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Australia Awards


1. What are Australia Awards?

Australia Awards are prestigious international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian Government. They are a whole-of-government initiative bringing together scholarships and fellowships administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Department of Education and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) into a single, recognisable brand. They offer the next generation of global leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and for high-achieving Australians to do the same overseas. 

For more information on the Australia Awards, visit http://www.australiaawards.gov.au/

2. What are Australia Awards Scholarships? The Awards administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are known as Australia Awards Scholarships. They aim to contribute to the long-term development needs of Australia's partner countries in line with bilateral and regional agreements. They provide opportunities for people from developing countries to undertake full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions. The study and research opportunities provided by Australia Awards Scholarships develop the skills and knowledge of individuals to drive change and contribute to the development outcomes of their own country. For more information on Australia Awards Scholarships, visit http://dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/australia-awards/Pages/australia-awards-scholarships.aspx.

Australia Awards Scholarships in South and West Asia are managed by Scope Global on behalf of DFAT. There are Australia Awards offices in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to support the program and advise applicants.

Application & selection


Refer Australia Awards Scholarships Policy Handbook

4. When does the applications round begin and end?

Applications round opened on 1 February 2016 and will close on 30 April 2016 for studies commencing in 2017.

5. How are applications assessed?

After applications are screened to ensure all eligibility and documentation requirements are met, they are assessed by independent consultants against criteria, including academic qualifications, English language proficiency, work experience, leadership and potential for applicants to influence development in their countries.

6. How are applicants shortlisted?

Applicants are shortlisted by DFAT from the list of assessed and rank applicants recommended by the independent consultants.

7. How is the final selection done?

Applicants shortlisted by the DFAT are invited to a selection interview, which consist of a verbal panel interview and a writing exercise. The selection panel assesses analytical skills, English language skills, writing skills, knowledge of the subject field and commitment to development of their countries.

8. What supporting documents are needed with the application form?

Document requirements may vary from country to country. Therefore, applicants are advised to check their respective country webpages for country specific requirements. All supporting documents must be uploaded with the application form. File sizes for uploaded documents must not exceed 2MB. Please check the country pages for finding out the exact requirements pertaining to your country and the tips on scanning and uploading documents.

9. What is an alternative document to a birth certificate?

There is no alternative document.

10. How do I decide on a Priority/Development Theme to enter on the application form?

Check your Country Profile for the Priority/Development Themes for your country and your employment sector. You must select from those listed. Contact your local Australia Awards office for clarification.

11. Do I need referee reports as part of my application?

Yes. All applicants must provide at least two referee reports, usually one academic and one work- related. Some countries and some courses may require more than this, or different combinations of referee reports. It is important to check your Country Profile and entry requirements for the courses you select.

12. Why might an application be rejected?

The most common reason applications are rejected is due to not fulfilling documentation requirements or the eligibility criteria.

13. Can a scholarship be deferred?

Generally, no. Under exceptional circumstances, however, and on a case-by-case basis, DFAT may approve a deferral. DFAT requires detailed documentation to consider a deferral. Deferrals are usually for one semester, which means studies would commence in mid-2017.

14. Is work experience mandatory?

Yes. Work experience relevant to the field of study is a minimum eligibility requirement. The amount of experience required varies from country to country. For example, internships or articleships may not count towards work experience in some countries. Check your Country Profile and contact your local Australia Awards office for more information.

15. Can my spouse apply for a scholarship while with me in Australia?

Your spouse can apply for a scholarship; however, to meet scholarship conditions, s/he must apply from their home country. An application cannot be made from Australia.

16. Are provisional educational degrees accepted as valid educational qualification?

No. DFAT will only accept final transcripts and educational degrees from accredited educational institutions.

17. Where can I get a hard copy application form?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply on-line at https://oasis.dfat.gov.au/
If you cannot access the internet and, therefore, cannot lodge an application on-line, contact the Australia Awards office in your country well before 30 April 2016 to discuss options, including lodging a hard-copy application. If you lodge a hard copy application, you must attach certified copies of all supporting documents.

