Bapube Abubakar:

Good Morning Readers, it is yet another opportunity to share with Readers ‘A guide for Ghanaians seeking to pursue postgraduate studies in Australia’ As usual, it’s a one in all package where we seek to cover right from making a decision through to gaining admissions, applying for a student visa, scholarships, arriving and starting your studies in Australia. Readers, get your bits and pieces together before 10am this morning when we shall be coming your way with this career-changing topic. Catch you soon. Peace!!!


Bapube Abubakar:

The man to lead the discussion today is Dr. Matthew Mabefam, who holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Philosophy Degrees, both from the University of Ghana. He recently submitted his Ph.D. thesis in Anthropology and Development Studies to the School of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Melbourne. With the depth of his experience, the career Convo is confident that we will unravel all the mysteries as far as further studies in Australia is concerned. My respected Readers, your Resource Person, Dr. Mabefam, your audience. Thank you and (welcome) Doc.


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: Thank you for the warm introduction. I’m grateful to be here, and hoping to have exciting conversation.


Bapube Abubakar: Hello my dear Readers,

Thank God for another opportunity to share some knowledge and experience with the Hubs.

You are welcome Sir. Doc, please tell the Readers a little about yourself


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: My name is Matthew Mabefam. As our moderator said earlier, I recently submitted my PhD thesis and currently sessional academic at the University of Melbourne.


Bapube Abubakar: Thanks Doc.  Kindly take Readers through a systematic guide on what to consider when choosing a program of study into an Australian university


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: Australia offers a wide range of options for students. There are many pathways for students to take to reach their desired qualification, whether you’re straight out of high school, furthering your tertiary education or changing your career direction.  There are 43 universities in Australia (40 Australian universities, two international universities, and one private specialty university). Below are some of the things you should consider when choosing to study a course in one of the universities.



  • Location

one of the first things you need to think about when choosing a course is where you would like to study — both the location and institution. You may be drawn to a certain area, such as metropolitan Sydney or Melbourne, sunny Queensland or coastal new south wales… or you may already have a preferred institution in mind. if you’ve already decided on a field of study, this can also help narrow down options. Some fields, such as business, can be studied nearly anywhere in Australia, while other courses, such as dentistry and veterinary medicine, are only offered at a select number of universities. Some regions are known for their expertise in certain areas, which may also influence your decision — regional Australia for agriculture, western Australia for mining or Tasmania for maritime studies, for example.

  • Graduate outcomes and pathway opportunities

when researching courses of interest, you need to consider outcomes and future prospects. You may be looking for a course that qualifies you for a particular profession, one that is accredited by industry bodies or one that prepares you for further study.

  • Cost and entry requirements

Tuition fees and entry requirements in Australia can differ considerably between institutions and courses, so it’s worth having a thorough look at all your options if you’re concerned about either of these factors. You may also look at scholarship opportunities, as well as alternative entry arrangements and pathways at each institution.

  • Learning styles

If you’ve decided what you want to learn, the next step is to think about how you want to learn it. This will partly depend on the sector you choose to study in — vet courses are known for their practical, hands-on approach, while higher education courses tend to incorporate more theory — but even higher education degrees can differ considerably between institutions. some courses offer plenty of work-integrated learning, while others delve deep into theory and research. you may decide to study a general course and try out a few areas of interest or look for one with a specialised focus from the start.

  • Work experience or practical placements

Gaining practical experience during your studies is invaluable when you begin looking for work in your field. Some courses include practical placements as part of the course, while others will leave it up to you to gain this experience. Institutions vary in their ability to help students in this area — some offer a dedicated careers service to help students find a relevant internship, others have strong industry partnerships and some even have industry-standard facilities on campus for students to work in.


Bapube Abubakar: Wow, a very detailed answer. Thanks for this Sir

Any specific advice on the choice of a suitable university in Australia?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: Every tertiary education institution is different, not only because of the range of courses they offer and their location, but also because of their unique character. if you know how to tell institutions apart, it will be much easier to find the one that suits you best. Here are some important factors that you should consider when choosing an institution.

