Latest NewsEnglish Courses in Australia: What You Need to Know

English Courses in Australia: What You Need to Know

With approximately 1.5 billion people from all over the world speaking it, it is no wonder that English is considered a global language and a pathway to education in many countries. Since English is Australia’s de facto national language, many prospective students decide to study here for this very reason (this and its excellent education system). 

Learning or improving your English language skills not only gives you deep insight into Australian culture but also prepares you to get the most out of your education in Australia.

If you’re planning to study English in Australia, there are plenty of pathways and courses for you to choose from. Below, we will discuss everything you need to know about the types of courses offered, how to choose your English course provider, and which English tests are approved by Australian universities.

Types of English Language Courses & Programmes

Australian education institutions and independent language course providers offer a variety of English language courses that suit different needs. Some people will need a course to get acquainted with the language, while others may require an advanced course to prepare them for one of the approved English language tests. We will elaborate more on the tests that are generally accepted by Australian universities and institutions further in the article

Here are some of the main types of English language courses offered in Australia:

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

As an integral component of Australia’s international education sector, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) attract a considerable number of students from different countries of the world. In fact, the number of international students enrolled in ELICOS in 2022 reached 64,039. ELICOS is designed as a preparatory English language program for people who intend to improve their language skills either for education, career, or travel purposes; however, they are primarily targeted toward students holding an international student visa.

Courses classified as ELICOS should have a maximum student-teacher ratio of 18 to 1 and a mandatory 20 contact study hours a week. The duration of ELICOS programs typically varies from five to 60 weeks. 

Here are some options for ELICOS programs in Australia:

Course providerStudy modeCourse durationCourse fee
University of Southern QueenslandOn-campusMinimum 5 weeks to maximum 32 weeksAUD 4280 for a 10-week program
Eynesbury CollegeOn-campus10 weeks (per level)AUD 400 per week
Swinburne University of TechnologyOn-campus5 to 50 weeksAUD 460 per week 

General English

General English courses teach core reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills that are required for people to communicate effectively in various contexts and settings. Through these courses, you will be able to communicate confidently in an English-speaking country such as Australia. General English courses range from Elementary to Advanced levels.

Here are some General English courses offered by Australian providers:

Course providerStudy modeCourse durationCourse fee
Torrens University AustraliaOnline, On campus10 to 40 weeks full-timeAUD 420 per week
La Trobe UniversityOn-campusMinimum 5 WeeksAUD 470 per week
Victoria UniversityOn-campus5-10 weeks per levelAUD 460 per week

English for Specific Purposes (ESP)

English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses approach teaching English with specific communication and vocabulary goals in mind. These courses are usually taught to students or professionals who intend to use English in a specific context, be that an academic setting or a professional environment. 

As such, ESP courses can be divided into many subcategories, such as:

  • English for Nursing
  • English for Teaching
  • English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
  • Business English
  • Aviation English 
  • Legal English

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is typically the most popular course that helps you meet the English language criteria for pursuing higher education in a university or college in Australia.

Here are some examples of ESP courses in Australia:

Course providerCourse nameStudy modeCourse durationCourse fee
Charter AustraliaEnglish for Healthcare and Nursing In-person26 weeksNot specified
Sydney Community CollegeBusiness EnglishOnline20 hours$375.00
Curtin UniversityGraduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other LanguagesOnline & on-campus1 year full-timeFrom $2,060

English for Academic Purposes (EAP)

International students who plan to study at an Australian TAFE, undergraduate, or postgraduate program need to meet certain criteria of English proficiency. English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses are designed to bridge the gap between your current English language level and the English language abilities needed to pursue higher education in Australia. These courses are typically appropriate for upper-intermediate to advanced levels.

