Preparatory programs and bridging studies

Preparatory programs and bridging studies

Preparatory programs and bridging studies can help you get into tertiary courses, and prepare you for study.

Preparatory programs

In a preparatory program you study a number of subjects for various purposes, such as:

• getting a selection rank
• meeting a subject prerequisite
• gaining general tertiary study skills eg assignment writing, researching, test taking
• gaining basic knowledge in a selected subject as a foundation for more in-depth study later on.

A number of institutions offer preparatory programs. Contact an institution for a full list of theirs.

On successful completion of some preparatory programs, you can get direct entry to selected undergraduate courses at the same institution, without having to apply through QTAC.

You can also use your preparatory program from one institution to help you get into tertiary courses at another. Check with the relevant institution which preparatory programs they accept.

Bridging studies

Single-subject bridging units will not get a rank but can be used to:

• meet subject prerequisites
• gain tertiary study skills
• gain basic knowledge in a selected subject.

Check with the relevant institution which bridging studies they accept to meet subject prerequisites.


Australian Catholic University (ACU)

Pathway Programs

ACU's pathway programs help you develop your skills and make the transition to university study easier. Successful completion of these programs can lead to entry to degree-level courses as well as gaining credit. Associate degrees are two years full-time. Certificate and diploma programs consist of four to eight units respectively. Your grades in the completed program are used to calculate a new rank (minimum two units required) if you decide to apply for admission to a bachelor level course.

Find out more about ACU's Pathway Programs.

Australian Maritime College (AMC)

Pre-Tertiary Bridging Courses

Pre-tertiary bridging courses are available in mathematics, physics and chemistry. These courses help you meet subject prerequisites or assumed knowledge.


UniStart helps you develop your critical thinking, critical reading and academic writing. These skills are required for independent learning and success at university level.

University Preparation Program

The University Preparation Program gives you an alternative entry pathway if you are a mature-age student. It prepares you with the academic skills necessary to successfully complete university study.

Find out more about these AMC programs.

Bond University

Bond College Foundation Program

The Bond College Foundation Program helps you prepare for your chosen undergraduate degree. You will study two core subjects and receive credit when you transfer into your degree.

Find out more about Bond College Foundation Program.

CQUniversity Australia

Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS)

Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) is an enabling program that provides a pathway for people wishing to gain entry to and excel in higher education. It helps you gain the personal and academic skills necessary for successful tertiary study. Offering one core and 11 elective courses, STEPS can be tailored to you. It can also help you meet prerequisites or assumed knowledge. You can study internally or by distance education. You can choose to study full-time or part-time in Terms 1, 2 or 3, depending on course availability. On successful completion of STEPS, you are eligible to apply for direct entry to an undergraduate program at CQUniversity.

Find out more about STEPS  or phone CQUniversity on 132 786 for more information.

Griffith College

Foundation Program

The Griffith College Foundation Program provides a bridge between secondary school and undergraduate studies. The program prepares students for entry to and success in university level studies across a broad range of fields including Commerce, Design, Information Technology, Hotel Management, Engineering, Health, Science, Arts and Education.

Bridging courses in English, Mathematics and Science

Griffith College diploma students also have access to the following bridging courses* free of charge: English, Mathematics A, Mathematics B, Biological Sciences and Chemistry. These bridging courses help students attain assumed knowledge important to success in tertiary programs. 

Students must apply directly to Griffith College for these courses.

*Not offered every semester. For more information, contact Griffith College.

Find out more about Griffith College's Foundation Program and bridging courses

Griffith University (GU)

Griffith Sciences Bridging and Short Courses

Bridging courses help you prepare for university study and meet prerequisites. Short courses are refreshers for you if you do not have much prior study or have had a break from study. Courses are held on campus at Nathan and the Gold Coast.

Find out more about Griffith Sciences Bridging and Short Courses.

Continuing Education Certificates

In a continuing education certificate you study four first-year courses over two semesters. The higher the GPA you achieve, the higher the rank given to your certificate when you apply through QTAC. You can study a continuing education certificates at most campuses.

Find out more about GU's Continuing Education Certificates.

James Cook University (JCU)

Tertiary Access Course

You can use this pathway if you are a mature-age student, or if you are a school leaver without an OP or rank sufficient to gain you entry, or without recognised experience. It is an intensive course that equips you with the skills to successfully transition to a diploma or degree.  The course is six months full-time (or one year part-time), and is offered on campus in Townsville and Cairns. This course does not incur HECS-HELP fees.

Bridging courses

Many health science and science courses, and some education teaching areas, require Queensland Year 12 Chemistry and/or Maths B. A range of bridging subjects is available at the Cairns and Townsville campuses to assist you to meet these prerequisites.

Pathway programs

The Diploma of Higher Education is a one-year, full-time course that gives you a supported pathway into a degree. You can undertake a Diploma of Higher Education in Business Studies, Information Technology, Engineering and Applied Science, General Studies, Health, Society and Culture, or Science. It provides you with a foundation for your degree and credit for some subjects.

Find out more about JCU pathways to university  or phone 1800 246 446 for more information.        

Learning Network Queensland


Unilearn courses are self-paced and include tutorial support. You can study by distance education or online. Choose when you study with flexible start and completion dates. Unilearn courses can help you meet subject prerequisites. 

