Universities in Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane city skyline with a bridge in the foreground

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and sits on the Brisbane River

Located in a scenic coastal area in the eastern region of Australia, Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland state and Australia’s third-largest city with a population of 2.4 million residents.

International students looking to study in top-ranked Brisbane universities will especially benefit from the fact that Brisbane living costs are cheaper than costs in Sydney and Melbourne, and the city of Brisbane is exceptionally welcoming towards immigrants and international students. In fact, Brisbane annually hosts the ‘Brisbane welcomes International Students’ festival, showing the friendly and inclusive attitude you will enjoy in the city.

Away from the classroom, international students will find multiple opportunities to relax and enjoy the great Australian outdoors, or make a short trip to the famous Gold Coast region nearby.

Top Universities in Brisbane

Brisbane is home to 3 top-ranked universities for international students, as well as multiple specialist universities offering work-oriented programs and specialisations in a range of subjects.

Griffith University

Griffith University represents the perfect opportunity for international students to study at a world-class research-focused institute with specialisations in multiple research fields. Griffith University has a total student enrolment of over 50,000, of which about 10,000 are international students. 

The university has six campuses in and around Brisbane, and features over 30 research institutes across these campuses. These include the Griffith Asia Institute, the Cities Research Institute and the Australian Rivers Institute. 

Griffith University offers international students the chance to pursue top-ranked courses in the following departments, among others:

  • Climate Change
  • Water Science
  • Healthcare
  • Quantum Physics
  • Music
  • Nursing
  • Sustainable Tourism Practices
  • Environmental Studies

Queensland University of Technology

International students will feel truly at home at the Queensland University of Technology, which features students from over 140 countries in an inclusive student community. The Queensland University of Technology currently hosts 50,000 students, of which nearly 9,000 are international students. 

Ranked 21st worldwide by Times Higher Education in their rankings of global ‘Young Universities’, the Queensland University of Technology places special importance on supporting students’ academic journeys by providing them with real-world professional skills. 

Undergraduate and Postgraduate programs are offered at the Queensland University of Technology in the following departments:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • English Language & Pathways
  • Fine Arts and Design
  • Health
  • Justice

The University of Queensland

The University of Queensland represents the best of Australia’s traditional university education system, having been founded over a century ago in 1909. The University of Queensland is Brisbane’s only member university of The Group of Eight (Go8), a group of prestigious Australian universities with a shared focus on providing world-class faculty and research facilities to improve academic standards across Australian university education.

Today, the University of Queensland has over 40 research and teaching facilities in and around Brisbane. The University of Queensland’s homely and welcoming atmosphere for international students is shown by the fact that out of its 40,000 enrolled students, nearly 40% are international students.

If you choose to apply and enrol at the University of Queensland, you will be joining a world-famous institution which has produced multiple award-winning artists, scientists, Nobel prize winners, and important political leaders over the last century.

Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses for international students at the University of Queensland are offered in multiple departments including:

  • Agriculture & Food Sciences
  • Architecture
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences
  • Civil Engineering
  • Communication & Arts
  • Dentistry
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Historical & Philosophical Inquiry

Universities in Brisbane 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 Queensland46545=2
Queensland University of Technology2131931511
Griffith University=290=20117=12

The University of Queensland is the best Brisbane university for international students. Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology aren’t far behind, either, and both will make excellent choices for international students in Brisbane.

It must be noted that aside from the above 3 top-ranked Brisbane universities, the Australian state of Queensland has multiple other top-ranked universities. These include:

Brisbane 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. TAFE courses for international students in Brisbane are operated by TAFE Queensland

The following TAFE Queensland locations are available to international students in the Greater Brisbane Area:

  • TAFE Acacia Ridge
  • TAFE Alexandra Hills
  • TAFE Bracken Ridge
  • TAFE Caboolture
  • TAFE Eagle Farm
  • TAFE Grovely
  • TAFE Inala 
  • TAFE Ipswich 
  • TAFE Loganlea
  • TAFE Mt Gravatt
  • TAFE Redcliffe
  • TAFE South Bank
  • TAFE Springfield

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Brisbane

Alongside the top Brisbane universities for international students, you can also enrol at one of many specialised institutes offering skills-based degrees and work-study certificate programs in certain areas of expertise. Some of them are:

  • John Fisher College
  • Shafston International College
  • Queensford College
  • Charles Sturt University Study Centre Brisbane
  • APM College of Business & Communications
  • AXIOM College
  • St. Francis College
  • Sarina Russo Institute
  • Australasian College of Legal Medicine
  • Australasian Institute of High Energy Materials
  • Australasian Institute of Modern Language
  • College of Law Queensland
  • Martin College
  • College for Law and Justice Administration
  • QIMR Berghofer Medical research Institute

Public versus Private Universities in Brisbane

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

Tuition and Living Costs in Brisbane

As is the case with most Australian top-ranked universities, tuition costs for Brisbane 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 Brisbane, and this figure is higher at 27,000 US Dollars per year for post-graduate programs.

The costs of living for international students in Brisbane are lower than in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as comparable cities with top-ranked universities for international students around the world. The University of Queensland, for example, estimates that international students will require around 18,000 US Dollars every year to cover living expenses in Brisbane. This figure includes approximately 350 to 500 US dollars every month for accommodation, 300 US Dollars monthly for groceries and utilities, 50 to 100 US Dollars every month for public transportation and 40-60 US dollars every week for emergency expenses as well as enjoying the city of Brisbane.

Life in Brisbane for International Students

Brisbane offers multiple entertainment and recreational activities for people of all ages and interests. In addition to many tourist attractions, the city offers close access to the famed Australian Gold Coast and the iconic Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef formation and a spot of incomparable natural beauty.

Brisbane is also famous for its outdoor dining culture, as well as its urban diversity due to more than 30% of the current city population being immigrants and international students. Brisbane’s most famous tourist attractions include:

  • Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art
  • South Bank Parklands
  • City Botanic Gardens
  • Brisbane City Hall
  • Story Bridge
  • Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens
  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • D’Aguilar National Park
  • Howard Smith Wharves
  • Moreton Bay

International students in Brisbane will find it easy to 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 through Brisbane Airport, Australia’s largest airport.

With strengths in a wide range of areas, from biotech and medicine to cryptocurrencies, green energy and robotics, Brisbane offers an incredible academic journey and activities outside the classroom for every international student.

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