Why go all the way to the other side of the world to study when there are so many university options available in the UK? Here are a few things to consider
University quality: Research and global standing
Australian and New Zealand universities are engaged in pioneering research in many fields. The technology for the world’s first vaccine for cervical cancer was discovered at the University of Queensland; UNSW Sydney holds the world record for the conversion efficiency of a silicon solar cell; researchers at the University of Melbourne have developed a new, non-invasive method for detecting heart rhythm abnormalities in unborn babies.
Governments and businesses worldwide seek the expertise and research power of Australian and New Zealand universities and their discoveries and academics are in demand by organisations ranging from NATO to NASA.
Research excellence is key to ensuring a quality learning experience for all students, including undergraduates and postgraduates studying by coursework, as research discoveries and knowledge filters down to inform all levels of university teaching.
International rankings and reputation
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).
A chance to broaden your horizons
Living such a long way from home for an extended period of time isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and it can be challenging, particularly at first. But if you are independent by nature, with initiative and a sense of adventure, there are some amazing experiences to be had. Depending on where you are, once classes are over you can head to the beach, go skiing for the weekend, take in an exhibition or an art gallery, learn to dive, or just explore the great outdoors.
Flexible courses and dedicated, accessible academics
This degree structure means you will have a much wider choice in the courses that you study and can create a programme uniquely tailored to your interests and career goals. Contact teaching hours for undergraduates are typically higher than at many UK universities, and the teaching culture throughout is relaxed and informal. One of the most regular pieces of feedback we get from students (whether undergraduate or PhD) is how accessible and friendly they find academic staff to be.
These are the best places in the world to study certain subjects
Both countries also offer students and researchers unparalleled access to the natural world and amazing opportunities for fieldwork. Marine scientists in Australia, for example, can use the Great Barrier Reef as a living laboratory, or study the waters of Tasmania, which are classed as the cleanest anywhere in the world bar those of Antarctica.
Strong graduate job prospects
Australian and New Zealand universities are also firmly focused on graduate employability and offer a huge number of opportunities – and support systems – to ensure that students graduate career-ready. These include plenty of options for hands-on, real-world learning in all degrees. Look out for your chance to undertake fieldwork, an internship or industry placement or project during your studies. You can also access career support and mentoring schemes, and in at many universities programmes dedicated to nurturing student entrepreneurial talent, or ensuring that a research breakthrough has a successful application in the real world.
International degree recognition
This is particularly important if you are planning to study a professional degree – for example medicine, veterinary medicine, nursing, engineering or social work. Many of the national regulatory bodies for these professions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand already have agreements in place to ensure that graduates from one country are immediately approved to work in the other once they have full registration. The UK Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), for example, accredits all of the Bachelor of Veterinary Science degrees taught at our Australian and New Zealand partner universities. This allows students to qualify as a vet and return to work in the UK without having to take a registration test or do any further study.
Make the most of your time as a student
Universities in Australia and New Zealand offer a huge range of opportunities for students to maximise their time at university. You can take part in an academic exchange, and study at a partner university almost anywhere in the world for a term or a year. Or undertake an internship, join a voluntary project, get involved with student clubs and societies, or take part in a leadership programme. Or all of the above!