Each year thousands of international students head Down Under making the country the third most popular student destination in the world

If you're thinking of studying abroad where better to gain a postgraduate degree than in a country which boasts eight of the top 100 universities in the world? However Australia's impressive statistics don't stop there. Six of the top 30 student cities are Australian, with Melbourne currently taking second place to Paris, according the QS Best Student Cities 2015.

In your study-free hours you'll be able to take advantage of the good weather, sandy beaches and metropolitan cities and perhaps indulge in a BBQ or two. One thing's for certain, you'll never be short of places to explore thanks to Australia's 17 world heritage sites.

Masters degrees

Australian Masters follow a similar format to those in the UK and usually take one or two years to complete. Qualifications awarded from Australian institutions are globally recognised and well respected by employers, standing you in good stead upon graduation.

Institutions in the country offer a range of taught and research-based Masters courses in areas such as creative arts, engineering, health, education and sciences to name just a few. Courses focus on either traditional coursework (taught courses) or independent research (research courses), or a combination of both.

Entry requirements for Masters programmes in Australia vary depending on university and subject but basic admission requirements include the successful completion of a Bachelors degree, with most looking for students who hold a minimum of a 2:1 or 2:2 grade.

The majority of Masters courses start in late February (semester 1). There is a second intake in July (semester 2); however you'll need to check with individual institutions whether you can begin your postgraduate study at this later date.

To search for Australian Masters programmes see:

Other postgraduate qualifications on offer include:

  • Graduate certificates;
  • Graduate Diplomas;
  • Doctoral degrees.

Universities in Australia

There are currently 43 universities in the country (40 Australian, two international and one private) and with such a variety of courses on offer, 22,000 to be exact, you're bound to find a programme to suit your needs.

Universities are located in all state capitals, as well as regional areas, so you'll get to experience bustling cities or calm coastal towns depending on where you settle. Most universities also have more than one campus, located across multiple territories, providing you with plenty of choice as to where you'd like to study.

For a full list of all Australian universities see Study in Australia - List of universities.

Australian institutions have an impressive track record when it comes to university world rankings; they regularly feature within the top 50 universities in the world in the following subject areas:

  • arts and humanities;
  • engineering and technology;
  • health;
  • life sciences;
  • physical sciences;
  • social sciences.
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Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School

For internationally-recognised hospitality and business programmes study at Australia's leading hotel school

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Curtin University of Technology

The largest university in Western Australia has a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses to choose from in four main areas: business, health sciences, humanities and science and engineering

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Deakin University

Deakin offers hundreds of postgraduate programmes from science to arts and business to health

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La Trobe University

La Trobe provides hundreds of postgraduate courses to help you acquire specialist knowledge within your field

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The University of Melbourne

Experience a rich academic and social life at Australia's top-ranked university

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University of New South Wales Business School

Study for a world-class MBA at the Australian Graduate School of Management

Course fees

The cost of postgraduate study in Australia isn't cheap and as an international student you will be required to pay tuition fees before you start your course.

Course fees differ between institutions and per subject so make sure you check this information before committing to a programme. While tuition fees are set by individual universities you can expect to pay anywhere between $20,000 to $37,000 (£9,350 to £17,300) for a Masters degree and $14,000 to $37,000 for a Doctoral degree (£6,550 to £17,300). All costs are per-year in Australian dollars.

These estimates do not include high-value courses such as veterinary and medical, where you should expect to pay considerably more.

Funding to study in Australia

Australian institutions are big on internationalisation so as an overseas student you're guaranteed a warm welcome as well as a helping hand. In fact, the Australian government provides more than $200million each year for international scholarships. These can take the form of grants or bursaries and can help to support you financially with your studies.

Some of the major scholarship programmes available for international students include:

You can search for scholarships on the Study in Australia website.

How to apply

To study a postgraduate degree in Australia you'll need to apply directly to your chosen institution online. Entry requirements vary between universities so check these details before you begin the application process.

To gain a place on a course you must:

  • submit an application form to your chosen university;
  • receive a Letter of Offer;
  • receive an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE);
  • apply for a student visa.

In order for your application to be successful you will need to provide evidence of:

  • academic achievements (transcripts, certificates);
  • English language proficiency;
  • funds to support your study;
  • overseas student health cover.

Language requirements

In some cases you may be required to provide the results of a recognised English language proficiency test.

Be aware of the fact that the skill level required by institutions can differ from the level required on your student visa application.

Student visas

To study in Australia you must obtain the relevant student visa.

To study for a taught Masters (or a Bachelors degree) you will need a Higher Education Sector visa (Subclass 573). This visa enables you to stay in the country for the duration of your course and allows you to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight once you course has commenced.

This visa costs around $550 (roughly £260) and to secure one you must:

  • provide evidence that you've been accepted onto a course, be this a copy of your confirmation of enrolment or offer letter;
  • meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement;
  • provide proof of your finances;
  • possess English language proficiency skills;
  • have health insurance, which can be provided by obtaining Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC);
  • not have a substantial criminal record.

You'll also need to submit application form 157A, passport photos and proof of your academic record.

To study a research Masters or a Doctoral degree you will need to obtain the Postgraduate Research Sector visa (Subclass 574).

For more details on Australian student visas, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection - Studying in Australia.

Australian exchanges and placements

Student exchanges are possible and can be a cost-effective option as you'll continue to pay your home tuition fees. To take part in a student exchange programme you must be nominated and approved by the exchange coordinator at your home university.

Check with your institution to see what links they have to Australian universities.

Doctoral programmes

The Doctoral degree or PhD is the highest qualification awarded by Australian universities and typically takes three years to complete. They are undertaken on completion of a Masters qualification.

The Doctoral degree is a research programme made up of three components:

  • a review of literature, experimentation or other methodical approach to a body of knowledge;
  • an original research project that contributes to understanding and knowledge in your field;
  • a thesis that demonstrates a relationship between the research and the field of study.

Find out more