Breaking Down the Academic Year in Australia
13 January, 2022
3 mins read
If you are planning on studying in Australia, you’ve got to know how the education system works there because it’s not just the weather and the culture that will leave you confused; it’s the Australian academic year calendar too.
To clear things up, the following is a simple breakdown of the terminologies and dates of the universities’ academic year in Australia to get you started.
How Does The Education System in Australia Work?
“Tertiary Education” is a type of education system in Australia. It is the type of education you get when you finish secondary school. It offers students two options; Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Higher Education.
(VET) includes Technical and Further Education (TAFE) that can be considered as a gateway to university education or qualification for work. It focuses on practical skills and industry-specific training. Graduates of TAFEs earn certifications, diplomas, or advanced diplomas. The industries and subjects taught in TAFEs include Information Systems, Tourism, Transport, Business Administration, Media, etc.
As for Higher Education, it includes universities with all their degrees; bachelor’s, masters, and doctorates. It is the highest level of education in Australia. Undergraduate programmes typically take three years to complete and four years for an honours degree. It is noted that Australia has around 43 universities to choose from!
If you need preparation for progressing to an undergraduate or a postgraduate university degree, pathway programmes are provided to guarantee your entrance to your chosen degree.
It should be noted that to progress into a university degree, you also need to get the ATAR score. It is also worth mentioning that all education programmes and courses’ qualifications are supervised and monitored by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
What is a University Academic Session?
In Australia, the academic semester is most commonly referred to as a “session.” Some universities refer to it as a “term.”
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How Many Academic Sessions Are There in a Year?
Most Australian universities follow a two-session model, while others follow a three-session model in which one session is referred to as a trimester.
The two-session model is a study period of 13 weeks followed by exams and a break after each session, while a trimester is a 10-weeks study period followed by a study break and an exam period, then a nine-week summer break. Deakin University, CQUniversity, Griffith University, Bond University, the University of Canberra, and the University of New South Wales all have a total of three trimesters throughout the year, while universities like Melbourne Institute of Technology offer both two-session and three-session options. The first session within a three-session model is the Autumn Session, followed by the Spring Session and the Summer Session.
What Is a Summer Session?
Universities with two sessions offer students a short optional session during the summer in which students have the choice to finish extra courses if they wish. It is considered a third semester. On the other hand, a summer session at a university with three trimesters is obligatory. So it is fair to say that two-session universities have only Autumn and Spring sessions.
When Does Each Session Start?
In both two-session models and three-session models, the year starts with the Autumn Session by the end of February or the beginning of March. This first session lasts until the mid-term break in April. Exams take place in June/July for 1 month. The Spring Session is then scheduled to start in late July or early August, followed by a break in September or the beginning of October with an exam period at the end of October/November. The Summer Session usually starts in November and ends before Christmas. Yes, Christmas comes during the summer months in December! Australia has a way of surprising you!
There you have it! Now, you know all about the higher education system in Australia. We recommend you read all about the grading system in Australia if you haven’t read about it yet. After all, you cannot play the game if you don’t know the rules!