In order to be considered for university admission a school leaver normally must have:

  • Met the requirements for Secondary Graduation (WACE) or equivalent eg IB Diploma.
  • Achieved competence in English as prescribed by individual tertiary institutions.
  • Obtain a sufficiently high Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) for entry to a particular institution and/or course, and
  • Met any special requirements (eg. prerequisite studies, interviews, auditions etc. set by particular institutions for specific courses).

University Admissions Requirements

Purpose of the ATAR

The ATAR enables direct access to courses at universities.  The maximum ATAR is 99.95 and the ATAR reports a student‘s rank relative to all other Western Australian students of Year 12 school leaving age. The ATAR maintains comparability from year to year and it provides consistency for access to universities Australia wide.

An ATAR of 80 would mean that a student achieved in the top 20% of all Western Australian students of Year 12 school leaving age.  The ATAR required to gain entry to a particular course depends on applicant demand and the supply of places available in the course.

Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR)

For students studying the WA Certificate of Education

The Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank is calculated from a student’s Tertiary Entrance Aggregate (TEA) which is based on the aggregate mark from the student’s four highest WACE ATAR subjects plus any applicable subject bonuses. The maximum TEA is 430.

The calculation of the TEA is subject to the following conditions:

  • A LOTE bonus of 10% of one LOTE scaled score is added to the aggregate of the best four scaled scores, irrespective of whether the LOTE subject scaled score was counted as one of the best four.
  • A Mathematics bonus of 10% of the scaled score for each of Mathematics Methods and Mathematics Specialist is added to the aggregate of the best four scaled scores, irrespective of whether the Mathematics Methods and/or Mathematics Specialist course scaled scores was counted in the best four.
  •  Unacceptable combination rules will apply to ATAR Mathematics courses (see below)
    • Mathematics Applications and Mathematics Methods are an unacceptable combination.
    • Mathematics Applications and Mathematics Specialist are an unacceptable combination.
    • Therefore only one score from the unacceptable combination can be used in the calculation of the ATAR.
    • Scores from Mathematics Methods and Mathematics Specialist may both be used in the calculation of the ATAR.

WACE ATAR Examination and School based results
The results in each course are a 50:50 combination of WACE ATAR examinations performance and school assessments, except where subjects are taken on a non-school candidate basis.

For students studying the IB Diploma

The Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank is calculated from the Diploma mark using a conversion table available from TISC. All the IB Diploma rules and regulations apply.

Prerequisite Studies

Some tertiary courses require previous study to a satisfactory level in specific Year 12 subjects. Details of any prerequisites will be found in the course guides produced by the individual Tertiary Institutions Admissions Centre. They are also included in the University Admissions guides.

Entry Requirements for Medicine and Dentistry

Curtin University commenced an undergraduate Medicine degree in 2017.  Applicants are required to obtain a satisfactory UCAT score, a successful interview and a competitive ATAR.  Curtin’s indicative ATAR selection rank is 95 however, it is in most cases, always higher.

UWA offers a limited number of “Assured Pathway” places to students who achieve an ATAR of 99+, a suitable UCAT score and a successful interview.  Successful applicants will complete any 3 year undergraduate degree with an assured place in the Post Graduate degree, provided they maintain a suitable Grade Point Average and meet other offer conditions.

Students who do not secure this pathway may complete any Bachelor degree and then compete for a place in the 4 year Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a 4 year Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDMD) course. These students will be required to sit the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT), obtain a minimum GPA of 5.5 in their undergraduate degree which is approximately equivalent to a weighted average of 65% and attend a structured interview.

Students seeking a place in most undergraduate Medicine/Dentistry degrees in Australia are required to sit the UCAT.

The Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC)

TISC runs a joint applications system for admission to undergraduate courses at Western Australian universities.

Applicants for Medicine, Dentistry, Podiatry and the Assured Pathway to Pharmacy at UWA must include this preference by the end of September – it cannot be added after then.

WACE General Pathway and VET

The WACE General Pathway applies to a student who studies less than four ATAR subjects.  This pathway may comprise a variety of subject options with the aim of suiting the academic needs and interests of the student whilst ensuring they meet requirements for WACE graduation and entrance into tertiary study, be that university, TAFE, an Apprenticeship or the workforce.

In Year 11, students must select an English course (ATAR or General) and then choose five additional courses that can be either ATAR or General courses.  The total number of courses may be less if a student also selects a Vocational Education and Training (VET) certificate.

In Year 12, students must select an English course (ATAR or General) and then choose four or three additional courses that can be either ATAR or General courses.  The total number of courses will vary according to their Vocational Education and Training (VET) certificate.

A few examples for a Year 12 student could include:

Student A (Certificate IV plus four WACE courses)

  • Certificate IV Education Support
  • English (ATAR)
  • Physical Education Studies (ATAR)
  • Maths Essentials (General)
  • Human Biological Science (General)

Student B (Certificate IV plus three WACE courses)

  • Certificate IV Business
  • English (General)
  • Textiles (ATAR)
  • Career & Enterprise (General)

Student C (No Certificate course, must take five WACE courses)

  • English (General)
  • Dance (ATAR)
  • Drama (ATAR)
  • Maths Essentials (General)
  • Media and Production Analysis (General)

Certificate IV and English Competency for university entrance

For students not wishing to complete an ATAR pathway but wanting to pursue a direct entry to a university Bachelor’s Degree, a VET Certificate IV Year 12 may be helpful. The successful completion of a Certificate IV and either a scaled score of 50% or above in English ATAR, the STAT test (see below) or a relevant English qualification outlined below will credit students with the minimum entry requirements into Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Murdoch University, The University of Notre Dame and TAFE.

Western Australian University Information for Students Completing a Certificate IV and General English

Students can meet the minimum university entrance requirement if they do not complete English ATAR but have the following:


UWA does not recognise the Certificate  IV for direct admission to their undergraduate degree.

Certificate IV and successful completion of the STAT.

Certificate IV and an A grade in General English and a submission of a portfolio.

Notre Dame
Certificate IV and successful completion of the written English section of the STAT only. The applicant must receive a written permission letter from the university to sit the STAT.

Certificate IV and a B grade or higher in English General. If the applicant wishes to study Nursing, Teaching, Veterinary Science, Psychology, Law and Criminology they will also need to complete the STAT and obtain the minimum score specified by the course entry requirements.

Students who do not gain admission to the undergraduate Bachelor’s degree programs, will have the opportunity to undertake university enabling programs (6 months) offered at each of the above universities (except UWA).  These can be applied for when completing their TISC application from August.

For more information on the STAT

Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)