What are Higher Education Studies (HES)?

High Education Studies (HES) are first-year university subjects that are taken as part of a student’s VCE program. The HES constitute about 20% of a full-time first-year university course and are an advance on a VCE Unit 3 and 4 subject. Each HES has two full semesters and is equivalent in duration and workload with one VCE Unit 3–4 sequence.

It is important to note that only one HES can contribute towards satisfactory completion for the award of the VCE. Students will not be permitted to enrol in more than one HES through CHES.

There are 19 courses on offer through CHES and our University partners click here for more information.

We encourage students to select courses based on your interests and strengths (and pre-requisites) and preferred mode of study. 

Key Information

key information

Factsheet – Introduction for students and families

hEad start into university

Apply to study

Apply to study

Through the Centre of Higher Education Studies (CHES) students can apply to study a Higher Education Study (HES) as part of their final year of VCE. There is selection process for enrolling in a HES but for students who meet the selection criteria, the HES will be free.

Students accepted into a HES can enjoy a wide range of benefits including academic challenge from an extension subject, credit towards a university qualification, contribution towards completion of the VCE as a Unit 3-4 sequence, and a subsequent contribution towards the calculation of the ATAR via an increment for a fifth or sixth study. Students who successfully complete a HES will have the title of the study, the year of enrolment, and the university name reported on their VCE Statement of Results.


Study HES in VCE

ATAR increment

Higher Education Studies (HES) can be used as a fifth or sixth subject in the calculation of the ATAR. Depending on a student’s results, completion of the HES can contribute 3 to 5 points to the ATAR aggregate

The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) provides an ATAR increment for a Higher Education Study (HES) as a fifth or sixth subject, provided that the student has:

  • satisfactorily completed four VCE Unit 3 and 4 sequences for which study scores have been calculated, including one from the English group
  • satisfactorily completed at least one VCE Unit 3 and 4 sequence in the same year as the HES
  • satisfactorily completed the full year of the HES
  • been awarded a pass result by the university.

Where students withdraw from or fail to satisfactorily complete the VCE preparatory study either as a prerequisite or concurrently, which is a requirement of the HES, they will not be eligible for a HES increment in their ATAR calculation regardless of their performance in the HES.

Earning university credits

Students who successfully complete the HES may receive credit towards an undergraduate course at the university where the study was satisfactorily completed, if the subjects can be taken as part of that course. Where students apply to study an unrelated undergraduate course at the university that delivered the HES, or apply to study at another university, students may also be considered to receive credits, at the discretion of the university.

Moving confidently into university life

Students enrolled in the HES will get to experience university study and tertiary life. This includes visits to university campuses and mentoring with university students and academics, and access to university resources—e.g. students may have access to university cards, email accounts, university libraries and study spaces, as well as student clubs and societies.

Adding credentials to your CV

Students will receive their academic transcript on completion of their HES and the opportunity to receive further achievement awards through the Centre for Higher Education Studies (CHES).

Participation is free

There are no enrolment costs for HES through CHES. Participation in the HES program, including subject fees, student services, events and activities are provided free of charge. The only educational items that students may need to acquire as part of their HES are textbooks (paper or digital versions), stationery, calculators, and digital devices.

No penalty for withdrawal or failure

At CHES, our aim is for all students to successfully graduate from the HES they undertake with our university partners. However, rest assured that if a student withdraws from or fails the HES, they will not experience any disadvantage when subsequently applying to study at that university or any other tertiary institution. Furthermore, withdrawal or failure will not be recorded by the university or by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).

Study a HES through CHES

There are several key benefits to studying a Higher Education Study through CHES:

CHES provides coordination, resourcing and supports for students enrolled in HES

In partnership with universities and the base schools of students, CHES will provide oversight, coordination and support for the Higher Education Studies. The CHES Principal, Higher Education Studies Coordinator, and team of staff will guide and support students with transitioning into and through their HES program. We will provide wrap-around support to enable students to be as successful as possible.

All students accepted into CHES will be provided access to the CHES Learning Management System (LMS). This will provide students with a common platform for access to collaboration spaces, news and key information updates, links to services and staff at the CHES, booking options for the Student Enrichment Series, and links to CHES handbooks.

It is anticipated that the universities will also provide students with access to their own platform, libraries and other tertiary resources.

Opportunities to make new friends and connections

Through the HES, students will meet leading academics, teachers, and university students. Students will be learning together with other high-ability students from across Victoria and will have the opportunity to build positive relationships with others, building a strong network before continuing to university studies after graduating from secondary school.

Student Enrichment Series

At CHES we recognise the importance of supporting students with their transition to university. Together with our university partners, CHES is making available enrichment and extension opportunities to further stretch and challenge senior students, including our CHES Student Enrichment Series each term.

The Student Enrichment Series will be published each term, exclusively for students who are enrolled in Higher Education Studies through CHES, and will include masterclasses, workshops and seminars. The Student Enrichment Series events are also intended to enrich and extend the critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills of students.

There will be (optional) opportunities for CHES students to engage in one-to-one mentoring with university students and academics.


Apply now for a Higher Education Study

Apply Now

further information on enrolment is available here.

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