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Education in Queensland 

Queensland’s education system starts as young as 5 years old and continues to university level. There are also study opportunities for mature-age students. Whether you are studying for a short time (less than 1 year) or a long time (more than 4 years), there are studying options available for all situations.


In Queensland, students attend Primary School from Grades 1 to 6, and High School from Grades 7 to 12. Most students are about 17 years old when they graduate high school.

There are two types of schools – public and private. Public schools, also called state schools, offer free education for permanent residents and Australian citizens – delivered by the government. Private schools charge school fees for children to attend. They also receive government funding.

For international students, Queensland’s state school program is delivered through Education Queensland International (EQI). EQI offers a range of short and long-term learning programs for students of all ages.

Once students have graduated from high school, there are many opportunities and pathways for further education and training. 

English language courses 

English Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) are a great place to start your international student journey and can open up further study opportunities. Courses vary in length from as short as one month to as long as a full year and are available through a wide range of education providers. 

If you plan on continuing your studies after your course has finished, make sure your student visa has not expired. If you need to get a new visa, you will need a Certificate of Enrolment from your education provider. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to apply for a Bridging Visa E (BVE) – this will allow you to remain in Australia while you make arrangements.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) 

Vocational Education and Training (VET) is learning designed to give you skills and knowledge for the workplace. Some industries that benefit from VET qualifications include trade and office work, retail, hospitality, and technology. This is a great step to take after you have completed an ELICOS course.

VET qualifications include Certificates I, II, III or IV, Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas, Vocational Graduate Certificates and Vocational Graduate Diplomas. You can find and apply for a VET course in Queensland through the Queensland Skills Gateway.

If you plan to continue your studies after a VET course, you will need to apply to a Higher Education institution, or university. Once again, check your student visa conditions and make sure you are eligible to study for the duration of your course. 

Higher education 

Queensland is home to some of Australia’s top universities and offers study and research opportunities across a wide range of industries. These universities offer education programs for undergraduate, postgraduate and research including: bachelor degrees, honours, graduate certificates, graduate diplomas, masters by coursework, masters by research and PhDs.

Once you have completed your undergraduate program (bachelor degree) you can apply for a postgraduate or research position at your education institution or another education institution of your choice. If you plan on extending your studies past your initial course you will need to look into your visa, especially if it is about to expire. Remember, you will need a new Certificate of Enrolment from your education provider to get a new Student Visa and may need to apply for a Bridging Visa E (BVE), which will allow you to remain in Australia, while you make arrangements.

After finishing your studies, you may be eligible for a post-study working visa, which is a temporary visa that allows international students to live, study and work after you have finished your studies. 

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Bachelor Degree

A bachelor degree is the best place to start in the university world. This type of study provides initial preparation for professional careers. The usual requirement is a minimum of three years at full-time study to complete.


Within your bachelor degree you may be eligible to complete an additional year of study, known as an honours year. Alternatively, honours may be awarded for academic achievement for degrees of four or more years.

Graduate Certificates

A graduate certificate is a specialised qualification that can be completed after you have already finished a three-year bachelor degree. This type of study usually takes one semester full-time to complete. 

Graduate Diplomas

This is a step up from a graduate certificate and provides even further specialised knowledge. It is usually completed over one year of full-time study and is often undertaken after a graduate certificate and has similar prerequisites. 

Masters by Coursework

Similarly, to graduate certificates and diplomas, you can complete a masters by coursework after completing a relevant undergraduate qualification. A masters by coursework mixes a set of core units and elective units in a coursework setting, which means attending classes, completing assignments, and sitting exams. This qualification usually takes one and a half years of full-time study to complete. 

Masters by Research

A masters by research requires you to write a long research essay, known as a thesis. This thesis is based upon independent research and is written under a supervisor whose interests align with the project. This qualification is for those who are interested in pursuing a PhD.


A PhD is the highest level of education that can be obtained. It is designed for those who are interested in conducting research and teaching at a university level. It is like masters by research, where a thesis is submitted to determine whether your research is worthy of the qualification. To undertake a PhD you will normally require an existing bachelor and masters degrees in an appropriate subject area – however each university will set their own requirements.