The future’s bright down under

 With seven of the world’s top 100 universities, Australia has confirmed its position as one of the world’s leading destinations for international students.

Australia has always punched above its weight in the QS World University Rankings, and 2012 is no exception. In fact, Australia’s haul of seven universities in the global top 100 is bettered only by the US and UK.

This tally includes all but one of Australia’s elite Group of Eight, the universities at which the bulk of the nation’s cutting-edge research has traditionally taken place.

  • Australia National University leads the pack in 24th place, extending its lead over second-placed
  • University of Melbourne, which drops slightly to 36.

Fellow Group of Eight members

  • University of Sydney (39) and
  • University of Queensland (46) make the global top 50, with a further three Aussie universities in the top 100:
  • University of New South Wales (52),
  • Monash University(61), and
  • University of Western Australia (79).


Great job prospects

So what makes Australian universities stand out? A big strength is their reputation among international employers, which will be good news both for Australian graduates and the 240,000 international students who study there each year.

Interestingly, employers identify the University of Melbourne as the nation’s top producer of graduate talent, and ninth in the world in this measure. The rest of the Group of Eight also performs strongly in this measure, alongside other Australian institutions such as RMIT University and the University of Wollongong.

This high level of international recognition for Australian graduates is testament to Australian universities’ success in preparing candidates for the workplace. Employers are asked to identify the universities that produce the best graduates, meaning the leading Australian universities are regarded as a great place to find highly skilled employees.


Global student mix

Australian universities’ success may also be linked to another factor: their internationally diverse character. Australian universities were among the first to really embrace internationalization, and as a result the campuses are meeting points for students and academics from all over the world.


The tendency of many Australians to spend time living and working abroad, as well as the number of top international graduates who received their training at Australian universities, is undoubtedly a factor behind their high level of recognition among global employers.


Stiff competition

It’s not all good news for Australia this year. While the Group of Eight continues to punch above its weight, several other Australian universities have lost ground compared to last year.

This is partly linked to a relative slow-down in international recruitment in Australia at a time when this has rapidly accelerated elsewhere. In fact, this year’s results show that the top 100 universities average nearly 10% more international students than in 2011 – a staggering statistic.

With global competition intensifying each year, universities need to improve just to maintain their position, and there is evidence that several Australian institutions are beginning to feel the squeeze. Notably the University of Adelaide drops out of the top 100, a downward trend mirrored at most universities outside of the Group of Eight.

However, the general picture ‘down under’ remains rosy. With a total of 26 of the nation’s universities making the top 700, this year’s QS World University Rankings provide strong evidence that international students will continue to regard Australia as one of the world’s most favourable study destinations.

And with two Australian cities Melbourne and Sydney making the top ten in the QS Best Student Cities 2012, who can blame them?


Source: QS World University Rankings

Leave a Reply