  • Field of study: some institutions offer a wide range of courses, while others specialise in one or two particular fields. if you have a specific career in mind, you may find that only a small number of institutions offer an appropriate course. Even if a large number of institutions offer courses in your study area, you may find that some really excel in the field.
  • Location: Institutions operate in different locations in Australia, so your choice may be governed by where you would prefer to study. For example, you may prefer to study at an institution based in a regional location over a metropolitan location. you might even choose an institution with multiple campuses, so you can study in more than one location. Another option is to choose a location that specialises in your field (Queensland for marine science or western Australia for mining engineering, for example).
  • Institution sector and qualification type: a great way to narrow your options is by determining the appropriate institution sector and type of qualification for your needs.
  • Costs and entry requirements: tuition costs, academic entry requirements and English language entry requirements differ between institutions, even for similar courses. The alternative entry pathways available (such as foundation programs and English language courses) will also vary between institutions.


Bapube Abubakar: Points to note for Readers : Field of Study, location, sector qualification type and cost & entry requirements.

What are the general admission requirements for Ghanaian students seeking to study in Australia?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: •          English language requirements

Australian educational courses are taught in English. In some cases, you may need to provide results of an English language test. There will be need proof of your English language capabilities to ensure you can understand the course content.

  • Academic requirements

The academic requirements (including evidence of English language skills) you need will vary depending on the level of course you want to study. Institutions can have different entry requirements, so read the course information on their website carefully and contact them if you need any advice or assistance.

Here is some general guidance on entry requirements for different levels of study:

  • English language courses: entry requirements vary between institutions, and according to the level of English language skills required for the course.
  • Schools: entry requirements vary between schools, depending on the state or territory. Academic performance and ability is considered during the application process.
  • Vocational education and training (vet): in most cases, there are no entrance exams for vet institutions. however, some courses may require you to have studied specific subjects or completed work experience.
  • Higher education postgraduate course: you must have completed at least one degree at undergraduate level. The institution may also consider your research ability or relevant work experience.


  • Visa requirements

The student visa you need depends on your course. Here are some typical requirements:

  • Receive an electronic confirmation of enrolment (ECO) certificate.
  • meet the genuine temporary entrant requirement.
  • prove you have sufficient funds for airfares, course fees and living costs.
  • demonstrate English language proficiency.
  • meet health and character requirements.
  • provide evidence of overseas student health cover
  • Overseas student health cover

Australia has a special system of health cover for international students called overseas student health cover. It will help you pay for any medical or hospital care you may need while you’re studying here. It will also help pay for most prescription medicines and provide you with ambulance cover in emergencies.


Bapube Abubakar: Is there any specific English test they require or one can show an English proficiency letter from a Ghanaian university?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: There is a specific English test requirement such as IELTS. But in my experience, a proficiency letter from a Ghanaian University has worked for me and most of my colleagues


Bapube Abubakar: Good news.

After meeting the requirements, what steps must be followed to secure an admission into an Australian University?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: step 1: choose your course and education provider

Carefully research courses, institutions and their locations. Consider the areas of specialisation Offered through different courses and which specialisations will best suit your intended career path. Once you have decided on the best course, you need to find out which education providers offer it and which provider best suits your requirements. You should consider the size of the campus, the available facilities and the support services offered for international students.

step 2: apply

Once you have chosen your course and education provider, it is time to apply. Before you apply, you should check the academic and English language entry requirements to ensure you are eligible.


step 3: have your application processed

Once the education provider receives your application it will be assessed, and you will be notified of the result. it may take a few weeks (longer for postgraduate applications) before your application is processed.

step 4: accept your offer

If your application is accepted, you will receive a letter of offer and an acceptance form. Before accepting the offer, you should carefully read the letter of offer and check any conditions that may apply. You will need to meet these conditions before the institution issues a confirmation of enrolment (coe). You may also be required to pay tuition fees before your institution issues a coe. the institution will advise you of its requirements.

step 5: prepare for departure

Now that you have been accepted, it is time to apply for your student visa. you are able to apply for your student visa using either your letter of offer or your coe, but you will need to supply evidence of your coe before your student visa is granted. see student visas for more information. you must also purchase your plane tickets, organise your overseas student health cover and arrange your accommodation in Australia.


