ATAR Score Guide by Subject
Updated: 21 January 2017
- Variable: Final score for 2017 depends on demand for places (student quota)
- Fixed: The minimum score is fixed (places available to all applicants with higher ATAR)
- Hidden: ATARs used in assessment but no guidance given about required score
- No ATAR: Entry does not depend on a student’s ATAR (other criteria used).
- Arts: Bachelor of Arts (or similar). May be for a specific major such as Creative Writing, History or Journalism.
- Business: Bachelor of Business, or Bachelor of Commerce (general entry)
- Engineering (and Science): Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree. May be for a specific major, such as Civil or Mechanical. Where Engineering is not offered, ATAR is for Bachelor of Science.
- The figures are from university websites and were gathered shortly before being published in the table.
- For variable ATAR scores, universities normally use the previous (2016) final cut-off score as guidance.
- Where there are different scores for a subject at a uni (e.g. by campus or specialisation), the lowest or most common score is reported.
- Each university is given a score type (e.g. variable or fixed) based on our interpretation of guidance on the uni’s website.
- Please check university course guides before making final enrollment choices.
- For Queensland universities, ATAR-equivalent cutoffs were estimated using QTAC selection rank conversion tables (see here).
University ATAR Cut-Off Scores
The table of university course entry scores uses ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) cut offs for bachelor degrees in 2017.
ATAR or ATAR-equivalent scores are published by the universities and indicate the score a school leaver needs to achieve to receive an offer. Some are fixed while others are estimated scores based on final cut-offs for 2016 applicants. The sample consists of 3 of the most popular undergraduate degrees: Arts, Business/Commerce, and Engineering/Science.
Uni Admission Score Games
Universities that are hard to get into are considered prestigious. Demand for places is strong, so they can set admission standards above the norm. Are they better? Maybe, maybe not. But a degree from a university with tough entry standards will tend to be valued more than a degree from an “average” university.
For prestige reasons, universities often actually have lower ATAR requirements than advertised. They want to fill places but don’t want to admit to having lower standards. You may be able to gain entry even if you don’t meet the published ATAR requirement.
Elite (high ATAR) universities
Getting into a university with high ATAR cut-off scores is great. But there are lot more things to consider when choosing a uni and course. Too many students decide to go to the most prestigious university that will have them—when there are better options available.
Universities with the highest course entry standards tend to be the older universities based centrally in major cities—for example, Melbourne Uni, Sydney Uni and UNSW. By studying there, you can get a highly valued degree while experiencing the big city. But city life is not for everyone and you may have to relocate.
There can also be an academic downside to attending elite universities. Because other students have high academic ability on average, you may struggle to stand out. Would you rather be an average student at a prestigious university or a high achiever at a normal one? Ultimately, whichever university you attend, your performance as a student is what really matters.
Universities with low ATAR cut-off scores
Universities that set modest or low course admission standards do it for different reasons. Some universities target students who have average ATAR scores and can’t into other universities. They are competing with other universities and set scores low enough to attract students.
But often universities with modest course entry requirements are the main university in a region (e.g. James Cook University). They need to provide places for all students with the ability to complete a degree. Regional Australian universities can have many outstanding students.