James Cook University

James Cook University


Ranked in the top 300 universities in the world (ARWU 2019), James Cook University is committed to research and teaching that makes a difference to life in the tropics, where more than 40 per cent of the world’s population lives. JCU is a vibrant institution, operating across two countries and three tropical campuses, with main campuses in Cairns and Townsville in North Queensland and the city-state of Singapore, as well as multiple study centres in Australia.

Over 21,000 students, including 6,600 international students, are enrolled in a variety of programs.

Students develop professional skills and in-depth knowledge through a wide range of practical, hands-on learning experiences. Small class sizes provide access to world-class lecturers and researchers, ensuring every student can excel.


JCU Cairns and Townsville are located near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the Daintree Rainforest and the outback. Students can participate in hands-on learning, placements or projects in some of the most interesting locations in the world. Experiences may include travelling to remote communities in a light aircraft, a lecture in our Classroom on the Reef, or seeing how drought is simulated in a rainforest. JCU Singapore is in the heart of the city, and has achieved the highest level of accreditation in Singapore for private education providers, the EduTrust Star.

Open days


To be confirmed


To be confirmed

Virtual Open Day

To be confirmed

Important dates

Visit the JCU website for information on enrolment, teaching, semester start and end, and other important academic dates.

Visit key dates and fees for information on important QTAC dates.


JCU Australia offers an extensive range of undergraduate, postgraduate and research courses. Study areas include:

  • arts and social sciences
  • business, law and governance
  • education
  • engineering
  • environmental management
  • healthcare sciences
  • information technology
  • medicine, dentistry and pharmacy
  • nursing and midwifery
  • planning
  • public health
  • science, including marine biology and environmental earth science (JCU is number one in the world for marine and freshwater biology and number two for biodiversity conservation – CWUR 2017)
  • social work
  • veterinary science.

Students learn from dedicated staff who design their courses to include hands-on experience. Many JCU courses offer field trips, professional placements and real-world projects that give students the skills they need for the global workforce.
Courses offered at JCU’s Singapore campus follow JCU Australia’s curriculum, ensuring the same high-quality program content. To learn more about courses offered at JCU’s Singapore campus, visit the JCU Singapore website.

Courses with special entry procedures

Applicants for the Bachelor of Dental Surgery, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of Physiotherapy and Bachelor of Veterinary Science are required to apply online to QTAC by the due date, and a separate written application to JCU by 5pm, 30 September 2019.

Learning skills

JCU offers online and face-to-face access to academic learning development. Students can access short courses and workshops, as well as personalised advice. A range of resources cover everything from time management, mathematics and basic statistics to planning your assignments and academic writing.

Student services

JCU students can access a range of services to make the most of their university experience.


Students at all three main campuses can choose from a variety of on-campus and off-campus housing. JCU Townsville offers five on-campus accommodation options for up to 1,200 students. The John Grey Hall opened in Cairns in 2018, with first-time JCU Cairns students guaranteed a room in student housing. Visit the JCU website for more information.

Support services

Comprehensive support services include career advice and student employment services, chaplaincy, disability and accessibility support (AccessAbility), and personal counselling. The award-winning student mentor program links new students with second and third year students who provide support and information about life at university.

Information services and technology

Our students enjoy access to technology-enriched learning spaces and a wealth of electronic resources. All students can access free computing and library support, including support online, and workshops on campus. Both the Townsville and Cairns libraries offer individual and group learning spaces, with a 24-hour space available at Townsville’s Eddie Koiki Mabo Library.

Global Mobility Program

Students can explore the world while studying. JCU has over 50 partner universities in North and South America, Asia, Europe, the United Kingdom and the Pacific. The JCU Global Mobility Program helps students develop the knowledge, skills and disposition to succeed in a global workforce. JCU undergraduate students can study overseas for one or two semesters while gaining credit towards their studies. Australian students can also study for one or two teaching periods (trimesters) at JCU Singapore through the Experience Singapore Program, or on various short programs, including international study tours, internships and work placements.

More information

For additional general admissions information, visit the JCU website.

Admission criteria

Applicants are required to meet the course entry requirements for direct entry into a course. Entry requirements can include a combination of the following:

  • English language proficiency
  • subject prerequisites
  • entry score (ATAR/selection rank)
  • age requirements
  • course specific entry requirements.

Information relating to admissions criteria are available on our course pages and the JCU Admissions Policy.

JCU Guaranteed Admission:

JCU guarantees entry to a majority of courses for current year 12 applicants based on the final ATAR result.

ATAR of 90 or above recipients are guaranteed entry into most JCU course with all subject prerequisites waived.

Applicants awarded an ATAR of 73 or above will be guaranteed entry into most JCU courses, though must meet the course subject prerequisites.

Programs excluded from the these guarantees are:

  • Bachelor of Advanced Science
  • Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education)
  • Bachelor of Education (Primary)
  • Bachelor of Education (Secondary)
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Science
  • Bachelor of Nursing Science (Pre-Registration)
  • Bachelor of Nursing Science – Bachelor of Midwifery
  • Bachelor of Clinical Science

Applicants with previous Higher Education study (Diploma or higher), will be assigned a selection rank determined by the level, duration, and Grade Point Average (GPA) of the study.

Higher education study may grant credit toward a degree course. For more information, visit the JCU Credit Calculator.

JCU recognises many tertiary preparatory, enabling, foundation and bridging programs provided by higher education institutions throughout Australia. This study is assessed on the basis of the GPA and the duration of study.

JCU accepts a number of VET qualifications to meet tertiary access ranks and/or subject pre-requisites including completed Certificate III and IV qualifications and complete and incomplete diploma and advanced diploma qualifications.

AQF Certificate III qualifications are typically not accepted to satisfy prerequisites.

