Vocational Education and Training (VET) prepares students for specific trades, crafts and careers at various course levels by delivering training that focuses on developing specific skills and knowledge required for specific industries.

VET qualifications include certificates I – IV, diplomas, advanced diplomas, graduate certificates and graduate diplomas. For VET course information visit MySkills.

A degree is a qualification awarded to students who successfully complete a higher education course of study.

Undergraduate study usually refers to a student studying their first degree. It is a course of study accredited at the undergraduate level and leads to the award of a diploma, advanced diploma, associate degree and most commonly a bachelor degree. Undergraduate degrees are most commonly studied at university, although private higher education providers also deliver them.

A bachelor degree is the base level university qualification and is the most common qualification undertaken in higher education. It typically takes 3 years full-time study to complete however it can take up to 5 years for more complex courses.

Postgraduate study normally refers to courses available to students who have already completed their first degree. When you undertake postgraduate study, you can be awarded a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, postgraduate diploma, masters degree or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD or doctorate). There are two main types of postgraduate study:

  • Research - This means you undertake supervised research over a substantial period of time (two or more years), which leads to a thesis (a written theory) or some major piece of work.
  • Coursework - This means you attend lectures and classes over a period of time, between six months and three years, depending on the type of course you are undertaking. You can gain a postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma or masters degree through coursework.

For more information about qualifications in Australia, you can refer to the Australian Qualifications Framework.