Coming to Curtin means you get to choose from a great range of course options, plus join in with the many events happening across our campuses. You will be studying in your chosen area of interest, whilst getting the opportunity to make new friends and have fun.
Sure, there’s no uniform and you won’t be attending as many classes, but there’s more to it than that. There are plenty of differences between school and university!
If you think of your high school as a community, think of university as a city. At 115 hectares, the Perth campus is the largest of the four public universities in Western Australia and is attended by more than 25,000 students – that’s nearly as many people as Bunbury!
Study what interests you
University education is the first step in taking control of your own learning. Unlike high school, where you study certain subjects because they’re compulsory, at uni you can choose a course that suits your interests and abilities.
At high school, the teacher is responsible for the way you study a subject, whereas at university, you are responsible for identifying the best way to study and complete your assignments. A common saying is that lecturers are experts in their field who ‘teach their subject, not their students’.
Contact time is the time you spend at uni attending lectures and tutorials (tutes). At high school, you spend about 30 hours a week at school, but you will generally have much less contact time at university. This doesn’t mean you spend less time on your studies at university – it just means you’re expected to do a greater portion of your work away from the classroom. This usually involves research, reading and completing assignments.
The rules at Curtin aren’t as strict as those at high school. For instance, there’s no particular dress code like there is at school and no-one’s going to call your parents if you miss a class. Obviously though, a high standard of behaviour is expected and no form of discrimination will be tolerated. At Curtin we encourage tolerance and acceptance of people of all walks of life, and as a result, you will find the Curtin community a welcoming place free of prejudice, where you can always feel comfortable.
Universities aren’t just about teaching and learning. One of the major functions of most universities is research. Because universities are attended by so many experts across a range of fields, they play an important role in supplying industry and government with innovative solutions to real problems. As an undergraduate student at Curtin, you may be able to participate in a research project under the guidance of one of your lecturers.
You may have heard that uni places more emphasis on theory while TAFE is 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 complement 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 admission criteria for students who have studied at TAFE are:
- Certificate IV, although a diploma or higher is often required
- English language proficiency; and
- Subject prerequisites specific to the university course.
Curtin is a place that will inspire you. You’ll have more freedom than you do at school; you can focus on your interests and tailor your schedule to suit your lifestyle.
At Curtin, you will have valuable opportunities for professional learning through industry placements, fieldwork and working with real clients. You’ll find your classes interactive and practical and you will benefit from our connections with industry, and develop skills in time management, team work and goal setting.
Our campuses are a popular study destination and Curtin is globally recognised for its strong connections with industry, high-impact research and a wide range of innovative courses. You can get involved in mentoring programs, voluntary work and industry placements to help you gain the knowledge and skills employers look for.
Campus life at Curtin
Make new friends, get involved in clubs and activities, build life skills and prepare for the transition into working life. The Perth campus is a place of inspiration and innovation. With technology-rich learning spaces and many opportunities to meet new people, your experiences in Curtin’s welcoming, multicultural environment can change your life.
Part of a greater Curtin
In line with the continued developments in Perth, we have plans to transform Curtin’s main campus into a cultural hub, connecting you with the broader community in collaborative and enriching new ways. Exciting initiatives such as pop-up food vans and our outdoor cinema are already transforming campus life. The sense of community is strengthening within the classroom too, with innovative new learning spaces that promote collaboration.
Diversity and faith
At Curtin, we respect and support all students, irrespective of culture, religion, gender, sexuality or disabilities. To help you explore and practise the religious faith of your choice, Curtin has a multi-faith officer as well as prayer rooms that are reserved for spiritual or religious purposes.
Studentbox is our online community especially for Western Australian year 10, 11 and 12s that provides help, support, study resources and tools to help you through high school and into uni.
Many students are unsure about which subjects to choose. The most important thing is to pick subjects that you’re interested in and capable of doing. Never choose a subject just because it scales well.
Need help deciding what to study?
Think about your interests and career aspirations. Browse our study areas for ideas. You’ll find some career suggestions and Curtin courses that relate to those careers.
Talk to your family, friends and career advisers about your plans and get feedback from people you may know who work in your area of interest.
Explore the web and printed material for information on career choices, pathways and courses.
Call, visit or email Curtin Connect Future Students.
Curtin Connect Future Students
This is a great place to start if you have questions about studying at Curtin and what you need to do to get into a course that interests you. Course advisers are available on the phone or email, or you can come in for a face-to-face conversation. The Curtin Connect Future Students team also host information sessions throughout the year and may give a presentation at your school.
What to study
We offer more than 100 courses in applied, practical subjects with a strong emphasis on industry links and international, cultural and indigenous awareness. Deciding what to study is made easy as our courses are designed with careers in mind.
Find your course
Search our undergraduate courses, most of which lead to a bachelor degree.
Once you have chosen your course, you will need to find out how to get in and admission criteria needed to apply for a place. There may be specific prerequisites you need to meet.
Some courses require you to have specific background knowledge, called a prerequisite, which can be met by passing a WACE exam in specified subjects. You can study these subjects in year 11 and 12. You satisfy a prerequisite if you complete the WACE examination in that subject and achieve a scaled mark of 50 or better.
What is a prerequisite?
A prerequisite is a subject or study unit you must complete before you can start a university course. Prerequisite lists help you identify the requirements for the course that interests you.
It’s not essential to study subjects listed as desirable in year 11 and 12. However, choosing these subjects will give you a useful knowledge base.
Some courses may have additional admission criteria, such as interview or providing a portfolio. Some courses will require you to have a Working With Children Check.
If you are unsure about specific course requirements, please contact the Admissions Office on 1300 222 888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
General admission criteria for any Curtin course
To be eligible to study any bachelor degree course at Curtin, you normally need to have completed the following:
- graduated from high school and met the requirements of the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE)
- obtained a sufficiently high ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) to meet the indicative ATAR requirement for the course you wish to study
- received a scaled mark of at least 50 in: English ATAR or Literature ATAR or English as an Additional Language/Dialect ATAR.
Your other options
If you don’t meet Curtin’s admission criteria, there are other options to help you gain entry to Curtin, including online and on-campus enabling courses.
There are a number of scholarships available to reward excellence and enable students from all backgrounds to realise their potential.
Overseas Secondary Education
There are overseas senior secondary school leaving qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma, which could meet Curtin’s general admission criteria.
Deciding whether university is right for you can be difficult. Coming directly from school it can be hard to know what to expect. Below are some of the benefits of pursuing a university degree at Curtin:
Choose what you study
Whilst studying, you will gain universal skills such as organisation and time management. You will be responsible for organising your timetable, completing paperwork and handing in assignments on time. There are plenty of resources available at Curtin to help you with completing your studies.
When choosing a university, the culture, campus life and amenities are an important consideration. Curtin’s vibrant and active community can provide opportunities for you to enjoy life outside your studies, as well as make friends and connections which last beyond your university years. The Curtin Alumni Community spans over 155 countries and comprises 190,000 Curtin graduates worldwide.
Graduate highly employable
Curtin collaborates with some of the biggest companies in Australia and internationally, to ensure our research and education is relevant and that you graduate highly employable. As a graduate you will belong to a thriving Curtin alumni and can build valuable connections to help you succeed in today’s competitive global market.