Levels of study and types of degrees

Before you choose a course, it's handy to decide which level of study will suit you best.

Consider what you want to use your new qualification for.

  • To start your career?
  • Advance or change your career?
  • Or are you exploring your passion for a particular subject?

So, what are the levels of study?

  • Micro-credentials

    Dip your toe into the university waters and upskill quickly for your career with a micro-credential, gaining key skills in as little as eight weeks of online study. You can also 'stack' micro-credentials into a larger qualification, such as a graduate certificate.

  • Single subject study

    Single subject study gives you the opportunity to take a short online course in which you study the same course material that's in our degrees. They are ideal to upskill with the latest knowledge in a field, and can count towards a related degree if you take one on later.

  • Certificate and diploma

    A certificate or diploma might be your first qualification, giving you skills and experience you can build on. These courses can also complement your existing qualifications. For example, you could add qualifications in a particular subject to a broad-based undergraduate degree.

  • Undergraduate or bachelor's degree

    If you're starting university study for the first time, or you're interested in exploring a new field, a bachelor's degree is for you. This level of study will suit you if you've recently completed high school, have some TAFE study or vocational training, or if you're returning to study after some time away.

  • Honours

    Honours allows you to focus on a particular area of interest with a research project that can be integrated with your undergraduate degree. It can also be completed as a standalone course after your relevant undergraduate study.

  • Graduate certificate

    A graduate certificate broadens the skills and knowledge you've already gained through an undergraduate degree. It's also a great stepping stone to a graduate diploma or master's degree.

  • Graduate diploma

    This is a specialised qualification, expanding on the skills you gained through your undergraduate degree or graduate certificate. A graduate diploma can also lead to a master's degree.

  • Postgraduate diploma

    This qualification is ideal if you've completed your undergraduate degree and want to pursue further study in the same area.

  • Master's degree

    A master's degree may be comprised of different combinations of coursework, project work and research. This is a specialised qualification and can lead to career advancement, and opportunities for further study (such as a doctorate / PhD).

  • Higher degree by research

    A higher degree by research, such as a research master's or doctorate, is the highest level university qualification. This is a qualification in which you conduct your own research and document your findings as a thesis or dissertation.

You might be asking...

  • What is an undergraduate degree?

    The term undergraduate typically refers to a student studying their for their bachelor's. For most students, the first degree you study at university will be an undergraduate degree (occasionally, if you have a high level of work experience and expertise you can go directly to a postgraduate degree without first obtaining an undergraduate qualification).

  • How many types of undergraduate degree are there?

    While often a bachelor's, an undergraduate degree could also be an associate degree or a diploma – often those providing a pathway to a bachelor's. Honours degrees are also considered to be undergraduate courses.

  • What's the difference between undergraduate and postgraduate?

    An undergraduate degree (usually a bachelor's, but occasionally an associate degree) is generally the first study you'll do at university. Whether you're coming straight from school or studying at uni for the first time after a few years in the workforce, you'll more than likely do a bachelor's. An undergraduate course gives you a broad knowledge base in your chosen subject. A postgraduate degree is for those who already hold a bachelor's or who have extensive work experience expertise in a subject. A postgraduate degree – whether a graduate certificate, diploma or master's – is more specialised than a bachelor's and typically involves more independent research.

Other ways to study

You can take on a single subject, study online, or sign up for cross-institutional learning if you're already at TAFE or studying somewhere else.

Learning with Charles Sturt University is a two-way partnership, with a range of study and workload options that fit in with you.

Can we help you find what you’re looking for?