18. How will I know if my online application is submitted? Can I print it?

You will receive an e-mail confirming the application has been submitted. You must print your application before you submit it. Once an application has been submitted, it cannot be printed.

19. Which websites should I check before applying for an Australia Awards Scholarship?

The most useful sites are: 

Priority & reserve applicants


20. Will there be reserve candidates for Australia Awards Scholarships this year?

Yes. The selection panel nominates a list of priority candidates, equal to the number of Awards available. It also nominates a ranked list of reserve candidates. Reserve candidates have met all eligibility criteria and are suitable for placement if a priority candidate withdraws or cannot be placed.

21. How will I know if I am shortlisted, selected or held in reserve?

If you are shortlisted, a representative from the Australia Awards office in your country will invite you to attend an interview. If recommended either as a priority candidate or reserve candidate, you will informed accordingly and invited to a mobilisation briefing session.

22. When will I be notified that I have been nominated for an Australia Awards Scholarship?

Awardees for Australia Awards Scholarships will be notified in September 2016.

English language proficiency requirements


23. Who pays for applicants to take the English language test?

Applicants bear the cost of English language proficiency tests.

24. Is the IELTS (or TOEFL or PTE Academic) score the main factor used to recommend Awards candidates? 

No, but it is a very important factor because it is a mandatory requirement by all Australian universities. Without a valid IELTS (or TOEFL or PTE Academic) score that meets minimum entry requirements for a course, you cannot be admitted. A valid IELTS (or TOEFL or PTE Academic) test score must be attached to your application.

25. What is a valid IELTS, TOEFL or PTE Academic score?

IELTS (and TOEFL and PTE Academic) test scores are valid for two years from the date of the result. For Intake 2017, IELTS (and TOEFL) results must be valid on 1 January 2017; therefore tests have to be taken after 1 January 2015. 
In some South Asian countries there are exemptions at the application for English language proficiency requirements for women, people with disabilities and people from indigenous or traditionally marginalised communities as a social inclusion strategy. It is important to check eligibility requirements for your country. This information can be found under country specific webpage at http://www.australiaawardssouthwestasia.org.

26. Do applicants with foreign degrees need to submit a valid English language proficiency score?

Yes. Applicants with foreign degrees, even from English speaking countries such as the UK, USA and Canada, need to submit a valid IELTS/TOEFL/PTE Academic score.

27. Do applicants need to submit a valid IELTS/TOEFL/PTE academic score if their medium of instruction was English throughout their academic career?


28. I sat an IELTS/ TOEFL/PTE academic exam on (for example) 31 October 2014. Is this valid to apply for a scholarship this year?

No. This examination date is more than two years old at 1 January 2017. Although this test is less than two years old at the time of application, it will not be valid at 1 January 2017. To be valid at 1 January 2017, IELTS/TOEFL/PTE academic tests need to be taken after 1 January 2015.

29. When should I take an IELTS/TOEFL/PTE academic test?

You should sit for the test early enough to receive the results certificate before 30 April 2014 (closing date for application round). The test score form part of supporting documents that applicants need to submit along with their application. If your application does not contain an IELTS, TOEFL or PTE academic test certificate, it will be ineligible.
Information on test options, exam dates and times is available at: http://ielts.orghttp://ets.org/toefl/http://www.pearsonpte.com/Pages/Home.aspx

30. How expensive is the IELTS/TOEFL/PTE academic exam? Can I sit for the exam without going for classes?

For details and advice on costs and preparation for examinations, contact one of the test centres in your country.

Courses available to applicants


31. Can I choose any university?

No. DFAT scholarship awardees are accepted by most Australian universities, but not all. A list of participating universities for Intake 2017 is available at: http://dfat.gov.au/about-us/publications/Pages/australia-awards-participating-institutions.aspx.

32. How do I use CRICOS?

CRICOS is a database of universities/institutions and courses in Australia available to overseas students. Search for your preferred university and course using the search options available at: http://cricos.education.gov.au/. There are CRICOS code numbers for both universities and courses. In the application form, you need to enter the code for the preferred course.

