Overview of tertiary entrance in Australia
Gaining entrance to a university in Australia using a Senior Secondary Certificate
Typically students gain admission to a university in Australia using a Senior Secondary Certificate. Students must satisfy three requirements, by completing:
- the appropriate subject package, including any prerequisite subjects;
- the required marks or grades in key subjects specified by the faculty;
- a tertiary entrance rank.
Select a tab below for information from each state about the:
- award issued to students on successful completion of study in Years 11 and 12
- subject requirements for admission to university in each state.
See senior secondary certificates for further detail about the awards issued to students in each state.
Tertiary entrance using a Senior Secondary Certificate
University entrance for Australian Capital Territory students
An Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Tertiary Entrance Statement is produced for all students who meet the requirements for a Tertiary Package.
Reported on this Statement is a student’s Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), Aggregate Score (which is used to determine the ATAR), the weighting of the scores used in the calculation of the Aggregate Score and the scaled course scores for all T and H courses. The Aggregate Score is the sum of the best three major scaled scores plus 0.6 of the next best scaled score.
For more information see the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies website.
Visit the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) website for more information about admission to a university in New South Wales or the ACT.
University entrance for New South Wales students
A NSW Year 12 student’s entry into an undergraduate course is typically assessed on the basis of their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
A student’s Higher School Certificate (HSC) results are used by the University Admissions Centre (UAC) to determine their ATAR.
To be eligible for an ATAR, students must satisfactorily complete at least 10 units of certain Board Developed Courses for which formal examinations are conducted by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES). This must include two units of a Board Developed Course in English.
The ATAR is not a mark, or summary of the HSC. UAC is independent of BOSTES NSW.
University entrance for Northern Territory students
To obtain a university aggregate and an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) students must:
- qualify for the NTCET
- comply with the rules regarding precluded combinations
- comply with the rules regarding counting restrictions
- complete at least 90 credits of study in Tertiary Admissions Subjects (TAS) and Recognised Studies at Stage 2 in a maximum of three attempts which need not be in consecutive years
- of the 90 credits of study a minimum of 60 credits of study must be from 20 credit TAS*
*Normally 10 credit subjects do not count towards this requirement but some 10 credit subjects in the same area, when studied in pairs, can substitute for a 20 credit subject. These are called valid pairs.
Visit education.nt.gov.au for more information on the NTCET.
Visit the South Australia Tertiary Admission Centre (SATAC) website for more about requirements for undergraduate applications in Northern Territory.
University Entrance is the minimum requirement to go to a New Zealand university. For information, including requirements for qualifying for the award: :
University entrance for Queensland students
Students completing Year 12 in 2019
Obtaining an Overall Position (OP) is the primary pathway for students completing Year 12 in 2019 to pursue tertiary studies in Queensland.
To be eligible for an OP, students need to:
- study 20 semester units of Authority subjects with at least 3 subjects for 4 semesters each
- sit the Queensland Core Skills (QCS) Test
- remain at school until the final day of Year 12.
More information about tertiary entrance is available on the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority website.
Students completing Year 12 from 2020
Queensland has introduced a new QCE system starting with Year 11 students in 2019.
From 2020, the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) will replace the OP as the primary pathway for Year 12 students to pursue tertiary entrance in Queensland.
To be eligible for an ATAR, a student must have:
- completed five General subjects, or four General subjects plus one Applied subject or VET course at AQF Certificate III or above
- satisfactorily completed an English subject
- accumulated their subject results within a five-year period.
The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) will calculate ATARs for Queensland students. For more information, visit the QTAC website
Tertiary entrance for South Australian students
Gaining the SACE is the main method used by South Australian students to gain admission into university and TAFE courses.
Students who complete the SACE are eligible for university entry, provided they meet certain requirements.
- complete the SACE
- complete at least 90 credits at Stage 2. Of these 90 credits, at least 70 credits must be from Tertiary Admissions Subjects (TAS), of which 60 credits of study must be from 20-credit TAS (which may include valid pairs of 10-credit TAS). The other 20 credits may be either from TAS subjects, Recognised Studies, or a mix of the two
- comply with rules regarding subject combinations
- obtain an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
Students also need to complete any prerequisite requirements for particular university courses.
Visit the SACE website for more information about tertiary entrance and post-school pathways.
Applications for university and TAFE courses are handled by the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).
University entrance for Tasmanian students
Visit the UTAS website for more about requirements for undergraduate applications in Tasmania
University entrance for Victorian students
Most students in Victoria gain university entrance on the completion of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) with an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) calculated by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC).
Individual universities and higher education providers may accept entry through other means.
Visit the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) website for more information about requirements for undergraduate applications in Victoria.
University entrance for Western Australian students
Achievement of the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) is generally one of the requirements for admission to one of the four Western Australian public universities.
Visit the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) website for more about requirements for undergraduate applications in WA.