Top Universities in Australia 2018

Top Universities in Australia 2018

Sabrina Collier

Updated January 16, 2020 Updated January 16

Click here to view the most recent version of this article, based on the QS World University Rankings® 2020.

37 Australian universities are included among the world’s best in the 2018 edition of the QS World University Rankings®, two more than last year. The good news doesn’t stop there though: seven Australian universities are in the global top 100, while a further 10 are in the top 300, with many institutions improving their positions this year. Here’s a closer look at the top 10 in the country.

1. Australian National University (ANU)

Australian National University

Up two places this year to now rank 20th in the world, Australian National University (ANU) is consistently Australia’s highest-ranked institution. ANU is located in the country’s capital, Canberra, and is the only university to be created by the Parliament of Australia. Among its alumni are two Australian prime ministers.

2. University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne

The second-oldest university in Australia (founded in 1853), the University of Melbourne is ranked joint 41st this year alongside South Korea’s KAIST. The university has around 47,000 students, including more than 12,000 international students, and has been associated with nine Nobel Prize winners – the most of any Australian university.

3. University of New South Wales (UNSW)

University of New South Wales

Up four places to now rank 45th in the world and third in Australia, the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) was established in 1949 and has produced more millionaires than any other Australian university. Aiming to be “Australia’s global university” by 2025, UNSW Sydney is currently partnered with over 200 universities around the world.

4. University of Queensland (UQ)

University of Queensland

The University of Queensland (UQ) has also moved up this year, and is now ranked within the global top 50 (it’s joint 47th).  Mainly located in Brisbane, UQ is a founding member of the Group of Eight, a coalition of research-intensive Australian universities which are responsible for such innovations as the invention of the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.  

5. University of Sydney

University of Sydney

Ranked 50th in the world in 2018, the University of Sydney is the oldest Australian university, having been established in 1850. Now hosting around 60,000 students, the university’s campus is noted for its beautiful neo-gothic buildings. Also a member of the Group of Eight, the university offers the broadest range of programs of any Australian university.

6. Monash University

Monash University

Up five places to now rank 60th in the world, Monash University is located in Melbourne and was founded in 1958. The university is very present outside Australia, operating a Malaysia campus as well as international centers in Italy, India and China.  

7. University of Western Australia (UWA)

University of Western Australia

Also improving its position this year is the University of Western Australia (UWA), now ranked in the global top 100 in joint 93rd place. Founded in 1911, UWA is located in Perth and was Western Australia’s first university. It now has almost 24,000 students enrolled across nine faculties.

8. University of Adelaide

University of Adelaide

Up 16 places to rank joint 109th in 2018, the University of Adelaide is another of the oldest universities in Australia, established in 1874. Another Group of Eight member, the university has over 25,000 students enrolled at its five campuses in the state of South Australia.

9. University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)

University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)

The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) continues to improve its ranking position, now ranked 176th in the world, up 17 places from last year. Despite its name, UTS has strengths in several non-technological subjects such as nursing, art and design, sports and law.

10. University of Newcastle

University of Newcastle

Up 21 places to now rank joint 224th, the University of Newcastle (UON) this year overtakes the University of Wollongong as Australia’s 10th highest ranked university. Established in 1965, UON is particularly well-regarded for the subjects of mining engineering, architecture, nursing and sociology.

RMIT University

More top universities in Australia…

  1. University of Wollongong – ranked 232nd in the world.
  2. Macquarie University – ranked joint 240th in the world.

=13. Queensland University of Technology (QUT) – ranked joint 247th in the world, up from 276th.

=13. RMIT University – ranked joint 247th in the world.

  1. Curtin University – ranked 262nd in the world, up from joint 306th.
  2. University of South Australia (UNISA) – ranked joint 279th in the world.
  3. Deakin University – ranked joint 293rd in the world, up from 355th.
  4. University of Tasmania – ranked 313th in the world, up from joint 370th.
  5. Griffith University – ranked joint 325th in the world.
  6. La Trobe University – ranked 360th in the world.
  7. James Cook University (JCU) – ranked joint 367th in the world.

After the top 400, the remaining universities do not receive a precise rank but are ranked in a range, starting with 401-410, up until 801-1000.

Click here for a more detailed explanation.

  1. Swinburne University of Technology – ranked 421-430 in the world.
  2. Bond University – ranked 431-440 in the world.
  3. Murdoch University – ranked 501-550 in the world.

Flinders University

The next three top universities in Australia are all ranked in the 551-600 range:

=25. Flinders University

=25. University of Canberra

=25. Western Sydney University

  1. Central Queensland University – ranked 601-650 in the world.
  2. Charles Darwin University – ranked 651-700 in the world.
  3. Victoria University – ranked 701-750 in the world.

=31. Edith Cowan University (ECU) – ranked 751-800 in the world.

 =31. University of Southern Queensland – ranked 751-800 in the world.

The final five top universities in Australia are all ranked 801-1000 in the world, making them joint 33rd in Australia:

=33. Australian Catholic University

=33. Charles Sturt University

=33. Southern Cross University – new this year.

=33. University of New England

=33. University of the Sunshine Coast – new this year.

Get ready to study in Australia with our complete guide, which includes advice on applications, tuition fees, funding, student visas and more.

This article was originally published in June 2017 . It was last updated in January 2020

Written by

The former Assistant Editor of, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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