What can I study in Australia? A complete guide!

what to study on a student visa

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What can I study in Australia? With more than 1,100 institutions and 22,000 courses to choose from, answering this question can be hard. For that reason, we put together a comprehensive list of all course options available in Australia!

Can I study any course?

If you are applying for a Student Visa, only courses and institutions that are CRICOS-registered are valid. If you are on a visa that allows full-time study or if you are a permanent resident or a citizen, all course types are available to you.

What does CRICOS mean?

The acronym “CRICOS” stands for Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. As the name suggests, it is a list of courses available to international students that want to study in Australia.  You can find more information through this link.

What type of courses are available?

The type of courses and education in Australia are:

  • Secondary Education 
  • English Language Courses
  • Vocational Education
  • Foundation Courses
  • Higher Education
  • Online or Distance Education

English Language Courses (ELICOS program)

ELICOS is the standard abbreviation for Overseas Students’ English Language Intensive Courses. Students choose ELICOS courses for a variety of reasons such as to prepare for further study or to develop their English grammar knowledge.

General English 

The most popular English courses to study in Australia are General English courses. Students are typically educated in 4 areas of English learning: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Each session normally starts every Monday.

Test Preparation courses: 

IELTS preparation

As the name suggests, the IELTS preparation course is a program that prepares students for the IELTS test. This course will focus on techniques and methods to help students score higher in the test and will have test simulations to help students get used to the test format. 

The IELTS comes in two formats: ‘general training‘ and ‘academic‘. The same speaking and listening modules are completed in both types of courses. The difference is that candidates can choose between the ‘general training’ or ‘academic’ format in reading and writing modules.

Academic modules are meant for students who want to enter a University. Generally, this course has a fixed duration of 12 weeks.

You can find more information about the IELTS test on their website!

Cambridge Preparation:

This course offers training for the Cambridge English Test. This test is an accepted recognition of English level and is accepted by Universities, employers, and educational bodies around the world. You can find more information in this link.

Academic English classes

The English used to communicate on a daily basis can be very different than the one used in Academic environments. As a result, the new vocabulary and structures used in college or other learning environments might be difficult to understand, even if you speak English well.

In this course, you will gain experience in academic knowledge and English literacy. In your University course, you will find it easier to learn and engage.

English for Business in Australia

Since English for Business focuses on the corporate world’s vocabulary, it’s a course known for its strong practical focus as it helps students to develop their understanding and control of the English language. Also, students will have classroom experience in Business, Management, and other fields.

Vocational courses – VETs

Vocational Education and Training courses, also known as VETs, are offered by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and cover a big range of subjects. These RTOs can include institutions such as universities, private colleges or Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes.

VET courses often cover more practical and labour-oriented skills.

Vocational courses have the following levels:

  • Certificate II, III, IV
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma

There are many benefits of studying a vocational course. It can be an introduction to a subject and a way to test your interest in it. Also, VET courses such as a Diploma and Advanced Diploma can lead to Higher Education courses.

Higher education

Higher education courses are ideal for those who want to gain an advanced degree and pursue their studies in Australia. The main forms of higher education courses include the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees.

It is common for students to enrol in a double Bachelor’s Degree program in Australia that can lead to two degrees. This is most common in the fields of Arts, Commerce, Law, and Science.

Also, there are many courses to choose from at this level. Some of the subjects are Business and Commerce, Humanities, Architecture, Law, Health Sciences, and much more!

Foundation courses

Foundation courses help international students enter universities and colleges for undergraduate studies in Australia.

Some foundation courses have a flexible structure. This allows students to start studying at different times during the year, with different English language levels and/or academic competence.

Based on the student’s choice of undergraduate subjects, foundation courses are usually divided into subject streams. Some examples are business or scientific education.

Some of the institutions that offer foundation courses in Australia are:


Secondary School

With only small differences between states and territories, secondary school education is almost identical across Australia. The school (primary and secondary) between the ages of six and sixteen is compulsory (Years 1 to Year 9 or 10). Training in schools lasts 13 years and includes:

  • Primary school – Beginning at Kindergarten/Preparatory to Year 6 or 7, lasting for seven to eight years.
  • High school – lasts three to four years, from Years 7 or 8 to 10.
  • Senior high school – lasts two years, from Years 11 to 12.

Packaging Courses

If there is a clear progression from one course to another, you can apply to study two or more courses while on your Student Visa (subclass 500). This is known as packaging courses.

How can I apply?

It is fairly easy to apply for courses to study in Australia, even though it may require some preparation.

The first step is to choose your course provider and type of course. You can discover, compare and save course options through our course comparison tool. 

After analysing the course information and requirements, and choosing an intake date, the next step is to put together the necessary documents and apply for the course. You can do this directly through our platform or the school’s website. 

If your application is approved, you will receive a Letter of Offer (LoO) from the institution containing the details of the course, fees, and conditions. So, it is important to take your time to carefully read and review the offer letter. Also, you can ask the school you are applying to or education agents who represent you for assistance and advice.  Know that the institution may require you to pay an initial deposit or your tuition fees when you accept the offer. 

Once you accept the offer, the institution will issue your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). If you are applying for a student visa, make sure to discuss with your agent your next steps. To find more information on how to apply for a student visa, you can find all you need to know about it in our online guide.

To sum up, finding a course to study in Australia can be easy if you have the right tools. So, if you would like to receive assistance with the process or want to find the best course that suits you you, make sure to contact us! We will be happy to help you with the process for free!

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