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Study options

Undergraduate degree elements

For students with no prior university qualification.

Bachelor degree

The bachelor degree is the base university qualification. If you haven’t previously graduated from university, you will normally study toward a bachelor degree.

Admission criteria

Applicants usually require year 12 English, plus a tertiary entrance rank of at least 70 (80 for engineering and other select courses). The TER required for each course changes from year to year, depending on demand.


Generally three or four years’ full-time study or part-time equivalent.


A course is a program of study that consists of units and leads to the attainment of a degree. An undergraduate course is what you study as your first degree.

Upon completion, you’ll graduate with a bachelor degree. You may study a major, minor and/or stream.


A major is a series of more than eight units within a bachelor degree, providing in-depth knowledge of a specialised area.

A major includes at least two units at final-year level.

Double major

A double major means you study two full majors within a course, giving you an in-depth understanding of two areas.


A minor is a series of four units in the same subject, including at least two units at second-year level or higher.

You may be eligible to enrol in one or more of these minors, subject to the availability of at least 100 elective credits in the course structure (excluding the pre-major) that you are currently studying.

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A stream is a specialised structure of units within a course.


A unit is a distinct area of study that is a component of a course.

There are four types of units you may encounter in your course:

  • Core units – these are compulsory units for your course and/or major. If you do not enrol in and pass these units, you cannot complete your enrolled course.
  • Alternate core units – Alternate units are a special type of Core Unit. Your Study Plan will already have a unit listed as a Core unit, however, you will be allowed to select the alternate unit if you wish.
  • Optional units – these are units intended for your selected course and/or major. You will be required to enrol in and pass a selection of these units, the choice of which is up to you.
  • Elective units – these are units that can be from any school or department as long as the pre-requisites have been met. Although you can take units from any area, we advise that you take units relevant to your course.

The type of unit you enrol in will depend on the study plan and enrolment advice related specifically to your course. Some courses will only have core units, whilst others allow for multiple optional and elective units.

Stackable unit

A stackable unit is a standalone unit that can be studied online without committing to an entire course. Admission criteria do not apply. On successful completion, you may be eligible for entry into a Curtin course.

Other types of courses


Enabling and bridging courses are studied prior to a bachelor degree to help you meet admission requirements for your chosen course.

Double degree

A double degree is a study program that leads to two degrees. A double degree can be completed in a shorter timeframe than studying two degrees separately.

Example: Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) and Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing).

OUA/Open Universities

Open Universities Australia (OUA) is an organisation that delivers Australian university degrees online, usually with no first-year entry requirements. Several Curtin courses are available via OUA.

OUA students graduate with the same university qualifications as on-campus students.


MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. MOOCs don’t have entry requirements, meaning anyone can complete them.

They are short courses on a variety of topics online that are free to study.

Postgraduate coursework degrees

Usually for those who already have a university degree, although there are some exceptions.

Graduate certificate

The graduate certificate is a postgraduate degree that broadens the skills and knowledge gained from an undergraduate degree, or develops vocational skills.

Admission criteria

Applicants usually require a bachelor degree but, in certain cases, relevant work experience may be recognised.


Generally six months’ full-time study or part-time equivalent.

Graduate diploma

The graduate diploma is a specialised, vocationally-oriented degree designed to help you develop new knowledge and skills in an area not previously studied.

Admission criteria

Entry is normally based on a bachelor degree or diploma. Exceptions may be made in the case of less academically qualified applicants with appropriate work experience.


Generally 12 months’ full-time study or part-time equivalent.


The master degree comprises coursework, project work and research in varying combinations. It is designed to enhance your professional skills or help you acquire a deeper understanding of a specific area of knowledge.

Admission criteria

Normally a bachelor degree, honours degree or graduate diploma.

If you lack formal qualifications but possess relevant experience, you may be eligible to enrol in a graduate certificate or graduate diploma. Provided your performance meets the required standard, you can then qualify for admission to a master by coursework.


Varies due to the range of entry pathways, but most require the equivalent of two years’ full-time study.

Professional master

The professional master programs are designed with the busy professional in mind. Fast-track and intensive, these programs offer an executive-style qualification directly relevant to career environments, with the added benefit of networking with like-minded people.

Admission criteria

Usually a bachelor degree, honours degree or graduate diploma plus relevant professional experience.


Varies between 12 and 18 months full-time study or part-time equivalent.

Graduate entry master

A graduate entry master is a fast and intensive equivalent to a bachelor degree which allows you to change your career direction quickly.

Admission criteria

A bachelor degree in a related field.


Generally two years’ full-time study or equivalent.

Research degrees

For graduates who want to investigate and contribute knowledge in a particular academic field.

Master of Philosophy

The Master of Philosophy aims to expand knowledge beyond the undergraduate honours or postgraduate diploma level, culminating in a research thesis.

Admission criteria

Generally, a bachelor degree with honours or postgraduate diploma. Read the guidelines for research students.


One to two years full time study or part time equivalent.

PhD and other doctoral research degrees

Doctoral research degree candidates uncover new knowledge either by the discovery of new facts, the formulation of theories or the innovative reinterpretation of known data and established ideas.

Admission criteria

Generally, a bachelor degree with first or upper second class honours or a master degree. Read the guidelines for research students.


Two to four years full time study or part time equivalent.