The Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) is the certificate that students will receive upon completion of Western Australia’s general education program, which is a condition when transitioning to the world’s top universities, including University is in the Ivy group in the US and UK.

Students will generally complete the WACE in the last two years of high school, with no specific time limits. The WACE program may also be taken throughout life. Students who complete the program will receive a WACE degree, awarded by the Academic Council, on behalf of the Western Australian state government.






Humanities and Social Science

Why should you choose the WACE program?

  • Students are able to study for a world-class qualification without leaving their own country. The WACE program is dynamic, relevant, balanced and academically challenging. It’s ideal for our rapidly changing world.
  • The WACE prepares students for a variety of career paths, including medicine, dentistry, finance, business, information technology, science, law, engineering and the arts. Students develop communication skills, self-discipline, and respect for themselves, their peers and the world.
  • WACE graduates are well-placed to achieve fluency in English, which provides ideal preparation for higher education at universities where English is the teaching language.
  • Students in WACE program are required to demonstrate their comprehensive learning ability and meet the specific requirements, including literacy and numeracy. This certificate is recognized by universities, academic institutions and in various industries across the Australian qualification system.
  • Students come from diverse backgrounds and have varying needs. They may be interested in university study, have specific vocations in mind involving further education and training, or intend to enter the workforce after leaving school. For this reason, senior secondary schooling in Western Australia offers a wide range of courses and programs that enable students to study courses similar to those offered in other parts of Australia and provide multiple pathways to university, training and employment


These courses are examined by the Authority. The ATAR is used to determine eligibility for university entrance. Students seeking to achieve an ATAR will need to complete a minimum of four Year 12 ATAR courses, excluding unacceptable combinations (see Undergraduate Admission Requirements for School Leavers on the TISC http://www.tisc.edu.au). ATAR courses are typically for students who are aiming to go to university directly from school.

An ATAR ranges from 99.95 to zero, and reports your rank position relative to all other students. It takes into account the number of students who sit the WACE examinations in any year and also the number of people of Year 12 school leaving age in the total population.

If you have an ATAR of 85.00, for example, it indicates that you’ve achieved as well as or better than 85% of the Year 12 school leaver age population in the state and you are ranked in top 15% this year.

The ATAR allows the results of any WA student applying for university admission interstate to be directly compared with results in other states. All states (except Queensland, using Overall Position OP and Field Position FP) report student rankings as an ATAR.


Students need to:

  • Demonstrate the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy (Standard or above in OLNA; Band 8 or above in the Year 9 NAPLAN).
  • Complete a minimum of 20 units, which may include a minimum of 10 Year 12 units.
  • At least one pair of Year 12 units from an English learning area course.
  • One pair of Year 12 units from each of List A (arts/languages/social sciences) and List B (mathematics/science/technology).
  • Achievement of at least 14 C grades or higher (or the equivalent) in Year 11 and 12 units, including at least six C grades (or equivalents) in Year 12 units.
  • Completion of at least four Year 12 ATAR courses.


The Western Australian Statement of Student Achievement, also known as the WASSA, is issued to all Year 12 students at the completion of their secondary schooling. The WASSA provides a formal record of what students leaving in Year 12 have achieved, including:

  • Achievement of WACE requirements
  • Achievement of literacy (reading and writing) standard
  • Achievement of numeracy standard
  • Achievement of exhibitions and awards
  • School grades, school marks, and combined scores in ATAR units
  • Number of community service hours undertaken (if reported by the school).

The WASSA shows what students have achieved towards meeting the requirements of the WACE. For students who have finished Year 12 but not yet completed the requirements of the WACE, the WASSA shows their progress.

Learn more about the Information Handbook 2019.