Tertiary Preparation Program (Health Sciences)

Course information for - 2024 entry

Offered at 3 locations


1 year full time

6.0 overall score (with no individual score less than 6.0)
Fees (first year)*
Start dates
February 2025, February 2026, February 2027


This course is for international students who want to pursue academic studies in health sciences.

Students will be given the opportunity to develop effective English language communication skills and relevant content knowledge that are needed by health practitioners.

In particular, students will explore:

  • the language and terminology of health sciences
  • a variety of materials centred around health science content
  • cultural awareness and responsiveness
  • communication with patients or clients and their relatives
  • the Australian health care system, and social determinants of health
  • critical thinking and problem solving.

Emphasis will be placed on working independently and as a team member, self-directed study, and building confidence. Students will also receive support and specific preparation for external English language proficiency tests.

Course details

Course structure

Course map

Open all

Please note: Course maps are subject to change.

Commencing Semester 1

  • ACOM103Academic English for Health Sciences 110 cp
  • ACOM105English Language Communication Skills10 cp
  • ACOM108Communicating as a Health Professional 110 cp
  • ACOM121Proficiency Test Preparation10 cp
  • ACOM115Academic English for Health Sciences 2

    (Pre: ACOM103)

    10 cp
  • ACOM116Introduction to Health Care in Australia10 cp
  • ACOM117Introduction to Science for Health Professionals10 cp
  • ACOM208Communicating as a Health Professional 2

    (Pre: ACOM108)

    10 cp

All units are delivered in campus attendance mode.

Prerequisites (Pre:) are other units that you must have passed before enrolling in this unit.

On Campus Intensive Course (Brisbane only) - Commencing Winter term

All units are delivered in campus attendance mode.

Prerequisites (Pre:) are other units that you must have passed before enrolling in this unit.

Graduate statement


As an ACU graduate you have personal insight founded on an understanding of who you are as a professional, a citizen and a scholar. You embrace change and growth through critical self-awareness and learning autonomy. You are empowered to seek truth and meaning, drawing on the principles of justice, equity, and the dignity of all human beings.


As an ACU graduate you value human dignity and diversity. This appreciation is founded on deep reflection, and empathy. You have experience of Indigenous Knowings and perspectives and can engage respectfully when working alongside Australia's First Peoples. You can connect with people and cultures and work with community in ways that recognise the dignity of the human person and all cultures


As an ACU graduate you utilise imagination and innovation to solve problems. You critically analyse information from a range of sources to creatively solve practical problems and use critical thinking to make decisions and advance the common good. You appreciate the role of innovation and creative thinking in developing a better future for each person and community.


As an ACU graduate you recognise your responsibility to work for social justice and a sustainable world founded on a commitment to human dignity and the common good. You lead change through respectful collaboration and effective communication of ideas to diverse peoples, groups and communities in local and global contexts. You are empowered to positively impact your profession and the community.

AQF framework


Additional course information

Course Structure

Students are required to complete a total of 80 credit points, consisting of:

  • Academic English for Health Sciences 1
  • English Language Communication Skills
  • Communicating as a Health Professional 1
  • Proficiency Test Preparation
  • Academic English for Health Sciences 2
  • Introduction to Health Care in Australia
  • Introduction to Science for Health Professionals
  • Communicating as a Health Professional 2

Entry requirements

English language requirements

To be eligible for admission to the course, an applicant must:

  • have completed the equivalent of year 11 (completion of senior high school in countries where this is not considered equivalent to an Australian year 12)
  • have a minimum English language proficiency level of:

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • Overall score: 6.0 Individual score of: 6.0

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

  • 50 with a minimum of 50 in all four communicative skills

Test of English as a Foreign Language – Academic (TOEFL)

  • Internet based total of 60: minimum 21 writing, 18 speaking, 12 listening and 13 in reading


ACU English Language Test

  • C+ (63-64%)

Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)

  • Overall CAE score: 169. Minimum score of 169 in all tests 

An applicant must also comply with the Admission to Coursework Programs Policy (see English Language Proficiency)

Inherent requirement

There are essential components of a course or unit that demonstrate the capabilities, knowledge and skills to achieve the core learning outcomes of that course or unit. You will need to be able to meet these inherent requirements to complete your course.

Learn more about inherent requirements for your course and how they affect you


Further study

This course provides a pathway for international students to enter specified undergraduate degree courses within the Faculty of Health Sciences. Applicants should refer to Schedule 3 of the Admissions to Coursework Programs Policy for a list of those courses.


Course costs

  • Unit fee: $2415
  • Average first year fee: $19320
  • Estimate total cost: $19320

The Tuition fees quoted above are for commencing students in the current year who undertake a normal full-time load. The Unit Fee is based on a 10cp unit. Fees are reviewed annually.

Tuition fees for continuing students may increase by up to 3 percent each year for the minimum duration of the course as provided on your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE). Students who continue to study beyond the minimum duration will have the relevant annual commencing rate applied to their fees for subsequent study periods.

Payment options

You should be able to concentrate on getting good marks instead of worrying about how you’ll pay your fees. We have a number of options that can help you ease the financial burden, including government assistance, scholarships and income support. 

Explore your options 


You could be eligible for one of the hundreds of scholarships we award each year to help students from across the university with the cost of studying, accommodation or overseas study opportunities. Some of our scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, but these aren’t just for the academically gifted; ACU also recognises excellence in community engagement and leadership. We also offer a range of scholarships for those who may be struggling financially or who have faced other barriers to accessing education.  

Search our scholarships  

How to apply

International applicants

Staff Profile

Liz Leighton

Teacher, Tertiary Preparation Program (Health Sciences)

Liz Leighton is a TESOL teacher with over 30 years’ experience. She has taught in both Australia and the UK at primary, secondary and tertiary level. Liz has extensive experience of teaching Academic English at ACU, having taught across direct entry and pathways programs. She has a keen interest in curriculum development. Whilst studying for her Master of TESOL and Applied Linguistics, she became passionate about developing strategies that can assist students with reading academic texts. She currently teaches across the Academic Literacy units on the Health Sciences Tertiary Preparation Program.



Felicia Angelica

Choosing to study the Tertiary Preparation Program (Health Sciences) at ACU has been one of the best decisions I have made in my study journey. TPP helped me improve both my English skills and my understanding of fundamental knowledge in Health Sciences, which has been immensely helpful since starting my Bachelor of Nursing.

TPP allowed me to familarise myself with the study system in Australia and the course content was designed very well to prepare students for their future studies. The unit assessments and teaching methods helped me feel prepared for the Bachelor of Nursing program.

The staff and teachers were extremely helpful. They responded quickly to concerns and enquiries, provided information for every possible need, and delivered classes very well.

Felicia Angelica
Bachelor of Nursing student

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