Study levels

Studying at Swinburne means a wealth of choice. Work towards the type of qualification that suits your learning style and goals.

Degrees and double degrees


A bachelor degree is often the first tertiary experience for school leavers, but is also available to mature-age students. University degrees give you skills, theory and knowledge for specific professional outcomes. Bachelor degrees take between three and five years to complete, with options to study full-time, part-time or online.

Double degrees

Double degrees are a great way to broaden your study experience and enhance your career opportunities. Double degrees allow you to combine two areas of study and on completion you’ll be awarded two degrees. A double degree is generally only one year longer than a single degree.

Find out more and view double degree options

Honours year

Many degrees at Swinburne offer an additional specialised honours (fourth) year. An honours year allows you to take your undergraduate studies to a more advanced level. It involves a substantial original piece of research, presented as a thesis, and is a point of entry into postgraduate research studies.

Find out more about undertaking an honours year

Degrees with honours

Some degrees in selected study areas, such as design and engineering, have an honours year built into the course. This means that you graduate with the advanced research skills and knowledge needed to progress to postgraduate research studies.

Associate degrees

Associate degrees are a two-year tertiary qualification based on hands-on skills and practical outcomes. They offer smaller class sizes and more support from teaching staff. They also provide the option to progress to achieve a bachelor degree with one year’s extra study. 

Diplomas and certificates

UniLink diplomas

UniLink diplomas are an option for students who miss direct entry to a degree or who would benefit from a more supportive style of learning. They are equivalent to the first year of university and can provide a pathway to the second year of a related bachelor degree.

Diplomas and advanced diplomas

Diplomas and advanced diplomas are focused on learning for work. They can help you build the practical skills and technical expertise that make you employable. They may also provide opportunities to progress to a bachelor’s degree.

Certificate III and IV

Certificate III and IV courses provide you with entry into various trades, traineeships or other jobs that require skills and knowledge beyond a basic level.

Certificate I and II

Certificate I and II courses provide you with basic training and skills development in a specific industry. The courses aim to get you started in the workplace or provide the specific skills your employer wants. Many certificate I and II courses are also pre-apprenticeships.

Master, PhD and graduate study


A PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) involves completing a significant, original piece of research under appropriate academic supervision, usually equivalent to 70,000 to 100,000 words.

Professional doctorate

A professional doctorate makes a significant and original contribution to professional practice and comprises up to one-third of advanced coursework, as well as a thesis equivalent to 70,000 to 100,000 words.

Master by research

A master degree by research is a work of scholarship that demonstrates mastery of inquiry in a field of a discipline or profession. This is done via a thesis of about 50,000 to 60,000 words.

Master by coursework

A master degree by coursework provides a high-level overview and theoretical analysis of a specific field of study or professional practice. It’s the final step for those who have completed graduate certificate and diploma levels, providing a finishing touch of advanced skills and professional application.

Graduate diploma

A graduate diploma is the second stage of a master degree focused on providing additional professional skills to enhance your career and management prospects. There is a focus on critical analysis, theory and practice aimed at professional workers looking for new skills, or recognition for those without a formal qualification.

Graduate certificate

A graduate certificate is an entry-level postgraduate qualification and often the first stage of a master degree. A course at this level is suited for recent graduates of degree courses or professional workers. A graduate certificate provides you with further expertise to take your professional career a step further, or a chance to gain recognition for existing skills through a formal qualification.

Single units of study

Single units of study allow you to try out an area of interest or complete a pre-requisite, without enrolling in a full course. Credit towards a full course may be possible, if you decide to enrol later.

  • Search single units

Short courses

Short courses can be undertaken for professional development or just enjoyment. Choose from a large selection of topics, spanning design, media and arts, trade skills, business and computing. All courses are led by industry experts.