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Focus on Australia

Clarisse Faria-Fortecoëf

The Australian higher education and its internationalization: An information published by CampusFrance in January 2012.

The number 9 of the Dossiers and the number 12 of the Repères collection especially published by CampusFrance for the "Australia Day" of January 19, 2012, focuse on the Australian higher education and its internationalization. 

Some context elements

Although enjoying a favorable economic context (1.46 of world GDP in 2009, 725 billion euros, equivalent to one third of French GDP), Australian universities (37 public and 2 private) have to face a public aid decrease since the 80s. In this situation they have to attract international students (25% of students total) and keep domestic students who want to follow a Master (most of these students easily finding a job with a Bachelor).
Some 87 private and public institutions of education and training, are centers of higher education.

Besides the fact that the Bachelor can last from 3 to 5 years and the Master from 1 to 2 years, the doctorate of a minimal duration of three years, can take three forms: the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) based on the research and a thesis production ; the Professional Doctorate  which offers a training oriented to professional practice ; the Higher Doctorate which mainly concerns the medicine field.

Internationalization and student mobility

Australian universities have a total of over 4500 partnership agreements with foreign universities, including 250 with France. For example, an office of the EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) was established within the Asia Pacific College of the ANU (Australian National University) in Canberra. For more information on the activities of the EHESS-Camberra Branch at the ANU, you can click on the following link: www.pacific-dialogues.fr/.
Also, visits of Competitiveness Clusters were organized (on the themes of "Aerospace- Embedded Systems", "Energy-Environment", "Food") in order to explain the importance of new partnerships (firms / universities / research centers) and to establish new cooperation between these clusters and some Australian universities.

At the same time, the internationalization of Australian higher education system is often unilateral with welcome of international students and low mobility of Australian students. Thus, the mobility of the latter accounts for only 1% of this population.
In 2010-2011, France is the sixth host country (behind the United States, New Zealand, the UK, Europe and Germany) with about 400 Australian students  with more than 290 enrolled at the university and a majority (62%) in Bachelor.
Among the conditions to increase academic cooperation, it is necessary to offer English or mixed programs including French tutoring.

In terms of incoming mobility, Australia has a very dynamic policy of recruiting international students. The number of French students in particular, has nearly doubled since 2002, 40% enrolled at the university.
Among possible funding, the Endeavour Awards is the Australian Government’s internationally competitive, merit-based scholarship program providing opportunities for citizens of the Europe and the world to undertake study, research or professional development in all areas in Australia.

For more information about this program, you can visit the websites of Study in Australia and Australia Awards.


The CampusFrance Agency plans to set up a network in Australia. One of its missions would be to meet the information needs of French higher education institutions interested in the cooperation possibilities with Australia (to obtain a better understanding of its universities and/or to meet a mobility request of their own students).