Is Australia your ideal study abroad destination? With its world-renowned universities, gorgeous locales and landscapes, and friendly people, we understand why! Australian academic calendar might be a little different than what you’re familiar with. How? Take a look at our complete breakdown of Australian university intakes.
How Many Intakes Are There for Australia?
Australian universities typically offer two major intakes. Some universities take in students three times a year. Although most universities use the semester model, a couple of universities follow this trimester model, including:
- Southern Cross University
- Deakin University
- Bond University
- CQUniversity Australia
- Griffith University
- University of Southern Queensland
Some universities might also offer specific, select courses during the third semester!
Semester 1, for most universities, falls between February and March. Yes – you read that right, the Australian academic year starts at the beginning of the calendar year! Semester 2 falls between July and August. If a university or course runs on a trimester basis, there may be a third intake between September and November.
Semester 1, also known as February/Autumn intake in Australia; is usually the major intake season. The largest number of courses by most if not all universities will be taking applications for this intake.
The July-August intake sees fewer courses from fewer universities. But since this intake also sees comparatively fewer applicants, it’s a good idea to apply if your course is on offer. Australian universities and their acclaimed programs are competitive after all!
The September or November intake in Australia is the smallest of the three intakes, but again this may only be an option for specific courses from specific universities.
Semesters Versus Seasons
You might have noticed that we’ve been listing out the intakes as “Semesters”, instead of the typical seasons (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer). This is because these seasons mean very different things in Australia than what you might be used to.
Because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are upside-down too. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the main seasons in the country are:
- Spring – between September and November
- Summer – between December and February
- Autumn – between March and May
- Winter – between June and August
This is why, when looking at Australia university intakes, you need to keep in mind that seasonal intakes mean very different things here than other study abroad destinations. Here’s a quick run-down to refer to if you get confused:
- Autumn/Fall Semester – February-March Intake
- Spring/Winter Semester – July-August Intake
- Summer Semester – September-November Intake
If you’ve been doing your research on the intake dates of other study abroad destinations, you’ll notice that theoretically, these seasonal intakes have some similarities with the rest of the world. The fall intake is the primary one, with the spring semester coming in at a close second. The summer semester is the most minor of the three intakes because fewer universities and courses are on offer here.
Nonetheless, the major difference persists. The calendar months corresponding to the seasonal intakes are very different from study abroad destinations in the northern hemisphere. So, when putting together an application timeline, keep this in mind!
Are There Different Intakes for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programs?
This depends on the universities. Most universities in Australia have the same intake windows for bachelor’s and master’s students. The standard academic year for bachelor’s and master’s students starts around February and March, but universities and programs may offer a second (and at times a third) intake.
Doctoral degree students, on the other hand, typically negotiate their start dates with their thesis supervisor. As PhD students don’t normally need to attend class, there are no clear-cut semesters for a doctoral degree.
Australia University Intake 2023
Wondering when the universities you’re considering applying to are commencing classes? Here’s an overview from Universities Australia!
And the following universities also offer select courses and degree programs over the Summer semester:
- University of Technology Sydney
- La Trobe University
- James Cook University
- University of the Sunshine Coast
- Murdoch University
- University of Tasmania
- Charles Darwin University
- Australian Catholic University
- The University of Notre Dame Australia
So, when looking into programs you’re considering enrolling in, make sure you’re also keeping an eye on the intake dates and application deadlines! Speaking of which –
This will vary from university to university – just as the intake dates vary too – but in general, here’s what to expect:
When Should I Start Applying for Australia?
While Australia university intakes are typically open for two to three months until before the semester start date, our advice is to start the process as early as possible. Australia intakes for international students in 2024 are closer than you might think. And this is because as an international student, there are tons of time-intensive things you need to do before you can arrive in Australia and begin your course.
As part of your admissions application, you’ll need things like English language proficiency test results and your most recent academic transcripts. And it’s only after successfully receiving a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from a CRICOS-registered course that you’re eligible for the student visa.
The Subclass 500 visa can take anywhere between 44 days and six months to process. And so, starting as early as possible gives you the highest chances of smoothly completing all the necessary processes to arrive in Australia on time for your course.
We recommend starting on your application as early as six months before the application deadline.
You’ll need the time to arrange for language proficiency tests – which you must sit for unless you’re from an English-speaking country. If you’re not content with your predicted grades for school and think you’ll perform better in the actual high school leaving exams or need to do a few resits to meet eligibility requirements, you need time to do this.
If you’re applying for a postgraduate program and need to fulfil specific requirements, like getting some work experience or an additional qualification, you need time for this too.
Remember, the sooner you apply, the sooner you get your acceptance letter. And the sooner you get your acceptance letter, the sooner you can apply for the Australian Student visa, which has its own extensive checklist of things to prepare.
Another little insider tip – many universities consider applications on a first-come, first-serve basis. Even if you have a stellar application package ready, if you wait too long you risk all the seats filling up before your application even reaches the university.
Our Final Thoughts:
Bottom line – start as early as possible. The deadline might seem miles away, but with everything you need to do to meet it, you’ll need the extra time. And if you’re going through all this effort to study abroad, you owe yourself the best chance you’ve got. Make sure you’ve checked whether your course is on offer for your target intake and that you’re fully aware of each deadline. Give yourself at least six months to work towards preparing everything you need to apply for the course and your visa. Be thorough, but not hasty. If you rush through any parts of your application, you risk losing your shot at an acceptance. So, take it a step at a time, start early, and we’ll see you on the flip side – literally!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the Australia intakes for student visa?
You can apply for the Student visa all year round. Since the actual visa may take between 44 days and six months to process, it’s better to time your application early enough before your semester start date to get your travel arrangements set on time.
Is there an Australia September intake?
The major intake window in Australia is the Autumn Session, which falls around February and March. In Australia, the academic year starts at the beginning of the calendar year, compared to other countries where August-September marks the beginning of the school year.
Nonetheless, some universities do have a September or November intake in Australia. These may only apply to specific courses and degree programs, however. Make sure you’re fully aware of your intake dates and deadlines before you plan your application timeline!
Which intake is best for Australia?
The Semester 1 intake (also known as the Autumn intake or session) begins around February or March. This is the traditional beginning of the Australian academic year. The most number of courses from the greatest number of universities take applications for this intake.
Many universities also take applications during the Spring intake – between July and August – but there are typically fewer openings compared to Semester 1. This isn’t a bad thing – if your program is available during the Spring intake, it may line up with your high school graduation or degree completion elsewhere in the world. Plus, this intake might be a little less competitive to get acceptance for, compared to Semester 1.
Lastly, some universities or programs offer intakes during the Summer session – between September and November. Since a select few courses are available for these intakes generally, be sure to look into the intake dates for your program before planning your application!