About the GSS Program

Program overview

The Graduate Studies Select (GSS) Program is currently comprised of the following degree awards.

  • Graduate Certificate of Studies (CSTUD) requires the successful completion of 24 units of graduate courses chosen from the graduate classifications of Transitional, Advanced and Specialist.
  • Graduate Diploma of Studies (DSTUD) is an exit qualification only. It provides a flexible option for students who require an early exit point from the Master of Studies. The Graduate Diploma of Studies requires the successful completion of 48 units of graduate courses and meet other program requirements.
  • Master of Studies (MSTUD) requires the successful completion of 96 units of graduate courses, and provides the opportunity for students to undertake a greater number of Advanced/Specialist courses and includes a 12-unit compulsory Research component. The program has been amended for students commencing after Semester 1 , 2019, to become an Exit Award only program.
  • Master of Studies (Advanced) (VSTUD) requires the successful completion of 96 units of graduate courses. This Programs provides students opportunity to enhance your Master degree with a 24 - unit supervised research project and a thesis. This will allow you to participate in the community of researchers at ANU and can be used as a pathway to progress to Higher Degree by Research programs (MPhil and PhD). This is an excellent pathway, if you are interested to undertake a research program, but do not currently meet the admission requirements or do not have relevant academic expertise. The program is no longer available to new students. Only available as the transfer from the Master of Studies.

Courses available

GSS is a university-wide suite of programs. Although it is administered by the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), you can study postgraduate courses offered by most of the ANU Colleges and do not need to take any CASS courses.

While a majority of postgraduate courses are available, some courses may have additional requirements, such as undergraduate study in a particular academic discipline or may only be available to students enrolled in a particular award program and may need special approval. For example, Law and Medical School courses are not normally available to GSS students. Course information webpages include a brief description of content, eligibility criteria, pre-requisites, indicative assessment, classification, mode of delivery, fees and dates. Browse courses offered by ANU on the Programs and Courses website.

The Master of Studies and Master of Studies (Advanced) have additional requirements around the type of courses that are permitted. Each postgraduate course has been classified as Transitional, Advanced, Specialist or Research. These classifications reflect the nature of the material to be covered in each course. Restrictions on the number of Transitional courses, and a minimum number of Advanced, Specialist and Research courses, are designed to ensure that students acquire a breadth and depth of knowledge and skills, commensurate with other ANU graduate awards. The Graduate Certificate of Studies does not have any restrictions around classifications. Check the program requirements of each program on the Programs and Courses website.

Course classifications

  • Transitional courses are designed for students from a broad range of backgrounds and learning achievements. They do not require any prior study in the field or discipline.
  • Advanced courses are designed for students with significant knowledge in a field of study or discipline and who may have previously undertaken one or more courses in a cognate area. Normally, advanced courses have formal requisites.
  • Specialist courses are designed for specific careers and are usually professionally accredited. They may have formal requisites.
  • Research courses include those which involve a coherent research project, normally assessed by means of a thesis or dissertation, which require students to have completed focussed study in a relevant field. They also include courses designed to develop research methodologies in a single- or multi-disciplinary context.

If you need assistance with understanding course classifications or wish to ensure you are completing courses as per your program rules, please contact the GSS Student Advisor via email gss@anu.edu.au.

Modes of delivery

Graduate courses at ANU have different modes of delivery. You can combine on-campus courses in standard semester sessions requiring weekly attendance, intensive on-or-off campus courses held over a few days, weeks or evenings in non-standard sessions and terms, and online studies. Not all courses are offered in all or multiple modes and some courses start in one term and continue in another so check all course information carefully before enrolling.

  • Standard sessions: Semesters 1 and 2 of 12 weeks each. Lectures are usually held weekly with classes on-campus, and tutorial times are negotiated with students. Lectures are often recorded with audio and visual presentations and some are available as podcasts.
  • Non-standard sessions: Four quarter terms.
    Term Duration
    Summer January 1 - March 31
    Autumn April 1 - June 30
    Winter July 1 - September 30
    Spring October 1 - December 31

Online options

ANU offers a selection of online courses that can be included in any of the degrees.

If you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or a Permanent Resident (domestic student), you can complete an entire degree online. If you are on an international student visa, only 25 per cent of your degree can be undertaken through online courses. Some courses offer partial on-campus attendance which is then considered to be an on-campus course.


Once you have accepted the offer of admission, as specified in your offer letter, completed any pre-enrolment requirements, and been admitted to ANU, the next part of the process is enrolment.

The GSS Student Adviser and GSS Sub-Dean are available to provide course advice and academic advice, to help you to tailor a GSS program and can provide more detailed information about program structure, course content, course relatedness, curriculum, prerequisites, workload and timetabling. Apart from information about courses, the GSS Sub-Dean can also guide you through the different aspects of the ANU study environment. This will enable you to make informed choices as you progress in your degree.

Domestic students can choose to study the GSS programs on a full-time or part-time basis. For international students, study load is visa dependent. If you have a student visa, you will be required to enrol in a standard full-time study load of 24 units per semester unless special permission is granted.

Please see the information below on maximum time limits.

Program requirements

You must follow the Graduate Studies Select program requirements from the year you commenced the program.

Programs & Courses 2016

Programs & Courses 2015

Programs & Courses 2014

Study at course catalogue 2008–2013

Students who commenced prior to 2014 should follow the below program structure:

Program structure for programs commenced prior to 2014
Course classification requirements Certificate of Graduate Studies Diploma of Graduate Studies Master of Studies Master of Advanced Studies
Transitional Any combination of course classifications Maximum 24 units Maximum 24 units Maximum 24 units
Advanced, Specialist, Research Minimum 12 units Minimum 24 units Minimum 48 units
Total unit requirement 24 units 36 units 48 units 72 units

Maximum period for completion of program

The program completion time limits for the respective degrees are governed by the Graduate Coursework Awards Rules 2016. Please refer to the Division 3.5, Section 32 of the Rules, Maximum period for completion of program for information on time limits.

If you have any questions on GSS program requirements please contact the GSS Student Advisor at gss@anu.edu.au.

All academic programs are managed under ANU rules and policies. Students can check the rules and policies of the University pertaining to graduate coursework and other matters.

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Updated:  16 May 2019/Responsible Officer:  CASS Marketing & Communications/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications