Universities in Canberra

A view of a city skyline with a blue sky backdrop

Canberra is the capital city of Australia and is located in the south east of the country

Canberra is Australia’s capital city with a population of 450,000 residents. Canberra is a favourite university destination for many international students because it provides most of the facilities available for entertainment and off-campus fun that are present in larger Australian cities like Sydney and Brisbane, while also giving international students the benefits of a focused academic environment and a charming small-town atmosphere where immigrants feel welcome. This is why nearly 30,000 international students call Canberra home.

Despite being a small city, studying at Canberra universities provides international students with the chance to find well-paying jobs after graduation, due to the city’s high employment rate and number of businesses. Of course, the most important reason why you must consider Canberra universities as an international student is the world-class quality of teaching faculty and research facilities.

Top Universities in Canberra

Canberra is home to 3 world-class universities for international students, as well as many other highly-rated specialist universities.

Australian National University

A member of the prestigious Group of Eight Australian universities, the Australian National University was founded in 1946 with the mission to provide Australia with a world-class open research institute.

The university is located in Acton, Canberra and is spread across a large 360-acre campus. The Australian National University provides international students with a wide range of undergraduate, master’s and specialised programs under one of its 4 main academic departments:

  • School of Medical Research
  • School of Physical Sciences
  • School of Pacific Science
  • School of Social Science

ANU is ideal for international students because of the world-famous reputation of its teaching faculty – there are currently over 5 Nobel prize winners teaching there, and the university alumni includes former prime ministers of Australia and cabinet ministers in New Zealand. 

University of Canberra

Founded in 1967 as the Canberra College of Advanced Education, The University of Canberra will provide international students with a vibrant college life spread across its 296-acre campus in Bruce, Canberra. The university is especially attractive to international students because of its top-ranked graduate employability rate of nearly 90%. 

With a relatively small enrolment number of about 15,000 students in total, you will benefit from greater faculty attention on your individual academic progress. Courses at the University of Canberra are broadly divided into 6 departments:

  • Art & Design 
  • Business 
  • Government & Law 
  • Health 
  • Education 
  • Science & Technology

Australian Catholic University

If you are certain about applying to study in Australia as an international student but cannot decide your favourite Australian city, a degree at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) could be perfect for you! Founded recently in 1991 after a merger of four Catholic universities in Australia, the Australian Catholic University hosts 29,000 students across its campuses in most major Australian cities. Degrees are offered in a variety of courses, from theological sciences to law, business and management.

Rankings of Canberra Universities 2022

Below is a list of the top Canberra 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
Australian National University275412
University of Canberra4361702410
Australian Catholic University801-1,000251-3003517

As the table shows, the Australian National University is the top-ranked Canberra university and is also the best university in Australia according to QS World Ranking.

Canberra 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 programs in Canberra are offered in a wide variety of industrial areas – trade, business, healthcare and many more. The world-class Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) is the primary TAFE institute in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) area surrounding Canberra.

Canberra Institute of Technology

For international students seeking a degree program which offers workplace training, the Canberra Institute of Technology is a popular choice. The largest vocational and technical degree provider in the Canberra region, CIT is spread across 4 Canberra neighbourhoods – Bruce, Fyshwick, Reid and Woden.

Graduating or completing certificate programs at the Canberra Institute of Technology provides you with far better workplace skills than your competition, and you also benefit from the many industry connections you can make while training under a workplace program sponsored by CIT.

There are currently nearly 40,000 students enrolled across five Canberra-based CIT campuses. Over 230 workplace-oriented programs are offered at CIT. Canberra Institute of Technology programs for international students cater to people in both full-time and part-time employment.

International students at CIT will enjoy both a spirited university community as well as in-depth attention from academic, research, and workplace training faculty due to the small average class size of only 20 students.

List of other Colleges & Universities in Canberra

In addition to the top Canberra universities, Australia’s capital city also offers a wide variety of specialised institutes providing high-quality degrees and certificate programs, as well as satellite campuses of prominent international and domestic universities. These include:

Public versus Private Universities in Canberra

There are some key differences between private and public universities. Private universities are owned and operated by privately-owned companies and organisations, while public colleges receive funding from the Australian government. As a result, private universities are typically ‘for-profit’ and charge higher tuition fees, whereas public universities are more affordable fees for domestic and international students.

Because of the strong educational infrastructure and government support in Australia, most of the top-ranked Australian universities for international students are public institutions. Public universities in Canberra offer diverse student communities and attractive tuition fees.

Tuition Costs in Canberra

Tuition costs in Australia are decided by the volume and level of courses taken towards a degree. Tuition costs in Canberra can vary for international students, and depend on the program selected as well as the courses chosen. The average tuition fee is usually about 25,000 US Dollars for an international student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Canberra, and this figure is only slightly higher, at about 27,000 US Dollars for postgraduate programs.

Living Costs in Canberra

According to the Australian National University, the average international student requires at least 350 US Dollars to cover living expenses every week in Canberra. Renting shared accommodation will cost you between 150-225 US Dollars every week, whereas transport and key utilities such as electricity and internet will cost another 50-100 US Dollars weekly. Another 80-100 US Dollars must be kept aside for food expenses, while you should be spending no more than 50-60 US Dollars every week for entertainment.

This adds up to costs of between 1,400-1,800 US Dollars every month. Additional costs for international students in Canberra will include university textbooks and insurance charges, among others.

Life in Canberra

Well-organised public transport and clean and enjoyable public facilities will allow you to experience the best of Canberra outside the classroom as an international student. Canberra will be especially interesting to international students pursuing degrees such as political science and law because it hosts many important government venues with rich histories including the Parliament House, the Museum of Australian Democracy and the High Court of Australia.

Despite Canberra not being a seaside city like Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, you can still enjoy a warm afternoon by the water at Lake Burley Griffin, a masterfully designed artificial lake in central Canberra. Nature and science lovers, meanwhile, can enjoy Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium, as well as Questacon, the National Science & Technology Centre. Other popular must-visit spots in Canberra for international students include:

  • National Gallery of Australia
  • National Museum of Australia
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • National Library of Australia
  • Australian War Memorial

Once you have enjoyed the essential sights and sounds of Canberra, you can make short trips to other major cities in Australia, all of which are within a couple hours’ flight time.

At only a tenth the size of Sydney and Melbourne in terms of its population, Canberra has a lot to offer international students interested in studying at one of the city’s world-class universities.

Life in Canberra universities for international students will represent the best of Australia’s educational infrastructure, academic & sporting facilities, campus living and vibrant city culture. Make sure to do your research on which Canberra university suits you best, and ensure that you make the most of your academic, professional and personal journey as an international student in Canberra!

See our Studying in Australia directory for more information about being an international student in the country, as well as other cities, tuition fees and a full list of courses/subjects available.

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