Top 8 universities in Australia for Singapore students

Contemplating an undergraduate degree abroad? Studying overseas is an eye-opening experience — the exposure to different cultures and ways of learning is priceless. Luckily for us, there are highly reputed universities a mere five to seven-hour flight away from Singapore!

Enter Australia — as well as a stellar education, you’ll get to experience four seasons, its iconic beaches and its laidback lifestyle. Plus, with budget airlines like Scoot and Jetstar, home visits are relatively inexpensive.

The country is home to 43 universities offering a wide variety of courses. You can study anything from accounting and finance to environmental science and physiotherapy! But with so many institutions to choose from, the process of selecting a university in another country can be stressful, and you might feel a little bit uncertain. To clarify things, here’s a guide to the top universities in Australia, which make up the Group of Eight coalition, their rankings, and the disciplines they’re best known for!

If you’re looking for an overview of Australia as a study-abroad destination, or want to know what the Group of Eight refers to, do check out The Ultimate Guide to Studying in Australia!

Studying in Canberra, ACT

Australian National University

Wiki Commons

Sandwiched between Melbourne and Sydney, Australia’s capital city of Canberra is home to a healthy and diverse mix of local and international students, as well as the number one university in the country — Australian National University (ANU). It was founded in 1946 as a postgraduate institution, with four centres — the Research Schools of Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Pacific Studies and the John Curtin School of Medical Research — but began offering undergraduate courses in 1960.

The university often battles it out with the University of Melbourne (UoM) in terms of rankings. Nevertheless, you can’t really go wrong in choosing an institution created by the Australian Parliament with six Nobel Laureates (in the fields of physics, medicine, economic sciences) amongst its alumni and faculty.

According to ANU’s website, ANU offers more degree combinations than the other Australian universities. Interesting majors it offers include Furniture Design Arts, Latin and Corporate Sustainability. Its main campus is located at Acton, near Canberra’s CBD.

ANU Quick Facts

Student Population: Approx. 21,352 (2021)

International Fees: A$39,024 per annum (average, fees vary depending on course/discipline)

Colleges: Seven in total. These are the ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences, the ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, the ANU College of Business & Economics, the ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics, the ANU College of Health & Medicine, the ANU College of Law, and the ANU College of Science

Strongest Disciplines: Anthropology, Politics, Development Studies, Archaeology, Agriculture, Earth and marine sciences, History, Social policy, Sociology, and Geography

QS Ranking 2022: 1st in Australia, 27nd in the world

THE Ranking 2022: 2nd in Australia, 54th in the world

Studying in Melbourne, VIC

Consistently ranked as the most liveable city in the world, Melbourne is the cultural (and coffee) capital of Australia. Crammed with live music, comedy acts and festivals, the city’s wow factor is only outshone by its breadth in higher education. Featuring seven universities in the international rankings, student life in Melbourne is nothing but ideal. With the highest percentage of international students across Australia, Melbourne is especially foreigner-friendly.

University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne (UoM) was established in 1853 and is the second oldest university in Australia. It’s a sandstone university (a term used referring to Australia’s oldest tertiary education institutions) with a campus that looks like something out of Hogwarts. More than just a pretty face, UoM also holds its own academically. Ranked number one in the country according to the THE rankings 2023 (a spot it often competes for with ANU), Australia’s second oldest university also boasts an illustrious alumni group of four Aussie prime ministers and nine Nobel Laureates.

Its undergraduate degrees are quite broad and allow you to tailor your studies according to your interests — especially if undertaking an Arts, Science or Environments degree. Unlike other Australian universities, UoM undergraduates can take their time exploring different disciplines in their first year before deciding on their major. Postgraduate study is UoM’s strong suit, with highly competitive medicine and law programs.

UoM Quick Facts

Student Population: Approx. 52,098

International Fees: A$32,896 to $67,368 for undergraduate studies per annum (2023)

Faculties/Schools: Ten in total. These are the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Business and Economics, the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and the Melbourne Law School

Strongest Disciplines: Education, Law, Accounting, Computer science, Psychology, Business, Environmental sciences and Medicine.

