How Long Is a Masters Degree in Australia?

The standard duration for a masters degree in Australia is 1.5 years of full-time study. Depending on the course and individual circumstances, programs can range from 1 to 2 years in length.

Let’s take a look at the factors that influence the duration of this postgraduate degree and how a student can potentially reduce the length of their studies.

Is There a 1-Year Masters in Australia?

Yes, certain master’s programs in Australia can be wrapped up in just one year, especially for students with an honours degree in the same field. An honours degree often means the student already has a good grasp of the basics.

The Master of Education is a case in point. Instead of the usual 12 or more subjects found in many masters degrees, this program typically has just 8. Despite the relatively short length, many promising Masters of Education jobs are available to graduates.

The academic year in Australia begins during February. It normally runs across two semesters: February to June, and July to November. The standard full-time study load for a students is four subjects per semester. That means a 12-subject masters takes 3 semesters and around 16 months, while an 8-subject masters requires 10 months.

Additionally, some Australian universities offer an intensive study option with a third semester running over the summer months from December to February. This trimester arrangement allows students to accelerate their completion time, with most master’s courses able to be finished in just 12 months.

Duration of Online Masters Programs

Man doing online learning

An online masters degree in Australia typically consist of 12 subjects or an equivalent academic load. When studied part-time in the accelerated (continuous) mode, these programs take two years to complete. Online learners normally complete one subject from start to finish every two months.

Comparison with Other Countries

The duration of a master’s degree in Australia, which typically stands at 1.5 years, aligns with many international durations but is slightly shorter than the two-year standard seen in many countries.

In the United Kingdom, master’s courses usually last about a year. In contrast, Canada and several European nations, including Germany and France, adhere to the Bologna Process, where master’s degrees generally span two years.

However, the United States presents a broader range, with master’s programs extending anywhere from 1 to 3 years.

Advanced Standing

Advanced standing refers to the formal acknowledgment of prior learning. Universities might grant credits for certain subjects based on a student’s prior qualifications or professional experience. This can reduce the number of subjects required in a master’s program, often down to just 8 subjects.

Graduate Certificate

A Graduate Certificate in Australia normally comprise 4 subjects, making it about a third of a master’s degree. The qualification is often nested within masters programs. This means that students, upon completing a Graduate Certificate, don’t just walk away with a standalone qualification; they also pocket credits that can be directed towards a future degree. When done full-time, the Graduate Certificate typically requires about a five-month investment.

Graduate Diploma

The Graduate Diploma, with its set of 8 subjects, also normally forms part of a masters program. For those studying full-time, the Graduate Diploma usually spans close to a year. Some graduate diplomas are valuable as professional qualifications in certain fields, such as teaching and nursing.