JCU recognises many admission pathways including employment experience, the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (age restrictions apply), post-secondary professional, and paraprofessional qualifications.

Applicants who have more than one selection rank will generally be considered on the highest of those ranks.

Current Year 12 applicants

Current ATAR-eligible Year 12 students will be considered for entry based on their ATAR and ability to meet the entry requirements including age and subject pre-requisites.

Current ATAR-ineligible Year 12 students without VET qualifications are considered for entry into the Diploma of Higher EducationTertiary Access Course or a Pathway or Package program.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

JCU accepts the International Baccalaureate (IB) as meeting our course entry requirements. Your final IB Diploma score will then be translated into a QTAC selection Rank. Some subjects completed as part of the IB Diploma will meet the subject pre-requisites required for entry into our Undergraduate degrees. Students who have completed particular IB subjects may be eligible for credit. Please view the JCU Credit Calculator for more information.

Overseas Year 12 study

Students who have completed Year 12 or equivalent study overseas will be considered for admissions to JCU. Final results of these studies will be assessed for comparability to Australian Secondary Studies and converted into a QTAC selection rank. Some subjects studied as part of overseas senior secondary education are eligible to meet the subject pre-requisite entry requirements to our courses.

Regional Preference Scheme

This scheme assists residents of the University’s catchment area to gain entry to JCU through an automatic adjustment of an applicant’s ATAR by by two ranks.

The Regional Preference Scheme is open to domestic applicants who reside in the University’s catchment area (postcodes 4306 through to 4895).  The scheme cannot be used for entry to postgraduate degrees, graduate entry programs or courses with special application requirements (including Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of Dental Surgery and Bachelor of Veterinary Science).

Applicants do not apply for this scheme.  The bonus ranks are automatically applied to the application.

Educational Access Scheme

JCU participates in QTAC’s Educational Access Scheme (EAS) which recognises applicants who have been educationally disadvantaged due to: financial hardship, home environment and responsibilities, English language difficulty, personal illness and disability or educational disruption.

This scheme is open to domestic applicants who apply through QTAC, but does not apply to courses with special application requirements.

Applicants apply for the Educational Access Scheme through QTAC.

Courses with special entry procedures

Applicants for the Bachelor of Dental Surgery; Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery; and Bachelor of Veterinary Science are required to apply online to QTAC by the due date, and submit a written application to JCU by 5pm, 30 September 2020.

Applicants for Education courses are required to meet a non-academic entry requirement.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Indigenous Education and Research Centre provides an environment that inspire you to grow personally, culturally and academically and deliver student support programs and services to assist throughout your studies.  For more information, please visit the JCU website.

Domestic students with overseas qualifications

Domestic students with overseas qualifications should contact JCU for information on how their qualifications will be assessed for entry.

English language proficiency

All applicants must demonstrate English Language Proficiency requirements for the course they are applying for. Please visit JCU’s English Language requirements website for more information.

Timing of offers

JCU will make offers to eligible applications throughout the year for most courses.  Offers for Semester 1 commence in August through to February; offers for Semester 2 commence in March through to July. For further information on course availability visit the course webpage.


QTAC applicants are notified of their JCU offer by email and must accept the offer online by the lapse date.   You will find details of how to respond in your offer letter.  Once you have accepted your offer you will be able plan your studies and enrol in subjects.

Deferring an offer:

You can defer most courses for up to 12 months. Longer deferment may be considered in special circumstances.

Visit the JCU website for more information.

Credit transfer

If you have studied at another university, TAFE, or a private tertiary education provider in Australia or overseas, you may be able to transfer credit to your current degree.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) refers to the skills and knowledge you’ve gained through work and life experiences. JCU can assess your RPL and determine if you are eligible for credit.

For information on the credit calculator and how to apply, visit the JCU website.

Fees and charges

Your fees could be determined by several factors. For information on fees and financial support, visit the JCU website.

The table below gives an indication of the likely peer cohort for new students to JCU. It provides data on students who commenced undergraduate study and passed the census date for semester 1, 2019, including those admitted through all offer rounds, across all Australian campuses and international students studying in Australia.

Applicant background Semester 1 intake 2020
Number of students Percentage of all students
(A) Higher education study
(includes a bridging or enabling course)
282 20.72%
(B) Vocational education and training (VET) study N/P N/P
(C) Work and life experience
(Admitted on the basis of previous achievement not in the other three categories)
154 11.32%
(D) Recent secondary education:

Admitted solely on the basis of OP/selection rank (regardless of whether this includes the consideration of adjustment factors such as equity or subject bonus points)

523 38.43%
Admitted where both OP/selection rank and additional criteria were considered (e.g. portfolio, audition, extra test, early offer conditional on minimum OP/selection rank) 178 13.08%
Admitted on the basis of other criteria only and OP/selection rank was not a factor (e.g. special consideration, audition alone, school recommendation scheme with no minimum OP/selection rank requirement, VET qualification completed during school) 170 12.49%
(E) International students <5 <5
All students 100%
Notes:        <5 – The numbers of students is less than five.
N/A – Students not accepted in this category.
N/P – Not published: the number is hidden to prevent calculation of numbers in cells with less than five students.
How to apply

Apply through QTAC for diploma and bachelor degree courses.

If you are applying for any of the following courses, you will also need to submit a separate written application direct to JCU. Applications close on the 30th of September:

  • Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Science
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery

Apply direct to JCU if you are a current JCU student continuing study, and for the following courses:

  • Tertiary Access Course
  • single subjects
  • postgraduate coursework degrees
  • Honours
  • cross institutional study.
Course Admissions Information

For course admission information (including the OP/selection rank profile for semester 1, 2020 admissions) please refer to the individual course entry using the Course Search section of QTAC’s website.

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