How university differs to TAFE
You may have heard that uni places more emphasis on theory while TAFE's more hands-on. Well, not really - read on.
Most undergraduates (first time university students) study toward a bachelor degree, whereas at TAFE, the qualifications available are certificate I, II, III or IV, diploma and advanced diploma.
The Australian Qualification Framework ranks the bachelor degree higher than the TAFE qualifications, but different professions require different qualifications, so if you have a particular career in mind you should look into which qualifications you'll need.
An undergraduate degree at university will usually take three to four years' full-time study. A TAFE course will usually take one to three years, depending on the qualification.
Style of learning
A common belief is that universities place a lot of emphasis on theory, whereas TAFE is more hands-on. In some ways this is true - TAFE offers predominantly 'vocational' courses which prepare students to work in fields like hospitality, tourism, construction, office work, community work or to undertake a trade. University, on the other hand, offers a lot of 'professional' courses which prepare graduates to be supervisors, managers and consultants in their chosen field.
This doesn't mean you miss out on practical experience if you study at Curtin. All our courses are grounded in the real world, equipping graduates with strong, practical skills to compliment the theoretical study.
TAFE as a stepping stone
TAFE can be thought of as a stepping stone if you don't qualify for university straight away. On completion of certain TAFE studies, you will be assigned a TER (ATAR) and be eligible to study at university.
Curtin's minimum entry requirements for students who have studied at TAFE are:
- Certificate IV, although a diploma or higher is often required
- English language competence; and
- Subject prerequisites specific to the university course.
Our Vocational Training and Education Centre (VTEC) delivers TAFE courses from certificate I to advanced diploma. Find out more at the
Curtin VTEC website.