If you are looking to study in Australia, then you are going to need a little information about your university options.
There are 35 top universities in Australia, according to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2016-2017, and six of them feature in the prestigious top 100, meaning there is no shortage of choice.
The best Australian universities are spread across the country, from Perth in the west to Brisbane in the east, Darwin in the north to Hobart in the south.
The best university in Australia, according to the THE rankings, is the University of Melbourne – one of two universities in the country to make the top 50 of the overall world ranking (33). It is followed by the Australian National University (47), the University of Sydney (=60) and the University of Queensland (=60).
Australia has the third highest number of international students in the world behind the UK and the US – pretty impressive for a nation of just 23 million people.
Top 5 universities in Australia
1. University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne was founded in 1853, making it the second oldest in the country (keep reading to find out the oldest).
It is home to 47,000 students and 6,500 members of staff, and has 280,000 alumni around the world (some 15 per cent of whom live outside Australia).
There are more than 12,000 international students enrolled at the University of Melbourne, and if you do get a place there, you will be joining students from 130 different countries.
You will also be rubbing shoulders with some pretty famous scholars. Nobel prizewinner Peter Doherty (physiology and medicine) and fellows of the Royal Society David Solomon and David Boger all teach or research at Melbourne.
2. Australian National University
Established in 1946, Australian National University (ANU) was originally created as a postgraduate research university by the Parliament of Australia.
It counts six Nobel prizewinners among its faculty and alumni, and is even run by a Nobel laureate. Brian Schmidt, who won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics (with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess) for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, is the institution’s vice-chancellor.
More than 22,500 students chose to study at ANU in 2015. Almost 5,000 of these students live on the campus, making for a tightknit community.
3. University of Sydney
The University of Sydney is the oldest university in Australia (founded in 1851).
Currently, 52,000 students attend the University of Sydney, representing some 134 countries. About 280 overseas exchange programmes are in place with more than 30 countries.
No fewer than five Australian prime ministers attended the university, including Edmund Barton, who, in 1901, won Australia’s first ever federal election.
According to the AT Kearney’s Global Cities Index, which ranks the world’s most popular cities to study in, international students put Sydney ahead of 83 cities at the top of the pile.
3. University of Queensland
The University of Queensland’s (UQ) motto is Scientia ac Labore, which is Latin for “by means of knowledge and hard work” – so be prepared to do some grafting!
In 2015, UQ had 50,836 students enrolled, including 12,666 international students from 141 countries. It also has one of Australia’s largest PhD cohorts with about 13,800 postgraduate students registered.
Famous former students include a Nobel laureate, two Fortune 500 company CEOs, Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush and poet Bronwyn Lea.
The university’s main campus is located in the green and leafy inner Brisbane suburb of St Lucia – one of the most affluent areas of the city.
5. Monash University
Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria, is named after engineer and military leader Sir John Monash, and it was the first university in Australia to be named after a person rather than a place.
The university, which has about 47,000 undergraduates and a further 20,000 graduate students, has five bases in Victoria, as well as one in Malaysia. Monash also has a research and teaching centre in the Italian town of Prato, a research school in Mumbai, India, and a grad school in Jiangsu Province, China.
Famous alumni include musician Nick Cave, Booker Prize-winning novelist Peter Carey, and playwright David Williamson.
Top universities in Australia 2017
Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2016-2017 results
|Australia Rank||World University Rank 2017||University|
|1||=33||University of Melbourne|
|2||47||Australian National University|
|=3||=60||University of Queensland|
|=3||=60||University of Sydney|
|6||=78||University of New South Wales|
|7||125||University of Western Australia|
|8||142||University of Adelaide|
|=9||201-250||University of Newcastle|
|=9||201-250||Queensland University of Technology|
|=11||251-300||Charles Darwin University|
|=11||251-300||James Cook University|
|=11||251-300||University of South Australia|
|=11||251-300||University of Technology, Sydney|
|=11||251-300||University of Wollongong|
|19||301-350||University of Tasmania|
|=20||351-400||La Trobe University|
|=20||351-400||Swinburne University of Technology|
|=24||401-500||University of Canberra|
|=24||401-500||Central Queensland University|
|=24||401-500||Western Sydney University|
|=30||501-600||Edith Cowan University|
|=30||501-600||Southern Cross University|
|=30||501-600||University of the Sunshine Coast|
|=34||601-800||Australian Catholic University|
|=34||601-800||University of Southern Queensland|