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Admission in Australia without IELTS – Alternative pathways for higher studies in Australian Universities

by Anup chowdhury
Admission in Australia without IELTS

Admission in Australia without IELTS – Studying abroad and getting admission in foreign universities comes with a lot of prerequisites and one of the important ones is your score card from English proficiency tests like IELTS. Australia is no different. When you think of Australia as a study abroad option and research for the available courses and universities, you would come to understand that most of the universities require your IELTS score for admission.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an internationally accepted English language proficiency test. For the Indian students, the lowest accepted IELTS score is between 5.5 to 6.5, which is based on the course and the level you choose to study. IELTS is important for the universities to ascertain the English proficiency (listening, reading, speaking, and writing) of the international students. They need to do this in order to ensure that their language doesnt prove to be a hurdle while completing the course.

Some of the non-native English speakers might face difficulty in getting the required scores in IELTS and it could prove as a major hurdle in their admission to the universities of Australia. It could also become an extra financial burden if you appear for this exam more than once, since the registration fee for IELTS exam is INR 13,250 (as of April 2019). But you dont have to lose hope. There are a number of options available.

We would discuss the various possibilities and the options for getting admission in Australian Universities without IELTS in this article.

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Admission in Australia without IELTS – Exceptions to IELTS for International Students in Australia

  1. Substitute English Language Preparatory Programmes Some of the universities in Australia have their own English language schools. The international students who have not appeared for the IELTS or do not meet the required score points, can go for these customized courses. These courses are offered in lieu of/in place of IELTS. Some of these universities are Macquarie University, University of Melbourne, and Swinburne University. The students can finish these courses and then move on to pursue the degree of their choice. Please note that the universities in Australia that have their separate English language preparatory courses have their own fee charges for them. These charges are separate from your main field of study.
  2. International Baccalaureate Programme You are not required to submit your IELTS score if you have completed the International Baccalaureate Programme. It is a diploma programme of 2 years duration and is recognized by the universities in Australia and also all over the world. It encourages the students to think globally as the curriculum is based on international standards.
  3. Work Experience Some universities, like the University of Queensland, waive the requirement of submitting your IELTS scores if you have worked in an organization where the main language of communication and instruction was English and you have a work experience of at least 5 years.
  4. Pathway Programmes Few universities like the University of Southern Queensland offer a lot of pathway programmes. These ensure your smooth transition to a university for a full-time degree. These programmes are entry pathways to university studies. If you have successfully completed these programmes, you would not be required to take an English language proficiency test. Few examples are:
  • The Academic English Program (AE) by the Centre of English Language at the University of South Australia.
  • TAFE (Technical and Further Education) – It is one of the largest educational and vocational training providers of Australia and is located in South Australia. Over 50 pathway programmes are available here.

Admission in Australia without IELTS – Alternatives to IELTS

The universities in Australia accept the scores of other language proficiency tests as well, which are:

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TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Over 50 test dates/year.

It is an english language test for admissions in foreign universities, immigration, and work. It is conducted by the Educational Testing Services (ETS).

Should be a 10+2 pass or minimum 16 years of age. Scores are valid for 2 years.
CAE (Certificate in Advanced English or C1 Advanced) CAE certificate is the proof of a high level of english language and is used for admissions in universities and work. It is conducted by the University of Cambridge. Students in 10+1 or 10+2 No expiry date
CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) It is a test to gauge a students english language abilities. It is conducted by the University of Cambridge. Students in 10+1 or 10+2 No expiry date
PTE (Pearson Test of English) Computer-based English language test conducted by Pearson PLC Group. Students must be 16 years of age. A parental consent form is needed for the students below 18 years. Scores are valid for 2 years.
OET ( Occupational English Test) This test is for healthcare professionals. It is conducted by Cambridge BoxHill Language Assessment. None The validity is decided by the regulatory authorities.

Admission in Austrialia without IELTS – Australian Universities that exempt IELTS exam requirement

There are many universities in Australia which are competitive and give the international students a chance of admission without appearing for IELTS. Some of them are:

Australian National University The University has many options to fulfill their English language requirement. You can provide the certificates of any of the following tests:

  • PTE
  • CAE

You can also provide a local English language proficiency certificate from India. Further to this, the Australian National University also provides the ANU Access Program, an in-depth 10 week course with a clear-cut focus on academic english. The purpose of this course is to make international students adept at handling the transition from postgraduate and undergraduate courses at The Australian National University.

University of Southern Queensland You can avail the USQ Pathway Programs of this university. This may make you eligible for admission in your choicest field of study without the English proficiency tests. Once you finish this program, your admission can be ensured.

