Can International Students Study Online in Australia?

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Is online education from Australia available to foreign students? Yes, international students can study online for degrees with Australian universities. However, for visitors to Australia, student visa rules require two-thirds of classes to be in-person.

At any given time, 10,000+ foreign students are externally enrolled in Australian degree courses. However, to come to Australia on an International Student Visa, at least two-thirds of the units you do must involve regular face-to-face classes. Students from abroad who are living in Australia are required to attend classes in person regularly.

Here are some important things to know before you consider enrolling.

  1. You need excellent English skills to earn an degree with an Australian university.
  2. Tuition fees are as high (or almost as high) for distance learners as on-campus students.
  3. Not all types of courses can be completed from outside Australia.

Facts and Figures

At last count, only 12% of overseas students studying with Australian universities were not classified as on-campus. Of these, 10% were “multi-modal” students, and a mere 2% were “external”, indicating they rarely or never attend a campus in person.

Among international students who study entirely online, the most popular fields are Management and Commerce (42%), Society and Culture (20%), Health (12%), and Education (9%).

In contrast, 38% of Australian students participate in some form of online study. Among them, 22% study exclusively online, while 16% are multi-modal.

Source: Government Higher Education Statistics Database

Can I Study Online with an Australian University?

Most Australian universities support international students studying by distance education. Course choices may, however, be limited if you want to complete your degree without visiting Australia.

  • For practical reasons, certain types of courses are not offered online at all (e.g. medicine).
  • For quite a few other course types, occasional on-campus sessions are compulsory (e.g. professional engineering).

Related: Online Study Australia

Which Unis Support Distance Education?

The vast majority of Australia’s universities offer at least some courses by distance education.

  • More than a dozen universities have 4,000+ online students.
  • Several universities specialise in distance learning—they teach more students online than on campus.

While a large proportion of course offered in the distance mode are available to international students, the take-up rate is quite low. Online international student numbers are generally no more than a few thousand at popular online universities.

How Much Does Online Study Cost in Australia?

Tuition fees for studying online are similar to tuition fees for on-campus students. As a guide to fees, the tuition fee for a business degree is $30,000+ (Australian dollars) per year. Fees for online study to tend be a bit lower because universities specialising in distance education set lower fees generally.

Studying online is, of course, more affordable in the sense that you don’t have to move away from home. It’s also a convenient way of studying part time. Most Australian online students combine part-time study with full-time or part-time work.

How Does Distance Education Work?

International student online with Australian university

When you do a university course by distance education, normally you work through the same material and sit the same exams as on-campus students.

The key difference is that course materials and instruction are delivered in a digital format so that you can study at home. Also, you communicate with teachers and students using online methods.

Dedicated online programs, especially postgraduate courses, are often exam-free. If there are any long-format exams, they can be sat at a facility near where you live, including outside Australia.

For subjects where in-person attendance is not critical, you can complete courses without attending the university at all. For this reason, online study is well suited to coursework, essay and research degrees.

Follow Writing Team:
This article was written by the team at Lerna Courses. Sometimes we find it most efficient to produce and update articles collectively rather than relying on a single author. Rest assured that this content has been at least double-checked by our capable researchers.

3 Responses

  1. Ernestine
    | Reply

    Would love to see some suggestions you might have for a Singapore bachelor’s degree holder. I’ve found some good universities but I am not sure if they accept international students. I might still have to inquire to find that out….

  2. Douglas
    | Reply

    When enrolling from overseas, is there any sort of requirements that I would need to have ready? I am in the US and would love to do online courses in Australia. I was comparing costs and both the UK and Australia have cheaper, better options for me online in comparison to the US.

    • Lerna
      | Reply

      Enrolling from the US should normally be straightforward. You may need to demonstrate academic achievement for undergraduate courses in particular. Your English is assumed to be fine, whereas people from non-English speaking countries have to prove reasonable language fluency.

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