Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are Australia Awards Scholarships?
Australia Awards Scholarships are long term study and professional development opportunities. They are available to suitably-qualified Mongolian citizens who fit the priority employment sectors, fields of study and specialist areas agreed between the Governments of Mongolia and Australia.
For general information about the Australia Awards, visit Australia Awards website.
II. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
2. What are the eligibility criteria for the Australia Awards Scholarships in 2017?
There are a number of criteria that have to be met for an application to be eligible. There are general criteria that apply to applicants worldwide.
There are also criteria specific to Mongolia. These are listed in the Country Profile. Applicants must meet all criteria to be eligible to be considered further.
3. At what level are Australia Awards Scholarships offered?
In 2017, scholarships are offered at Master's level by Coursework or Research.
4. What is the duration of an Australia Award Scholarship?
Scholarships are offered for the minimum duration required, as specified in university course information. The maximum duration for a Master's degree is two years (104 weeks).
5. What is required to apply for a Masters by Research Scholarship?
Master's by Research is available to applicants who demonstrate the need to undertake research or teach or supervise researchers on return to Mongolia.
Applicants wishing to take a Master's by Research must have written in-principle agreement from a supervisor for their research proposal. This agreement must be provided either with an application or (if selected for an Award) before placement. This agreement does not guarantee a place at the university, but it helps the university's research committee when it considers the application.
Australian higher education institutions' websites identify their area of research strength.
6. Can I apply for an Australia Award Scholarship if I have studied abroad previously?
Yes, although preference is given to applicants who have not studied abroad previously.
Applicants who have gained tertiary qualifications abroad, must have been back in Mongolia for at least two years before they can be considered for an Australia Awards Scholarship.
7. Can applicants with a Master's degree apply for a scholarship for a degree at the same level?
Yes. Applicants may apply for a Master's degree if it is in a different field of study to previous studies. In selecting awardees, however, preference is given to those without previous overseas study experience. An applicant who already holds a Master's degree must include the details in their application.
Previous recipients of Australia Awards Scholarships may apply, but the policy detailed in the Australia Awards Scholarships Policy Handbook requires them to have been back in Mongolia for twice the length of the total time they were in Australia.
8. How do I find an appropriate course and institution?
Applicants are expected to research Australian universities to find the best courses that meet their background, work experience and leadership ambitions to influence development in Mongolia. Read our guide on researching courses.
Australia Awards are available only for courses listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). This is the official Australian Government website that lists all Australian universities offering courses to people studying in Australia on student visas. Read this list of the Australian universities
Applicants do not need an offer of place at a university when they apply, but they should visit university websites and make sure preferred courses are on CRICOS. Applicants must include two course choices and university preferences in their applications.
9. What is required by an employee from Category 1 to apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship?
- have been employed for the last two years continuously (dating back from 1 February 2017) in the public sector
- be employed in a central and/or local governments, public universities ,hospitals and schools and state-owned enterprises in the same sector for that period
- meet all eligibility criteria.
10. What is required by an employee from Category 2 to apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship?
- have been employed for the last two years continuously (dating back from 1 February 2017)
- employed in a private sector, civil society and non-government organisations, private health and educational institutions and country-based offices of international organisations in the same sector for that period
- meet all eligibility criteria. Refer to information about the sectors.
III. ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS
11. What levels of IELTS/TOEFL are required to apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship?
An IELTS (Academic) overall score of at least 5.5 (or equivalent TOEFL score) for applicants living and working in Ulaanbaatar, with no band score less than 5.0.
For applicants living and working in provinces an IELTS (Academic) overall score of at least 5.0 (or equivalent official TOEFL score) with band scores in Reading and Writing not less than 5.0 is required.
Recipients of Australia Awards, however, must reach IELTS 6.5 (with no band less than 6.0) before they are accepted into selected courses. Awardees with IELTS scores (or TOEFL equivalent) below this will complete a compulsory English Language Training program for up to 26 weeks.
Please note: Some courses require higher entry levels of English language proficiency. Applicants must achieve the level required by the university.
12. Can IELTS/TOEFL test certificates be submitted after the scholarship application?
No. An IELTS or TOEFL test certificate must be submitted with the online application. A copy of the online IELTS or TOEFL test results is unacceptable.
