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What the different degree types mean

It’s quite simple. An undergraduate degree is for those who have never graduated from university before. A postgraduate degree is for those who already have a bachelor degree, or occasionally for those who have significant work experience in that area.

Undergraduate degrees

For students with no prior university qualification.

Bachelor degree

The bachelor degree is the base university qualification. If you haven’t previously graduated from university, you will normally study toward a bachelor degree.

Entry requirements

Applicants usually require year 12 English, plus an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of at least 70 (80 for engineering and other select courses). The ATAR required for each course changes from year to year, depending on demand.

Duration

Generally three or four years’ full-time study or part-time equivalent.

Postgraduate coursework degrees

Usually for those who already have a university degree, although there are some exceptions.

Graduate certificate

The graduate certificate broadens the skills and knowledge already gained from an undergraduate degree, or develops your vocational skills in a new area.

Entry requirements

Applicants usually require a bachelor degree but, in certain cases, relevant work experience may be recognised.

Duration

Generally six months’ full-time study or part-time equivalent.

Graduate diploma

The graduate diploma is a specialised, vocationally-oriented degree designed for students who wish to develop new knowledge and skills in an area not previously studied.

Entry requirements

Entry is normally based on a bachelor degree or diploma. Exceptions may be made in the case of less academically qualified applicants with appropriate work experience.

Duration

Generally 12 months’ full-time study or part-time equivalent.

Postgraduate diploma

These courses are for those who have completed a bachelor degree in a particular discipline, and want to further their studies in the same area.

Entry requirements

Entry is normally based on a bachelor degree or diploma. Exceptions may be made in the case of less academically qualified applicants with appropriate work experience.

Duration

Generally 12 months’ full-time study or part-time equivalent.

Master

This degree comprises coursework, project work and research in varying combinations. It is designed to enhance your professional skills or help you acquire a deeper understanding of a specific area of knowledge. The advantage of completing a master by coursework is the high level of tutorial advice and study guidance.

Entry requirements

Normally a bachelor degree, honours degree or graduate diploma.
If you lack formal qualifications but possess relevant experience, you may be eligible to enrol in a graduate certificate or graduate diploma. Provided your performance meets the required standard, you can then qualify for admission to a master by coursework.

Duration

Varies due to the range of entry pathways, but most require the equivalent of two years’ full-time study.

Professional master

The professional master programs are designed with the busy professional in mind. Fast-tracked and intensive, these programs offer an executive-style qualification directly relevant to career environments, with the added benefit of networking with like-minded people.

Entry requirements

Usually a bachelor degree, honours degree or graduate diploma plus relevant professional experience.

Duration

Varies between 12 and 18 months full-time study or part-time equivalent.

Graduate entry master

A graduate entry master is a fast and intensive equivalent to a bachelor degree which allows you to change your career direction quickly.

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree in a related field

Duration

2 years

Research degrees

For graduates who want to investigate and contribute knowledge in a particular academic field.

Master of Philosophy

The Master of Philosophy aims to expand knowledge beyond the undergraduate honours or postgraduate diploma level, culminating in a research thesis.

Entry requirements

Generally, a bachelor degree with honours or postgraduate diploma. Read the guidelines for research students: admission for entry requirements.

Duration

One to two years full time study or part time equivalent.

PhD and other doctoral research degrees

Doctoral research degree candidates uncover new knowledge either by the discovery of new facts, the formulation of theories or the innovative reinterpretation of known data and established ideas.

Entry requirements

Generally, a bachelor degree with first or upper second class honours or a master degree. Read the guidelines for research students: admission for entry requirements.

Duration

Two to four years full time study or part time equivalent.