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University Rankings and Reputation

The strength of Australian and New Zealand universities is consistently confirmed by their performance in a range of different international rankings.

Australia and New Zealand are home to some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after universities, as demonstrated by their standing in international university rankings.

There are three Australian universities ranked in the world’s top 20, according to the 2024 QS World University Rankings, with a further seven Australian and one New Zealand ranked in the world’s top 100. There are 43 universities in Australia and just eight in New Zealand, so the proportion judged to be among the world’s best is indicative of how high standards are. The UK has around 160 universities; 17 of which are ranked in the world’s top 100 by QS in its 2024 report. Four UK universities are listed in the top 20. Australia’s top 20 universities are the University of Melbourne, UNSW Sydney and the University of Sydney.

It is important to check and compare different rankings to get a balanced picture. Try the annual international university rankings from the Times Higher Education and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

International degree recognition

Australia and New Zealand both have education systems based on the British model, and Australian and New Zealand university qualifications are recognised all over the world as being the direct equivalent of qualifications from British universities.

This excellent recognition between the systems is not just reassuring; it is key if you are hoping to study a professional degree – such as veterinary science, nursing, engineering, medicine, or social work overseas. Many of the national regulatory bodies for these professions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand already have agreements in place with one another to ensure that graduates from one country are immediately approved to work in the other. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) in the UK, for example, accredits many of the Bachelor of Veterinary Science degrees taught at Australian and New Zealand universities, which ensures that students can qualify as a vet in either country, and then return immediately to the UK to work, without having to do any kind of registration test or undertake any further study.

Groups and Affiliations

Group of Eight

The Group of Eight is coalition of leading Australian universities, intensive in research and comprehensive in general and professional education. As a grouping the Go8 is often compared to the UK Russell Group of universities or the Ivy League Schools in the US. 

Universitas 21

Universitas 21 is the leading global network of research-intensive universities, working together to foster global citizenship and institutional innovation through research-inspired teaching and learning, student mobility, connecting our students and staff, and wider advocacy for internationalisation.

Global members include: University of Edinburgh, University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham, University of Glasgow (UK), University College Dublin (Ire), McGill University (Can), University of Virginia (US), The Ohio State University (US), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Chn), National University of Singapore (Sing) and the University of Amsterdam (Nld).

Matariki Network

The Matariki Network of Universities (MNU) is a select international group of outstanding universities, with each member leading international best practice in research and education based on long academic traditions.

Global members include: Dartmouth College (USA), Durham University (UK), Queen’s University (Can), Universitat Tubingen (Ger) and Uppsala University (Swe).

International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU)

The IARU is an international alliance of ten of the world’s leading research universities. Its members are the Australian National University (ANU); the University of Oxford; the University of Cambridge; the University of Copenhagen; Yale University ETH Zurich; the National University of Singapore; Peking University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Tokyo.

Worldwide Universities Network

The Worldwide Universities Network is a global network driving international research collaboration and developing research talent. It has 19 member universities from 11 countries, including the University of Bristol, the University of York, the University of Leeds and the University of Sheffield.

Association of Pacific Rim Universities

The Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) was founded in 1997, to establish a premier alliance of research universities in the region, to act as an advisory body to international organisations, governments and business on the development of science and innovation as well as on the broader development of higher education. Its 45 members come from all around the Pacific Rim and include: Stanford University; The University of California, Berkeley; The University of California, Los Angeles; The University of Tokyo; National University of Singapore and The University of Hong Kong.

Innovative Research Universities (IRU)

IRU is a network of six Australian universities conducting research of national and international standing.

The Australian Technology Network

The Australian Technology Network is a group of five of Australia’s innovative and enterprising universities.