These are some EAP courses you can find at Australian institutions:

Course providerStudy modeCourse durationCourse fee
Victoria UniversityOn-campus10 weeks per levelAUD 460 per week
RMIT UniversityOn-campus, OnlineTwo 5-week modules per levelAUD 490 per week
Flinders University AcademyOn-campus5 to 20 weeksAUD 450 per week

Test Preparation Courses

Test preparation courses are a great way to familiarise yourself with the format of one of the English language courses that are approved by Australian universities and government. These courses help students develop test-taking skills and strategies with a focus on strengthening speaking, listening, writing, and reading abilities. You can choose from the following preparatory courses depending on which accepted test you are planning to take:

  • IELTS preparation
  • TOEFL preparation
  • PTE preparation
  • OET preparation
  • Cambridge English Qualifications preparation

These are some examples for this type of English courses:

Course providerCourse nameStudy modeCourse durationCourse fee
Astley English CollegeIELTS PreparationOn-campus2-12+ weeks, depending on the levelNot specified
MIT InstituteOET PreparationOn-campus6 weeks block *maximum 12 weeks AUD 350 per week
ILSC Language SchoolsIELTS MasteryIn-personMinimum 4 weeksAUD 360 per week

Study Tour Programs

Study tour programs are short intensive English courses targeted toward various groups of students ranging from upper primary school to university level or professionals. These programs are a great opportunity to visit Australia for a short holiday while also improving your English skills. Tours of this nature are typically two to four weeks long and combine English language courses with scheduled excursions around Australia.

Here are some study tour programs in Australia:

Course providerStudy modeCourse durationCourse fee
Navitas EnglishIn-person1 to 4 weeksNot specified
Browns English Language SchoolIn-personMinimum 2 weeksNot specified
Melbourne City College AustraliaIn-person1 to 6 weeksAUD 450 per week or AUD 600 for 2 weeks

Approved English Language Tests in Australia

If you want to apply for a study or work visa in Australia, you will need to meet the English language requirements specified by the Department of Home Affairs. The level of English language proficiency required depends on the visa subclass you are applying for; therefore, you can check specific requirements on visa information pages and government websites. 

As for English language scores, the Department of Home Affairs accepts scores from five tests: International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT), Pearson Test of English (PTE), Cambridge English (CAE), and the Occupational English Test (OET).

The minimum score requirements will depend on the type of visa you intend to apply for. If you plan to study in an Australian institution, you should look into course-specific language requirements and the test scores needed.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic)

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an internationally recognised standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native speakers. The test can help you meet language requirements to work, study, or migrate to a native English-speaking country such as Australia. 

IELTS Academic tests your English language proficiency at an academic level and qualifies you to study in an English-speaking environment, therefore, if you’re planning to study at a higher education institution in Australia, IELTS Academic is the more commonly accepted test. The accepted scores can vary from degree level, study area, and institution, therefore, check specific requirements with the university or school you are applying to.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT)

The Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) is a standardized test that measures the English proficiency of non-native speakers who want to enrol in an English-speaking educational institution. The test measures the level of your listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills in an academic setting. This test is accepted by all Australian universities. However, score requirements will vary depending on the university, the type of degree you plan to pursue, and the area of your studies. 

Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic)

Trusted by more than 3000 colleges and universities worldwide, the Pearson Test of English (PTE) is another computer-based English test that is accepted by Australian institutions and universities. PTE measure your English speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. PTE exams are classified into two types: PTE General and PTE Academic. In order to gain admission to an Australian university, you will need to successfully complete the PTE Academic.

Cambridge English Qualifications (CAE)

Cambridge English Qualifications are a series of level-oriented exams that measure your English proficiency. There are a variety of levels for Cambridge English Qualifications ranging from the Young Learner (YLE) test to the C2 Proficiency (CPE) qualification. The Australian Department of Home Affairs typically requires the C1 Advanced (CAE) qualification for student visa applicants, temporary graduate visas, and more. Most Australian universities and TAFE institutions accept the C1 Advanced for admissions, depending on the type of study program.

Occupational English Test (OET)

The Occupation English Test (OET) is a test designed to measure the English language skills needed in the healthcare sector. This test is trusted by regulators, hospitals, and universities in English-speaking countries and further. The test measures English listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills in a healthcare setting. The Department of Home Affairs recognises OET scores for a variety of visa subclasses, such as skilled migration and student visas. Most healthcare boards and councils, universities, and other higher education institutions accept the OET on Paper only.