Bond University Those students who are able to provide strong evidence of their being proficient enough in the English language can apply at this university. The Bond University also accepts the English certificates of C1 Advanced and Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE). You can also complete this universitys EAP Level 3 (English for Academic Purposes) before your actual study program starts and then you would be eligible for the admission.

Macquarie University At this university, the English language requirements change in accordance with the course. The following certificates might give you a place in this university:

  • CAE
  • CPE
  • PTE
  • OET

You can get a conditional admission in this university if all the other criteria except for IELTS have been fulfilled. Then, you can take the English language preparation program in their English Language Centre.

University of South Australia If you can fulfill one of the following criteria, you can get admission to a study program in this university:

  • Score of 50 in PTE
  • TAFE SA Program
  • Score of 169 in CAE or CPE
  • CELUSA English Program: Level 4
  • If you have finished minimum 1 year of tertiary education in Australia.
  • If you have completed 1 year of secondary or tertiary education in any of the countries decided by the University of South Australia.

University of Adelaide The University has been ranked 106 in the 2020 QS World University Rankings. Acceptable tests in this university include the IELTS test. However, the following tests are also considered equally:

  • TOEFL – internet based and paper based
  • Pearson Test of English – Academic
  • CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced)

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In case the university finds your application appealing with English language skills, they might ask you to sit for a language preparatory course for the full academic year or for two semesters. After each semester, you would be required to give a test to show if there has been any improvement in the language. If you score well in the first test, you might be allowed to skip the second. Please note that if you fail in the finals of this course, you would not be allowed to study for your regular course.

The University of Queensland The University of Queensland is located in Brisbane and is a research university that is ranked 47th in the world, as per the QS World University Rankings. Though IELTS scores are required to get an admission in the University of Queensland, they offer alternatives as well -

  • If in your past education (secondary education) institute, English was the medium of instruction, and you can provide evidence of the case being so, you have a fair chance here.
  • You also get a chance at the admissions if you have a degree from any institution recognized by the University of Queensland, or you have a certificate of English language course and have received high marks in that.
  • You can also get in if you have more than 5 years of work experience in an organization where the primary mode of communication was English.

The Swinburne University of Technology This University accepts other English qualifications, like PTE Academic. You can also enroll in an English preparatory course at the university. This is a part of the Universitys English language course (ELICOS). You can enroll in either General English or English for Academic Purposes. The course duration is 5 to 50 weeks and gives you plenty of flexibility to adapt this in your regular course. Also, if you have finished tertiary or secondary education in an institute where English was the main language of communication and instruction, you have a chance to get an admission in this university without an IELTS score card.

Swinburne University of Technology Admission in Australia without IELTS Swinburne University of Technology Admission in Australia without IELTS


University of New South Wales Ranked 6th in Australia and 94th globally by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, The University of New South Wales may as well be your choice to study abroad. In the absence of IELTS, this university accepts the following English language certificates:

  • CAE
  • CPE
  • PTE

There is another option available that can be availed at some occasions. In the absence of any of the above-mentioned certificates, you may contact the admissions department of the university and convince them that your English language skills match with those required by the university. You may submit your scores in the English language tests of your previous education. Alternatively, you may submit a reference from your previous employer in case you have worked there for 2 years and were surrounded by native English speakers. You can also complete their pre-sessional English language program.

Victoria University The following English language certificates are accepted by the Victoria University:

  • CAE
  • FCE
  • PTE

Now that you know that you can get admission in Australia without the IELTS, you should not be waiting. Continue with searching the course which suits your requirements and career needs and apply for your dream study destination!

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Admission in Australia without IELTS – FAQs

Q. Can we study in Australia without IELTS?

A. Some of the universities like Australian National University, University of Southern Australia, University of Adelaide, and others have provisions to exempt English proficiency test score like IELTS or TOEFL. Students have several ways to prove their English proficiency such as completing senior secondary schooling in English medium from a designated country recognised by Australian Universities, successfully completing a bachelors or masters degree from an accredited university recognised by Australian universities, obtaining a recognised qualification listed in equivalent tests and qualifications available through the website of the Australian university you are applying to, and show acceptable evidence of sufficient English language skills developed through paid or voluntary work experience in a primarily English-speaking professional environment for at least 3 years immediately before starting a course in Australia.

Q. What other study abroad countries do not require IELTS or other English proficiency exams in admission requirements?

A. Some of the universities in the US, Canada, UK and in Europe do not have stringent requirements for IELTS or TOEFL or other English language proficiency tests. If you have pursued your senior secondary education in English medium in your home country, then you can get exempted from the requirement. Some of the course programmes in US might grant you admission and ask you go through English preparatory courses before beginning the main course.

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