Types of study

Choose a course to suit you

Learn more about the types of study available in New South Wales, English Language courses, VET, universities, scholarships, schools, study tours and exchange programs.

Higher Education


Sydney and New South Wales are home to 11 world-class universities, including 6 in the Sydney metropolitan area and 5 regional universities.

QS World University Rankings 2023 ranked 6 of our universities in the Top 200 list - the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney, University of Wollongong, The University of Newcastle and Macquarie University.

THE Working University Rankings also ranked University of Technology Sydney, University of Wollongong and Western Sydney University in the top 50 Young University Rankings 2022, with Western Sydney University as number 1 for the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022.

The universities in Sydney and NSW are dynamic centres of learning excellence, home to world-leading research and globally recognised qualifications for graduates that are sought after by employers around the globe.

Our universities work closely with local and global business and industry, providing an extensive network of employment opportunities, as well as access to innovators and thought leaders in areas such as technology, finance and the arts.

View a list of Australian universities

Private higher education institutions

Private institutions offer access to many niche specialist and applied skills courses often not offered by universities. They are known for providing supportive learning structures and innovative and flexible teaching models, allowing you to choose how, when, and where you study. Private higher education institutions also have strong links with industry and courses tailored to meet the needs of future employers, ensuring graduates emerge job-ready.

Quality and regulation

The Australian Government has established a national regulatory and quality agency for higher education – the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to monitor quality, and regulate university and non-university higher education institutions against a set of standards developed by the independent Higher Education Standards Panel.

NSW research strengths

The NSW Government has launched a new geospatial database showcasing the state's higher education. research & development capabilities.

The NSW Research Map is a virtual 'one-stop shop' for information about more than 650 organisations and pieces of critical Research & Development (R&D) infrastructure across NSW.

Start searching using the map

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Whether you are looking to move straight into the workforce, or to take an initial step in your tertiary education, an Australian VET qualification can take you where you want to go.


NSW VET sector is based on a partnership between governments and industry. VET qualifications are provided by government institutions, called Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions, as well as private institutions. Australian government (federal and state) provide funding, develop policies, and contribute to regulation and quality assurance of the sector.

A priceless industry experience in a genuine work environment

Industry and employer groups contribute to training policies and priorities, and in developing qualifications that deliver skills to the workforce. Many of our VET courses incorporate a period of on-site learning, which means you do not just learn in a classroom but get priceless industry experience in a genuine work environment.

It is real-world industry experience that ensures your qualifications fully prepare you for employment in your chosen industry.

Flexible learning pathways and practical experience

VET qualifications are outcome based and focus on the occupational skills and competencies gained. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognises prior learning or current competence in the industry. This makes credit transfer easier and offers students flexible learning pathways.

Qualifications range across four levels of certificates (Certificate I, II, III and IV), as well as Diploma courses and Advanced Diploma courses. Your VET course will broaden your skills in a specialised area that teaches you the practical experience you’ll need for the workplace. It will train you to design, plan, and execute the practical and technical aspects of your field in an industry context.


TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest public provider of vocational education and training. TAFE NSW offers more than 1,200 vocational courses including short courses, certificate to Diploma and Advanced Diplomas and degree level programs. It provides the hands-on skills employers need, in the way students want.

Learning at TAFE NSW gives you access to practical training through a mix of state-of the-art campuses and specialist facilities across the state as well as on-the-job, mobile and online training. Statewide industry connections and industry-leading teachers ensure the quality of teaching at TAFE NSW. Students are provided with a broad range of support services to assist with their learning and to help them become job-ready.

Search for a course at TAFE NSW

Private training providers

Over 60 per cent of VET students in NSW study with a private college to gain an accredited qualification. Private colleges typically work very closely with employers and industry, to understand the ‘real world’ work-place skills they need employees to have. These relationships often provide employment pathways as well. It is possible to continue study to bachelor and postgraduate level at private colleges.

Private colleges offer high levels of support and flexibility to meet student needs and are innovative with teaching and assessment practices.

Search for a private training provider

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

Studying English in Australia is about much more than reciting words in a classroom. Our teaching approach focuses on critical thinking, as well as group and project work – all drawn from real-life experiences, which means you will not only be learning the language, but you will also be learning how to use it in everyday life.

Gain life skills in a truly international environment

By studying English in Australia, you will gain a vast range of life skills you cannot get at home. Invaluable skills like problem-solving, leading diverse teams of people, and applying your English to real-world situations – abilities you will draw on for the rest of your life. With a multicultural mix of students in our educational facilities, you will learn the world’s language in a truly international environment.

High quality language teaching

Our English language teaching maintains a consistently high quality – no matter where you study or what course you choose. With mandatory national standards and a comprehensive, industry-led quality support framework, you can be confident that you are getting the finest English education.

For more information on finding the right ELICOS campus and course for you, visit englishaustralia.com.au

English Australia represents 120 member colleges throughout Australia that provide quality English language programs to students and professionals from around the world.

Find an English language college


School education in Australia includes preschool, preparatory (or kindergarten), primary school, secondary school (or high school) and senior secondary school (or college). Schooling lasts for 13 years, from preparatory to senior secondary. School is compulsory until at least the age of 16.

Types of schools

Types of schools include government schools, non government schools (including faith-based schools such as Catholic or Islamic schools) and schools based on educational philosophies such as Montessori and Steiner. All schools must be registered with the state or territory education department and are subject to government requirements in terms of infrastructure and teacher registration.

Develop life skills through rounded education

Australian schools do more than just educate students. They prepare them for life − developing communication skills, self-discipline and respect for themselves, their peers and their world. Schools offer a broad curriculum in the key learning areas – English, mathematics, studies of society and the environment, science, arts, Languages Other Than English (LOTE), technology, health and physical education.

They also believe strongly in the benefits of a rounded education – including the teamwork, self-expression and personal development that happens outside the classroom. Students will enjoy a diverse learning environment that is as personally enriching as it is educational, and develop the skills and qualities needed in a changing world

To enrol international students, schools must be registered with the Commonwealth Register of Institutes and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Government schools

NSW government schools are mostly co-educational, comprehensive schools for students living in their local area. There are also single sex schools – boys or girls only and some specialist high schools.

The Department of Education International (DE International) provides choices for international students wishing to enrol in NSW government schools in Sydney or regional NSW. Most international students complete their secondary education and gain a NSW Higher School Certificate as a pathway to further study. The Study Abroad program offers international students a short term experience for a period of one term through to one year.

Find a NSW government school

Private schools

Private schools, also known as non-government schools, are either schools that are part of the Catholic system or Independent schools that may be of a religious or non-religious background. Most are co-educational but there are also many single sex schools. Enrolment is usually through each individual school and the conditions for enrolment may vary depending on the school.

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Study Tours

Want to explore NSW? Study tours enable you to visit our well-equipped, beautiful educational institutions and discover the best location for you.

Find out more about school study tours

Exchange Programs

While you are studying in NSW you may be eligible for an exchange program with an overseas institution. Exchange programs offer a great way to learn about other cultures and develop new skills. Contact your educational institution for more information.

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