How to Choose an English Language Course Provider

When you invest in something, you want to have a return on that investment. English courses in Australia typically come with a fee, so you want to make sure that not only are you getting good value for your money but also that you’re receiving quality education and that the course provider is credible. 

To ensure that courses are offered to both national and international students, Australia has a variety of quality assurance institutions and agencies that regulate them. For example, the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) is a government website that lists education providers and courses in Australia for people who are in the country on a student visa. Another regulator is the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), which is responsible for assuring the quality of higher education providers. English Australia is also a great resource for finding quality English language schools and courses. 

Another way to determine the quality of an English course provider is to read reviews from students who have completed it and to review the course curriculum. If the majority of the reviews are positive and the curriculum is clearly defined, this is a good sign that the course may be worth signing up for.

How to Maximise Your English Language Learning

Learning English can have its ups and downs; one day, you feel like you have tackled everything you need to know, and the next, someone asks you what a certain thing is called in English, and you don’t remember and begin to doubt your abilities. The journey of learning or improving a language is a difficult one. However, it is most definitely rewarding. If you’re residing or planning to move to Australia and need to spruce up your English skills, here are some tips to help you learn better and faster.

Don’t Hesitate to Spark a Conversation

Clichés are clichés for a reason — talking and practising with people is crucial when learning a new language. This is not only an opportunity to get a better grip on the language but also an ice-breaker and a way to meet new people. Learning new vocabulary and repeating it or writing in your notes will take you so far, using new words and phrases in a conversation and context is much better.

Immerse Yourself in Movies, Books, and News in English

Movies, books, and news in English are an excellent way to expose yourself to the language used in various situations and improve your listening and reading skills. They are also the perfect resource to learn new Australian slang words and experience natural forms of the written and spoken language, which you may not encounter in academic situations. 

Here are some popular Australian movies to check out:

  • Australia (2008)
  • The Castle (1997)
  • This Little Love Of Mine (2019)
  • Beneath Clouds (2002)
  • The Dressmaker (2015)

These are some top-rated books from Australian authors:

  • Too Many Men – Lily Brett (1999)
  • True History of the Kelly Gang – Peter Carey (2000)
  • The Light Between Oceans – M.L Stedman (2012)
  • Cloudstreet – Tim Winton (1991)
  • The Yield – Tara June Winch (2019)

And lastly, here are some of Australia’s major news outlets to stay updated with current events and learn new vocabulary along the way:

  • The Sydney Morning Herald
  • The Daily Telegraph
  • The Herald Sun
  • The Canberra Times
  • The Age

Use the Magic Sentence “How do you say this in English?”

Either when you’re talking to native English speakers or fellow non-native speakers, the sentence “How do you say (insert description or non-English word) in English?” is a useful way to remain curious and learn new words. Little by little, you will have built your vocabulary and practised speaking confidently in English.

Familiarise Yourself with the Format of Your Chosen Test

Approved English proficiency test scores are a pathway to studying or working in Australia and an important component of eligibility for visas in Australia. If you are not from a native English-speaking country, chances are you will have to prove your English proficiency through one of the tests we have listed above. Therefore, if you plan to undergo a specific test, it is important to get acquainted with its format. 

For example, the TOEFL iBT lasts four hours and consists of four sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing). The Reading section contains 3 to 4 reading passages with about 700 words each. You will have 10 questions per passage and 54 to 72 minutes to answer them. The listening section contains four to six lectures and two to three conversations. The section can vary in length and questions from 60 minutes and 34 questions to 90 minutes and 51 questions. You will always have 20 minutes to complete the Speaking section and 50 minutes to complete the Writing section. There are also certain tips and strategies that can help you get a better score, so it is worth spending time preparing beforehand.

The English language is a global language that can open new doors and opportunities. Whether you are interested in English courses in Australia for work, study, or self-development purposes, they are an invaluable resource that is definitely worth investing in. 

Latest Articles

More articles