IV. WORK EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS
13. How is the two-year work experience requirement calculated?
All applicants, whether from Category 1 or Category 2, must have the last two years' continuous employment. The last two years is calculated back from the opening date for applications, 1 February 2017. Employers' letters and CVs can verify the full two years' experience.
Please note: Any time a woman is on maternity leave during the two years leading into 1 February 2017 counts as part of her work experience.
14. Does the two years' work experience have to be with the same employer?
Category 1 applicants must have been employed in the public sector for the previous two years, but may have held positions in different departments or agencies. Category 2 applicants can have worked for different employers for the previous two years.
15. Does evidence of two years' continuous employment have to be included with an application?
Yes. The following documents can be used to verify your two years of work experience: a stamped Letter of Employer, an extract from your Social Insurance Payment Book (or Employment Order/Contract), your CV.
These documents must confirm continuous employment for two years leading into 1 February 2015.
V. APPLICATION PROCESS
16. How are applications and supporting documents submitted?
All applications are to be submitted online, together with all supporting documents. Applications must be lodged by 30 April 2017.
Applications not completed and submitted online by 30 April 2017 will not be considered.
17. What if I do not have internet access to complete an application online?
If you cannot access the internet, contact the Australia Awards – Mongolia Office to discuss options. Contact the office as early as possible so you do not disadvantage yourself during the application period. Please be aware that the online application system is closed by the deadline.
18. What supporting documents are required with an application?
The documents that must be uploaded with your application are listed in the Country Profile. Note the documents to be notarized and those that require English versions. If a document has several pages (for example, pages of the social insurance book), submit them as a single document under the correct name, rather than naming and numbering each page repeatedly, or differently.
Note there are different requirements for Master's by Coursework and Master's by Research applicants as outlined in the Desired Applicant Profile and Country Profile.
19. How are applications assessed and selected?
There are three steps for applicants from both Category 1 and Category 2:
- Step1: Applications are checked to make sure they meet eligibility requirements and that all required documents are attached.
- Step 2: Eligible applications are assessed and ranked by a panel of independent experts.
- Step 3: Some applicants are short-listed from those assessed by the independent panel. They are invited to an interview with a separate panel chaired by a senior DFAT officer and representatives from the Government of Mongolia and other representative organisations. All interviewees are required to bring original copies of their Mongolian citizen identity cards and passports for residency checks and original copies of their academic qualifications and transcripts.
Once the panel makes its recommendations, the list is forwarded to DFAT where the delegate has final approval as to who will be made offers.
Applicants are encouraged to watch the videos on the Australia Awards – Mongolia website for more information about application and selection processes.
20. Who can certify university academic transcripts?
University academic transcripts and degree certificates can be notarized by the official records department of a university or a Public Notary.
If an applicant is short-listed and invited for interview, s/he must bring their original documents with them for them to be sighted and certified as true and accurate.
VI. PROPOSED STUDY
21. What courses can be studied under the Australia Awards Program?
First of all, choose two similar courses, preferably at two different universities based on the thorough research and analysis. Courses must align with the priority fields of study and areas of specialisation for 2017. The Fields of Study for 2017 are found in the Country Profile.
Courses can be no longer than 104 weeks.
Applicants should also refer to the guide on researching courses.
22. Should proposed courses be in the field previously studied?
Not necessarily. Master's applicants who nominate a course in a field of study different from their academic background can be considered, depending on their work experience and career goals. Their application must demonstrate how the knowledge and skills gained the proposed studies will advance Mongolia's development when you return from Australia.
Anyone with a Master's degree in a particular area cannot apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship in the same field.
For any selected course, applicants must have relevant background studies. For example, applicants for economics require strong mathematical backgrounds in their qualifications.
23. Can courses of study be changed after the application submission?
Generally, no. Awardees are nominated in large part because of the courses of study they selected. Consequently, changing courses of study will not be approved unless there are circumstances beyond the person's control. It is very important that applicants think carefully about courses and to research them thoroughly before submitting applications.
DFAT reserves the right to consider requests for changes to courses on a case-by-case basis.
24. Do applicants for Master's by Research need to find supervisors for their studies to be accepted by Australian universities?
Yes. An applicant applying for a Master's by Research must submit written evidence of a supervisor for the research proposal. Contact a potential supervisor as soon as possible because it can be a time-consuming exercise.
VII. AWARD OF SCHOLARSHIPS
25. When will applicants be notified that they have been awarded a scholarship?
Although decisions about Australia Awards Scholarship candidates are completed in July, there are approval steps that follow. Successful awardees should be notified of conditional awards by late August in the year of application.
