University entry requirements
Last updated: 16 July 2012
Selection to university courses is based on both eligibility and rank. Eligibility allows you to be considered for selection; rank determines whether you are competitive enough to be selected.
To be eligible
for selection into a university course/program
qualify for the SACE/NTCET
obtain a Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)
meet any prerequisite subject requirements for
Your competitiveness in relation to other applicants is
based on your Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) which is a rank given to students on a
range from 0 to 99.95. Your ATAR is calculated from your
To obtain a
university aggregate and a Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) you must:
comply with the rules regarding Precluded
comply with the rules regarding Counting
complete at least 80 credits of study at Stage 2
of which 60 credits of study must be 20 credit
Tertiary Admissions Subjects (TAS) from a
maximum of three attempts which need not be in
Normally 10 credit subjects do not count towards
this requirement but some 10 credit subjects in
the same area, when studied in pairs, can
substitute for a 20 credit subject. These are
called Valid Pairs.
Calculating the university aggregate
The university aggregate is calculated from the best scaled scores from three 20 credit TAS plus the best outcome from the flexible option, which can be either:
the score of a fourth 20 credit TAS or Recognised Studies
or any two of the following:
half the score of a fourth 20 credit TAS or Recognised
the score of a 10 credit TAS or Recognised Studies
the score of another 10 credit TAS or Recognised Studies
subject to precluded combination and counting restriction rules.
The subjects used in the calculation can only come from a maximum of three attempts
which need not be in consecutive years.
Converting the university aggregate to a Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)
The university aggregate is converted to a ATAR. The ATAR
is an indicator of how well a particular student has
performed relative to other students. It is calculated
the group of students who have qualified for a
university aggregate in 2011 is called the 2011 cohort.
For each university aggregate score (in the range
0-80.0) obtained by the students in this cohort, the
percentage of students who obtained that score or better
is calculated. This is known as calculating the
Each score in the range 0-80.0 now has a corresponding
percentile rank in the range 0-100. For example, if a
score of 70.4 or better out of 80.0 has been obtained by
10% of the cohort, the score of 70.4 will correspond to
a percentile rank of 90.0 (100 – 10).
The 2011 cohort may differ from that of other years in
that it may represent a smaller or larger percentage of
the population of the same age group. The percentage
from the given year is known as the participation rate.
It is calculated using population statistics obtained
from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and measuring
these against the size of the cohort. If an allowance
were not made for this, the final ATAR would not be
comparable from one year to the next.
The percentile rank is then adjusted to take account of
the participation rate and the result is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
When the calculations are completed, a student’s
relative position on the ATAR range is unchanged from the
student’s relative position on the university aggregate
It is important to remember that a rank is not a score
and a ATAR cannot be calculated arithmetically from a
Reporting the university aggregate and ATAR
The university aggregate is reported to students on a
score range of 0-80.0 with intervals of 0.1.
The ATAR is reported to students on a percentile scale,
ie on a range 0-99.95 with intervals of 0.05.
The university aggregate and ATAR are reported only to
students who qualify for the SACE or NTCET.
All universities operate either equity or subject bonus schemes which may affect an applicant's ATAR. For details visit each university's website.
Some university courses/programs require students to
have studied one or more specific Stage 2 subjects to a
minimum standard in order to be eligible for selection
into the course/program. These subjects are known as
In order to fulfil a prerequisite subject requirement,
you must obtain a minimum grade of C- or better. The
grade is used (rather than the scaled score) because the
course/program administrators are interested in how well
you performed in the subject itself as measured against
the learning requirements of the Subject Outline.
Since prerequisites are used to determine eligibility,
not rank, they do not have to contribute to the
Many university courses/programs recommend that
commencing students have background knowledge in one or
more specified Stage 1 or Stage 2 subjects or have an
identified skill which will enhance the student’s
understanding of the course/program content. This is
known as assumed knowledge.
Assumed knowledge is not compulsory and is not used in
the selection process for entry to university
courses/programs. Statements of assumed knowledge are
intended purely to assist students in understanding
course/program content and to allow them to make subject
choices which may be of benefit to them in their future