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University Paths

If you are interested in doing a degree, there are various options to consider.

A Bachelor’s degree generally runs for 3 to 4 years full time but you also have the option of completing it part-time. If you decide to take on a combined degree, this can be completed in a minimum of 5 years. Essentially, you are qualifying for two separate degrees in a shorter amount of time than it would take to complete them individually.

Most degrees consist of compulsory subjects and electives. You are expected to further specialise in a particular field of study- this is called a major, for example you can choose a Bachelor of Arts and major in History. You do not always have to choose a major straight away which enables you to get a ‘feel’ for what subjects interest you the most.

If you do not have the required knowledge to begin a particular degree because you did not study it in high school, most universities offer bridging courses or programs to assist you in gaining knowledge in a particular field of study, for example chemistry for a science degree.

Don’t be discouraged if you are not initially offered a place at university. There are alternative paths available to get into the course you want to do. These include TAFE and university college. Universities also offer a range of short courses and diplomas in various fields of study, for example information technology or business.

Getting an offer

Once the university has decided to accept you as a student, they will send you a letter offering you a place in a particular course.

At the same time they will provide details of:

  • What you need to do to accept the offer
  • How to enrol in the course
  • What fees need to be paid
  • What time(s) you need to attend university to complete your enrolment.

Varying and deferring enrolment

If you want to change from the course you’ve been offered to a different course, ask your university. It may be possible.

If the university does not allow you to change courses, you may consider doing a year of the course you’ve been offered and then applying for a transfer. Contact your university to find out the requirements needed for a course transfer.

If you decide to withdraw from your course, you should do this before the census date. The census date will be notified to you by the university. After the census date, you will have to pay the fees for that semester of study even if you do not attend the classes. If you withdraw from your course, you will have to reapply for a university place the next year.

You also have the option of deferring your enrolment. To defer university means to start your course in a later semester or year. Contact your university to find out more information on deadlines and requirements for deferring university.

University fees

University study can be very expensive. University fees will depend on whether you are a local or international student, what course you are studying and whether you are undergraduate or postgraduate. Make sure you have a realistic idea of how much money you will need to cover your university fees, books, equipment, travel expenses, living arrangements and so on.

You can defer your university course payments through the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). You may be eligible for one of three loans:

  • OS-HELP (only for undergraduate students)
Your loan will need to be re-paid once you start earning an income which is above the repayment threshold level. See the website below for further information:


The contents of this page was last updated on 22nd September 2010