33. How do I select a suitable course and enter it on the application form?

Careful research before selecting courses is essential. Visit university websites, read their handbooks and attend information sessions conducted by the Australia Awards office team in your country. Once you have researched university options, visit the CRICOS website at: http://cricos.education.gov.au/
In researching a course, make sure:

  • it aligns with a Priority Theme/Area for your country
  • it is available for international students
  • it commence in Semester 1, 2017
  • it will help you contribute to sustainable development in your country
  • you meet all enrolment entry requirements, including English language requirements
  • it is no longer than 4 years (if it is an undergraduate or PhD program) or 2 years (if it is a Masters course). Note: check your Country Profile for the degrees approved for Australia Awards Scholarships.

34. Do I have to do a Master’s program by research if I have already completed a Masters by coursework in the same field?

No, it is not mandatory, but recommended that you do so. Your application will be more competitive if you can demonstrate that proposed study builds on existing skills. Note: not all countries in South Asia consider applicants who already hold qualifications at the same level. Check with your Australia Awards office.

35. Are there any special requirements for candidates interested in a research degree?

Yes. You must complete the Research Proposal Details section on the application form and upload at least two academic referee reports using the template at http://dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/australia-awards/Pages/how-to-apply-for-an-australia-awards-scholarship.aspx along with a brief research proposal.
You are strongly encouraged to discuss research topics with prospective universities in advance. You must include a supporting document from a supervisor for your research with your application. Check your country page on the Australia Awards website for specific requirements at http://www.australiaawardssouthwestasia.org. Guidelines for developing a research proposal are available on individual country webpage as well.

36. What if my research involves fieldwork and field trips?

Fieldwork is part of any Master’s by research or PhD program. It may be undertaken in Australia or your home country. Read the relevant section of the Australia Awards Scholarships Policy Handbook for information on fieldwork. If fieldwork is compulsory, the university will record it in OASIS. If it is not included, funds for fieldwork may not be approved.

37. How are second preferences for courses handled?

If a university declines your first preference, you will be considered for your second preference. If you cannot be placed in your second preference, DFAT may advise that no placement can be made. If this is the case, the offer of an Award is withdrawn. Therefore, it is very crucial to research universities entry requirements for your proposed study program.

38. I am studying in Australia and finding it difficult to pay my tuition fees. Can I apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship?

No. Australia Awards Scholarships do not support completion of studies already commenced in Australia (see Australia Awards Scholarships Policy Handbook).

Placement at university institution in Australia


39. Is a university placement part of an Award? Should I be accepted by a university before I apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship?

You do not need a placement at an Australian university before applying for an Australia Awards Scholarship. It is important, however, to research courses and satisfy all entry requirements before completing the Proposed Study Program section of the application form. University placements are done by the Australia Awards office on your behalf, according to the priority preference you have indicated in your application.

40. Do I have to pay to apply for this Award?

No. There are no application costs. 

Pre-departure information


41. What are the requirements for a DFAT (subclass 576) visa?

Visit http://www.border.gov.au/ for details. DFAT, Australia Awards office and Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) conduct a mobilisation briefing session  in each country once candidates are identified. Nominated candidate and reserve candidates are invited and briefed about document requirements and how to submit a DFAT subclass 576 visa application.

42. How long does visa processing take?

The standard time for visa processing is 8-12 weeks from the time all documents are submitted. Refer to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website for more details at http://www.border.gov.au/.

43. Why does it take so long to get a visa?

There can be many reasons, including DIBP workloads, incomplete documentation and delays with medical clearances.

44. What happens if my visa application is rejected? Can I reapply?

A scholarship offer is conditional on receiving a DFAT (subclass 576) visa. If an application is rejected, the scholarship offer is withdrawn. If this happens, you can apply again for the next or future intakes.

45. Is a medical examination compulsory for obtaining a DFAT (subclass 576) visa?

Yes. A medical examination is mandatory for applications. After submitting your application, DIBP will contact you about a medical examination. Information about medical examination is also provided during the mobilization briefing session.

