The Land Down Under attracts thousands of international students every year and the reasons for that seem clear: great weather, stunning and rugged landscapes, fun-loving people, and internationally-recognized universities. With 43 universities across the country, you're also spoiled for choice as a prospective student.
As with all study abroad ventures, to figure out the best choice for you, you'll need to ask yourself what you want to achieve academically and what parts of the country you want to see. Whether you're interested in studying in Australia by directly enrolling in a university or rocking a study abroad program, there are tons of opportunities to learn and travel in a country whose motto is "Beautiful one day. Perfect the next."
Is Australia a good choice for international students?
Australia ranks 5th among the list of top destinations for US students. In 2019-2020, over 8,000 students made the journey to Australia for their studies. it's also an extremely popular choice for students from China, India, Nepal, and Singapore. Additionally, there are sizeable international student populations originating from countries across Africa and Latin America. Australia is a truly diverse destination which is now open to vaccinated students after lengthy COVID-19 border closures.
Is Australia affordable for international students?
Australia is among the more expensive countries to study abroad but you can find savings here and there that will add up. By living with roommates, cooking at home, and setting a budget, cutting costs will start to become second nature. To help you understand the potential costs, we've outlined the average monthly cost of living across Australia. Be mindful though, that costs vary by city and by your own personal spending habits.
Monthly cost of living in Australia
- Rent for room in shared apartment: $300-$650
- Utilities: $30-$60
- Groceries: $300-$400
- Cell phone plan: $15-$25
- Transportation pass: $90-$175
Source: Study Australia
To get a better idea of how much money you could save, try our cost comparison tool.
Where are the top universities located?
Great for top international reputation: Australian National University (ANU)
Average cost of undergraduate direct enrollment semester: $14,000-$20,000
Average cost of undergraduate semester with third-party provider: $19,000-$23,500
- ANU ranks highly for: philosophy, anthropology, geography, politics
- International student population: 6,818
- Total student population: 24,371
- QS world ranking: 27
ANU is an outstanding research university is located in Australia’s (tiny) capital city, Canberra. The city boasts an array of excellent museums and institutes to check out. With blisteringly dry heat in the summer and arctic temperatures in the winter, you’ll enjoy this city if you’re looking for friendly people in a country or rural environment.
Ranked 1st in Australia and 27th in the world (QS World University Rankings), ANU offers top-notch education with small class sizes. Among their alumni are six Nobel Prize winners and two prime ministers, adding to their legacy of prestige. Finally, as the only Australian member of the International Alliance of Research Universities, you'll have ample opportunities to make your own discoveries.
Great for student city: University of Sydney
Average cost of undergraduate direct enrollment semester: $14,500-$18,000
Average cost of undergraduate semester with third-party provider: $21,000-$24,500
- University of Sydney ranks highly for: sports-related subjects, nursing, pharmacy, engineering
- International student population: 24,662
- Total student population: 72,585
- QS world ranking: 40
University of Sydney's setting is known for Australian icons such as the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and Bondi Beach - it's the place to be if you want to get your tourist on without even breaking a sweat.
Sydney is home to several universities on our list and it's no secret that it's a great city for students. With so much to do and see, your time outside of your studies will never be boring. Sydney University itself is located just a short walk to the CBD (Central Business District, or downtown), and is nestled in a funky area called Newtown, where hipsters, intellectuals, blue-collar workers, and high-powered executives all live and party in harmony.
"I loved Sydney and studying at the University! It was an amazing time! Sydney is a great place and the Uni is really supportive and strong. I felt really safe in the city and public transit is great."
Great for social life: University of Melbourne
Average cost of undergraduate direct enrollment semester: $-$
Average cost of undergraduate semester with third-party provider: $17,500-$20,000
- University of Melbourne ranks highly for: sports-related subjects, law, education, social policy, anatomy & physiology
- International student population: 18,309
- Total student population: 69,974
- QS world ranking: 41
The University of Melbourne is located in Australia's cultural capital, which is known for its nightlife and has an abundance of activities to offer every study abroad student. The university is known for its lively social life and its location in Melbourne means you'll have fun both on- and off-campus.
With an array of eateries featuring delicious foods, countless professional sports teams playing every weekend, and quirky boutique shopping, you’ll certainly be able to find something you love in Melbourne. Be sure to take a road trip to the Twelve Apostles, and while you’re on the Great Ocean Road, check out the surf breaks at Jan-Juc and Torquay (birthplaces of surf-brands Quiksilver and Rip Curl), and of course, the legendary Bells Beach, which is just around the corner.
"I travelled to Melbourne University to gain a wider business understanding from the best university in Australia. Not only can I now say that I was educated at a globally competitive University, I can also say I travelled adventurously all throughout The Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, and through Victoria."
Great for access to nature: University of Adelaide
Average cost of undergraduate direct enrollment semester: $7,000-$9,500
Average cost of undergraduate semester with third-party provider: $20,000-$21,500
- University of Adelaide ranks highly for: engineering, dentistry, veterinary science
- International student population: 8,276
- Total student population: 29,417
- QS world ranking: 108
Nestled in Australia's wine country, Adelaide gives you the perks of a city surrounded by South Australia's rugged beauty. Home to the Pink Lakes, the Limestone Coast, and the sprawling Outback, South Australia is dotted with some of the country's most stunning natural wonders. Adelaide itself is a city with a thriving food and bar scene, filled with independent boutiques and local charm.
The University of Adelaide is a supportive learning atmosphere with professionals ready and willing to help you, whether you are looking for career or mental health counseling or guidance for international students. When you're not studying, you can find further support through friendships made in one of their many campus clubs.
