The top 5 Australian universities offering External Degree Programmes in Singapore, and where to find them

It’s no secret that Singaporeans are big fans of Australian university education. Consistently topping the list of education destinations (closely followed by the UK and the US), Australia is highly regarded by many for attractive reasons: its proximity to Singapore, a highly international student population, as well as generous credit exemptions for diploma holders being some of them.

More deal sealers, of course, include the international recognition of an Australian education. It’s also worth noting, for those exploring the academic path or further studies, how the research scene in Australian universities is thriving. Just recently, a team of scientists from the Doherty Institute (a joint collaboration between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital) and Monash University hit a major breakthrough in the development of a universal flu vaccine that protects against all strains of the virus. One day, we might no longer require annual flu jabs!

If these reasons are compelling you to make your way to the land Down Under pronto, hold up! Some of Australia’s better-ranked universities offer programmes here (through private education institutions), making quality Australian university education accessible right from our doorsteps.

For the curious and the eager, here’s a list of the top 5 Australian universities offering External Degree Programmes in Singapore!*

*Methodology: This list has been derived with the help of QS World University Rankings 2021. Developed by Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd, the ranking is one of the world’s top higher education rankings and looks at metrics such as Academic Reputation (40%) and Employer Reputation (10%). We first filtered the QS 2021 Rankings list down to Australian Universities only, before comparing it against the full list of private education institutions found on SkillsFuture Singapore. 

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5) The University of Newcastle, Australia

If you’ve yet to know, the University of Newcastle (established the year Singapore gained independence) actually operates in Singapore! The only Australian university with full-time academic and professional staff based here—who could become your teachers—UON Singapore has been around since 2006, which means that your studies are quality assured.

Those taking a UON degree here in SG have the option to opt for a dual campus experience, so you can study in Australia if you really, really want to. You can then grab the opportunity to stay for longer than a semester if you like, and fully immerse yourself in Aussie culture (or find an internship there, that’s possible too). Also, did you know that Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan was a UON student? Now you do!

QS World University Ranking (2021): 197 (11th in Australia, 5th in SG)

Courses offered here:

The University of Newcastle’s programmes can be taken in Singapore through PSB Academy and BCA Academy.

PSB Academy

BCA Academy

*These degrees are also available part-time.

4) University of Wollongong

The University of Wollongong might be the youngest university on this list, but it definitely pulls no punches: the institution is number 16 on QS’s Top 50 under 50 universities ranking list (a 1-rank increase from 2018). The research-intensive university is also acknowledged for excellent teaching standards through its consecutive nominations as a finalist in the Global Teaching Excellence Awards 2017 and 2018 (organised by Advanced HE), the only Australian university to achieve this feat.

QS World University Ranking (2021): 196 (10th in Australia, 4th in SG)

Courses offered here:

The University of Wollongong’s programmes can be taken in Singapore through PSB Academy and SIM General Education.

PSB Academy

 *This degree is available part-time.

SIM General Education

 *These degrees are also available part-time.

3) The University of Adelaide

Third on our list, The University of Adelaide also happens to be Australia’s third-oldest university! With three primary areas of focus (education, research, as well as engagement), the university is part of Australia’s Group of 8, comprising of Australia’s leading research-intensive universities. Interesting fact: this university was the first in Australia to award degrees in science way back in 1882!

QS World University Ranking (2021): 106 (8th in Australia, 3rd in SG)

Courses offered here: The University of Adelaide’s MBA can be taken in Singapore through Ngee Ann Academy, and the Adelaide Business School has received accreditation from the Association of Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The MBA is also ranked in Australia’s top 5 MBAs, according to the Financial Review BOSS MBA Rankings 2017.

2) Monash University

Monash University is a young university and Australia’s largest, with five domestic campuses and 5 international locations (India, Malaysia, Italy, China, and South Africa). As a university established with a vision of creating a research-focused tertiary institution, which it has achieved, Monash University houses major research facilities such as the Australian Stem Cell Centre and the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct.

QS World University Ranking (2021): 55 (6th in Australia, 2nd in SG)

Courses offered here:

Monash University’s Master of Counselling programme can be taken in Singapore through Kaplan Singapore, and is accredited by the Singapore Association for Counseling (SAC), Australian Counselling Association (ACA), as well as the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

1) The University of Sydney

Australia’s first university, the University of Sydney was established way back in 1850. Known for an impressive main campus (we’re talking about the main quadrangle and Great Tower), the public research university consistently places amongst the world’s best institutions of higher learning and Australia’s top 3[i]. Its graduates are also highly looked upon, coming in top domestically and 5th internationally for employability.

QS World University Ranking (2021): 40 (2nd in Australia, 1st in SG)

Courses offered here:

The University of Sydney’s nursing programmes can be taken in Singapore through SIM General Education, and are accredited by the Singapore Nursing Board.

One legitimate concern about reading an Australian degree in Singapore, and not at the university’s home campus, is whether the standard of education received will be affected.

To our knowledge, there are moves currently in place to prevent this from happening. Over 15 Australian universities currently offer their programmes here and many, like the University of Wollongong, fly in their lecturers to teach students here. Those that don’t either have Singapore-based faculty like UON Singapore, or make sure that the private education institution’s teachers and lecturers meet their teaching pre-requisites in aspects like experience, qualifications and specialisation.

The curriculum, of course, tends to be closely mapped to what’s taught in the home campus and taught with local context for added relevance! If you’re unsure about the details about a course you’re keen on, make sure to speak with the PEI’s admissions staff or current students—take advantage of Open Houses, where these folks will be present to clarify your doubts.

So, if you’ve been keen on an Australian university experience, it might be right under your nose! Why not check these options out and see if they fit the bill? A fulfilling education awaits!

[i] For more details on the rankings and specifics, see here.


  1. Just wondering what your criteria was to pick the top Australian universities in Singapore. None of these are direct campuses or through partnerships. Most of them offers programs through a partner like PSB and not directly delivered.
    Being very direct here, where is JCU Singapore. They are the only one with a direct university campus and the only foreign university with a University status in Singapore. In addition, they are the first private education institution in Singapore to be awarded an Edu Trust STAR by Council of Private Education (only 2 in Singapore is awarded this status) and was recently renewed for another term (the only one to have received a renewal yet).

    • Hi Rajaneesh,

      As mentioned in the article, the ranking is based on the QS World University Rankings 2019, and presence is based on if the universities offer their programmes here in Singapore (whether directly or through a PEI). Based on our understanding, both delivery options undergo a rigorous audit and approval process by CPE to ensure that the programmes delivered here are of the same quality as those offered on-campus.

      – The DS Team


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