Higher education system in Australia
The Australian higher education system is supervised and under the responsibility of the Australian government, the state and territory governments and the higher education institutions themselves, if self-accrediting. Universities, both public and private, and other self-accrediting higher education institutions are established and recognized under state and territory or Commonwealth legislation. The Australian Catholic University and other private non self-accrediting higher education institutions are instead established under corporations' law. Both the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) registers list all recognized Universities, self-accrediting providers and non self-accrediting providers in each state and territory of Australia.
Types of higher education institutions in Australia
In Australia there are three different types of higher education institutions including:
- Universities: Australian Universities are autonomous and self-accredited higher education institutions that are responsible for their management structure, resource allocation and budgets, staff and student enrolment policies, accreditation of qualifications, quality assurance and University curricula. uniRank currently includes 40 Australian Universities.
- Other self-accrediting Higher Education Providers: Australian self-accrediting higher education providers are higher education institutions authorized by the government to accredit its own awards (i.e. national qualifications). Usually, these providers use educational denominations such as College, Institute, School, Centre, Academy, Polytechnic and are not multidisciplinary, which means they focus on one or a few fields of study. uniRank currently does not include any of the 11 self-accrediting higher education providers listed in the TEQSA National Register of Higher Education Providers and AQF register.
- Other non self-accrediting Higher Education Providers: Australian non self-accrediting higher education providers are higher education institutions recognized under relevant State or Territory legislation which offer at least one course of study that is independently accredited as a higher education award (i.e. national qualification). Usually, these providers use educational denominations such as College, Institute, School, Centre, Academy, Polytechnic and are not multidisciplinary, which means they focus on one or a very limited number of areas of study. uniRank currently does not include any of the over 100 non self-accrediting higher education providers listed in the TEQSA National Register of Higher Education Providers and AQF register.
Funding for public Universities mainly comes from the Australian Government through the Department of Education and in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003 legislation.
Access to higher education in Australia
Australian students access higher education after a total of at least 13 years of pre-primary (kindergarten), primary and secondary school studies, from the age of 5 to the age of 18, and after obtaining the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education which has different denominations (NSW Higher School Certificate HSC, Victorian Certificate of Education VCE, etc.) depending on the Australian State or Territory which has issued it.
Languages of instruction in Australia
University programs and courses are taught in the Australian national language English.
Stages of higher education in Australia
- First stage: the first stage of University-level higher education in Australia can last up to 2 years for sub-degrees like the Advanced Diplomas and Associate degrees or range from 3 to 6 years, depending on the area of study, for Bachelor's degrees.
- Second stage: once obtained a Bachelor's degree, the second stage of University-level higher education generally range from 6 months to 4 years, depending on the area of study and type of postgraduate degree, and leads to the award of Graduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Master degrees.
- Third stage: the third stage and last stage includes doctoral degrees which usually last from 3 to 4 years. Admission to doctoral programs is based on a Masterís degree or a Bachelor Honours degree.
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