About ACS Distance Education

  • ACS has been developing resources and guiding students since 1979.
  • Over 600 online courses
  • Established by John Mason, author of over 130 books, magazine editor, publisher, parks director, university and college lecturer; recipient of fellowships from IOH (UK), AIH and PLA (Australia).
  • ACS is an internationally recognised college affiliated with over 18 other post secondary institutions in several different countries, including both government owned and nationally recognised institutions.
  • We offer unique and extensive student services, and a policy that puts the student's learning experience first.
  • Our courses are practical, enabling you to not only develop knowledge, but to build the capacity to continue learning after your studies are completed.
  • Our courses are experiential; you learn from "'experts'" by being guided to see, do, think about and experience the things you study.


Established in 1979, ACS Distance Education is a leading Australian Distance Education provider which offers over 600 courses via correspondence, online or on on memory stick. The institution has staff working out of Victoria, S.A. and Qld in Australia; Scotland and England, and N.Z.

Our courses, course notes, and most recommended texts, are all developed by our own staff. These courses are also delivered worldwide through our network of affiliates.

ACS has educated over 150,000 full and part-time students, many of whom have gone on to successful employment, both in industry or in their own businesses. Others have used their courses to develop a hobby, or simply broaden their general education. We currently have over 4000 students enrolled from Australia and around the world. The school employs staff in three states of Australia, plus the U.K. and New Zealand. As such our courses and service have a truly global focus. The courses have been developed with strong industry input from around the world and are continually updated on the basis of surveys undertaken by both current students and graduates every month of the year.

The school holds high the ideals of practical education, emphasising in all courses those things which are relevant to "real life". Courses offered cater for hobby interest through to starter, transition and professional development courses.

Education Philosophy
We believe that by providing a alternative education to main stream vocational colleges and universities, we are able to differentiate our graduates and give them real life advantages over graduates from more traditional institutions.
These differences however must be (and are) pursued without compromising academic excellence in any way whatsoever.
In principle we tend to favour experiential learning and problem based learning rather than CBT (Competency Based Training).
We believe learning is more important than assessment. For us, assessment should be provided more to enhance the learning experience, and less to rank students.

WE ARE DIFFERENT -Helping You beyond Learning

We know from research that success in industry depends upon knowledge, but also attitude (eg. passion, positive motivation), experience and networking (ie. who you know and are connected with).  We develop courses with all of this in mind. 
It is not just about learning the information that is dished up, but also facilitating and encouraging development of positive attitude, contacts within industry and opportunities for valuable experiences. 
Passing exams is secondary to developing a capacity to succeed. 

We develop and deliver of courses, to affect the student's attitude, experiences and the interactions they have with other people - just as much as expanding the information they know and understand.

More Than a School 

The school and its tutors have always been active in industry. We believe strongly that maintaining an awareness of current information and trends enables us to keep our course notes and services to students up to date and relevant. When you study with this school you are learning from people who are doing what you are studying on a daily basis.

Staff come from varied backgrounds: with both teaching and hands on vocational experience (including ex university, vocational college and training staff; research academics, etc). Courses cover e learning or traditional studies; flexible education options for career (jobs), self improvement, professional development, life skills or general adult education.

AFFILIATES: Courses developed by ACS are now licensed to, and used by a network of affiliated colleges around the world. ACS programs in fact form an international education system which is known and respected by leading educationists in several countries. 

SYNDICATED ARTICLES: The principal and staff of ACS have written articles on a regular basis, to a range of publications including Your Backyard, Garden Guide, Garden Guru Newspaper, Home Grown, Queensland Homes and Home Farmer. Our principal and staff are the core writers for the Australian green living magazine -Home Grown.
Our ongoing involvement with the publishing industry allows us to bring a ""real world"" relevance to the courses we develop and deliver.

PUBLISHERS: We also operate an ebook publishing business that has produced over 100 titles. Our books are distributed through our school's bookshops, affiliates and some large international distributors including Overdrive (the main ebook supplier to libraries, world wide).

SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS: We have employed a team of in house programmers for over 20 years, who have developed much of the software resources used to operate the school and service our students. This has allowed us to provide unique services and have a greater control over the services we provide; more than most colleges and universities that tend to rely on using "off the shelf" generic software to run their services.




Often the problem with correspondence study is that you feel you are on your own, and have limited access to resources, to ask questions and obtain assignment feedback.
ACS provides the highest level of support possible. Students can:

  • Start with a short orientation video that explains simply and effectively how to study.
  • Talk directly with Academic Officers by phone.
  • Email questions and quickly receive a email or phone call back.
  • Access additional notes whenever needed from an educational database of more than 350,000 pages and 15 million words. 
  • Use the online bookshop to get a wide range of text books and reference books in both hard copy and ebook format.
  • A unique 'students only' website that includes a resource library, student manual, assignment submission feature and more


  • We're always learning new things, from conferences, magazines and journals, internet searches, colleagues and of course student's assignments.
  • Staff at the school are continually researching and writing new books, magazine articles and video scripts.
  • This gathered information is used to update course notes.
  • We offer you more up to date information than you are likely to get from many other schools.
  • We encourage feedback from students through newsletter surveys, and contact with tutors.


  • All necessary course notes and required reading materials
  • Tuition
  • Assignments marked
  • Questions answered
  • Orientation video presentation to explain how everything works
  • Careers and business advice
  • Access to our Resource Libraries
  • Newsletters
  • Bookshop discounts
  • Free listing on our internet web site directory, upon request
  • Access to the 'students only' website that includes a chat room, student directory, assignment submissions and more
NOTE: Your course is a comprehensive learning program involving all of those things above. You're not just buying glossy books! Notes come mainly from our exclusive computer files, printed on a laser printer and bound into booklets.


  • There are no set starting dates. Start when you want at any time of the year.
  • We allow students to work at their own pace. There are no deadlines for assignments.
  • Cancelation of a registration will only occur if you haven't contacted us for over 6 months
  • See schedule of fees for estimated hours of study for each course.
  • Extensions and deferments may be requested if needed. Please contact the school for more details.
  • If your studies are supported by someone else (eg. Government or Employer), they may require you to finish within a specified period. In such cases check with the supporting agency before enrolling.


As our courses run via correspondence, students can start when they wish; at any time of the year.


The task of choosing a course can be daunting.
  1. The courses menu lists courses according to subject area. Look through the subject area that interests you and choose the particular course that most appeals to you. The fees for each course are listed on the top right of each course page.
  2. If you need further information, you can take advantage of our free Course Counselling service. Alternatively you can fax, phone, write, visit or email the school for further advice or information (click here for contact info).
  3. Select your course, and fill in the enrolment form and forward it to the school with the appropriate fee.
  4. When a new enrolment is received at the school, the course notes are printed, compiled, bound, and along with any other relevant texts, posted to you. (This normally takes up to 28 days.)
  5. When you receive your course package, commence work at your own pace:
    -The subject guide shows you what to do.
    -If you have difficulty with any parts of your course then please contact the school for help. Guidance and further information are provided as needed.
    -As you complete written & practical assignments, submit your work to the school for comment. Your tutor provides guidance where needed, and the work is returned to you to keep.
ACS is also very actively publishing books written by our principal (John Mason) and staff. These are written specifically as supplementary reading for courses, as well as being distributed through the wider book industry world wide through Overdrive (The world's largest library distributor of ebooks, based in the USA); and Wheelers (in N.Z.)
The full range of titles can be seen in the schools bookshop at www.acsbookshop.com