University pathways: An alternative option for entry into university

If you don’t meet the admission criteria to get into university, there are alternate university entry options available for you.  It is possible to gain entry into an Australian bachelor or masters degree by enrolling in a pre-university course pathway program.

Here’s your guide to learn more about university pathways in Australia.

International students studying a pathway to university in Adelaide
Last Updated Tuesday 19th March, 2024

What is a university pathway?

University pathways are preparatory courses designed to prepare students for entry into a university degree program. It is a non degree course available for students who do not meet a university's admission criteria. Once they have successfully completed the pathway course, they may qualify for entry to a relevant university degree in Australia.

There are different types of university pathways that lead to a bachelor's and master's degree program. This includes English language programs, foundation studies, and specific fields and subjects courses.

What are the benefits of studying a university pathway?

Studying a university pathway program offers many benefits for international students including:

Gain direct entry into university

You may not have completed the secondary or tertiary studies needed to get into your dream course, or perhaps you didn’t meet some of the entry requirements. Studying with a university pathway provider may offer you with the option to study specific coursework required for certain degrees. This means you may eventually enroll in your chosen course with a university in Adelaide.

Improve your English before university

Similar to educational gaps, you might need to improve your English language skills before gaining entry into university. The teachers involved in these programs are experienced with students who are learning English as their second language and adjust their classes accordingly. Successful completion of the university pathway ensures your written and spoken English language skills are strong enough to complete your university degree.

Transfer directly into the second year of your degree

Many pathway programs offer direct entry into your second year of university. These programs are often called 'pre-university courses' which will allow you to complete your degree in the same amount of time as you would, if you had direct entry into university. You won’t necessarily have to study for longer when choosing a pathway!

Cost-effective university degree

In many cases, the tuition fees for studying at a pathway provider can be less than a university's first year tuition fees, which may reduce the overall cost of your degree. There might also be scholarships available at your chosen pathway provider that make your studies even more affordable.

Ease into Australian life before entering university

Choosing to study a university pathway is a great way of easing yourself into your studies in Australia in a highly supportive environment. From the teaching and learning style to exams and assignments, and even the social interaction between peers and teachers, there may be several differences between studying in your home country and studying in Australia. 

Access to facilities

Many pathway providers offer access to university facilities like libraries, dedicated study areas, and cafeterias so you can enjoy the same on-campus experience and get a feel for your future university’s culture.

University pathway providers in Adelaide

There are so many great reasons to study in Adelaide, including the wide range of university pathway providers available. You can choose to study at:


TAFE SA is South Australia’s largest Vocational Education and Training (VET) provider and offers over 50 dual-offer university pathway courses. Dual-offer courses allow you to graduate from your university pathway course with credit towards your chosen university degree, which can help speed up your studies.

The University of Adelaide College

The University of Adelaide College is a great option for students seeking an alternative pathway to study at the University of Adelaide, offering foundation, degree transfer, pre-master’s and English language preparation courses across multiple fields of study including engineering, computer science and business. Students become part of the University of Adelaide cohort and can enjoy the use of university resources.

South Australian Institute of Business and Technology (SAIBT)

The South Australian Institute of Business and Technology (SAIBT) offers nationally recognised university pathway programs that may lead you into your second year of most University of South Australia bachelor’s degrees. Students enjoy smaller class sizes and access to the University of South Australia’s student facilities and resources.

Flinders University Academy

Flinders University Academy is in the heart of Flinders University, providing a supportive environment for international students who may not have met the academic or English language requirements for direct entry into a degree program. Flinders University Academy provides a pathway for students to develop before commencing further studies at Flinders University.

Eynesbury College

Eynesbury College is located in the centre of Adelaide and offers the most extensive range of university pathway courses in South Australia. 

Students that study at Eynesbury College may go on to studies at any one of the pthree public universities in Adelaide - The University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, Flinders University, or any other Australian university.

Ironwood Institute

Ironwood Institute is perfect for students with a green thumb – it is the first and only private institute to deliver nationally recognised horticulture and agribusiness management courses, as well as marketing, business and management. Ironwood focuses on delivering a great learning environment with state-of-the-art facilities and close relationships with industry and higher education institutions.

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