QS Ranking 2022: 2nd in Australia, 37th in the world

THE Ranking 2022: 1st in Australia, 33rd in the world

Monash University

Another popular choice for students, Monash has a sprawling campus situated slightly out of the city. Monash and UoM are locked in a (mostly) friendly rivalry for top university in Melbourne, but if you’re more about hands-on learning than research, Monash would be the place for you! Also, if you don’t want to wait till postgrad to study law — Monash offers a five-year LLB program. The university comprises a significant portion of international students, at approximately 34.7 percent. You’ll settle in quickly, especially with many student societies to help make the transition.

Monash University boasts several state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing (the most advanced facility of its type in Australia), and the Australian Stem Cell Centre (founded by nine Australian Universities and medical research institutes). Recently, the university ranked number one globally in the 2022 QS World University Rankings by Subject for Pharmacy and Pharmacology — and consistently ranks within the Top three.

Monash Quick Facts

Student Population: Approx. 60,211

International Fees:  Avg. A$37,200 to $87,000 for undergraduate studies per annum

Faculties/Schools: Ten in total, made up of the Art, Design and Architecture faculty, the Arts faculty, the Business and Economics faculty, the Education faculty, the Engineering faculty, the Information Technology faculty, the Law faculty, the Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences faculty, the Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty, and the Science faculty.

Strongest Disciplines: Accounting and Finance, Engineering, Chemistry, Law and Medicine

QS Ranking 2022: 6th in Australia, 58th in the world

THE Ranking 2022: 4th in Australia, 57th in the world

Other universities in Melbourne worth checking out are RMIT, with strong fashion, architecture and media courses and Swinburne University of Technology.

Studying in Sydney, NSW

As Australia’s largest city, tourism hotspot (Bondi beach, anyone?) and financial hub, Sydney is definitely the place to be. While living expenses here may be slightly higher than in Melbourne, you’ll get a peerless education with some of Australia’s most iconic spots at your doorstep.

University of Sydney

Sydney

Part of the sandstone universities Group of Eight, the University of Sydney was the first university to be founded in Australia in 1850. (Sydney also happens to be the oldest city in Australia!)

The regal-looking campus is spread across the inner-city suburbs of Darlington and Camperdown and has been ranked by the Huffington Post and the Daily Telegraph in the top 10 most beautiful universities to study at (Oxford and Cambridge are within this list!) Renowned for research and teaching, it also offers MBA and Master of Management programs that regularly rank top in Australia. If you’re keen on going for a student exchange programme, the university claims to have Australia’s largest student mobility programme spanning over 40 countries.

Here’s a fun fact: the university has a legal Graffiti Tunnel located on its Camperdown campus! Anyone can paint on it so long the content is not deemed offensive.

USyd Quick Facts

Student Population: Over 50,000

International Fees:  Avg. A$43,500 to $58,500 for undergraduate studies per annum (2023)

Faculties/Schools: Eight in total. They are the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Medicine and Health, the Faculty of Science, the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, the University of Sydney Business School, the Conservatorium of Music, and the Sydney Law School

Strongest Disciplines: Law, education, medicine, accounting and finance

QS Ranking 2022: 3rd in Australia, 38th in the world

THE Ranking 2022: 5th in Australia, 58th in the world

University of New South Wales

UNSW

UNSW is 100 years younger than its high-profile neighbour USyd, but is quickly climbing the ranks. Within its eight faculties, UNSW offers bachelor’s degrees that go between three to four years and combined degrees that last for up to eight years. So if you’d like a program with little more flexibility or you simply can’t choose between, say, Engineering or Commerce — UNSW is the place for you! With a lively campus culture and a quarter of its student population made up of international kids, UNSW promises a sense of community during your undergrad years.

UNSW Quick Facts

Student Population: Approx. 59,050

International Fees:  Avg. A$37,680 to $48,720 for undergraduate studies per annum (2023)

Strongest Disciplines: Accounting, Finance, Engineering, and Technology

QS Ranking 2022: 4th in Australia, 43rd in the world

THE Ranking 2022: 6th in Australia, 70th in the world

Studying in Brisbane, QLD

University of Queensland

A friendly city offering year-round tropical weather and access to some of the most beautiful hiking and swimming spots on the East Coast, Brisbane is both a student hub and a tourist destination. It’s home to three major universities, with the University of Queensland being one of them. The campus is a beautiful sight during Spring, dotted with purple when the Jacaranda trees are in bloom.

