Applying to a university as an international student can be a tough and daunting task, especially if that country is on the other side of the world. However, we hope to shed some light on applying to Australian universities below, from how much you pay as an international student, to the style of Australian teaching, to all of the information you will need for your visa. We hope you enjoy and benefit from reading our guide to applying to Australian universities!
£10,250 – £23,380 (International)
£10,000 – £35,000 (International)
Number of students
Number of foreign students
374, 320 (28.1%)
Number of Universities
Varies from October to December (Medicine and related courses are earlier) **
Early: 15th October
Standard: 15th January
Average Diploma Score ***
*This is including the Commonwealth Supported Place scheme offered to Australian and New Zealand residents
**Beginning in February
Australian universities operate a 2-semester system, with their first semester being February to June and the second semester being July to November. If applying for the February semester, the deadlines are likely to be between October and December, although Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry may well be earlier. It is advisable that you apply before these deadlines as the university may have a rolling application system whereby they assess and accept students when their application arrives. Please check on your university’s website for details.
You will apply with your predicted IB grades or your actual grades (depending on when the deadline for your application is). If you need to apply with predicted grades, the IBO or your school should send your final Diploma grades to the university automatically, but please do check.
If you are also applying to UK universities, we can offer help and advice on your personal statement, admissions tests and interviews. Please take a look at our consulting page for more information.
Tuition fees are paid based on the number of modules you take and your country of origin. Australian and New Zealand citizens pay lower tuition fees as they are covered by the Commonwealth Supported Place scheme which caps university fees. The cap differs based upon your module choices and which subject groups these fall into:
Student contribution band
Student contribution range (AU dollars)
Student contribution range (GB pounds)
Band 3: Law, dentistry, medicine, veterinary science, accounting, administration, economics, commerce
$0 – $10,958
£0 – £6102
Band 2: Computing, built environment, other health, allied health, engineering, surveying, agriculture, mathematics, statistics, science
$0 – $9,359
£0 – 5210
Band 1: Humanities, behavioural science, social studies, education, clinical psychology, foreign languages, visual and performing arts, nursing
$0 – $6,566
£0 – £3656
Although international applications from outside Australia and New Zealand are not covered by this scheme, there are several scholarships available for students who excel in their IB Diploma studies. For example, the University of Sydney offers the Sydney Scholars Award and the University of Adelaide offer a Global Citizens scholarship. Study in Australia has a comprehensive list of scholarships available, such as the Australia Awards scheme that offers scholarships and support.
Please note that the Department for Home Affairs requires you to prove that you have £11,291 to cover living costs. Please see their website for more information on proof of funds and this article for an estimate of average living costs for a student in Australia.
Learning at Australian universities
Australian universities will normally offer 3-year Bachelor’s degree whilst some also offer Honours degrees that take 4 years to complete and are awarded on the basis of additional research and academic excellence. Group working is key to Australia’s education system, so expect to be completing several group projects as part of your degree. Similarly, independent, creative and critical thought is highly regarded within the Australian education system. As Insider Guides highlights, this can be challenging for some pupils who are used to memorising facts and graphs. In Australia, it is much more likely that you will be asked to think innovatively rather than repetitively. In addition, there is a larger weighting on assignments than on the end-of-year exam within the Australian university system. For example, the Introduction to Microeconomics module at the University of Melbourne involves 40% coursework, whilst the Mathematical Theory and Methods module at the University of Western Australia is comprised of 45% coursework.
Foundation courses/Bridging Study
Foundation courses, or Bridging Study, are normally 1-year courses that prepare you with the requisite skills for university and qualify you with the equivalent of an International Baccalaureate or Australian high school qualification. Monash University and the University of Sydney both offer foundational programmes that grant you entry into the university after successful completion. These programmes build students’ Maths and English ability and develop skills relevant to the degree program they are looking to go on to study. Therefore, they are a very good way of gaining a place at an Australian university if your grades slightly miss those required for immediate entry into your undergraduate course or if your English language skills would benefit from a year of learning and speaking English regularly.
Which universities and what subjects should I apply to?
Students can apply to more than one course at one or more Australian universities – as is the case with UK universities. Applications may be made to a particular course, to a degree classification (for example, Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Commerce) or to the university in its entirety, depending on the university you are applying to. For more information on which subject would best suit you, we would encourage you to look at our resources on university admissions where we have articles focused on your subject choices. Study international also offer a course finder tool that allows you to search for courses at Australian universities.
There are various universities groups and networks, similar to the Russel Group of universities in the UK, that specialise in different areas of research. Some of the leading groups are:
- Group of Eight (G8) – Leading research universities that support the IB
- Australian Technology Network – 4 universities that specialise in innovation and industry collaboration
- Innovative Research Universities – 7 universities with a variety of research foci, also looking to develop links with Asia
See the IBO’s guide to applying to Australian universities with the IB Diploma for application information and a rundown of the 10 most popular Australian universities amongst IB students.
Source: Study in Australia
You can choose to apply by yourself or through a Tertiary Admissions Centre (TAC) to a university in Australia.
If you apply individually, you will need to send separate applications to each institution in Australia. Around 65% of IB students choose this route. This is good as it eliminates the costs of applying through an admissions centre and will involve you in the research, ensuring that you know the admissions procedure and what to expect. However, the cost of applying to each Australian university can vary between £30 and £50. If you are applying to 4 or more universities in Australia, this can soon become expensive. In addition, you are left to find the right people to contact within the university, which can require a lot of time and effort.
Applying through a Tertiary Admissions Centre (TAC)
Most universities in Australia are linked to several agencies and we encourage you to look on their websites or contact them directly to clarify these. All universities must, by Australian law, list on their website the education agents with whom they are partnered. The University Admissions Centre (UAC) is a frequently used service that also calculates the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (the Australian equivalent of UCAS points) which is used to compare students with different qualifications.