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Study a graduate program in Australia

Graduate programs in Australia

Australia is an extremely popular destination for students looking to study postgraduate courses, and it is easy to see why – the relaxed way of life, the world class universities and the weather are all huge pulls for those looking to further their education abroad.

Postgraduate courses in Australia can last between six months and four years.  If taking a graduate program in Australia you will have the opportunity to choose between either taught or research led courses.

A masters degree assessed by coursework will last 18 months to two years, and will require you to complete a dissertation alongside your classroom study, whilst a research-led masters is often used to prepare students for a PhD and takes two years. It requires a significant amount more independent study than a taught program.  

Students can specialise in a wide variety of areas – there are 40 universities in the country, offering thousands of postgraduate courses. 

Population: 22,620,600

Education overview

Australia’s universities have gained an international reputation for excellence, with seven placing in the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings 2012. They were:
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • The University of Sydney
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of New South Wales
  • Monash University
  • The University of Western Australia
Australian universities also have a global reputation for quality of research, making them an attractive option for those looking to study postgraduate courses.

There are opportunities to undertake graduate programs in Australia across most of the country’s major cities.

Immigration and visas in Australia

In order to undertake a graduate program in Australia you will need to acquire a temporary visa. This visa will allow you to study at an Australian institution and work unlimited hours whilst completing your postgraduate course, and will also allow dependent family members to accompany you whilst you are in the country.

In order to obtain your student visa you will need to pay a visa charge at your nearest Australian Embassy, where you will also have to present:
  • A completed form 157A
  • The confirmation letter from the university where you will be studying
  • Four recent passport sized photographs
  • Copies of passport pages
  • Evidence that you have Overseas Student Health Cover for as long as you will be in the country
It is normally also necessary to demonstrate that you have adequate study abroad travel insurance, which you must buy before you travel.

You can apply online for your visa via the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

Life in Australia

Because of Australia’s warm climate the main leisure activities of its residents are often taken out of doors. As it is such a large and diverse country there are also a lot of opportunities for travel, with sailing, visiting the beach, skiing diving and surfing all being popular recreational activities. A large amount of investment was made in sport in the country for the 2000 Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Australia is regularly placed highly in polls measuring quality of life, due to its environment, cultural opportunities and level of social care. This is in part due to its large size and comparatively small population.

Working in Australia

Although there is no guarantee that this will be the case, if you intend to live and work in Australia when you graduate from your postgraduate course you should look to study within the field that you intend to work in.

The Australian government regularly publishes a Skilled Occupations List (SOL), which features jobs that are of medium to high demand in the country. These are the jobs that are of the most value to the Australian economy, and if you are skilled in one of these areas you are much more likely to be granted permission to work in the country. The extensive list can be found on the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

Accommodation

Australia has a shortage of housing, so it is advised that you book temporary accommodation in order that you can look for somewhere to live once you arrive. The main options are:
  • Halls of residence – usually on campus, and solely for students. Whether halls of residence will be open to you depends on your university. $80-$250 per week.
  • Homestays – where families open up their home to international students for extended periods, so they can experience the culture whilst completing their postgraduate course. Cost: $110-270 per week.
  • Private rentals – where you rent an apartment privately from a landlord, either on your own or with other people. Cost for shared rentals: $70-$400 per week.

Climate in Australia

Australia’s climate varies due to its large size. The northern part of the country has a tropical climate, whilst the south east is temperate, meaning it does not have extremes of hot and cold. A large proportion of the country is desert.

Transport

Australia’s transport links to the rest of the world are good – the country has over 300 airports, so for international students travelling home shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

When it comes to public transport, Australia’s population are heavily reliant on the roads. This is due to the large size of the country, but there are also extensive rail networks linking rural and urban areas. Use of public transport is growing – you will also find bus, monorail and waterway systems.

Currency

The currency of Australia is the Australian dollar (AUD).

What to do next

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