Universities in Sydney

The Sydney Opera House next to a body of water with boats on it

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Australia

Sydney is the largest city in Australia and is home to more than 200,000 international students. Sydney, like most of Australia, is a popular study destination for international students because of its top-ranked universities, pleasant climate, an immigrant-friendly atmosphere and many career opportunities offered after graduation. 

As an international student, highly ranked universities will offer you world-class research facilities and teaching staff. Thanks to the affordable tuition costs of Sydney’s universities, international students with financial limitations can also apply with confidence.

Top Universities in Sydney

Sydney boasts six world-class universities offering a wide range of courses for international students across undergraduate, postgraduate and research degree levels.

Australian Catholic University

Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Sydney was founded in 1991 after a merger of four Catholic universities in Australia, all of which were established in the 19th century. Australian Catholic University hosts 29,000 students across its campuses in most major Australian cities. 

As an international student at Australian Catholic University you will benefit from the ability to transfer to another ACU branch after a year in Sydney, if you decide to experience a top university in a different Australian city. Degrees are offered in a variety of courses, from health sciences to theological sciences, and from law studies to business management.

Macquarie University

Macquarie University offers international students a perfect combination of a top-ranked Sydney city university with a college town-like atmosphere. This is because Macquarie University has a large campus in northwest Sydney which totals over 100 acres and offers world-class research and teaching facilities.

Founded in 1964, Macquarie University today hosts nearly 40,000 students, of which 9,000 are international students. The university is well-known for its high-quality degree programs in humanities subjects including international relations, sociology and public policy.

University of New South Wales

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) provides international students with a top-ranked education across a breadth of disciplines, especially in its engineering programs. The University of New South Wales was set up in 1949 as a research-oriented university, and today operates two large-scale research centres. One is the UNSW Lowy Cancer Research Centre while the other is the Wainwright Analytical Centre for research in health and physical sciences.

In addition to its world-class engineering degree offerings, UNSW offers high-quality programs in media studies and business management. The UNSW boasts famous alumni such as the current Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison.

University of Sydney

The University of Sydney is Australia’s first university and currently hosts over 20,000 international students in its main and satellite campuses near Sydney. Established in 1850 by William Wentworth and Sir Charles Nicholson, the University of Sydney offers centuries of experience in providing a high-quality education and professional career opportunities. 

The university is only a few minutes away from Sydney’s business district, and consistently ranks very well for employability chances. Top courses offered for international students include sports management programs and research-oriented natural and physical sciences degrees. 

University of Technology Sydney

The University of Technology Sydney was founded in 1964 with a special focus on bringing world-class technology research and innovation to Australia. UTS today hosts over 12,000 international students and is a popular destination for international students on study abroad programs.

In contrast to suburban university campuses, the University of Technology Sydney offers international students a true Sydney experience with its urban campus spread across central Sydney. Top courses offered at UTS include degrees in natural sciences and architecture alongside the primary focus on technology studies. The award-winning actor Hugh Jackman studied at UTS, among other famous Australian personalities.

Western Sydney University 

Founded in 1989, Western Sydney University offers international students degree programs across its six campuses, all of them in and around Sydney. Western Sydney University is a popular choice for international students; currently, international students from about 75 countries are enrolled at the university. The entire Western Sydney area is highly multicultural with 2 million residents from over 170 countries. This ensures that Western Sydney University will feel like home for you as an international student with its immigrant-friendly atmosphere.

Sydney University Rankings 2022

Below are the top-ranked Sydney universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2022 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2022 Rankings.

For more information about rankings systems and methodologies see our University rankings explained guide.

Sydney RankingUniversityQS World Ranking 2022 Times Higher Education Ranking 2022
1University of Sydney38=58
2University of New South Wales4370
3University of Technology Sydney133=143
4Macquarie University200192
5Western Sydney University=494201-250
6Australian Catholic UniversityN/A251-300

While the University of Sydney is the top-ranked university across both international ranking systems, even Sydney’s lowest-ranked university isn’t far behind. It is important to note that while the Australian Catholic university ranks 251-300 in THE 2022 Global rankings, it does not feature on QS World rankings.

Sydney TAFE Institutes

TAFE (Technical and Further Education) institutes, an Australian government initiative, are Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) which offer vocationally-oriented degrees that train students for semi-skilled and skilled occupations and are nationally recognised in Australia. International students in TAFE programs benefit from advanced on-the-job training with businesses in Sydney. 

TAFE programs for international students in Sydney are offered in many industrial areas – business, healthcare, construction and more. TAFE qualifications range from certificates to advanced diplomas.

Listed below are the Sydney TAFE institutes for international students:

  • TAFE NSW Design Centre Enmore
  • TAFE NSW Centre Eora
  • TAFE NSW Centre Gymea
  • TAFE NSW Centre Loftus
  • TAFE NSW Centre Petersham
  • TAFE NSW Centre Randwick
  • TAFE NSW Centre St. George
  • TAFE NSW Centre Ultimo

Specialist Universities in Sydney

Along with Sydney’s top-ranked university for international students, the city also hosts many specialist universities which offer courses with a focus on a high-quality vocational training-based curriculum in specific areas such as business and hotel management.

Additionally, some foreign universities such as the prestigious New York University (USA) have satellite campuses located in and around Sydney. Listed below are 10 of Sydney’s top specialist universities:

Life in Sydney for International Students

Sydney universities offer a lifestyle as diverse as the country’s 25 million population, of which nearly a million are international students. Here are a few of the popular entertainment venues and activities international students in Sydney can enjoy:

  • Catch a show at the world-famous Sydney Opera House
  • Visit the iconic Paddy’s market with over 1,000 stalls offering souvenirs and other items
  • Enjoy a relaxing day at sunny Bondi Beach
  • Tour the iconic Luna amusement park and try out the thrilling rides
  • Savour an end-to-end cricket match at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG)

Sydney offers many such opportunities to safely explore Australian culture whilst benefiting from top-ranked teaching and research facilities at Sydney’s world-class universities. If you are considering universities in Sydney, prepare yourself for an all-round adventure and educational experience in one of the world’s most exciting cities!

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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