Bapube Abubakar: Thanks for the details Doc

What determines the chances of the applicant in successfully securing an admission offer?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: If you have the following, it will enhance your chances of getting admitted.

  • Have English language requirements
  • Meet the academic requirements of the programme you are applying for
  • Securing a supervisor/supervisor (if it is a research degree)
  • Your chances of getting admitted into some programme is also influenced by work experience
  • Publications are also a good plus


Bapube Abubakar: It’s a fact that most of us cannot pay for tuition fee in Australia, what are the available Australian scholarships for international students?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: Australia has scholarships options for people who cannot to pay school fees as a path way. A few examples are below

Australian award scholarship: Australia awards scholarships are long-term awards administered by the department of foreign affairs and trade. they provide opportunities for people from developing countries, particularly those countries located in the Indo-pacific region, to undertake full time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities and technical and further education (tafe) institutions. For Ghanaian students, the scholarship is only available for masters and short courses.



  • full tuition fees
  • return air travel–payment of a single return, economy class airfare to and from Australia, via the most direct route
  • establishment allowance–a once only payment as a contribution towards accommodation expenses, textbooks, study materials
  • contribution to living expenses (cle) – a fortnightly contribution to basic living expenses paid at a rate determined by the department.
  • overseas student health cover (oshc) for the duration of the award (for award holder only)–provided to cover the scholar’s basic medical costs (with the exception of pre-existing conditions)



Graduate research scholarships-(Masters/PhD). there are two types of scholarships under this section.  1. school-based scholarship (various universities have their own funding which are distributed to the various disciplines on quota basis) 2. government based scholarship-the government makes available some funding to the various universities for support for research programmes.



stipend and fee offset scholarships

  • full fee offset for up to two years for students undertaking a masters by research degree or up to four years for students undertaking a doctoral degree.
  • living allowance of $31,200 per year pro rata (2020 full-time study rate) for up to two years for students undertaking a masters by research degree or up to 3.5 years for students undertaking a doctoral degree. the living allowance may be indexed annually and includes limited paid sick, maternity and parenting leave.
  • relocation grant of $2000 for students moving from states or territories other than Victoria or $3000 for students moving from outside Australia.
  • overseas student health cover single membership for international students who require a student visa to study in Australia


Bapube Abubakar: What is your advice for a Ghanaian student who is searching and seeking to secure an Australian scholarship to pursue postgraduate study?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: •          Search through the various universities to see which scholarships are available and whether you qualify for them

  • Get the English language requirements
  • Meet the academic requirements
  • Securing a supervisor/supervisor (if it is a research degree)
  • Prepare a proposal to share with your potential supervisors


Bapube Abubakar: The research begins here.

Does one need to apply for scholarship separately or it’s done with the admission


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: It depends on the school and the stage of studies. There are some schools that require a separate application procedure while others imbed it in the general application for admission form. The University of Melbourne where I got my scholarship did not require a separate application for scholarship. But the RMIT university does have a separate application process for scholarship.


Bapube Abubakar: Something to note down. Thanks sir


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: For the Australian awards scholarship, you do not apply directly to the University. You apply to the government body which does the awarding and places you in the school you have selected

This latter one is for masters and short courses for Ghanaian students


Bapube Abubakar: Noted with thanks Sir.

I know you have touched on visa process, is there something you want to add on “For a Ghanaian student to successfully acquire an Australian Student Visa, what documents are required?”


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: The student visa you need depends on your course. Here are some typical requirements:

  • Receive an electronic confirmation of enrolment (ecoe) certificate.
  • meet the genuine temporary entrant requirement.
  • prove you have sufficient funds for airfares, course fees and living costs.
  • demonstrate English language proficiency.
  • meet health and character requirements.
  • provide evidence of overseas student health cover


Bapube Abubakar: Any brief explanation on what the overseas student health cover entails?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: You need to have health insurance that covers the period of your study. This is to ensure that when you fall sick, you can be treated without any challenges. It usual pays for consultation, medications, and some more. Most scholarships cover it and provide you with that evidence. If not you might have to pay it yourself and show evidence when applying for the visa purposes.


