Each country has a set of prerequisites that serve as entry requirements for international students. Australia is certainly no exception in this case. If you have chosen to go abroad in order to study in Australia, there are a range of basic requirements you will have to meet. English Language Requirements In certain cases, you might need to provide results of an English language proficiency test. Be aware that the English language skill level required by an institution can be different from the level of skill required for your student visa application. You should carefully check student visa information on both the Department of Home Affairs website and the institution website for any specific English language requirements. The IELTS is the most popularly chosen test students choose to undergo. If you have a certificate to prove that your previous degrees were undergone in English (either an A’ Level in English, or an undergrad/master degree where language of instruction was English), you might not need to sit for a separate test to check your language expertise. You should check with your faculty to make sure that you are eligible for entry with regards to your expertise in English. Educational requirements The educational requirements (including evidence of English language skills) that you will need to study in Australia will vary depending on the level of education at which you want to study. Institutions can have quite different entry requirements, so read the course information on their website carefully and contact the particular department(s) you are interested in to ask for advice. Here is some general guidance on entry requirements for the different levels of study:
- English language – Entry requirements vary between institutions, and according to the level of English language used to provide instructions in the course you are about to study. Institutions nowadays set their own English language requirements and often have different IELTS entry levels for the proposed level of course than those required for a student visa. If you obtain a score marginally less than what is required for the Australian student visa, you may opt to take an ELICOS (English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students) in Australia along with the mainstream course.
- Schools – Entry requirements will vary between schools depending on the state or territory you will be studying in. Academic performance and ability is considered during the application process; and this is especially stricter for courses that Australia is renowned for, such as Accounting, Civil/ Electrical Engineering, IT, Business Analytics etc.
- Vocational education and training – In most cases, there are no entrance exams for VET institutions. However, some courses may have specific prerequisite subjects or need students to have certain work experience requirements.
- (Higher Education) Undergraduate – To gain entry into an Australian undergraduate course, you will need to have the overseas equivalent of an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (Year 12) degree. For most Bangladeshi students, it will be one of the following: 3 A’ Levels (for English Medium), HSC/Alim pass (For Bengali Medium/ Madrasah) students. Some undergraduate courses may also have specific prerequisite subjects or foundation courses that need to be completed beforehand.
- (Higher Education) Postgraduate – As well as the satisfactory completion of at least one degree at the undergraduate level, your institution may take into consideration your research ability or relevant work experience. In case you are switching your major or combining it to your current work (which is not even similar to your previous major), the institution may look at your explanation for the reason behind the change, and how/ whether it will allow your growth as an individual and as a professional in said field.
- Other tests – For some courses, international students seeking admission are required to take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). Most Australian Universities do not require the GRE for an admission to postgraduate courses. However, it is advisable to enclose a copy of your score sheet if you have sat for and done well in the test.
- Work experience – A number of professional and vocational courses require relevant work experience. For instance, many MBAs or Master’s courses in information studies require at least a couple of years’ of work experience.
If you are falling a little short of meeting the educational requirements of an Australian high school qualification, consider taking a Foundation course before you get started on your undergraduate degree. Also called bridging study, these are intensive courses that will help you meet the entry requirements. They are usually a year long and are offered by most higher education institutions and can easily serve to pave the pathway to help you ease your way to an undergraduate degree. Visa requirements The student visa you need will depend on your chosen course of study. As a guide, the typical key requirements you will need to meet are:
- Get issued an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) certificate
- Meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement
- Have sufficient funds for airfares, course fees and living costs
- Possess the English language proficiency required for visa, as well as for intended course
- Meet health and character requirements
- Acceptable Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
The Department of Home Affairs website contains additional information on student visas. With regards to testing one’s English language proficiency for student visa purposes, the IELTS is the only test accepted by the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. Some visa Assessment Levels accept the IELTS entry levels required by the education institution. Australian education institutions can only accept students with an appropriate level of English proficiency, which may vary from course to course. Overseas Student Health Cover Australia has a special system of health cover/ insurance for international students called the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). It will help you to pay for medical or hospital care you might need while you’re studying in Australia; it will also contribute towards the cost of most prescription medicines and an ambulance (in an emergency). When studying in Australia, you will need OSHC for yourself (as well as for any family travelling with you) before you arrive. It is a requirement of your student visa that you maintain OSHC for the duration of your time on a student visa in Australia. It is advisable that you start looking at the requirements at your desired level of entry at least a few years before you will apply, so that it gives you a chance to ensure that you are well-prepared to tackle the educational, financial and visa-related issues that will be sent your way once you have applied to become an international student in Australia.