You can also choose courses in general study, organisational, and basic research and writing skills. These courses are non-award and do not include tutorial support. Final grades are provided for all courses except the general skills courses.

Find out more about Unilearn or phone (07) 3244 5304.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Pre-tertiary bridging courses

Pre-tertiary bridging courses help you meet subject prerequisites or assumed knowledge. You can study Chemistry, Mathematics B and Physics. Study Chemistry at Gardens Point, one night a week for a semester. Alternatively, study three afternoons a week for six weeks over summer. The Mathematics B course is also held at Gardens Point with classes two nights a week for a semester. Alternatively, study over summer with classes three nights a week for six weeks or three days for four weeks. Study Physics online, starting any time. 

Find out more about QUT's pre-tertiary bridging courses.

Southern Cross University (SCU)

Preparing for Success Program

Preparing for Success gives you an alternative entry path into SCU. Study for 12 weeks and learn practical essay writing and research and analytical skills, the skills necessary for successful tertiary study. This course is free and can be studied full-time or part-time, on campus or by distance education.

Find out more about SCU's Preparing for Success program.

TAFE Queensland

10397NAT Certificate IV in Adult Tertiary Preparation (CATP)

This course is ideal if you did not complete Year 12 or if you have been away from formal study for some time. It gives you a pathway to diploma, advanced diploma, associate degree and university undergraduate courses. It helps you develop: life-long learning skills; information communication technology skills; higher order literacy and numeracy skills; analytical thinking and problem-solving skills; and foundation knowledge and skills in a variety of specific fields of study, depending on the electives you choose. 

Depending on where you study you can specialise in Language and Learning (core), Australian Society, Biology, Computing for Academic Purposes, Family and Consumer Studies, Modern World History, Psychology, Environmental Studies, Chemistry, Legal Studies, Mathematics General (equivalent to Maths A), Mathematics Pure (equivalent to Maths B), Physics. 

You must be 18 or turn 18 years of age within six months of starting the course.  

Find out more about CATP at TAFE Queensland.

Important notes about CATP

10397NAT CATP (since 2014): To be awarded this certificate, you must successfully complete 9 elective units, most of which must be completed specialisations (with results in all required elective units) and one of those must be the Language and Learning specialisation. Specialisations might comprise two or three elective units of equal weighting.

39260QLD CATP (2008-2014): To be awarded this certificate, you must have successfully completed 10 modules, most of which must be completed subjects (with results in all required modules) and one of those must be the subject Language and Learning Skills. Subjects might comprise two or three modules of equal weighting.

The Certificate IV in Adult Tertiary Preparation (CATP) is also available through a number of private training providers.

The University of Queensland (UQ)

Tertiary Preparation Program (UQ College)

The Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP) gives you the necessary academic skills and knowledge for successful tertiary study. It is a 28-week program with no tuition fees, and studied at St Lucia. You can start in January, May or September. You can study full-time or part-time.  The full program has two core subjects - Academic English for University Studies and one of Pre-University Mathematics A or Pre-University Mathematics B; and three electives to help meet prerequisites. Apply direct to UQ College.

Find out more about UQ College or phone (07) 3346 8222 for more information.

University of New England (UNE)

UNE Pathways Enabling Course

The UNE Pathways Enabling Course is an online part-time course studied over two trimesters. It consists of two foundation units that provide basic skills and knowledge required for successful university study and two school-based units. The school-based units may give you credit towards an undergraduate degree. Completion of the pathway course can give you entry to most undergraduate courses at UNE. 

Find out more about UNE's Pathways Enabling Course.

University of Southern Queensland (USQ)

Tertiary Preparation Program

The Tertiary Preparation Program gives you an alternative entry pathway into USQ if you have not completed Year 12 or if you studied some time ago. USQ's TPP is a free program. You can study by distance education or on campus. TPP subjects help you develop writing, computing and general study skills and build your confidence for further studies. You can also study some subjects that prepare you for the USQ degree you want to study. If you are a Year 12 student and do not meet the entry requirements for a USQ degree you may be able to study USQ's TPP Intensive Pathway. Once you have successfully completed TPP or TPP Intensive Pathway and satisfied the English language requirements you will have met the entry requirements for selected USQ degrees.

Find out more about USQ's Tertiary Preparation Program or phone 1800 269 500 for more information.

University of the Sunshine Coast (USC)

Tertiary Preparation Pathway

The Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) gives you an alternative pathway to tertiary study at USC. TPP allows you to experience university life before committing to a degree program, and courses completed as part of the TPP program are free-of-charge for Commonwealth-supported students

You will study the course Academic Skills for Success and three of the following: Digital Futures; Chemistry; Mathematics; Statistics; An Introduction to Torres Strait Islander Societies; Australian Society and Identity; An Introduction to Working within the Community; Biology; Business Study Skills; and Mathematical Methods for Science and Engineering. 

You can also study these TPP courses if you have the required selection rank for entry to university but want to upgrade your study skills or meet prerequisites. Apply for this course through QTAC.

Find out more about USC's TPP or phone (07) 5430 2890 to speak to USC Student Central for more information.


Page last updated: 10 Oct 2017