26. What entitlements come with an Australia Awards Scholarship?
Scholarships are offered for the minimum period necessary to complete the university study program, including any preparatory training. Scholarships entitlements are listed in the Australia Awards Scholarships Policy Handbook.
Recipients who travel alone to Australia and whose course of study is two years in duration are entitled to a return airfare to Mongolia after one year of satisfactory study. See the Australia Awards Scholarships Policy Handbook.
Awardees with disability are provided with additional support based on their circumstances and it will be detailed in a Disability Support Agreement.
27. What are the responsibilities of Australia Awards Scholarship awardees?
Before awardees take up a scholarship they enter into a legal agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia. This agreement contains detailed information about responsibilities.
In general, awardees are required to: complete the Academic Preparatory Program in Mongolia, participate in the university's Introductory Academic Program (IAP) and other required preparatory study on arrival in Australia; commit to their studies and meet all the expectations of the university; achieve satisfactory academic progress; maintain contact with the Student Contact Officer at their university; abide by the laws of Australia; and strictly adhere to the conditions of their visa.
Awardees are required to leave Australia for at least two years after their studies.
28. Can awardees bring their families to Australia?
Yes – but they are advised to wait six months until they have settled into their new environment - before family members join them. The Australian Government provides no financial or other support for dependents of awardees. Dependents are entirely the responsibility of the awardee.
Please note that the Australia Awards – Mongolia office does not assist with travel arrangements for family members, apart from requesting a No Objection Letter from DFAT.
For information on awardees' responsibilities for spouses and dependent children in Australia, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website or the university where you wish to study.
VIII. TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA
29. Can I stop over on the way to Australia or travel to Australia early for a holiday?
No. Travel is organised by the most direct route to your final destination in Australia. Travel is cost effective, and aims to minimise risks of in-transit and visa problems in third countries.
30. How do I collect my air ticket? Who makes the travel arrangements?
After receiving a Student Visa (subclass 500), the Australia Awards – Mongolia office will book your flight, take care of your travel arrangements and arrange for you to receive your ticket. You need to present a copy of a valid visa to the Australia Awards – Mongolia office to receive an air ticket.
31. What is the maximum weight of luggage allowed for students?
Luggage allowances vary between airlines. You must check with the airline with whom you will be flying. You must pay for any excess luggage costs yourself.
32. How do I get to the city where my university is located?
You will receive all air tickets (both international and domestic) to reach the city where your university is located.
33. Will there be anyone from the university to meet me at the airport? Where will I stay?
After you receive your visa, and before you leave for Australia, contact the university Student Contact Officer (SCO) and let them know your travel details. Once they know your plans, they will arrange for you to be met and explain the procedures when you arrive.
When contacting the SCO, explain your accommodation requirements. They can arrange temporary accommodation for you on arrival. This will be at your cost. You will need to arrange long-term accommodation. The SCO can assist you with this, but it is your responsibility.
IX. LIVING AND STUDYING IN AUSTRALIA
34. How important is the Introductory Academic Program (IAP)?
It is very important. Attendance at the IAP is mandatory.
35. Can I contact my employer organisation during my academic year?
Yes. Keeping in contact with your workplace in Mongolia is encouraged and supported through a formal Communication Agreement and as part of your Reintegration Plan.
36. Do I have to maintain a minimum grade to continue after the first year?
Yes. You have to demonstrate satisfactory progress in your studies. Failure to do so may result in an Award being terminated.
37. Can I change my field of study once I reach Australia?
No. Your application was assessed and you were selected based on your nominated course of study.
38. Do I get any money before I leave for Australia?
No. An Establishment Allowance and fortnightly Cost of Living Allowance is paid after you arrive in Australia and have registered with your university.
39. Do I need to have extra funds with me when I arrive in Australia?
Yes. Experience shows that you should have AUD500 in cash when you leave the airport in Australia. This will help cover costs such as food and transport before you set up a bank account. There are currency exchanges in all international airports or you can exchange currency in Mongolia before you leave. Make sure you know Mongolia's regulations about the amount you can take with you.
40. How much money do I need to live in Australia?
This depends on whether you are alone or your family joins you. If your family remains in Mongolia, you may have to support them while you are in Australia. If your family accompanies you, the Australian Government requires you to have enough funds to support them in Australia.
