University of Sydney

Admission criteria and entry schemes

To be offered a place at the University of Sydney, you need to meet the academic criteria in one of the categories listed below, and be selected in competition with other eligible applicants. You will also need to meet English language proficiency requirements and any specified additional criteria, such as an audition, interview, test or presentation of a portfolio.

Undergraduate applicants

Applicants with recent secondary education (within the past two years)


Admission is normally on the basis of the ATAR or equivalent. If you have completed more than one recognised secondary qualification, we will generally consider your most recent results. If your only qualification is an Australian Year 12 qualification, you can apply on the basis of that qualification.



Broadway Scheme

The University of Sydney Educational Access Scheme (Broadway Scheme) is for students who have experienced long-term educational disadvantage. The scheme is only open for entry to undergraduate courses offered through UAC.

You can apply for this scheme if you are a domestic applicant and:

  • you completed Year 12 in 2018 or are completing in 2019, and
  • you have not attempted any tertiary studies since finishing Year 12.

Approval under the scheme does not guarantee admission, but it does allow you to compete for a place in most courses with an ATAR up to five points below the guaranteed ATAR for the course. In 2019, over 600 EAS approved applicants received an offer to the University through the Broadway Scheme.

The University of Sydney EAS applications are processed centrally through UAC. You can also call the Future Student Contact Centre on 1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864) or visit The University of Sydney website.

Early Offer Year 12 (E12) Scheme

If you are a NSW Year 12 student who shows the potential to succeed at university and you have experienced financial disadvantage, you may apply to be considered for a conditional early offer. The conditional early offer lets you know in advance the ATAR you will need to get into your selected course. Under the E12 scheme, the ATAR you need will be less than the guaranteed ATAR for the course.

Applications for the E12 scheme open on Wednesday 3 April 2019 and applications must be received by Monday 30 September 2019. In addition to submitting an application to your chosen course, you must submit a separate Schools Recommendation Schemes (SRS) application directly to UAC.

To be eligible for the E12 scheme, you need to:

  • be currently undertaking the HSC or International Baccalaureate (IB) at a NSW high school 
  • be studying the required HSC subjects (if any) for the E12 course you wish to enter 
  • have the support of your school principal to apply for the E12 scheme.

In addition, you need to either:

  • residing at the time of your E12 (SRS) application in an area ranked in the bottom 25% of SA1 areas within the Socio-Economic Index for Areas - Index of Education and Occupation (SEIFA) as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, or
  • demonstrate that you are experiencing financial hardship at the time you apply for E12 by successfully applying to the UAC Educational Access Scheme under the financial hardship provisions.

Under the E12 scheme you will also be provided with a first-year scholarship and support through your transition from school to university. It is important to note that the E12 scheme cannot be combined with any other pathway scheme. 

For more information, visit The University of Sydney website.


If you are an elite athlete or performer (eg you have competed at state level or higher) and your training or competitive commitments have affected your studies, you can apply for special consideration under the Elite Athletes and Performers Scheme. Approval under this scheme does not guarantee an offer but allows you to compete for a place with an ATAR up to five points below the guaranteed ATAR for the course.

Assessment criteria and application forms are available on The University of Sydney website. Applications close Thursday 31 October 2019.


You will also need to meet any specified additional criteria, such as an audition, interview, test or presentation of a portfolio. Details of any additional selection criteria are outlined in the course descriptions. You will also need to meet English language proficiency requirements. 


A course prerequisite of Mathematics (Band 4) is indicated for a number of courses in advanced computing, agriculture, commerce, economics, engineering, health, medicine, pharmacy, psychology, science and veterinary science. It also applies to combined courses in those areas. This can be met by a Band 4 in Mathematics or a Band E3 in Mathematics Extension 1 or Mathematics Extension 2. 

This means that you must have reached this minimum standard in your NSW HSC or equivalent before you will be offered a place in the course. If you do not have the required course prerequisite you cannot be selected for the course, even though you may have met the admission criteria.

When you read Mathematics in University of Sydney course prerequisites and assumed knowledge, it refers to the HSC course titled Mathematics, not Mathematics Standard.

The mathematics course prerequisites apply to:

  • all domestic students (onshore and offshore) applying on the basis of undertaking a Year 12 (school leaving) qualification, such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC), IB diploma
  • all onshore international students undertaking a Year 12 qualification (or equivalent) in Australia, such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC), or IB diploma in 2019.

as well as:

  • all domestic students applying on the basis of higher education study 
  • all domestic students applying on the basis of approved preparation programs or other qualifications accepted by the University
  • all students applying through admission pathways will have to demonstrate achievement in mathematics.

For more information, visit The University of Sydney website.


In addition to the Mathematics (Band 4) course prerequisite, most University of Sydney courses include assumed knowledge. This means that before starting your course, you are expected to have completed certain subjects in your NSW HSC or equivalent, or to have reached a certain level of knowledge. Without this knowledge you may experience difficulties in your university studies. Some courses also require the study of certain units (eg mathematics, chemistry or physics) during your first year. Bridging courses introduce the fundamentals of the subject, enabling you to reach a point where you can follow lectures and participate in tutorials and lab classes.

Bridging courses are offered at the Camperdown and Cumberland campuses:

  • Mathematics (Camperdown campus only)
  • Mathematics Extension 1 (Camperdown campus only)
  • Chemistry
  • Physics (Camperdown campus only)
  • Biology
  • Grammatical Analysis – recommended for Speech Pathology (Cumberland campus only).

For subject equivalencies and information about enrolling in bridging courses, visit The University of Sydney website.


