Steps to postgraduate study - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Steps to postgraduate study

Step 1. What do you want?

There are plenty of reasons why you might choose postgraduate study. A postgraduate qualification can give you a competitive edge in your current career, help you achieve a promotion, or allow you to branch out into an entirely new field.

As a first step, think about your personal and professional goals, and what type of qualification you need to achieve them. It might be useful to write down your current skills and experience and compare these to the kinds of roles you're interested in. This will help you identify any gaps you can build on, and help you narrow down your choice of programs.

Then, you can start researching degrees that align with your goals. Don't be afraid to consider programs from different disciplines – for example, if you currently work in healthcare but have your eye on a management role, a Master of Business Administration could be a savvy choice.

Step 2. Choose your path

USC offers more than 30 postgraduate coursework programs in a range of disciplines. To help balance your career and personal commitments with study, USC offers flexible part-time or full-time options as well as online and blended study modes*. This means it’s often easier than you think to fit further study into your life.

There are several types of postgraduate study, including graduate certificates, graduate diplomas, masters degree by coursework and higher degrees by research (HDRs). The different programs let you choose a level of study and time commitment that suits your lifestyle and goals.

In many disciplines, the programs are ‘nested’, which means you can complete a graduate certificate, then return later to complete a graduate diploma or masters degree – and receive full credit for courses completed as part of the lower award.

*Study modes vary between programs.

Step 3. Check admissions requirements

To gain entry to most postgraduate programs, you must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognised tertiary institution. (Entry by non-graduates who have extensive relevant industry experience may be considered on a case-by-case basis.)

USC makes admission offers for postgraduate programs to applicants who are judged to have a reasonable expectation of success in the program to which they are made an offer.

Programs may have additional requirements, including:

  • some prior study in a particular area
  • a minimum GPA in undergraduate study
  • particular work or professional experience
  • professional standing / recognition in, or membership of, a professional body

For graduate certificate programs, alternative entry criteria may be specified, such as:

  • formal study undertaken for awards at the sub-degree level;
  • programs provided by recognised professional bodies, employers and other authorities;
  • relevant professional registration or vocational experience; and
  • demonstrable expertise.

If English is not your first language, you need to meet the minimum English language requirements for your chosen program.

Step 4. Apply

To apply for a postgraduate program, complete the application form and submit directly to USC. Some programs may require additional forms and documentation, so make sure you check the website for program specific requirements.

Step 5. Find out about financial support

Fees vary from program to program. Limited postgraduate programs are subsidised via Commonwealth supported places.

You can find more information on fees for specific programs on the website, including if they are a Commonwealth supported place.

To help with your study costs you may be eligible for scholarships or government assistance. You may also be eligible for the Commonwealth Government’s Higher Education Loan Program (HELP):

  • HECS-HELP— Commonwealth supported students (Australian citizens or permanent humanitarian visa holders).
  • FEE-HELP— Fee-paying students (Australian citizens or permanent humanitarian visa holders).
  • SA-HELP— Australian citizens and permanent humanitarian visa holders for assistance with paying Student Services and Amenities Fees only.