What are the Top Universities in Adelaide for 2019?

If you’re after an Australian uni experience away from the hustle and expense of the megacities, Adelaide might just be the perfect place for you! The coastal capital is the cheapest major Australian city to live in for students, which means less money spent on the boring stuff like rent and groceries, and more budget for going out and having fun. And with warm summers, spacious city spaces, a thriving festival culture and gorgeous beaches at its doorstep, there’s plenty of fun to be had.


So what are the best universities in Adelaide?

Although Adelaide is a smaller city, three of its universities have been internationally ranked in the QS World University Rankings for 2019 . Here are our top five picks for students wanting to study in Adelaide.

  • University of Adelaide
  • University of South Australia
  • Flinders University
  • Torrens University Australia, Adelaide
  • Carnegie Mellon University, Australia (CMU)


21,000 students


Ranking eight in Australia and 114th in the world according to QS, the University of Adelaide is the third oldest uni in the country and have long been leaders in education in South Australia. The beautiful main campus, made of heritage sandstone, was established in 1874 and is located in the heart of the city on Northern Terrace.

The Waite and Roseworthy campuses are internationally renowned for their plant, agriculture and animal science research, looking into farming systems and oenology (the study of wines – yes please!) amongst other areas. The Thebarton campus is just 4km from the city and is the University of Adelaide’s technology centre, even hosting an industrial-scale wind tunnel.

The University of Adelaide is responsible for educating a multitude of leading lawyers, politicians, businesspeople and medical professionals in South Australia, with five Nobel Prize winners – almost a third of Australia’s total Nobel laureates – and 109 Rhodes scholars being associated with the uni.

This public university also runs a number of research groups and institutes and has contributed many groundbreaking discoveries to the world, for instance the development of sunscreen and WiFi – both essential to student life in Adelaide!


  • Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
  • Faculty of Arts
  • Faculty of Professions
  • Faculty of Sciences

Information for international students at the University of Adelaide.


32,000 students


The University of South Australia is ranked 16th in Australia and 264th in the world according to QS’s rankings for 2019. Founded in 1991, the public research university is the largest in South Australia and is made up of six campuses, four metropolitan and two regional.

UniSA’s City East campus is home to it’s Division of Health Sciences, whilst the City West campus houses various schools of law, business, creative arts, and commerce and management. Both of these are on North Terrace in the city centre, which is the Adelaide hub for entertainment, arts and culture. The rest of the university’s schools are divided up between the other campuses.

UniSA has a strong reputation globally for its quality of teaching, with almost three quarters of its academic staff holding PhDs and the uni ranking in the world top 100 in nursing, law, art and design.

As well as offering over 200 degrees, UniSA has over 100 social and sporting societies, and participates in intercollegiate competitions such as the Australian University Games. And with a 5,500 strong international student community, you’re sure to find yourself in good company with a great mix of cultures!

Faculties & schools:

  • Division of Health Sciences
  • Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences
  • UniSA Business School
  • Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment

Information for international students at the University of South Australia.


25,000 students


Founded in 1966, Flinders is a public cross-disciplinary university named after British cartographer and navigator, Matthew Flinders. Ranked 24th in Australia and 478th globally according to the QS rankings, its medicine and humanities faculties are ranked among Australia’s top 10.

Its main campus is located in the inner southern Adelaide suburb of Bedford Park, around 12km from the city centre, and is known for its spacious design, natural bushland surrounds and coastal views. That’s a pretty lovely setting to be in whilst you learn, especially when access to cafes, bars and shopping centres is still so close and easy.

Flinders also has a Victoria Square campus in Adelaide’s CBD, which caters to business and political subjects, as well as a cutting edge $120 million building at Tonsley, which houses computer sciences, engineering and maths.

Flinders offers over 160 courses and is the only uni in South Australia with on-campus accomodation available in Adelaide’s metropolitan area. Super convenient, especially for its wide community of international students that come from over 90 countries.


  • College of Business, Government and Law
  • College of Education, Psychology and Social Work
  • College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • College of Medicine and Public Health
  • College of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • College of Science and Engineering

Information for international students at Flinders University.



The newest arrival on the Australian uni scene, the Wakefield campus of Torrens in Adelaide only opened in 2015. Torrens University is part of the Laureate International Universities group and has 70 institutions across 25 countries, seven of which are in Australia. There are over one million students enrolled at Torrens throughout the world who can benefit from the global partnerships and connections that this University affords.

Being such a modern university, Torrens takes a dynamic, hands-on approach to learning, with small class sizes that enable and encourage privileged interaction with teachers. Students at the Torrens Wakefield campus can enjoy numerous chill-out zones, creative pods and study areas, with the space set up as a learning community rather than sectioned-off academic offices. If you’re looking for a university that takes an innovative and modern approach to both its campus and class design, then this might be the option for you!

Online study is also an option if students wish to work at times best suited to them, and there is a direct entry program (DEP) offered to international students if their English needs developing before transitioning into an Australian degree.


  • Business
  • Design
  • Education
  • English
  • Health
  • Hospitality
  • Project Management
  • Sports Management
  • Technology

Information for international students at Torrens University Australia in Adelaide.


260 students


Only offering masters degrees but definitely worth the mention, Carnegie Mellon was the first American university to set up an institution in Australia. Established in 2006, the Adelaide campus is located in the Torrens Building of Victoria Square, right in the heart of the city.

Students from over 20 countries are educated here, with a number of special scholarships and sponsoring options for international students, which make up over 93% of the student population. With other campuses in the likes of Rwanda, Qatar and Silicon Valley, the networking opportunities for alumni are many if you decide to undertake postgraduate study here.

CMU’s small class sizes and student-to-staff ratios mean a high standard of teaching, with classes personalised to meet individual requirements. CMU’s global reputation is considerable, with its international branches amongst world leaders in the realms of robotics, and award-winning alumni in science and art departments.

Many CMU graduates go on to work for leading world organisations such as Google, Microsoft, Coca Cola and Deloitte. Could be the perfect fit for international students wanting to undertake a masters degree in Australia!

Courses offered:

  • Master of Science in Information Technology
  • Master of Science in Public Policy and Management
  • Master of Information Systems Management
  • Master of Science in Public Policy Management

Information for international students at Carnegie Mellon University Australia in Adelaide.

As a relatively small city compared to the huge Australian metropolises of Sydney and Melbourne, the great news about studying in Adelaide is that there aren’t an overwhelming amount of institutions to toss up when trying to choose the best university for you!


With an impressive three internationally ranked universities, and two other internationally-driven establishments to consider, studying in Adelaide is an affordable option with a fantastic quality of life and studies to be experienced.