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James Cook University

Established:  1970

Location:  Cairns and Townsville

Student Population:  20,000

CRICOS:  00117J

Make lifelong connections and succeed in your career while you live and study in one of the most beautiful places in the world. James Cook University (JCU) provides world-class facilities, career-focussed courses, and research excellence from its campuses in the Northern Queensland cities of Cairns and Townsville.

Everything you need to know


Degree programmes designed to help you succeed in the global workforce


Our degrees will prepare you for a career with adventure, skills and impact. Many of our degrees include field work, lab time, clinical and professional placements, work integrated learning and internships, so you can gain industry experience and grow your professional network while you study.

Our Employability Skills subject, which is offered within many of our masters programmes, is a unique feature which provides you with an opportunity to build industry connections and to develop important employability skills before graduating. JCU works closely with employers and industry to ensure that its degree programmes are relevant and meet the demands of the global workforce.

Programmes are available in a wide range of disciplines including:


  • Aquaculture
  • Business and IT
  • Data science
  • Dentistry
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Environmental earth science
  • Environmental management
  • Law
  • Marine biology
  • Medicine
  • Psychology and social work
  • Public health
  • Tropical biology and conservation
  • Veterinary science

Research-Intensive University


Recognised as a world leader in research and teaching, Excellence in Research for Australia rates JCU as above world standard in 38 areas of research, and well above world standard in eight areas including environmental science and management; ecology; geology; ecological applications; plant biology; medical microbiology; fisheries science and organic chemistry.

Townsville is also ranked as the world’s second most prolific city for research related to UN Sustainable Development Goal “Life Below Water” (The Nature Index 2021). Of that local research, 52% came from JCU.

JCU conducts internationally-significant research using its network of research stations, centres and institutes including:


  • Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
  • Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
  • Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  • Australian Research Council Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding
  • Centre for Disaster Studies
  • Centre for Macroalgal Resources and Biotechnology
  • Centre for Molecular Therapeutics
  • Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Sciences
  • Cyclone Testing Station
  • Daintree Rainforest Observatory
  • Economic Geology Research Centre
  • Fletcherview Research Station
  • Marine and Aquaculture Research Facility
  • Orpheus Island Research Station

Enjoy the Affordable Tropical North Queensland Lifestyle


The North and Far North regions of Queensland are unlike anywhere else in the world and feature an extraordinary combination of reefs, rainforests, significant coastal, mountain and outback ecosystems, and Indigenous centres. North Queensland has a stunning climate, pristine environment, multicultural population, and a lower cost of living than many major Australian cities.

Purpose-built student accommodation is available on campus in Cairns and Townsville. Private rental options with easy access to campus are affordable and readily available in both cities.

With more than 300 days of sunshine each year, temperatures between 20 – 35 degrees all year and flat terrain, many students cycle or walk as their key form of transport. You can also get reduced public transport rates for bus and ferry services as a JCU student.

Experience the best of student life


Accessible teaching staff, spacious, friendly campuses and support services (including student mentor and study skills programmes) ensure students get the personal attention they need to succeed. Our experienced, dedicated International Student Support Team assist international students before arrival, and help with their orientation and transition to student life at JCU.



JCU recognises academic excellence through its International Excellence Scholarships. These offer a 25% tuition fee reduction for the duration of approved degrees, providing a strong GPA is maintained. Scholarship eligibility is assessed at the same time as your application to study at JCU.


JCU at a glance


James Cook University overview:

  • Two stunning tropical campuses near the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage-listed rainforests
  • Five stars for full time employment and graduate salaries (The Good Universities Guide 2022)
  • Top 201-300 group of universities worldwide (Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2021)
  • Ecology ranked 25 in the world; geography ranked 51-75; mining and mineral engineering 51-75 and hospitality and tourism management 76-100 in the world (Shanghai Ranking 20921 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects)
  • 5 stars overall and 5 stars for teaching, employability, research and facilities (2021 QS Stars University Rankings)
  • Top 100 universities in the world for UN Sustainable Development Goals for Sustainable Development (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021)
  • Ranked number one in the world for marine and freshwater biology and at number two in the world for biodiversity conservation (Centre for World University Rankings 2017)