Australia’s leading international student news website

How to apply for Masters as an international student

Jensen Ooi

Mon Aug 19 2019

accomplishment-black-and-white-black-and-white-2365535 (1)

You’re a few months away from graduation, postgrad applications staring at you right in the face and it feels like life is moving at a breakneck pace. There’s a possibility that you might find everything to be too overwhelming, so here at Meld, we want to help formulate a guide to help you understand the Master’s application process and how it works. 

Before any applications can be done though, you will have to decide on the type of Master’s course you would be interested in.


Perhaps the most familiar structure for anyone that has undergone an undergraduate study in Australia. It is often the longest course but also the most comprehensive. Subjects would include cores, electives, and capstones; all of which will have an end-of-semester exam or final assignment attached to them. Depending on the course, there is also a likelihood of internship opportunities available.  


Research courses require you to enroll in coursework subjects as well, with two major differences being that there are fewer subjects to take and the addition of a written thesis. Hence, these courses tend to be shorter than coursework ones as the thesis is carried over between semesters. 


Graduate diplomas and certificates are of a higher level of education than a Bachelor’s degree but a grade lower than an actual Master’s degree. They are often a lot more specific content-wise and are geared towards workplace practicality. Hence, these courses are the shortest out of the three. 

Entry Requirements

Once you have decided on a course, the next thing you will have to look for are the entry requirements. Here are the most common ones that universities tend to need.

Undergraduate grades

While there are exceptions to this, most Master’s degrees under the sun will need you to first finish an undergraduate course. Be mindful of the grades required to enter the faculty of your choice by checking beforehand on what different universities might be looking for.

Professional Development Masters

On top of your undergrad results, certain Master’s courses will also require you to have at least 1-2 years of working experience within the faculty’s relevant field. 

Graduate Entry Professional Qualifications

This course will require you to provide your results from graduate application tests such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) which is not subject-specific, and Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) which is commonly used for business course admissions.

Sorting out your student visa

After doing some research and sending out applications, the next thing you will need to take care of would be your visa. Listed below are some of the more overlooked documents needed to ensure a smooth application. 

Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) certificate

Applying for a study visa means you should already have an offer letter from the university. Be sure to have your eCoE ready. For students who are applying on-shore (in Australia), be sure to acquire one before your current student visa ends or else you will need to travel home.

Meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement

You will need to prove that you intend to return to your home country after your study in Australia. A personal statement can be written which should include details on:

  • Previous study
  • Current employment
  • Ties to home country
  • Personal economic situation in your home country
  • Employment in another country

Sufficient funds for airfares, course fees, and living costs

Australia also needs you to provide proof that you have enough monetary resources to continue living in the country. To do so, you can give official documents as evidence and these include:

  • Financial statements from a bank
  • Government loans or loans from a financial institution
  • Scholarships or similar financial support

English language proficiency

The government will also require you to be competent in the English language which can be proven through tests such as:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • TOEFL internet test
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (Certificate in Advanced English)
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
  • Occupational English Test

A reasonable passing score will be needed for all these. Check the English language requirements for your course and university of choice to ensure you qualify.

Meet health and character requirements

You will need to take a character test to live in Australia. Additionally, you will also need to undergo an external medical checkup at a clinic to ensure that you are healthy enough to live in Australia, while at the same time, ensuring you won’t be a public health risk. During the application process, they will show you accepted clinics and hospitals you can go to for the health check.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Your OSHC is an insurance policy that will help pay for your medical bills while studying and contributes towards the cost of most prescription medicines and an ambulance during an emergency.  Different OSHC providers will cover you for different things and at different rates so be diligent about your entitlements!

For all international students currently in Australia already, the entire application process can be done in here and even better, it can mostly be done online! For those applying from overseas, you can still complete the application online but will have to await confirmation before entering the country.

A dilemma many people also face is the decision to hire an agent to help with these affairs. Using such a service would mean a lot more time and effort saved on having to fill up multiple tedious forms and you can be confident that there will be no misplaced documents or wrong information submitted in your application. 

However, you could potentially save a lot of money if you do the work yourself. There are many helpful guides on how to accurately fill out your application here and here. The application for a student visa isn’t incredibly hard but if you are doing it on your own, it might be worthwhile getting a friend or family member to look it over before submitting.

A quick tip is to have all your documents in a folder or google drive that you can pull up at a moment’s notice.

Applying for your Masters is strenuous to say the least but the process is a learning opportunity that teaches organisation and persistence. Make sure to double-check everything and consult with a professional where needed.