Tertiary Preparation Courses


A TPC is an option if your student needs confidence or support in literacy skills before embarking on a university course.

TPCs can be completed through TAFE, other Registered Training Authorities or at universities, and will provide students with an ATAR. The ATAR is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank.

For an excellent summary page with more general information on how to use TAFE Australia as a tertiary pathway click here.

TPCs are usually designed for applicants who haven’t completed Year 12 at school. Minimum age requirements may apply and the length of these courses differs between institutions. For admission purposes, most institutions will consider the tertiary preparation courses offered by other institutions. You are strongly advised, however, to check which courses each institution considers.

Here are a list of States and Territories that use a TPC as entry to university:

  • OPEN Universities Australia – UniReady Enabling Course. This program works through presentation, communication, study, and self-management skills and is all online. It includes 2 mandatory subjects then two electives based within subject areas the student is interested in pursuing.
  • Queensland – Apply here for TAFE QLD which states adult, but does not state an age limit.
  • New South Wales TAFE NSW appears to not offer the online Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation course anymore. You can complete Certificate IV TPC at various campuses for around $7,000.
  • Incidentally, the NSW TAFE TPC is recognised nationally but still confirm before starting this course if the university of choice will accept this TPC for your chosen course.

As an example, TAFE NSW offers a TPC, as a Certificate IV and is available to study full-time or part-time or through flexible learning options. On completion, the student will be awarded the Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC), a qualification recognised by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), NSW universities and some interstate universities.

The following States have a different system in place at TAFE without a specific TPC as a pathway to tertiary education

  • Western Australia – Apply at TAFE WA as a joint TAFE course that transfers credits to the following universities giving the student both a TAFE Cert VI and Bachelor Degree in a single study pathway. The partner universities include Curtin University, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University and the University of Western Australia.
  • South Australia – Learn more here for TAFE SA who partner with Flinders University, Australian University and the University of South Australia. It is a similar scheme as Western Australia’s pathway from TAFE to university.
  • Victoria – the TAFE VIC does not offer a TPC however has a transfer credits system similar to Western Australia. TPCs are available directly at RMIT, Charles Sturt, Deakin University, and Griffith University.
  • Tasmania – Contact TAS TAFE to see which TAFE courses transfer credits to the University of Tasmania only. There is a TPC avenue or for a more supported entry, there is also a Diploma of University Studies with foundation units from the faculty you want to study with upon completion at UT.

The following Territories do not have a specific TAFE course and offer a Tertiary Enabling Course.

  • ACT
  • Australian National University – ANU college offers Foundation Studies with flexible options for a pathway into a degree at ANU.
  • University of Canberra, offers 14 week course on campus in Canberra for under $1,000 plus Student Services fees. However it is usually aimed at 21 years and over. If you don’t fit any of the above criteria please ring UC College on +61 2 6201 2961.
  • Northern Territory – Charles Darwin University’s free Tertiary Enabling Program (TEP) is an alternative pathway into uni (sometimes called a ‘preparatory’ or ‘bridging’ course). You can complete the free course online or on campus, full time or part time, and in as little as 16 weeks you’ll meet the requirements to apply for entry to most CDU undergraduate degrees.

This is not an exhaustive list, however it does give you an idea on what is available

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