Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE)


​​​​New senior assessment and tertiary entrance systems begin in Queensland with students entering Year 11 in 2019.The new systems include:

  • a model that uses school-based assessment and external assessment
  • processes that strengthen the quality and comparability of school-based assessment
  • introducing the Australian Tertiary Admission​​​ Rank (ATAR).

The Queensland Certificate of Education, QCE, is Queensland’s Senior Certificate and was first issued in 2007.

It is usually completed by students in Years 11 and 12. It is awarded to students that complete a body of work to a set standard. Most students will be awarded the QCE by the end of year 12. Students that are not awarded the QCE by the end of year 12 can complete fur​​ther study up until the age of 25 that will contribute to the QCE.

For most students, by the end of Year 12, you need

Literacy tick + Numeracy tick = Pass at least one semester of any English + one semester of any Maths

20 Credits = Pass 3 subjects all the way through (12 Credits) + 8 Credits from any combo of subjects (1 Credit = 1 semester passed)

QCAA credit table

A variety of learning contributes to a QCE including Core Studies, Preparatory Studies, Enrichment Studies and Advanced Studies.

The majority of learning is normally conducted within a school setting but learning completed outside of school may contribute towards the QCE.  These include such things as a school based apprenticeship or traineeship, a 1 semester university course, Music and Dance studies and many other community based learning.

The following table is a summary of the credit table Refer to QCE Pathways for full credit table that identifies learning that may be undertaken.


Normal school subjects

At least 12 credits.

Authority Subjects and Authority Registered Subjects Certificate II, III, or IV qualifications

School-Based apprenticeships

4 Certificate II - 4 Certificate III, IV - 5 to 8

Certificate III competencies - 2 On the job component - 4


Often completed before core courses

Maximum of 6 Credits

VET Certificate I Refer to QCE Pathways for other courses generally not offered by WSHS

Maximum of 2 Qualifications - 2 or 3


Complement Core courses of study

Maximum of 8 Credits

Recognized courses such as Music, Dance Academy, etc Community or workplace projects. Refer to HOD Senior Secondary. 

As determined by QCAA Usually 1 or 2 credits as determined by QCAA


Go beyond Senior secondary schooling

Maximum of 8 Credits

One or two semester University subject Competencies leading to Diplomas Recognised certificates and awards

2 credits each semester subject 1 credit per competency As determined by QCAA

Recognised studies

A wide variety of Recognised Studies may also contribute to a QCE. Many can be studied as part of a school program or outside the normal school program.  The link refers to a QCAA site because the list is updated regularly.

QCE presentations

A variety of informative presentations provided by QCAA assist students and parents better understand the processes and procedures underpinning the QCE.

Senior at Wavell State High School

At Wavell SHS, students would normally study a combination of 6 subjects or Certificate II or higher courses. Successful completion of these, including English and Mathematics, earns a student 24 credits and is thus eligible for a QCE.  
Last reviewed 23 November 2021
Last updated 23 November 2021