Top 10 Best Universities in Australia

Get amongst the best of Australia’s iconic sandstone universities!


Australia continues to prove itself as a leading country for tertiary education as our universities are consistently ranked amongst the world’s best universities. And these ten  in particular routinely rank as the best Australian universities in QS scores.

The combination of our high standard universities with the laid-back Australian lifestyle means our student life is pretty great too. We at The Student Housing Company have done our research and talked to students from across the country to create a run-down of the top ten universities in Australia below.

Australian University #1 Australian National University
Australian University #2 The University of Melbourne
Australian University #3 University of New South Wales
Australian University #4 University of Queensland
Australian University #5 University of Sydney
Australian University #6 Monash University
Australian University #7 University of Western Australia
Australian University #8 University of Adelaide
Australian University #9 University of Technology, Sydney
Australian University #10 of Newcastle



Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

23,000 students

ANU is one of Australia’s top ranking universities. Based in the country’s capital, Canberra ANU was established in 1946 and was actually created by the Parliament of Australia. The university is renowned for its leading research work and its courses in Politics and Law. ANU offers over 50 single undergraduate degree programs over 7 academic colleges. The university offers 3-year bachelor degrees, 4-year bachelor degrees with honours, or 5-year double degrees. You can browse through their course options through their online website.

The Campus

ANU is located in Acton, which is the suburb right next to Central Canberra. With over 10,000 trees on campus, ANU is known for its ‘park like’ landscaping, so there’s plenty of great outdoor spaces to hang out with mates between lectures.

Student Life

Compared to Australia’s other major cities, Canberra has a relatively small population of around 400,000 people. Due to the university’s prominent location in a small city, it can sometimes feel as if ANU is its own student city. Most students live on campus in residence halls or very close to the university, therefore, their social lives revolve around the campus and ANU has a really strong university community.

Entry Requirements

  • For domestic students, the average required ATAR score for ANU is 82.00
  • For international students, ANU created an International Student Qualifications table listing entry scores relevant to different countries. Although this table is for 2017 applications, these scores are likely to be very similar for 2018.
  • An overall 6.5 IELTS score is required for international students. ANU also accepts other English Language qualifications specific to different countries. See their English language admission requirements for more information.


The best of the best universities in Australia ANU



Melbourne, Victoria

48,000 students

The University of Melbourne is one of Australia’s finest was founded in 1853, making it the second oldest university in the country. The university offers the ‘Melbourne Model’ – first year students choose a broad undergraduate degree in Agriculture, Arts, Biomedicine, Commerce, Design, Environments, Fine Arts, Music, Oral Health, Science or General Studies and then specialise their studies through a postgraduate degree. The university does not offer double degrees but does offer studying double majors within one undergraduate degree.

The Campus

The University of Melbourne has seven campuses in Victoria, but the main campus is located in Parkville, less than a five-minute walk from the centre of Melbourne. The campus has heritage listed buildings, five libraries and a large range of food joints. The campus is also surrounded by cafes and restaurants in the trendy suburbs of Parkville and Carlton, so students here are always spoilt for choice!

Student Life

Melbourne has a population of over 4 million people and the city is often referred to as the culture capital of Australia. The city is food and coffee obsessed, so there is a never-ending list of new places to try. Accommodation options located near Parkville are popular due to their close proximity to the campus, the city centre and some of Melbourne’s coolest areas. Plus, there’s plenty of great university student accomodation options in the vicinity.

Entry Requirements

  • For domestic students, the average required ATAR score is 92.23
  • The University of Melbourne has listed Minimum Requirements for Entry for each course by country for international applicants
  • The university accepts TOEFL, IELTS, Pearson Test of English or Cambridge English tests for English language requirements. Students need an overall IELTS score of 6.5 and other English requirements options are listed online.



Sydney, New South Wales

53,000 students

UNSW is another one of the university greats! UNSW was founded in 1949 and initially begun as a university focussed on scientific technology. The university now has nine different faculties and is ranked the best university in New South Wales. UNSW offers single bachelor degrees, dual degrees (two or more disciplines within one degree program) or combined degrees (two degrees within one program). There are eight undergraduate faculties – Art & Design, Art & Social Sciences, Built Environment, Business, Engineering, Law, Medicine and Science.

