Pathways for International Students to Australian Universities


International students have to meet eligibility requirements to study in Australia. For example, to get Student Visa, some students will need to meet the English Language Requirement. There are specific pathway programs for international students to reach the level of entry requirements for a specific level and area of study.

Pathway Programs

Those who initially don’t meet the requirement for the course they want to study in Australia have the option of taking pathway programs. In some cases, you may be awarded credit for the study you have undertaken in the pathway program. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

There are English Language Courses (ELICOS) to meet the English Language requirements. There are Foundation Programs run by both universities and other providers for entering into undergraduate and VET courses. Most Diploma programs can take you to the second year of undergraduate courses directly. Bridging courses are also available as pathway programs.

Foundation and Bridging Courses

Foundation studies offer international students alternative means to access post school studies in Australia. Students are assisted to develop language and independent study skills that form an excellent preparation for meeting the challenges of university or VET study and life. It is not about the academic pursuit but also focuses on communication skills and getting used to Australian way of life. These studies are mostly meant for students who don’t meet the entry requirements for a university degree.

The foundation programs may be offered by private institutions for a particular university and it may or may not offer a formal qualification. Usually these programs focus on the area of study and English language development.

There are accelerated programs which usually requires less than one year of study and extended programs which requires longer periods than normal for students who have lower English level scores.

Foundation programs are often packaged with the undergraduate program the student wish to study and upon successful completion will be accepted to the undergraduate program.

Generally, the Group of 8 (Go8) foundation programs are likely to provide entry into most universities. Foundation programs listed in the Go8 foundation program schedule are recognised by each of the Go8 member universities for the matriculation of students into relevant university programs, though each university will determine the academic grades that must be achieved to enter particular programs. The link is The G08 Group of universities are University of Western Australia. University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of NSW, Australian National University, The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney and the University of Adelaide.

Diploma Programs

There are diploma programs that will take the student to second year of the undergraduate study. These diploma programs are usually packaged with undergraduate study. Compared to other foundation programs Diploma programs give a qualification upon successful completion of the program. These pathway diploma programs are usually packaged for a specific undergraduate study. For example, a student successfully completing a 2-year diploma of Graphic Design at Holmesglen TAFE with an average Credit grade are guaranteed entry into second year of Bachelor of Visual Art (Graphic Design) at Latrobe University.

Some universities have collaboration with overseas universities to provide pathway program at their campuses located overseas.

Bridging Courses

There are many short bridging courses that will enable international students’ entry into specific programs at particular universities.


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