41. Who finds long-term accommodation for me? Is there on-campus accommodation for scholarship awardees?
You need to find your own long-term accommodation although the Student Contact Officer (SCO) can help. There is some on-campus accommodation but no special treatment for Australia Awards scholarship holders. Talk to your SCO about options.
42. What support is available to me to bring my spouse and dependents to Australia?
The Australian Government provides no additional financial support for an awardee's dependents (spouse and children under 18). Awardees also need to arrange Overseas Health Cover for their dependents.
43. Who is regarded as a dependent under the Australia Awards?
Under Australian visa requirements parents, parents-in-law or siblings of a scholar are not dependents. They cannot accompany scholars to Australia.
44. How can I find safe, secure accommodation?
There is wide range of secure accommodation. You can arrange accommodation yourself or through the university. Talk with your Student Contact Officer (SCO).
45. Are there religious restrictions in Australia?
Anyone can practice their religion without restriction. People can wear what they want, pray, go to churches, temples and mosques as they need. Australia has effective law enforcement systems to support individual rights and independence.
46. Can my children attend school?
Yes. Each state has an excellent education system and it is compulsory for school-age children to attend school. Children are provided with a healthy and encouraging environment where their cultural and religious backgrounds are taken into account. Professional, qualified and trained teachers make it easy for international students to adjust to a schooling system.
47. Can my children access childcare, even if they do not speak English?
Yes. Children can access childcare, if there are spaces available at the times you want. Childcare centres are supervised by trained staff and offer meals, toilet care, activity groups, play areas, afternoon nap areas and emergency arrangements. A childcare admission form includes sections on religion. Childcare centres may be able to arrange short-term language support for children who cannot speak English.
48. What assistance can I expect during my stay in Australia?
All universities have student services centres to help awardees and provide emergency support. These centres can help arrange accommodation, access family support and, where possible, meet any special needs. Australian universities also have health and counselling services that are free (or offered at cheaper rates to students) and a range of sporting, shopping and other campus facilities.
The Australia Awards – Mongolia program also has an Academic Adviser based in Australia who is also available to support awardees who face personal or academic difficulties.
49. Can I celebrate our national, religious and cultural festivals?
Yes. Most capital cities have community groups that come together to celebrate religious, cultural and/or national events and festivals.
50. Can I work part-time while studying in Australia?
Yes. Awardees can work up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during vacations. You must inform your Student Contact Officer before accepting work.
51. Can my spouse work while accompanying me on my scholarship?
Yes. Your spouse can work full-time while accompanying you.
X. SUPPORT FOR SCHOLARS WITH DISABILITIES
52. Is Australia disability friendly?
Yes. Most public places, including universities, markets and parks, are custom-built or being upgraded to be disability-friendly. For example, universities have accessible lifts, parking, campus services and toilets. Most universities have dedicated disability services that provide free, confidential services to students with disabilities.
Universities also have health and counselling services that are free or offered at cheaper rates for students, and international student services centres where students can make appointments to discuss matters impacting on their lives in Australia.
University accommodation and many private apartments have elevators to access to buildings and houses. It is important to note that private housing is not always customised and awardees should check this when considering accommodation options.
53. Will I be able to use public transport?
Australia has extensive public transport infrastructure (rail, tram, ferries, buses and taxis) linking different parts of a city. Most public transport is customised to enable disability and baby pram access. Trains and buses usually have exclusive spaces for wheelchairs.
54. Will I be able to shop for groceries and other necessities?
Australia has well-developed retail outlets, located conveniently across cities and towns, where you can do weekly/monthly shopping at affordable prices. Large retail stores are designed to enable disability access.
Australian universities are obliged to ensure awardees with disabilities have access to necessary support mechanisms for their studies, such as altered learning materials and accessibility throughout the university.
55. What support services, equipment or devices will be available to me? For example, can I have a disability carer/support person?
Support such as disability services, equipment or devices are assessed on a case-by-case basis to assist awardees with disabilities. This can include academic and non-academic support such as additional financial support for disability carers or support persons, medical costs, specialist equipment or devices. Support can include changes to the way a person with a disability enrols in a course, alterations to the physical environment and other facilities, alternative methods in the way teaching is delivered and skills are assessed.
Australian universities are obliged to ensure awardees with disabilities have access to necessary support mechanisms for their studies, such as altered learning materials and accessibility throughout the university.