Pathways to study - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Pathways to study

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Multiple entry options into USC

There's more than one way to become a student at USC.

Whether you are recent school leaver, have no previous qualifications or you’ve already studied at a tertiary level through university, TAFE or another registered training organisation (RTO), USC has an admission pathway for you.

Choose a category that best describes you. It doesn’t have to match perfectly – it’s just a guide to help us find the most appropriate information so we can help you rise, and shine.

special considerations

In some cases, you might be eligible for an ATAR or selection rank adjustment if you meet certain criteria under our Access USC scheme.

Check out the adjustment schemes we have available.

If you're a high school student who wants to get started on a university degree early, we have a couple of options for you.

Kickstart your university degree with our Headstart program for students who are still in Year 11 or 12 at high school.

You’ll study first-year uni subjects on campus, get a taste of university life and gain credit towards your degree.

Steps to apply

Choose a subject

USC has more than 90 subjects available to study for Headstart students. There are plenty of options, so choose a subject that counts towards the degree you’re interested in.

Check your eligibility

You’ll be taking on extra work as a Headstart student, so generally you need to be achieving above average results.

You must:

  • Be an Australian citizen, New Zealand citizen, Australian permanent resident or a Permanent Humanitarian visa holder. International students should speak with their school's Headstart Coordinator about their eligibility for the program.
  • Be currently completing Year 11 or 12 fulltime.
  • Be achieving a B grade average or better*.
  • Have approval from your school to apply.
  • Speak English as your first language, or have met the minimum English language requirements for your chosen program.

*There are some special circumstances where we accept students with lower grades. But you’ll need a written statement from your school outlining your special circumstance. We assess them on a case-by-case basis.

Discuss with your school

You need the support of your school to apply for Headstart, so you’ll need to discuss it with your school’s Headstart Coordinator. Ask them to check our cut off dates for applications too!

You’ll need to think about course content and class times.

Course content

Most subjects include a weekly lecture and tutorial. This means you can expect to be on campus about three to five hours every week.

However, some subjects have different requirements.

  • Most design courses require you to attend a computer workshop instead of a tutorial.
  • Language courses include a set of tutorials, adding up to about five hours of class time every week.
  • Most science courses require you to attend a tutorial or laboratory session, alternating each week during semester. Class time for science courses is usually about four hours per week.

Class times

You can select your preferred class times from a couple of options, depending on what you’re studying. We’ll send you information about how to select your preferred class times before the semester starts.

Apply

Complete an application form and give it to your school’s Headstart Coordinator.

Application form

Remember to attach supporting documents such as your most recent report card, awards, achievements or references that demonstrate your eligibility for the program.

Once you’re all done, your school’s Headstart Coordinator will complete a School’s Statement of Support and forward your application to USC. Remind them to check our cut off dates for applications!

What now?

If your application is successful

If you’re successful, we will send you an offer to your email.

Follow the instructions provided in your official offer to get started at USC.

Orientation information and instructions about choosing your class times will be sent to you in January.

If your application is unsuccessful

We’ll send you a formal notification letting you know. But don’t give up – there are plenty of pathways to get into study at USC! Talk with us on our chat link below.

The Early Offer Guarantee is for Year 12 students who want to secure a place at USC before Year 12 results are released. Students need the approval of their school principal to apply.

Steps to apply

Complete the Early Offer Guarantee form

Fill out the Early Offer Guarantee application form and meet with your Early Offer Guarantee Coordinator at your school. Remember, your first preference on your QTAC application must match the degree you’re applying for to receive an Early Offer Guarantee.

Submit Early Offer Guarantee application to school

Submit your application, with a copy of your Year 12 report card from Semester 1, to your school coordinator before the cut-off date.

If you’re applying for an Education or Nursing Science degree, you need to show that you have either:

  • Completed six years of primary and secondary school, including grades 7 and 12, in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom, or the United States.

Or

  • If English is your second language, you need to have an Academic IELTS score of at least 7.0 with a minimum of 7.0 in each subtest (obtained within one year before starting the program).

For more information visit English language requirements.

Apply to study at USC

You’ll still need to submit your QTAC application to study at USC.

If you already know what to do, you can go straight to QTAC.

[APPLY NOW]

If you need to know the steps involved to apply through QTAC, we can help you.

[HOW TO APPLY]

What happens next?

We’ll contact you by email to let you know if we can make you an Early Offer Guarantee.

After that, you’ll receive your official offer from QTAC followed by our official offer along with all the info you need to enrol in your classes and get ready to start your first semester at USC.

However, there are a few exceptions.

If you’ve applied for one of the below programs, you’ll only receive a conditional offer first because we need to check that you meet the prerequisites or other requirements for the degree.

Everyone must meet the prerequisites before starting study for:

  • Computer Science
  • Education (all programs)
  • Engineering (all programs)
  • Laws (all programs)
  • Occupational Therapy (Honours)
  • Nursing Science

We’ll confirm whether you’ve met the requirements once Year 12 results have been released.

Our pathway programs can be a great option to help you start university study.

This free six-month program is one of our most popular pathway programs.

If you don’t meet the entry requirements of your dream degree, or if you want to improve your academic skills, we offer the Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) program to help you ease into university study.

Once you complete this program, your results can be used to receive a selection rank, which you can use to help get you into the degree you want.

Steps to apply

Choose TPP subjects

Even though you won’t get to choose your TPP subjects until you’re enrolled in the program, it’s important to know what you want to study.

We offer lots of TPP subjects so make sure you choose ones that relate to the degree you want to go on to study after completing the preparation pathway.

Check out our list of recommended TPP subjects and the degrees they relate to.

[RECOMMENDED SUBJECTS]

Check entry requirements

QTAC assesses TPP applications on USC’s behalf.

To be eligible to receive an offer from QTAC, you must meet the TPP entry requirements:

  • Be at least 17 years of age, or have completed Year 12 or equivalent
  • Meet the minimum English language requirements for your degree (if English is not your first language)

You won’t be able to apply for this if you’ve been enrolled at USC within the past two years or if you’re holding a deferred place.

Apply through QTAC

Once you've met the entry requirements, you're ready to apply.

Before you apply through QTAC, you’ll need to know:

  • The QTAC code of the USC campus where you want to enrol. The codes are different for each location:
    o Sunshine Coast QTAC code 019901
    o Moreton Bay QTAC code 019961
    o Caboolture QTAC code 019941
    o Fraser Coast QTAC code 019921
    o Gympie QTAC code 019911
  • The semester or study period you’re applying for (ie when you want to start your study).

Apply through the QTAC website

Submit your application online via the QTAC website.

You’ll need to create a QTAC applicant account, enter all required information and pay the application fee.

If you’re experiencing financial difficulty, you can apply for a TPP Educational Access Grant.

[EDUCATIONAL ACCESS GRANT]

It’s important to include as much information as possible in your application (including supporting documentation, where relevant). This will help QTAC process your application.

What happens next?

You can view or update your completed application through QTAC's Application Services.

QTAC might contact you to ask for more information or give you an update on your application.

Once an offer round has occurred, you will be contacted by email to let you know whether you have been made an offer and what to do next.

After you’ve completed the TPP, you’ll receive a selection rank that can be used to apply directly to USC for a place in an undergraduate degree.

However, some high demand undergrad programs such as Medical Science, Midwifery and Dietetics have minimum selection thresholds that are too high to achieve through TPP.

A full-time, one-year program means you can get a taste for university, and have something to show for it, without the commitment of a full degree program.

A USC pathway diploma is a stand-alone qualification that gives you direct entry and up to one year’s credit into selected bachelor’s degrees.

Steps to apply

Check entry requirements

To apply for this program you must:

  • Meet the minimum English language requirements for your degree (if English is not your first language)

Applicants who have already completed a higher education qualification (AQF Level 5 and above, or equivalent), excluding VET sector diplomas, are not eligible for entry into this program.

Apply through QTAC

Once you've chosen your pathway diploma and you’ve met the entry requirements, you're ready to apply.

Before you apply through QTAC, you’ll need to know:

  • The names and QTAC codes of the pathway diplomas you want to apply for. Write down the correct QTAC code for your study location because the code is different for each USC campus.
  • The semester or study period you’re applying for (ie when you want to start your study).

Order your preferences

You can include up to six preferences in your QTAC application.

Your first preference should be the pathway diploma you want to study the most.

Your lower preferences are your back-up options.

Apply through the QTAC website

Submit your application online via the QTAC website. You’ll need to create a QTAC applicant account, enter all required information and pay the application fee.
It’s important to include as much information as possible in your application (including supporting documentation, where relevant). This will help QTAC process your application.

What happens next?

You can view or update your completed application through QTAC's Application Services. QTAC might contact you to ask for more information or give you an update on your application.

Once an offer round has occurred, you will be contacted by email to let you know whether you have been made an offer and what to do next.

After you’ve completed a pathway diploma, you will receive direct entry and 96 units of credit towards the bachelor degree you want to study. ​