The Campus

The main UNSW campus is located in Kensington, seven kilometres away from the centre of Sydney and just two kilometres from the beach. The size of UNSW is so large that the University even has its own postcode, so there’s plenty to explore on campus too.

Student Life

Sydney is a picturesque, postcard-worthy city and its beaches are what makes this city special. Students often hang out by the sea or head down to Coogee beach for a dip after class. Being Australia’s biggest city, Sydney is busy and always bustling, so there’s definitely more for students here than just the beaches. The Main Library, the Quad and the lawns are popular on-campus spots for studying or just having a chat with friends.

Entry Requirements

  • For domestic students, the average required ATAR score is 83.67
  • For international students, UNSW has an International Undergraduate Entry Table outlining entry scores.
  • The university accepts a few tests for proof of English language proficiency. Generally, students applying at UNSW need an overall IELTS score of 6.5.


UQ definitely ranks on Australia’s best universities hit list!



Brisbane, Queensland

51,000 students

The University of Queensland is one of Australian’s best. was established in 1909 and the university has risen to be included within the top 50 universities in the QS World Rankings. UQ is structured into 8 undergraduate programs and students can choose from over 50 undergraduate courses. UQ is ranked #1 in the world for its Biodiversity Conservation program by the Centre for World University Rankings. It is also known for its Marine, Freshwater Biology and Water Resources studies.

The Campus

UQ has three main campuses, however the primary campus is located on the banks of the Brisbane River in the suburb of St Lucia. The campus is known for its beautiful location and sandstone buildings.

Student Life

As Brisbane continues to establish itself as its own, exciting city alongside Sydney and Melbourne, the student life in Brisbane also continues to thrive. Brisbane is blessed with year-round beautiful weather. This means students often kayak, bike ride or take trips to the nearby Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast. Brisbane even has its own man-made city beach, which is a popular spot for students on the weekend.

Entry Requirements

  • For domestic students, the average required ATAR score is 77.18
  • UQ provides Course Requirements information for all undergraduate programs, including international requirements
  • An IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required to apply for UQ. Other tests and qualifications in different countries are also accepted, refer to their English Language Proficiency Admission page for more information.


USYD, one of Australia’s most prestigeous and oldest universities!



Sydney, Australia

46,000 students

The University of Sydney is one of Australia’s most prestigious and oldest universities! Founded in 1850, The University of Sydney has a long history and is well established. The university is #1 for Anatomy, Physiology, Veterinary Sciences, Medicine, Architecture and English Language in Australia as ranked by QS. The university is structured into nine faculties (Arts, Business, Dentistry, Engineering, Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Science) and three schools (Architecture, Music, Law). Students have a lot of choice with over 100 undergraduate program options.

The Campus

The main campus is spread across the Sydney suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington, which are only four kilometres from the city centre. This campus is known for its neo-gothic buildings and students frequently catch up on the student lawns.

Student Life

Students at the University of Sydney tend to hang out in one of Sydney’s coolest suburbs called Newtown. Newtown is the hipster hub of the city and conveniently located next to the university. There is an abundance of pubs, thrift stores and always plenty of University of Sydney students around.

Entry Requirements

  • For domestic students, the average required ATAR score for entry is 85.45
  • For international students, the university has a Undergraduate Entry Guide listing all entry scores for different countries.
  • The university’s standard IELTS score is 6.5. Other tests are also accepted and scores can be converted to their IELTS equivalent using their English Language Test Conversion table.



Melbourne, Victoria


Monash University is one of Australia’s greatest and largest universities. Founded in 1958, this university is ranked #1 in Australia for Engineering and Technology by Times Higher Education and #2 worldwide for Pharmacy and Pharmacology by QS. Monash offers 126 undergraduate degrees and 59 double degrees, which usually take four to five years to complete.

The Campus

Monash University’s main campus is located 23 kilometres southeast of the Melbourne city centre in the suburb of Clayton. The university actually has five campuses within Australia and an extensive global network with locations in Malaysia, Italy, India and China.

Student Life

Due to Monash University being a 30-minute drive from central Melbourne, many students choose to live on-campus in residence halls. The campus provides students with everything they need. Most students eat and hang out on campus instead of leaving between classes, which is different to the culture at the University of Melbourne.

Entry Requirements

  • For domestic students, all courses require a minimum ATAR of 70.00 and the average required ATAR is 81.95
  • International students should refer to Monash’s International Undergraduate Guide which lists entry scores for all courses.
  • A minimum 6.5 overall IELTS score is required. Alternative English Language requirements are also accepted.


