University entry requirements explained

Learn more about how admission criteria works when you're applying for university—and what to do if you don’t meet the requirements.    

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If you’re in full university research mode right now, then your eyes probably dart straight to the entry requirements section every time you look up a new course. After all, it’s the part that tells you if you’re eligible to enrol or not.

But if you’re new to uni or returning after a long absence, that list of criteria can feel like a lot of information to take in. So let’s demystify entry requirements to make your course search easier. 

What are university entry requirements? 

Simply put, entry requirements are the conditions you need to meet before you can apply for a university course. 

They vary depending on whether your course is undergraduate or postgraduate, and which study area you’re looking to enrol in. But generally, they list the minimum ATAR score, academic experience, and English language proficiency the course coordinators would like you to have. 

Related reading: How to get into uni without an ATAR 

Sometimes they also list additional requirements—for example, you might be asked to complete an interview, submit a portfolio or sit a test. These extra tasks help teaching staff get a better feel for your abilities, so they know if you’re ready for the work involved in the course.   

Are mature-age university entry requirements different?

Universities recognise that not everyone is coming to uni straight out of high school. 

That’s why most courses feature entry requirements for high school graduates and mature-age students. 

On Open Universities Australia, the information for mature-age students is listed under Work and Life. It details things like past qualifications or industry experience the course coordinators would prefer you to have before enrolling. 

Related reading: Your guide to university as a mature-age student

What happens if you don’t meet the entry requirements for university? 

While entry requirements are important, they aren’t the be all and end all when it comes to getting into university.  

If you don’t meet the entry requirements for a course, there are other pathways you can take instead. 

If you’re interested in an undergraduate course:

You can enrol in single undergraduate subjects that don't have any entry requirements

And use them to transition into a degree. We call this open access entry, and it’s an option that’s exclusively available through Open Universities Australia. Find your qualification on our website to see if it has open access entry. The subjects that you need to complete online through us will be listed under the entry requirements. 

You can enrol in a lower-level course like an undergraduate certificate 

This will help you satisfy entry requirements for a bachelor degree. Most undergraduate certificates have very few entry requirements because they are introductory qualifications.

You can complete an enabling course

They're designed to teach you the skills and knowledge you need to go to uni.

You can complete an aptitude test

For example, the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT), if you don’t have a recent Year 12 qualification or ATAR. This option is only available with some universities and undergraduate courses, but there will be details about it in the entry requirements.

If you’re interested in a postgraduate course:

You can use your industry work experience to enrol in a graduate certificate

From there, you will satisfy entry requirements for a graduate diploma or masters degree. You generally need 3-5 years of relevant work experience to take this route.   

How do you prove that you meet entry requirements?

You’ll be told which supporting documents you need to provide during your application. This may include academic transcripts or a letter from your employer establishing your work history.  

Where you can find out more about entry requirements

If you have questions about entry requirements, supporting documents, or applying for a course, you can always ask our student advisors for help. Reach out through our contact us page, or book a one-on-one phone chat if you want to have a longer conversation. 

They can give you advice about your study options across different universities—and even help you apply over the phone.   


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University entry requirements explained

Learn more about how admission criteria works when you're applying for university—and what to do if you don’t meet the requirements.    

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