave the UK once you are no longer required to attend your course, then return either with a new Tier 4 visa or as a short-term student for the re-sit.

Either a Tier 4 visa or a short-term student visa is fine for the re-sit itself, but if you then need more time to complete your course, it is important to understand that only someone with a Tier 4 visa can apply in the UK to extend their stay. If you had a short-term student visa for the re-sit or repeat you will need to return to your home country to make any Tier 4 application.  We advise you discuss in advance with your institution what will be the best way for you to return to the UK for your re-sit.

If your institution does not have full Tier 4 Sponsor status, you will be limited in the number of times that you can re-sit an exam or repeat a module.

Postgraduate doctors and dentists in training

The Foundation Programme for postgraduate doctors and dentists in training can be undertaken with Tier 4 (General) student leave. You must have a valid confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) from:

  • Health Education South London; or
  • Health Education England.

You must have a recognised UK degree in medicine or dentistry from an institution that either has a Tier 4 (General) sponsor licence, or is a a UK publicly funded institution of further or higher education, or is a UK bona fide private education provider which maintains satisfactory records of enrolment and attendance.

You must have had held Tier 4 (General) student leave for the final academic year and at least one other academic year of those studies.

If you have previously been granted immigration permission as either a postgraduate doctor or dentist (under the pre-Tier 4 rules), or as a Tier 4 (General) student undertaking a course as a postgraduate doctor or dentist, you must not apply for immigration permission which would result in your being in the UK for more than three years in total.

Erasmus

The Erasmus programme is open to anyone who is studying for a degree at a registered institution, and includes someone who is studying in the UK with a Tier 4 visa. Talk to your university’s international office or Erasmus co-ordinator for more information.

For information about the requirements for student visas in the country where you will study, use this list of foreign embassies in the UK. Select the website for the UK embassy of the country in which you want to undertake your period of Erasmus study.

If you are likely to need more time to complete your UK studies as a result of doing an Erasmus placement, check with your UK education provider before you set off whether you will be able to apply in the UK or in the country where you will be doing your placement, or whether you will have to return to the country where you usually live.

If you continue to have valid immigration permission as a Tier 4 student during your time abroad on an Erasmus or study abroad programme, this time will be included in the Home Office’s study limit calculations. You should talk to a student adviser at your university about this before undertaking study abroad if you think that the extra time might take you over the limit which applies to you.

Supplementary study

While you are studying the course for which your Tier 4 (General) was issued you can take extra courses at any level, with any course provider. This includes short courses during vacations and in the period between the end of your course and the end of your visa. The provider of the extra course is not required to have a Tier 4 sponsor licence. There is no need for either the provider or you to notify the Home Office about the supplementary study. While there are no immigration restrictions on supplementary study, you should also check that the academic regulations at your sponsor institution allow you to take an extra course.

English language requirements

What are the English language requirements to study at a New Zealand university?

If English is not your first language, you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English. Undergraduate or postgraduate students can satisfy the English language requirements in a number of ways depending on your circumstances.

For undergraduates

In general, a minimum score of 6.0 in IELTS is required for admission at the first-year level. An alternative is TOEFL (iBT): minimum score 79-80.

It is important to note some universities require higher scores for some programmes. Please check requirements on the universities’ websites.

For graduates

A minimum score of 6.5 in IELTS is required for admission at the graduate level. An alternative is TOEFL (iBT): minimum score 90-100. It is important to note some universities require higher scores for some programmes. Please check requirements on the universities’ websites.

Academic requirements

Am I eligible to apply for admission at a New Zealand university?

First year international students can gain admission to New Zealand universities in the following ways:

  • Complete a qualification in their home country, which is recognised in New Zealand as equivalent to the New Zealand University Entrance Standard.
  • Attend secondary school in New Zealand and achieving the University Entrance Standardor other equivalents.
  • Complete a foundation programme at a university in New Zealand.
  • Complete a recognised university foundation programme offered by a non-university provider in New Zealand.

Am I an international student?

Domestic students are:

  • New Zealand citizens, or hold a New Zealand residence class visa; or
  • Australian citizens or permanent residents currently residing in New Zealand; or
  • New Zealand citizens from the Cook Islands, Tokelau or Niue.

Check here for the definition of a domestic student – Ministry of Education

Otherwise you are an international student.

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