Postgraduate study at Sydney

You may have a number of reasons to consider postgraduate coursework. Whether you want to qualify for a profession or gain accreditation, enhance your career path, change careers altogether or pursue a personal interest, our broad range of coursework programs can help you achieve your goals.

We are consistently ranked among the best research universities in the world, attracting leading researchers and teachers who push the boundaries of their knowledge to change our understanding of the world around us. From short courses to certificates, diplomas and degrees, we are committed to delivering world-class programs that are both relevant and practical.

We offer over 450 postgraduate courses that deliver the latest thinking, encouraging personal expression and inspiring you to achieve your professional and personal goals.

What is postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study describes a course that leads you to an award such as a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, a masters degree or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Entry to our postgraduate courses usually requires you to have already completed a relevant undergraduate degree (or diploma) or in some cases relevant work experience.

There are two main types of postgraduate courses – research and coursework. Coursework programs consist of units of study (subjects) rather than research work. They usually require attendance at lectures and tutorials.

Coursework programs

The University of Sydney offers flexibility in our coursework programs from just one unit of study, a graduate certificate, graduate diploma or a master’s degree. We also offer flexibility with course fees. With FEE-HELP you don’t have to pay any course fees upfront, and you only repay your loan when your income reaches a certain level. That means you can start studying now, and pay later.


Masters programs are ideal for graduates who need specialised knowledge and skills that will help them take the next step in their career or develop academic expertise. They typically require between one and two years of full-time study.

Graduate diploma

Graduate diplomas are normally based on masters programs but require less time commitment. They are an excellent option for students who do not want to commit to a full master’s, but still need a solid grounding in their chosen field. They typically require one year of full-time study.

Graduate certificate

Graduate certificates are intended for people who want to undertake a short academic training course to further their career, or to sample further study. They typically require six months of full-time study.

Single units of study

We offer a range of units of study, each of which may be ideal for professional development or to explore subjects of general interest. If you subsequently enrol in an award course, it may be possible to credit these units towards a formal qualification.

Many faculties, for example, Sydney Law School, Arts and Social Sciences, Health Sciences and Architecture offer single units of study (or non-degree study). You will need to contact the faculty to see if single units are available.

Flexible learning options

Many of our courses offer a choice of study modes, such as full-time, part-time, part-time evening, block or intensive, distance or online so you can organise your study commitments to suit your lifestyle.

To check the study mode options for your area of interest:

  • Go to Find a course
  • Click the 'Show advanced options' link at the bottom of the yellow search box to search study modes.


If you are looking to improve your career prospects, open the door to further academic study, or simply indulge a passion, then honours is your next step. For many students, honours is an introduction to further academic research with many using it as a pathway to undertake a PhD. For others, it is the springboard to a high-flying career in the workforce or further postgraduate coursework study. The honours year is a widely recognised and highly regarded additional year of undergraduate study available to you after you complete your undergraduate course. It's a unique opportunity for you to explore your potential and put the theory from your undergraduate studies into practice.

Continuing professional development (CPD)

Once you are qualified for a profession you may need to complete a certain number of hours of continuing professional development to keep your skills up to date. We offer a range of options to help you in programs such as architecture, dentistry, law, medicine, social work, teaching, veterinary science though our faculty-specific continuing professional development courses.

Our Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) provides another option. The centre is a leading provider of professional education to the corporate sector, and offers a number of generalist and discipline-specific courses. It specialises in the areas of business and management.

Summer and Winter School

The University of Sydney’s academic excellence attracts students from around the world to take part in our intensive Summer School offered over three sessions from December to February or in our Winter School in July. Students can accelerate their program, catch up a failed subject, balance their timetable or study subjects outside their current program. Find out more about Summer and Winter School.

Student Exchange

The International Exchange Program enables you to undertake approved overseas study, with the credit achieved counting towards your degree at the University of Sydney. Postgraduate coursework students may have to meet additional requirements. For example, to be eligible for postgraduate exchanges in Canada and the USA, students must normally have completed four years of undergraduate study by the time of application. A standard 3 year Bachelor degree is insufficient. Find out more about Student Exchange.