The basics
Australia: Applying to University - Must read

Canadian students applying to an Australian university

Practical advice for Canadian students applying to study in Australia


With only 43 universities to choose from in Australia, choosing the right university shouldn’t be too tasking. However, with entry requirements and preferred qualifications differing between institutions, it is essential that you do your research in order to avoid disappointment. While this may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to our step-by-step guide of the process, completing your application should be a breeze.


What research do I need to do?

Before you can start applying, you will need to decide which university you want to go to, what subject you want to study and how long you intend to spend there. Information on the available courses is usually updated on a yearly basis, and can be found by visiting each individual institution’s website.


How do I apply?

Australia has no state application system for international students applying to university, so applications must be made directly to each university. This can be done online on individual university websites, and often incurs a fee. This fee depends on the institution, so you will need to contact them directly for details on this.


When should I apply?

Generally, applications take between 4 and 6 weeks to be processed and you can apply any time between 18 and 3 months prior to the beginning of your course. The academic year usually begins in February, and runs until December. Specific dates can be found on university websites. As always, it is best to apply early in order to avoid disappointment, and also allow you sufficient time to plan the remaining logistics of your trip.


Will I need to provide any documentation?

With your application, you will need to provide a collection of documents. These are:

  • The completed application from
  • Academic certificates
  • Valid identification (a copy of your passport)
  • Optional: a personal statement (while this is not strictly necessary, it is a good opportunity for you to make yourself stand out – highlight your achievements and tell them why they should choose you to study at their university)

What are the entry requirements and qualifications that I will need?

In order that you may apply to study at an Australian university, you need to have obtained a secondary qualification. Qualifications accepted differ depending on the institution. For instance, the University of Sydney will consider applicants who have obtained any of these qualifications:

  • Alberta High School Diploma
  • British Columbia Senior Secondary School Graduation Diploma
  • Manitoba High School Graduation Diploma
  • Newfoundland Provincial High School Graduation Certificate
  • New Brunswick High School Graduation Diploma
  • Nova Scotia High School Completion Certificate
  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma
  • Prince Edward Island High School Graduation Certificate
  • Quebec Diploma of Collegial Studies
  • Saskatchewan Complete Division IV Grade XII Standing

Depending on where you intend to study then, you must check that your chosen university would accept you based on the qualification you have received.


Additionally, the grades of these qualifications differ course to course, even within the same institution. You can find out what grades you need to get onto a particular course by contacting the university directly.


For some courses, you will have further entry requirements. For students of creative subjects, you will need to submit a portfolio while, for medicine, you will need to sit an admissions test. You can also find this out by contacting the universities directly.


By now, you should understand that, while there are general rules for the application process to Australian universities, a lot of what you need to know is dependent on the institution itself. Since you know what you need to ask them, why not do your research now, and start organising the next steps to your future in Australia?


Useful links:

The Australian higher education system...simplified

Post-study work options in Australia

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About Author

Phoebe recently graduated with a First Class Honours degree in English Literature from Canterbury Christchurch University. She has written for various websites and print publications including music magazine, NME. Phoebe loves music, gaming, reading and writing.


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