Academic Staircase


Certificates are the first stage in academic study and are offered at some Universities and Poytechnics as well as many private providers. Certificates are usually one year long and typically can be entered with level 1 literacy and numeracy or for some courses completion of Yr 12 is required. Certificates can also be used to staircase into some Diploma programmes or Bachelor degrees providing you pass with excellent results.

Diplomas are between one and two years long and can provide students with a qualification or they can be used to staircase into Bachelor degrees. Diplomas usually require a minimum of 48 level 2 credits with literacy and numeracy.

Bachelor Degree - Undergraduate:
Bachelors can range from 3 to 5 years plus. Entry to Bachelor degrees is University Entrance but many institutes have higher entry and subject specifications. See UE power point and tertiary websites for details.

Postgraduate Diplomas:
This requires a previous degree majoring in a subject or a related area of study that the postgraduate diploma is in. Some are highly specialized professional qualifications eg the postgraduate diploma in clinical psychology. Some postgraduate diplomas form the first year of a masters degree.

Graduate Diplomas:
Most graduate diplomas can be taken by students with an undergraduate degree major in an unrelated area. They provide an opportunity to change subject areas within your first degree area or in a completely different area. Graduate diplomas can be taken as a way of meeting the prerequisites for further study in a new area, or as a way of completing a "mini-degree" in a different area, enhancing your employment prospects. Some graduate diplomas, eg, the graduate diploma in journalism or social work are professional qualifications which prepare you in a specific field.

Honours Degree:
Postgraduate honours degrees entail one year of full time coursework after completing an undergraduate degree. Most honours programmes comprise a selection from 400 level courses in one subject, though most programmes give you the option of including 1 - 2 courses from another subject.
Usually students study an honours degree in the same subject they majored in for their undergraduate degree. You usually need good 300 level grades to be eligible, but prerequisites can vary between subjects.

Masters Degree:
A masters degree comprises a minimum of one or two years study and can involve either coursework or research or a combination of both. Your research is presented in the form of a thesis, dissertation or a research project. Part time study may be possible but is not automatic. Masters degrees can be awarded with either honours or distinction. Students who are making good progress can apply to transfer to a doctorate.

A doctorate involves extensive, sustained and original research and study in a subject of your choice, with the results being presented in a thesis.
Your work will contribute to intellectual knowledge in your field. It is normally the highest academic qualification available and is a mark of intellectual ability, self discipline and commitment. A doctorate prepares you for an academic career in your chosen subject.
Candidates must have at least a masters or honours degree with first or second class honours or have been admitted to the university equivalent status. The minimum period of full time enrolment is two years and the maximum is normally four years.