Studying in Australia
Considering postgraduate study in Australia? One of the most popular destinations for international study is Australia, with its appealing climate, areas of outstanding natural beauty and low living costs. You can enjoy a wide range of lifestyles too, from cosmopolitan cities to the sparsely populated outback. However, if you're planning to do postgraduate study there other things to consider.
Australia's higher education system has a similar form to that in the UK. Most masters courses last one year, with a longer time span for specialist programmes. Since it's in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed: the long summer vacation takes place in December and January so the first semester usually runs from February to June, and the second from July to November. Australian universities demonstrate a high level of achievement, inhabiting a number of the top 400 places in The Times World University Rankings.
Research courses and then apply
Most research into courses and universities can be done online. The Study Options website allows you to search your chosen subject area and lists available matches found throughout Australia's universities. StudyAustralia.com offers a list of all the universities with ratings and links to their homepages. Apply directly to the university in question - details can usually be found on their websites. A few courses require students to take an admissions test, but this depends on the individual university. There are internet agencies that will check, process and track your application if you send forms and necessary accompanying documents to them. A free provider of this service can be found at the Study Options website. Note that these agencies have even earlier application deadlines.
Money, money, money
Tuition fees vary depending on the type and length of the course in question but you can expect to pay, approximately: $9,000-$18,000 (£3,750-£7,250) per year for a graduate certificate or graduate diploma; $16,000-$28,000 (£6,400-£12,000) for a masters or doctorate. The Australian government has calculated that an international student will spend approximately $230 (£95) each week on living costs, which includes accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment and transport. Don't forget the additional cost of flights if you plan to return to the UK before the end of your course - one return flight can cost up to £1,000.
Finding the funds
A range of scholarships are available from the Australian government, the British government, Australian education institutions and private organisations. These can be very competitive, with strict selection criteria and inflexible application dates. They vary from one scholarship to the next, so research thoroughly and well in advance.