Great for sporty campus: University of Queensland
Average cost of undergraduate direct enrollment semester: $13,500-$18,000
Average cost of undergraduate semester with third-party provider: $22,500-$23,000
- University of Queensland ranks highly for: sports-related subjects, engineering, environmental science, psychology
- International student population: 16,905
- Total student population: 54,950
- QS world ranking: 47
Nestled along the banks of the Brisbane River, University of Queenland's beautiful grounds are just a stone’s throw away from downtown Brisbane, and a short train ride away from the beautiful sandy beaches of the Gold Coast. With a heavy international-student population, the city’s demographic makes for an eclectic mix set in a sub-tropical climate.
The University of Queensland is great for not only studying sports-related subjects but getting involved in sports teams and clubs, too. If you're into casual social sports or want to compete collegiately, UQ Sport has got you covered.
Best for chill vibes: Bond University
Average cost of undergraduate direct enrollment semester: $15,000
Average cost of undergraduate semester with third-party provider: $17,500-$20,000
- Bond University ranks highly for: law and legal studies, medicine
- International student population: 1,605
- Total student population: 5,575
- QS world ranking: 451
Located in one of the most sought-after locations in the world, Bond University is a top-tier private school that offers accelerated degrees. The party almost literally never stops on the Coast with some of the best nightlife Australia has to offer, and if you already surf (or even if you want to learn), the Gold Coast boasts world-class breaks, as well. Get ready to hit the books, though, as accelerated degrees mean accelerated studying in order to keep up.
As a small university, you'll have the chance to make meaningful friendships while feeling like more than just a face in the crowd. A gorgeous campus will give you the perfect spot to chill with new friends when not exploring the local beaches.
"After class almost every day you could find me at the beach! It was only a 15 minute bus ride!"
Great for green campus: Monash University
Average cost of undergraduate direct enrollment semester: $13,000-$16,500
Average cost of undergraduate semester with third-party provider: $18,000-$20,500
- Monash University ranks highly for: pharmacy, education, engineering, nursing
- International student population: 27,190
- Total student population: 85,924
- QS world ranking: 58
Monash University in Melbourne is one of Australia's greenest campuses making it a great choice for environmentally conscious study abroad participants. Monash has pledged Net Zero emissions by 2030 and is on its way to a campus operating on 100% renewable energy. Students can get involved by joining Green Impact, a campus initiative focused on reducing environmental impact.
Sustainability isn't just limited to Monash but extends to the wider Melbourne. Melbourne works hard to be a greener city with programs focused on water, waste, and energy.
"Studying at Monash was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so great-full for my opportunity. Monash does an excellent job on connecting exchange students with other exchange students, and domestic students are very approachable. Monash's campuses are student friendly for school work, socialising, and student work as well."
Great for beach life: University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Average cost of undergraduate direct enrollment semester: $13,500-$17,500
Average cost of undergraduate semester with third-party provider: $22,500-$24,000
- UNSW ranks highly for: engineering, law, accounting
- International student population: 13,174
- Total student population: 63,228
- QS world ranking: 43
UNSW is a world-renowned university located in the heart of Sydney, just a 30-minute walk from beautiful Coogee Beach and a short bus ride to famous Bondi Beach. Studying is never boring when you're laying in the sand with relaxing waves in the background.
Given it's proximity to Australia's most money-forward city, this is a great option for students considering interning while studying abroad. In your free time, take advantage of the cultural excursions which allow you to see Sydney like a true local.
"I took some of my most rigorous, practical courses at UNSW, yet still had more free time than ever: the proximity to the beach, the beauty of the area, and the amount of friendship and community within the dorm/college made this an unforgettable and highly meaningful experience. Living with local and international students opposed to in an apartment allowed me to meet so many amazing people, and I believe this is a MUST when given the study abroad experience."
Great for design innovation: University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
Average cost of undergraduate direct enrollment semester: $13,000-$16,000
Average cost of undergraduate semester with third-party provider: $20,000-$22,500
- UTS ranks highly for: nursing, art and design, library science
- International student population: 11,921
- Total student population: 46,317
- QS world ranking: 133
If you love art and design, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is the right place for your Australian study abroad. Sydney itself it a hub of unique architecture and culture, so you'll have no shortage of inspiration. From the iconic Sydney Opera House to UTS' very own Frank Ghery-designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, your future study abroad home is bursting with imagination.
UTS prides itself on innovation and works hard to maintain interconnected and technologically advanced campuses. Study abroad students can get involved in a number of extracurricular activities including programs focusing on social justice, entrepeneurship, and leadership.
Great for affordability: University of Western Australia (UWA)
Average cost of undergraduate direct enrollment semester: $12,500-$15,500
Average cost of undergraduate semester with third-party provider: $14,500-$15,500
- UWA ranks highly for: engineering, anatomy & physiology, sports-related subjects, geology
- International student population: 3,619
- Total student population: 24,404
- QS world ranking: 93
The University of Western Australia is in Perth, which is sometimes called the most isolated city in the world, and for good reason; it’s geographically closer to Jakarta, Indonesia, than it is to Sydney. With that said, it’s also one of the most beautiful cities in the country, with great surf and a beautiful downtown area, as well as an island just off the coast that was practically built for water sports, weekend parties, and lounging in the Australian sun.
UWA is great for students interested in the sciences, with strong engineering, health sciences, and earth sciences programs.
"The UWA campus is one of the few historical buildings of the city, and its gardens are like the rainforest, it's so beautiful! Also, Australian people are extremely friendly, always ready to help, and very open-minded."
Soak up the sun while studying in Australia
Australia is the sun-drenched land of great people, sandy beaches, delicious food, world-class universities, and people who really know how to relax and party. No matter where you go, you’re sure to have the time of your life, just remember sunglasses (sunnies) and sunscreen, and an appetite for adventure. Surfs up!