Recent high school graduates can enrol in first-year subjects run by the Sydney Summer School, a full-fee-paying award program of intense study running over three sessions from December to February each year. Merit scholarships and undergraduate fee scholarships are available for financially disadvantaged students.



If you are a Year 12 high school student and your school nominates you as dux of your year or the school captain, you can receive a guaranteed place at the University of Sydney. Under the Future Leaders Scheme, you will know in advance the ATAR you will need to get into your selected course, and the ATAR you need will be less than the guaranteed ATAR for the course. You should note that not all courses are available under this scheme and some courses have a limited number of places reserved below the guaranteed ATAR. 

For more information, visit The University of Sydney website.

Applicants with higher education study

If you have completed at least one full-time year of study at bachelor degree level or higher at a recognised educational institution, the University will generally consider your results from those studies. Full-time study is considered to be the achievement of 48 credit points or more at the University of Sydney or the equivalent at another tertiary institution. 


If you are currently enrolled in a University of Sydney bachelor degree program and you intend to apply for another University of Sydney degree program, you will need to apply directly to the University for an internal transfer.


A record of failure at tertiary study means you will be less competitive for a place than those with a successful academic history. If you have been excluded from study at any university, you will not be considered for admission at the University of Sydney unless:

  • you have successfully completed at least one semester of study at degree level after the exclusion, or
  • your application for special consideration has been approved (see below). 

If you have been excluded from a University of Sydney course, there is a two-year waiting period before you can apply for special consideration for entry to that course. 


You may apply for the Special Consideration for Admission Scheme if you:

  • have a record of failure at tertiary study
  • have been excluded from tertiary study, or
  • believe that your tertiary studies have been affected by circumstances beyond your control.

You will only be considered for the January UAC offer rounds. Special Consideration applications close on 13 December 2019.

Applicants with vocational education and training (VET) study

If you have completed a diploma or associate diploma, the results of these studies may be considered if the University considers them relevant to the course for which you are applying. Assessment for some courses may include additional components such as an interview, test results or portfolio presentation.

Applicants with work and life experience


If you are older than 21 and did not start university straight from school you may be eligible for the University’s Mature-Age Entry Scheme. To apply under this scheme, you need to be at least 21 years old on 1 March of the year of entry to university, and have completed one of the following approved courses within the past two years:

  • Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation offered at a NSW TAFE Institute
  • Limited ATAR (NSW HSC). The University of Sydney does not use the Limited ATAR for automatic selection.
  • Open Foundation Course offered by the University of Newcastle
  • University Preparation Program (UPP) offered by UNSW Australia.

You will not be eligible for the Mature-Age Entry Scheme if you:

  • have an ATAR or equivalent that will enable you to compete for entry into any course at the University, or
  • have completed at least one year of full-time (or part-time equivalent) study at bachelor level or higher.

Instead, you will be assessed on these results, even if you are 21 or older. 

Not all University of Sydney undergraduate degrees are available under the Mature-Age Entry Scheme. The University of Sydney recommends that before enrolling in any preparation course, you contact the Future Student Contact Centre to confirm your eligibility for entry and for information on the appropriate preparation courses.

Applicants with overseas qualifications

There are commonly accepted overseas secondary qualifications that University of Sydney may take into consideration. Check your qualification.

Contact the University to discuss eligibility for admission before applying to UAC.


If you have overseas secondary or tertiary qualifications from countries where English is not the standard language of instruction, you must provide evidence of English language proficiency.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants

The University is committed to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to succeed in higher education. The Cadigal Program is an admissions pathway and support program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who want to study at the University of Sydney.

Any course offered by the University (excluding block-mode and away-from-base courses) can be studied through the Cadigal Program. You may be required to complete an additional assessment as part of your application. If you are younger than 21, you need to have completed the HSC or equivalent but are not required to have an ATAR.

To be considered for entry through the Cadigal Program, you need to submit your UAC application along with a separate Cadigal Program application, directly to the University. 

To apply online, visit the University of Sydney website

International Year 12 applicants

General requirements

As an international student completing one of the following qualifications in 2019, you will apply for admission through UAC and will generally be selected on the basis of your performance in these studies (ie your ATAR or equivalent):

  • an Australian Year 12 qualification (either in or outside of Australia)
  • an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma in Australia
  • a New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 3.

If you have other overseas qualifications you should apply directly to the University of Sydney, not through UAC.

Additional selection criteria

In addition to achieving the admission criteria, some courses also require you to meet additional selection criteria. These may be the completion of a personal statement, a questionnaire, a portfolio of work, an audition, an interview or a test. The results of the additional selection criteria will be assessed in conjunction with your ATAR or equivalent.

Details of any additional selection criteria are outlined in the course descriptions. 

If you are undertaking your Year 12 studies offshore and are applying to a course that has additional selection criteria that you may be unable to meet, contact the University of Sydney

Postgraduate applicants

General requirements


Admission to the Juris Doctor requires a bachelor’s degree from any discipline other than Law. Entry is competitive, and applicants are assessed on previous academic performance in their completed tertiary study and secondary school leaving qualification such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (or equivalent). The criteria are 75 per cent grade point average of a previous tertiary degree and 25 per cent ATAR or equivalent. If you have more than one degree, your highest grade point average will be used. 

Your chances may be improved if you have completed a research degree, a master’s degree by coursework or an honours degree. If you do not have an ATAR or equivalent, you will be assessed on your tertiary record alone.


Where your prior education was undertaken outside of Australia, or your studies were not in English, you may need to provide evidence of English language proficiency. Applications without the required proof will not be considered.