Travel to Australia 


46. Can I stop over on the way to Australia or travel to Australia early for a holiday?

No. Travel is organised by the most direct route to your final destination in Australia. Travel is cost effective, and aims to minimise risks in third countries while in transit.

47. How do I collect my air-ticket? Who makes the travel arrangements?

After receiving a DFAT (subclass 576) visa, the Australia Awards office will book your flight, take care of your travel arrangements and arrange for you to receive your ticket. You need to present a copy of a valid visa to the Australia Awards office to receive an air-ticket.

48. What is the maximum weight of luggage allowed for students?

Luggage allowances vary between airlines. The Australia Awards office will brief you about this at its pre-departure briefing.

49. What should I take to Australia?

The Australia Awards office will discuss this at its pre-departure briefing. You will get a check list or information sheet about it. Alternatively, awardees should look up for information on quarantine and customs at the DIBP website under entering and leaving Australia.

50. How do I get to the city where my university is located?

You will receive all air tickets (both international and domestic) to reach the town where your institution is located. The Australia Awards office will brief you about this.

51. Will there be anyone from the university to meet me at the airport? Where will I stay?

After you receive your visa, and before you leave for Australia, contact the university Student Contact Officer (SCO) and let them know your travel details. Once they know your plans, they will arrange for you to be met and explain the procedures when you arrive.
As part of your contact with the SCO, explain your accommodation requirements. They can arrange temporary accommodation for you on arrival. This will be at your cost. You will need to arrange long-term accommodation. The SCO can assist you with this, but it is your responsibility.

Living and studying in Australia


52. How important is the Introductory Academic Program (IAP)?

It is very important. Attendance at the IAP is mandatory.

53. Can I contact my employing organisation during my academic year?

Yes. Indeed, it is encouraged as part of your DIP.

54. Do I have to maintain a minimum grade to continue after the first year?

Yes. You have to demonstrate satisfactory progress in your studies. Failure to do so may result in an Award being terminated.

55. Can I change my field of study once I reach Australia?

No. Your application was assessed and you were selected based on your nominated course of study.

56. Do I need to have extra funds with me when I arrive in Australia?

Yes. DFAT suggests you have AUD500 in cash when you leave the airport in Australia. This will help cover costs such as food and transport before you set up a bank account. There are currency exchange facilities in all international airports or you may exchange currency in your home country before you leave. Make sure you are aware of your country’s regulations about the amount of currency you are able to take with you.

57. How much money do I need to live in Australia?

This depends on whether you are alone or your family accompanies you. If your family remains at home, you have to support them while you are in Australia. If your family accompanies you, DIBP requires you to have enough funds to support them in Australia.

58. Who finds long-term accommodation for me? Is there on-campus accommodation for scholarship holders?

You need to find your own long-term accommodation although the Student Contact Officer (SCO) can assist. There is some on-campus accommodation but no special provision for scholarship holders. Talk to your SCO about options. 

Scholarships entitlements


59. What are my entitlements as an awardee of an Australia Awards Scholarship?

For details refer to the relevant section of Australia Awards Scholarships Policy Handbook. Note that reasonable support such as disability services, equipment or devices can be provided to assist people with disabilities based on a ‘needs’ assessment.

60. Do I get any money before I leave for Australia?

No. The Establishment Allowance and fortnightly stipend is paid after you arrive in Australia and when you have registered with your university.

Support for scholars with disabilities


61. Is Australia disability friendly?

Yes. Most public places including universities, markets and parks are being custom-built or upgraded to be disability friendly. For example, universities have accessible lifts, parking, campus services and toilets. Most universities have dedicated disability services that provide free, confidential services to students with disabilities.
Universities also have health and counselling services that are free or offered at cheaper rates for students and international student services centres where students can make appointments to discuss matters impacting on their lives in Australia.
University accommodation and many private apartments have elevators that allow access to buildings and houses. It is important to note that private housing is not always customized and awardees should check this when considering accommodation options.
If you have a disability, it is a MUST that you declare this at the time of the application so that appropriate support can be arranged.

