Tertiary qualifications

Tertiary study within Australia

Portrait of a male student

The University will consider results of certain types of tertiary study when considering applicants for admission into undergraduate courses through UAC. This may include study in degree courses, an associate diploma, diploma or advanced diploma level courses offered by other Australian course providers.

There is no limit to how old a tertiary qualification can be for it to be acceptable. Results in tertiary study will be considered only if the enrolment meets certain conditions regarding level of award, duration and where the course was taught.

For more information about these conditions, please see the sections below about the various types of tertiary qualifications.

If your tertiary study does not meet these conditions, your application will be considered on the basis of results for your other academic qualifications. The results you achieve in your tertiary study will affect the way that your application is considered.

Generally, if you have an acceptable tertiary qualification, your application will be considered on the basis of both your results from your secondary (HSC or equivalent) and your tertiary qualifications. However, if your results from your secondary qualification are not as good as those from your tertiary study, the results from your secondary qualification will not normally be considered.

Within this framework, if you have more than one qualification which meets the conditions listed above, your best set of tertiary results are considered. If you do not have a secondary qualification, your application will be considered on the basis of your tertiary results alone.

However, if you have applied for courses which have additional selection criteria your performance in those criteria will also be taken into account.

Please note that fail results count as part of your tertiary record. Students who leave their courses without notifying their institution may have a year-long record of failure, which would be taken into consideration.

Results from enrolment in RATE certificates, advanced certificate and AQF certificate I-IV courses offered by universities, TAFE and private providers are not acceptable for admission to undergraduate courses.

Enrolment at university

Your results from tertiary study will be considered only if you have been enrolled for at least one full-time year or an equivalent period part time. These studies normally need to be part of a recognised award course of at least associate diploma level or higher for your results to be considered. Please note that certain courses may have more stringent requirements.

In general, if your results are from your enrolment in a bachelor's degree or higher level course at a university in Australia (or New Zealand), they can still be considered. You need to have enrolled for at least the minimum period of one full-time year (or part-time equivalent) – the equivalent of 48 credit points at the University of Sydney.

Results from graduate certificates (whether complete or incomplete) and incomplete postgraduate research degrees will not be considered.

Recent tertiary study at TAFE and private providers

If you have been enrolled in a diploma or an advanced diploma at TAFE or a private provider from 1996 onwards you may also be able to use your results from that enrolment to apply. For this to be possible your qualification must be complete, it must be a diploma or an advanced diploma, and it must have been accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) at the time you were enrolled.

The AQF is a national standard for accrediting post-secondary and tertiary qualifications offered in Australia. If you studied at a private institution and are uncertain whether your course had AQF accreditation when you were enrolled, you should be able to obtain this information from that institution. An AQF accreditation symbol may also appear on your transcript of results or award certificate.

Older tertiary study at TAFE and private providers

The University of Sydney may consider results from periods of enrolment in award courses offered at Australian post-secondary institutions such as TAFE colleges and private providers. If your qualification was acquired before 1996 it may have been awarded under the RATE accreditation system. Results from a RATE qualification may be considered if the period of enrolment was for one or more full-time years (or part-time equivalent), and if the enrolment was in an award course of associate diploma or diploma level. Normally, associate diploma and diploma qualifications offered by private providers before 1996 will not be accepted.

Failure and exclusion

Applicants with a record of failure at tertiary study are less competitive for a place than those with a successful academic history. A record of exclusion will normally prevent applicants from gaining admission into any undergraduate course.

If you have been excluded from a degree course in the past, you will not be reconsidered for admission unless you have successfully undertaken study at a similar level since the exclusion, or can provide a satisfactory explanation with appropriate supporting documentation. For advice on how to make your submission, see the section below on special consideration for admission.

Special consideration for admission

The Special Consideration for Admission Scheme is a special entry scheme for applicants with a record of tertiary study.

If your performance in your secondary and/or tertiary studies was adversely affected by circumstances beyond your control, you may apply for consideration under this scheme. Likewise, if you have a record of exclusion from tertiary study, this is the scheme to apply under.

You must be able to cite severe medical or personal problems as the cause of your poor results and provide documentation to support your claims. Find out more information about the Special Consideration for Admission Scheme.

Credit on the basis of previous studies

You may be entitled to academic credit if you have previously been enrolled in another university course, TAFE or a private provider. Academic credit is when the subjects you have already completed are counted towards your new enrolment, thereby (potentially) reducing the amount of work you have to do to complete your degree course.

Academic credit is separate from admission. The decision about how much academic credit an applicant can receive for previous study is made by faculty staff, not the Admissions Office, and is usually resolved by making a separate application directly to the faculty.

Most faculties will be able to provide you with a general indication of the amount of credit you might receive, before you apply for admission. However, a final decision is not normally available until after your application for admission has been successful.

As rules and procedures for applying for academic credit are varied, it is best to contact your faculty office soon after you consider applying.

Further information

Please contact the Admissions Office for further information.

Admissions Office
Level 3, Jane Foss Russell Building (G02)
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006
T +61 2 8627 8210 / 8209 (general inquiries, including those about overseas qualifications)
T +61 2 8627 8207 (special admission)
F +61 2 8627 8278
E (general enquiries about admission)
E (special admission)