Universities in Adelaide

A sandy coastline with trees in the background

Glenelg is a long and sandy beach located in Adelaide, Australia

Adelaide is Australia’s fifth-largest city with a population of 1.4 million residents, and a popular choice for international students seeking a top-ranked Australian university. Adelaide offers international students the signature Australian study experience with its beautiful university campuses, vibrant and young atmosphere and an endless list of historical and tourist sites to visit away from the classroom.

The affordable Australian university tuition fees and living costs are an added bonus for international students, and provide Adelaide universities the benefit of being good value for money.

International students studying at top-ranked Adelaide universities will also enjoy the immigrant-friendly nature of the city, which is even nicknamed the ‘city of churches’ because of the many religions which city residents follow in Adelaide.

Top Universities in Adelaide

Adelaide boasts 3 top-ranked universities for international students, in addition to many other specialist universities which offer work-oriented academic programs and specialised courses in a limited range of subject areas. International students will have plenty of great universities to choose from in Adelaide.

Flinders University

If you are looking for an innovation-friendly university degree which allows you to explore cutting-edge research facilities with the help of a high-quality teaching faculty, then Flinders University will be a great choice for you.

Flinders University was founded in 1966 and has a current size of 25,000 students, of which nearly 6,000 are international students. In addition to its award-winning faculty and curriculum, Flinders even offers international students joint degrees with top-ranked universities in countries such as Indonesia, China, and Malaysia. 

International students will also be able to take advantage of chances for professional growth and business learning at the Flinders University New Venture Institute, an award-winning start-up and innovation centre at the university. 

Aside from Flinders University’s main campus in the Tonsley neighbourhood in Adelaide, international students can work and study at one of the university’s many study spaces and official buildings all over Adelaide. As is the case with most research-focused universities, Flinders University’s primary strengths include research-heavy subject areas including:

  • Biomedical Science 
  • Policy Studies & Sociology, 
  • Healthcare 
  • Human Behaviour
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science

The University of Adelaide

Ranked as one of the top 10 Australian universities year after year, The University of Adelaide has 21,000 students enrolled in total, of which nearly 7,500 are international students.

One of Australia’s oldest universities, the University of Adelaide was founded in 1874 and is a member of the Group of Eight (Go8), a prestigious group of Australian universities with a shared focus on providing world-class faculty and research facilities.

The University of Adelaide has four campuses across Adelaide – North Terrace, The Waite, Thebarton, and Roseworthy. International students will feel completely at home at the University of Adelaide because it has students from over 100 countries currently enrolled and promotes an immigrant-friendly campus culture. The university’s famous alumni include Julia Gilliard, Australia’s first female prime minister. 

The University of Adelaide offers high-quality courses in most subject areas, some of which are:

  • Dentistry
  • Nursing
  • Law
  • Civil Engineering
  • Medicine

University of South Australia

Founded in 1991, the University of South Australia has quickly turned into one of Australia’s best young universities for international students. The university of South Australia is the largest of Adelaide’s three top-ranked universities – it enrols nearly 32,000 students of which 5,500 are international students. With work partnerships with over 2,500 Australian and international companies, the University of South Australia makes it easy for you to locate your ideal job following graduation. 

Courses at the University of South Australia’s six Adelaide campuses – Adelaide (City East), Adelaide (City West), Magill, Mawson Lakes, Whyalla, and Mount Gambier – are taught in a variety of subjects such as:

  • Brand Management
  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Law
  • Business Studies
  • Education

Universities in Adelaide Rankings 2022

Below is a list of the top Adelaide universities in 2022, according to QS world rankings and Times Higher Education:

UniversityQS World Ranking 2022Times Higher Education Ranking 2022QS Rank in AustraliaTHE Rank in Australia
The University of Adelaide 10811187
University of South Australia 3263012024
Flinders University 4072512220

As the list above shows, the University of Adelaide is the best Adelaide university for international students. Flinders University and the University of South Australia, meanwhile, are similarly ranked in both QS and THE world rankings, and both will be great choices for international students interested in Adelaide for their university degree.

Adelaide TAFE institutes

TAFE (Technical and Further Education) institutes, an Australian government initiative, are Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). TAFE institutes offer vocationally-oriented degrees that train you for semi-skilled as well as skilled industrial occupations through collaborations with employers across Australia. TAFE qualifications range from certificates to diplomas and advanced diplomas.

More than one million students have received degrees and certificates from TAFE South Australia since its establishment in 1971. Over 70,000 domestic and international students enrol at one of 300 TAFE SA locations in South Australia.

TAFE SA locations in the Adelaide region include:

  • Adelaide Metropolitan
  • Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu
  • Barossa and Riverland
  • Far North
  • Limestone Coast
  • Eyre Peninsula
  • Yorke Peninsula and Mid North
  • APY Lands

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Adelaide

In addition to the top-ranked Adelaide universities for international students, the city also offers many specialised institutes providing high-quality degrees and certificate programs. Some of them are:

Public versus Private Universities in Adelaide

Australian private universities are run by privately-owned organisations, while public colleges & universities receive funding from the Australian government. As a result, Torrens University and other such private universities are ‘for-profit’ and charge higher tuition fees, whereas public universities such as the University of Adelaide are more affordable for domestic and international students. The well-funded educational infrastructure and universities in Australia means that the best Adelaide universities for international students are all public institutions.

Tuition and Living Costs in Adelaide

As is the case with most Australian top-ranked universities, tuition costs for Adelaide universities depend on the volume and level of courses taken for a degree. The average tuition fee is usually 25,000 US Dollars per year for an international student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Adelaide, and this figure is higher at 27,000 US Dollars per year for post-graduate programs.

The costs of living for international students in Adelaide are generally lower than in other major Australian cities. The University of South Australia estimates that international students will require between 11,500 US Dollars and 15,000 US Dollars every year to cover living expenses in Adelaide. This figure includes approximately 100-300 US dollars every week for accommodation, 150 US Dollars weekly for groceries and utilities, 30 US Dollars every week for transport and 40-60 US dollars every week for entertainment as well as emergency expenses in Adelaide.

Life in Adelaide for International Students

Adelaide offers an ideal mix of big-city atmosphere, tourist attractions, and entertainment options alongside small-city benefits such as large college campuses, friendly student communities and easy access to locations outside the city region.

The city of Adelaide stretches from the South Australian coast to the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges, allowing its residents to have beautiful sights of the ocean and the nearby mountains. Adelaide offers international students a wide range of choices to spend their time away from the classroom.

The city’s most famous sights and sounds include:

  • The Adelaide Oval Stadium
  • Thebarton Theatre
  • Adelaide Botanic Garden
  • Adelaide Entertainment Centre
  • Elder Park
  • Art Gallery of South Australia
  • South Australian Museum
  • National Wine Centre
  • State Library of South Australia
  • Lion Arts Centre

In addition, international students in Adelaide can always make short trips to other major Australian cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, all of which are only an hour to two hours away by air, and a few hours away by road.

The city of Adelaide’s rich cultural history and award-winning urban planning will be of special interest to history and architecture students. This combination of an energetic city life and top-ranked education means Adelaide and its world-class universities should be on the list for every international student.

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