Bapube Abubakar: Ohk, basically like the NHIS in Ghana


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: Yes


Bapube Abubakar: What steps are involved in the visa application?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: The following are the steps

  • apply to a school in Australia and get a coe (confirmation of enrolments)
  • prepare a genuine temporary entrant document
  • create an account with the Australian immigration authorities
  • make sure that you have all the needed documents in digital format
  • complete the visa application online
  • do a medical assessment
  • pay the visa fee
  • Get your visa decision.


Bapube Abubakar: What makes up the medical assessment? Is there a designated hospital that carries out this assessment?

Readers can DM me there questions for the resource person to answer them


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: Yes, they have some specific medical facilities that they require you to do the test. Once you get to that stage, they will let you know.

Bapube Abubakar: Under what circumstances would an applicant possibly have their student visa refused?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: •          Failure to meet the genuine temporary entrant requirement

  • failure to meet academic qualification
  • failure to meet English requirements
  • insufficient funds/lack of scholarship
  • you don’t have acceptable health, overseas student health cover (oshc) or welfare arrangements
  • past misdeeds
  • incorrect or incomplete document


Bapube Abubakar: What is your advice for a Ghanaian student who has successfully secured an Australian study visa and is about to leave Ghana for Australia for the first time?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: •          it will be good to speak to someone especially a Ghanaian who has been in Australia before. such people will be able to relate with you and share their experiences with you in ways that maybe helpful.

  • ensure to attend orientation organised by your university
  • identify an African student group or association and join (very collegial and peer information sharing)
  • don’t bother bringing food stuff from Ghana. you can find anything Ghanaian here. besides, Australia is very strict with food coming in, and the chances that it will be seized at the airport is high.
  • have some dollars (USD) before you leave Ghana
  • read about the weather, the transportation system etc.


Bapube Abubakar: Very good advice.  What cultural, and social variances should a Ghanaian student expect when they arrive in Australia for the first time to pursue postgraduate studies?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: •          cultural shock (individualistic vs collective)

  • different kind of food which you have to quickly develop taste for. there are special places such as churches and a few shops that sell Ghanaian food, they are expensive.
  • social interactions (drinking, clubbing etc.) are part of the Australian culture. if you don’t drink, don’t judge!
  • everchanging weather (for example, in a place like Melbourne, you could have the all-weather types in a day. always have an extra clothing in your bag)
  • get acquainted with GPS/google maps quickly. you have to navigate everywhere on your own. asking for direction is more frustration as people don’t seem to know directions without their GPS


Bapube Abubakar: Thanks for the advice, Sir

What should they do in order to swiftly adapt to the culture and environment?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: •          Make friends/network with both Africans and non-Africans

  • Explore the city or place you live
  • Participate/ be active in events happening in your space
  • Seek support when you need. Don’t feel ashamed to ask

Bapube Abubakar: And of course, stay out of trouble.


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: indeed


Bapube Abubakar: What dos and don’ts must a Ghanaian student who is studying in Australia for the first time observe in order to avoid trouble and to maximize benefit from their study time in Australia?


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: •          Be a law abiding individual/Obey the law

  • Respect people around you
  • Have a valid ticket when you are traveling on public transport
  • Don’t interfere with in issues that have nothing to do with you


Bapube Abubakar: Readers can DM me their questions for the resource person to answer them

Doc, can you please give your concluding remarks


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: Before I conclude, just a few minor advices.

  • Learn your scholarship conditions, and ensure you abide by them
  • Make sure your pay attention to your studies. That is why you are there. Any other thing should be secondary.
  • Do not convert money into Ghana cedis before spending. If you do that you will starve. Because it will be expensive.
  • If you are a male, learn to cut your own hair, it will save you some money and give you a skill after all.

Bapube Abubakar: A hair cut in London is £15 about 100 cedis.  Good advice


Dr. Mathew Mabefam: In conclusion, thanks for giving me the opportunity to share a few things about studying in Australia. It is definitely a great place for higher education, and I will encourage all those who have intentions to explore it.  Do not hesitate to ask any further questions if you have them.


Bapube Abubakar: Thanks, so much Doc for your time and the extensive knowledge shared with us. Am sure Readers have learned a lot from your submission. To my dear readers, thanks for your cooperation and support. Hopefully, you will ask questions later.

Thank you all and may the Good Lord bless us all