Future Students Find your Pathway into JCU

Find your Pathway into JCU

Wondering what to do if you didn’t study a prerequisite in high school?

Maybe you completed a non-ATAR pathway in high school, and have decided to pursue university study?

JCU’s Pathways programs can enable you to gain entry into many of our undergraduate degrees, without the required ATAR or prerequisites.

A male and female JCU staff member leaning against each other in front of a JCU van and umbrellas.

Pathways programs are a stepping stone, not a destination.

They lay the foundation for successful university studies. Most students selecting a pathway program have their end-goal degree in mind.

Pathway programs are best completed as the first step in your university studies. Alone, these courses can only provide you with a limited increase in career opportunities or professional development.

Many students are unfamiliar with the Pathway options available to them. However, JCU is committed to empowering you to achieve your study goals, and we know there's more than one way to get there.

Read on to discover the answers to your key questions about JCU's Pathway options:

What is a Pathway program?

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A pathway means exactly that – a path that JCU lays out for you. Our Pathways courses are short programs designed to give you:

  • A supplementary or enabling qualification that can be used instead of an ATAR to gain entry into most JCU bachelor's degrees.
  • Foundational knowledge that equips you to satisfy course-specific entry requirements, such as prerequisites.
  • Key study skills, including in academic writing, digital learning and time management.

What Pathway programs does JCU offer?

JCU Prep

Discover a fee-free* and flexible pathway that equips you to begin or return to university. JCU Prep is an enabling course that can be tailored to your needs — you will only study the subjects you need to meet the entry requirements of your target degree.


Who it’s for: Domestic students
What it supplements: ATAR score^ and subject prerequisites
Outcome: Entry into many JCU bachelor's degrees
Intake dates: January, May and September
Locations: Cairns, Townsville and Online
How to apply: If you have an ATAR, apply through QTAC. If you do not have an ATAR, apply through JCU.


*JCU Prep has no course fees. Students are only required to pay a Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSA Fee).

^ Excludes the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery; Bachelor of Dentistry and Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours).

Explore JCU Prep
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Course entry diplomas

Course entry diplomas support you to pursue your target study area, with options including business, engineering, nursing and information technology (IT). You will build foundational knowledge in your chosen field, and the diploma qualification you earn will give you entry into related JCU bachelor's degrees.

Who it’s for: Domestic and international students, depending on the specific diploma
What it supplements: ATAR score, subject prerequisites
Outcomes: Direct entry into a related JCU bachelor's degree 
Intake dates: Individual to each Diploma
Locations: Individual to each Diploma
How to apply: Individual to each Diploma

Explore JCU Course Entry Diplomas
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Can my VET/TAFE qualification help me get into uni?


If you’ve already got a VET/TAFE qualification, we know that you understand the commitment required for tertiary study. That experience should count for something.

At JCU, your VET course or TAFE certificate can assist your entry into uni in two ways:

It was not easy starting from zero in a new country, away from my family and friends while speaking a different language. The lecturers and staff at JCU made me feel welcome. All the knowledge and experience I acquired during the course has enabled me to keep growing personally and academically.

Fernando Mejia González

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT - MEXICO

JCU Pathways

An image of JCU Pathways student Fernando Mejia Gonzalez, wearing an Australian hat.

Which pathway is right for me?

For more details on the programs mentioned above, explore this guide to JCU's Pathways options.

To discuss Pathways specific to your circumstances, contact our Future Students team today. You'll receive personalised advice as well as guidance on the process of applying for and entering university.