Offering a range of high-quality specialty programs and dual degrees, UQ ties for third position in Australia with USyd. Its reputation is well earned, often lauded for research innovations including vaccines to help prevent cervical cancer. This is especially helpful if you have your sights set on science! And if you were curious about those that came before you, the UQ alumni includes a Nobel Laureate, an Academy Award Winner and two Fortune 500 CEOs.

UQ Quick Facts

Student Population: Approx.  56,278 (2021)

International Fees:  Avg. A$33,056 to $68,064 for undergraduate studies per annum

Faculties/Schools: Six in total, comprising the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine, and the Faculty of Science

Strongest Disciplines: Engineering, Mineral and mining, Life Sciences, Medicine

QS Ranking 2022: 5th in Australia, 47th in the world

THE Ranking 2022: 2nd in Australia, 54th in the world

Studying in Adelaide, SA

University of Adelaide

Located along Australia’s south coast the University of Adelaide is the third-oldest tertiary institution in the country. If it sounds a little familiar to you, it’s probably because it has a satellite campus in Singapore, as well as five campuses spread across the state of South Australia. With plenty of open spaces and opportunities for hiking, cycling and foodie trails, Adelaide is the more laidback option than other states. However, UoA has stellar programs – especially in the field of Dentistry and Medicine.

Fun fact: The University of Adelaide holds the record for being the first Australian university to accept female students, offer science and business degrees, and is the alma mater of Australia’s first female Prime Minister!

UoA Quick Facts

Student Population: Approx. 23,905

International Fees: Avg. A$36,800 to $43,460 for undergraduate studies per annum

Faculties/Schools: Three academic faculties (the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics, the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, and the Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology)

Strongest Disciplines: Dentistry, biological sciences, physical sciences, information technology and telecommunications, environmental sciences and social sciences

QS Ranking 2022: 8th in Australia, 108th in the world

THE Ranking 2022: 7th in Australia, 111th in the world

Studying in Perth, WA

University of Western Australia

Just an easy five-hour flight from Singapore is (rather ironically) the most isolated city in Australia — Perth. Due to its endless stretch of pristine beaches and warm weather, it’s a very appealing option for students looking to relocate. The University of Western Australia (UWA) is the city’s premier university, and is known for its vibrant social and sporting culture. Established in 191l, its heritage-listed grounds along the Swan River just out of the city centre is just the right mix of picturesque and accessibility. The university is also ten minutes away from the CBD. Arts enthusiasts will be particularly interested in the New Fortune Theatre, which is a copy of the original Elizabethan Fortune Theatre (London’s Fortune Playhouse) and houses a family of peafowl.

UWA Quick Facts

Student Population: Approx. 19,756 (2021)

International Fees: Avg. A$33,000 to $42,800 for undergraduate studies per annum (2021)

Faculties/Schools: Business School, Confucius Institute, Conservatorium of Music, Dental School, Graduate Research School, Graduate School of Education, Law School, Medical School, Oceans Graduate School, School of Allied Health, School of Biological Sciences, School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Design, School of Earth Sciences, School of Engineering, School of Human Sciences, School of Humanities, School of Indigenous Studies, School of Molecular Sciences, School of Physics, Mathematics and Computing, School of Population and Global Health, School of Psychological Science, School of Social Sciences, UWA School of Agriculture and Environment

Strongest Disciplines: Earth Sciences, Marine Sciences, Social Sciences and Math

QS Ranking 2022: 7th in Australia, 93rd in the world

THE Ranking 2022: 8th in Australia, 132nd in the world

With all the information that’s out there, coming to a decision about university isn’t easy. But there are a couple of things to prioritise to select a course most suited to you. If you have a clear idea of what to study, or whether you want to go into postgraduate research, definitely look at individual subject rankings to see what university will serve you best in that area. But if, like many students, you are unsure of what major to take, look at the course structure instead.

Some universities offer a broad curriculum that allows you to mix and match subjects and tailor your bachelor’s degree to your interests, giving you some form of flexibility should you change your mind. Keep an eye out for if a uni offers placements and vocational options to improve your employment prospects. And if one of the motivations for moving abroad is that you’d like a change of pace from Singapore, find out more about campus culture and residential colleges so you can immerse yourself in the university community. And whatever you choose, know that rankings aren’t everything — your university experience is what you make of it!

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