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Life Planning Information Website - Education Bureau

The Education System

Australian education system is flexible and offers a wide range of study options to international students. Australia is one of the most popular study destinations for Hong Kong students. According to statistics from the Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment, there were more than 13,600 student enrolments from Hong Kong as at October 2021.

Australia provides international students with rigorous consumer protection, backed by national legislation Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS). In addition, overseas students may be eligible for the Post-study Work Visa if they complete an eligible Diploma or higher education programme, including Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree, in Australia.


(a) Primary and Secondary Education

The Australian school system is generally 12 years. The primary level comprises 6 or 7 years, depending on the State / Territory. Many Australian schools, both public and private, accept overseas applications.

Australian schools prepare students for further study at universities, vocational colleges or other higher education institutes. Upon completion of Year 10, students will be issued with the Secondary Certificate of Education by states and territories. Based on their needs and ability, student can continue their senior school studies or vocational and education training at certificate level. Senior secondary years, leading to matriculation, are Years 11 and 12. Australian schools issue the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education after successful completion of the final 2 years of schooling. International students can apply to an Australian senior secondary school (Year 11 and 12) and sit for the public examination as the benchmark for university entry. The academic year begins in late January or early February and ends in December. Some schools may accept new students during the year.


(b) Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Australian Technical and Further Education (TAFE) providers, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and a number of universities and schools provide vocational courses.

These courses offer practical and professional knowledge and skills. The VET sector offers a vast range of options – from apprenticeship programmes to certificate and diploma programmes and even selected degrees. Several universities across Australia provide vocational courses in association with TAFE institutes or private VET institutions. That means students completing VET courses in these institutions can enroll in the higher education faculties and receive credit towards a degree. Courses usually commence in February and July each year, with some commencing in October.


(c) Foundation Studies

Foundation Studies is another pathway to undergraduate study at universities in Australia. Foundation Studies are designed for international students. It is based on the undergraduate programmes offered at Australian universities, providing them with a better understanding and foundation of the subjects they will study. Students are not required to sit for the public examination. They are assessed and examined based on their performance in assignments, examinations, class participation, attendance and group exercises. They must reach a certain academic standard before a place at the specified university is confirmed.

Foundation studies have several intakes throughout the year, generally starting in February / March or July / August.


(d) Higher Education

There are 43 universities in Australia (40 Australian universities, 2 international universities, and 1 private specialty university) offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses. Along with these universities, many other institutions offer higher education courses. Bachelor degrees are normally 3 or 4 years in duration. Master degrees, by research or course work, take 1 to 2 years and PhD programmes need a minimum of 3 years. The first semester usually commences in late February or early March, but it is also possible to enrol in some courses in July.

Secondary 6 graduates from Hong Kong who hold the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) Examination results can enter university in Australia if their academic performance and English proficiency meet the university’s entry requirements. On average, most institutions require Level 3 to 4 in 3 to 5 subjects. Some require Level 4 and 5 in 4 or more subjects. Individual institutions also accept English Language at Level 4 for admission. Students are advised to check with the individual institutions for detailed admission requirements.

In addition, overseas students may be eligible for the Post-study Work Visa if they complete an eligible Diploma or higher education programme, including Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree, in Australia. Please visit the website of Australian Department of Home Affairs – Immigration and Citizenship ( for details.     


(e) English Language (ELICOS)

Many schools of English, both in the private and public sector, offer English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS). They are able to prepare students to reach the required level of English to enter a formal course of study.


Study Cost

(a) Tuition Fees

Course and study costs in Australia will depend on the education provider and level of study you choose.


Tuition fee per year (in AUD)

PhD Degree

A$20,000 - 46,500+

Master (coursework/research) Degree

A$20,000 - 46,500+

Bachelor Degree

A$20,000 - 46,500+


A$18,000 - 26,000

Vocational Education and Training (Certificates to Advanced Diploma)

Public institution: A$10,000 - 13,500+

Private institution: A$9,500 - 11,000+

Primary and secondary school

Public school: A$10,000 - 14,000

Private school: A$18,000 - 30,000

English language studies

A$150 - 420 per week depending on course length


(b) Living Costs

Knowing the average living costs in Australia is an important part of student’s financial preparation. For reference, below are some of the costs associated with living and studying in Australia (all costs are in Australian dollars). The costs below are an approximate guide only and do not take into account individual student’s budget and spending habits.


Types of accommodation

Cost (in AUD)

Hostels and Guesthouses

A$90 to A$150 per week

Shared Rental

A$95 to A$215 per week

On campus

A$110 to A$280 per week


A$235 to A$325 per week


A$185 to A$440 per week

Boarding schools

A$11,000 to A$22,000 a year


Other living expenses


Cost (in AUD)

Groceries and eating out

A$140 to A$280 per week

Gas, electricity

A$10 to A$20 per week

Phone and Internet

A$15 to A$30 per week

Public transport

A$30 to A$60 per week

Car (after purchase)

A$150 to A$260 per week


A$80 to A$150 per week


(c) Health Insurance for Overseas Students

The Australian Government requires international students to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) while in Australia. Currently there are 5 Australian companies providing OSHC.


Application Procedures

Students may apply via internet, by mail or submit their applications to institutions at education fairs. Students can also apply through education agents appointed by institution. It is advised to lodge their admission applications 6-9 months before the course commences.

Apart from meeting the academic requirements, candidates may have to satisfy the English proficiency requirements of the institutions concerned. Students also need to fulfil the English language requirements for student visa. Institutions set their own English language requirements for course entry, and the English proficiency score needed for your course may be different from the score needed to secure your visa. You should check entry requirements for both your visa application and your course application.


Visa Application

International students must apply for the student visa online. Students must accept the offer and obtain the Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) from their education provider before applying for a student visa online.

For further information on student and related visa, please visit the website of the Australian Department of Home Affairs – Immigration and Citizenship ( for details or contact the Australian Visa Application Centre :

Australian Visa Application Centre

(For Student Visa applicants enrolling their biometrics – prior appointment booking needed)

Address : Unit B&E, 6/F, Lee & Man Commercial Center, 169 Electric Road, North Point, Hong Kong

Website :



This webpage serves as a general guide to studying in Australia only. For more information about studying in Australia, please visit the following official websites or follow the social media accounts.

Study in Australia website:

Facebook Page:




Wechat: 澳大利亞政府教育資訊官方微信 (Australia_edu)

Weibo: 澳大利亞政府教育推廣官方微博 


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