62. Will I be able to use public transport?

Australia has extensive public transport infrastructure (rail, tram, buses, ferries and taxis) linking different parts of a city. Most public transport is customized to enable disability and baby pram access. Trains and buses usually have exclusive spaces for wheelchairs.

63. Will I be able to shop for groceries and other necessities?

Australia has well-developed retail outlets, located conveniently across cities and towns, where you can do weekly/monthly shopping at affordable prices. Large retail stores are designed to enable disability access.

64. What support services, equipment or devices will be available to me? For example, can I have a disability carer/support person?

Reasonable support such as disability services, equipment or devices is assessed on a case-by-case ‘needs’ basis to assist awardees with disabilities. This can include academic and non-academic support such as additional financial support for disability carers or support persons, medical costs, specialist equipment or devices. Support can include changes to the way a person with a disability enrols in a course, alterations to the physical environment and other facilities, alternative methods in the way teaching is delivered and skills are assessed.
Australian Universities are obliged to ensure awardees with disabilities have access to necessary support mechanisms for their studies, such as altered learning materials and accessibility throughout the university.

Support for women


65. Can awardees take their families with them to Australia?

Yes. DFAT and universities, however, strongly recommend awardees travel to Australia on their own at the start of their studies, settle into their program and familiarize themselves with their new environments before families join them. You must indicate on the application form if you intend for your family to join you. 
The Australian Government provides no additional financial support for an awardee’s dependents (spouse and children under 18). Awardees also need to arrange Overseas Health Cover for their dependents.
Under Australian visa requirements parents, parents-in-law or siblings of a scholar are not dependents. They cannot accompany scholars to Australia.

66. Can women travel around in Australian cities?

Women move around easily and safely using public or private transport. The public transport systems in cities are reliable, safe and affordable and most international students, including women, rely on them for day-to-day use.

67. How can I find safe, secure accommodation?

There is wide range of secure accommodation for female students. You can arrange accommodation yourself or through the university.

68. Do women face religious restrictions in Australia?

Australia is a pluralist society, where anyone, including women, can practice their religion without restriction. Women can wear what they want, pray, go to church and mosques as they need. Australia has effective law enforcement systems which supports women’s rights and independence. Any form of violence or discrimination against women is prohibited.

69. Can my children attend school?

Yes. Each state has an excellent education system and it is compulsory for school-age children to attend school. Children are provided with a healthy and encouraging environment with due regard to their cultural and religious backgrounds. Professional and trained teachers make it easy for international students to adjust to a schooling system.

70 Can my children access childcare, even if they do not speak English?

Yes. Your children can access childcare services, if there are spaces available at the times you want. Childcare centres are supervised by trained staff and offer meals, toilet care, activity groups, play areas, afternoon nap areas and emergency arrangements. A childcare admission form includes sections on religion. Halal food requirements can be arranged by agreement with the centre. If possible, childcare centres can arrange short-term language support for children who cannot speak English.

71. What assistance can I expect during my stay in Australia?

All universities have student services centres to guide awardees and provide emergency support. These centres can help arrange accommodation, access family support and, where possible, meet any special needs. Australian universities also have health and counselling services that are free (or offered at cheaper rates to students) and a range of sporting, shopping and other campus facilities.

72. Can I celebrate our national, religious and cultural festivals?

Yes. Most Australian cities have people from South and West Asia who have formed community groups where they come together to celebrate religious, cultural and/or national events and festivals.

73. Can I work part-time while studying in Australia?

Yes. Awardees can work part-time for up to 40 hours per fortnight during term time and full time during vacation periods once they have commenced their course of study. You must inform your Student Contact Officer before accepting work.

74. Can my spouse work while accompanying me on my scholarship?

Yes. Your family members can work up to 40 hours per fortnight provided you have commenced your course of study in Australia. Your family members can work unlimited hours provided you have commenced a masters or doctorate course.