UWA’s best university status comes with better views.



Perth, Western Australia

24,000 students

UWA was founded in 1911, and is Western Australia’s first and best universities! The student body is smaller than most of the other top-ranking universities in Australia with around 24,000 people. This university is known for being a global leader in Mineral and Mining Engineering studies. UWA has five undergraduate degree options – Bachelor of Arts, Commerce, Science, Biomedical Science or Philosophy – and then students do a specialised postgraduate.

The Campus

The main campus of UWA sits on the Swan River in Crawley, a suburb just ten minutes from Perth’s centre. The campus has six libraries and many large research facilities including a $62 million Indian Ocean Marine Research centre.

Student Life

Students in Perth enjoy a warm climate and a laid-back lifestyle in Australia’s fourth largest city. UWA is located next to the Kings Park and Botanic Garden, meaning students often sit out in the gardens between classes or they head to Cottesloe Beach for study breaks. Being so close to some of the world’s most untouched beaches is just another perk of studying in Australia!

Entry Requirements



Adelaide, South Australia

25,000 students

The University of Adelaide is another for the top university hit list. Established in 1874, the University of Adelaide is the third oldest university in Australia and the number one university in South Australia. The university offers 162 undergraduate programs to choose from, so students have a large degree of choice. The university is research-intensive and invests heavily in Agriculture, Mineral and Energy, Health and Biomedical, and Environmental studies.

The Campus

The University of Adelaide’s main campus is nestled in the heart of the city and is across the road from the State Library of South Australia, which is a perfect study spot for students.

Student Life

Compared to Sydney and Melbourne, Adelaide is a much smaller city and the lifestyle is generally slower paced. Due to the size of the city, students find it easy to get around by public transport and things in Adelaide are never too far away. Living in Adelaide is also slightly cheaper than other Australian cities, making it a good spot for students.

Entry Requirements

  • The university has a 73.33 average ATAR entry for its courses
  • The University of Adelaide recognises the following international Entry Qualifications from different countries and course-specific entry scores are listed under each degree in the Degree Finder
  • The standard IELTS score minimum for 2018 is 6.5 overall and the university also accepts TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Cambridge English.


UTS’s definitely ranks on the top university list with its 5 minute train ride from darling harbour!



Sydney, New South Wales

40,000 students

UTS is fast becoming one of Australia’s best and youngest universities! Since being established in 1988, UTS is already ranked in the top ten Australian universities. Despite its name, UTS has an extensive list of programs beyond technology based studies. The university offers 130 undergraduate courses and its Nursing program is ranked #4 in the world.

The Campus

Unlike most of the other universities on this list, UTS has less of a traditional campus and the university is spread across multiple buildings in central Sydney. UTS is a short walk from the city centre and Sydney Harbour.

Student Life

As the university is so integrated into the surrounding bustling city, the student campus life is not as prominent around UTS. However, students here enjoy the convenience of being so close to everything the city has to offer. After all, Sydney is one of Australia’s best student cities! UTS students frequently go to nearby Chinatown for cheap eats and The Loft is also a popular on-campus bar to head to after you are done with your lectures.

Entry Requirements



Callaghan, New South Wales

37,000 students

The University of Newcastle was founded in 1965. UON is well-regarded for its subjects in Mining Engineering and Architecture, as both programs are ranked in the top 50 universities in the world by QS. The university offers a long list of undergraduate courses, including double degrees, which are handy if you have more than two degrees in mind.

The Campus

The Callaghan campus is surrounded by Australian bushland and located 12 kilometres outside of Newcastle’s centre. Due to its location, the university has a large, sprawling campus with lots of natural outdoor areas.

Student Life

Newcastle is a small, coastal city and a two-hour drive north of Sydney. Student life revolves around the campus and many students choose to live in residence halls, which are a great way to meet other students. The university also has its own train station, making the commute into Newcastle nice and easy.

Entry Requirements

As you can see, each of Australia’s top ten universities has its own strengths and individual student culture. Whether you are seeking the fast-paced culture in Melbourne, the busy but beachy lifestyle in Sydney or the small city scene in Adelaide, Australia has multiple world-class university options for everyone.

Once you know which university and Australian student city is right for you, it’s time to get your application organised! And our student visa checklist has you covered.