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Pathways — Higher education

Pathways — Higher education

Undergraduate study

You can study just about anything at undergraduate level, with courses leading to a wide range of interesting careers. Undergraduate courses include associate degrees, bachelor degrees and bachelor (honours) degrees. Some areas lead to specific occupations — such as studying a Bachelor of Laws to become a lawyer — while others provide broader insight into an industry or study field, such as studying a Bachelor of Arts to explore the humanities.

Within your preferred field of study, you have the option of completing a ‘generalist’ course — such as a Bachelor of Business — or a more vocational specialisation, such as marketing, finance or human resource management. Generalist courses allow you to sample numerous fields, typically choosing a specialisation in later years of the degree.

University is the only option for many professional courses, particularly those leading to regulated occupations such as architecture, law and medicine. Other fields — such as business, design and information technology — are offered at non-university providers such as TAFE institutes and private Registered Training Organisations.

Postgraduate study

At postgraduate level, you can study by coursework (attending lectures and completing assessments) or by research (completing a piece of research or large project, such as a thesis). Courses may be generalist or highly specialised, allowing students to enter a new field, expand on skills learnt in undergraduate study or upskill to boost career prospects. You can study most undergraduate courses full-time or part-time.

Some programs are available through online and distance education.

Postgraduate courses include graduate certificates, graduate diplomas, masters degrees and doctrines. Postgraduate study encompasses increasingly popular qualifications such as the MBA and is becoming a common choice for graduates trying to get an edge in the employment market.

Assistance for students with disability

The Disability Standards for Education make sure that students with disability can access education and training opportunities on the same basis as other students. This includes school and tertiary study, covering enrolment, participation, curriculum development and delivery, as well as support services and avenues to deal with harassment or victimisation.

See www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/disabilityrights for more information.

The National Disability Coordination Officer Programme is an initiative of the federal government, supporting people with disability to participate in tertiary education and move into employment.

See www.education.gov.au/national-disabilitycoordination-officer-programme for more information, including contact details for officers in your state or territory.

In the higher education sector, the Higher Education Disability Support Programme assists institutions to remove barriers to education for students with disability. This includes providing alternative materials, such as braille and audio tapes for students with vision impairments, and the purchase of special equipment.

See www.education.gov.au/higher-educationdisability-support-programme for more information. You can find further information about disability services and support by contacting individual institutions.

Graduate programs

Depending on your field of study, there are a wide variety of organisations that offer graduate programs and positions, including global giants Google, PwC, Deloitte and BHP Billiton. Traditionally, graduate programs are associated with large finance companies, and while this may still be true, the range of industries involved has broadened significantly.


In addition to finance, businesses in industries such as engineering, IT and technology communications, media and advertising, logistics, law, and sales offer graduates a career path into their organisation. Entry into some programs can be competitive and employers use a wide range of selection methods. Prior to finishing their degree, students will be required to attend interviews, undertake aptitude tests and complete written assessments to secure a position. Larger companies may use a screening process to filter a large number of applications, while smaller businesses may actively recruit on campus.

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