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Australian Universities Climb Higher: Three in QS Top 20 for 2025

Australia continues to be celebrated for its world-class education providers, and the QS World University Rankings 2025 confirms this once again. In fact, this year, three Australian universities have been ranked among the top 20 in the world. 

Curious about where your university stands? Read on to find out!

The key metrics behind the rankings

The 21st edition of the QS World University Rankings has over 1,500 institutions, and for 2025, it’s all about employability and sustainability. The rankings are based on analysing 17.5 million academic papers and gathering opinions from over 240,000 academic faculty and employers. There are three new indicators this year: sustainability, employment outcomes, and international research network.

The sustainability metric reflects the growing expectation for universities to address social and climate justice issues, the employment outcomes metric evaluates job prospects for graduates and the international research network metric assesses the global collaboration and connectivity of an institution’s research.

Breakdown of the 2025 QS ranking criteria and weights

  • Academic Reputation: 30%
  • Employer Reputation: 15%
  • Faculty Student Ratio: 10%
  • Citations per Faculty: 20%
  • International Faculty Ratio: 5%
  • International Student Ratio: 5%
  • International Research Network: 5%
  • Employment Outcomes: 5%
  • Sustainability: 5%

Three Australian universities in the top 20

This year, Australia boasts three universities in the top 20 of the QS World University Rankings. The University of Melbourne has hit a new milestone, climbing to 13th place, up from 14th last year. The University of Sydney has also improved its standing, moving up to 18th. Meanwhile, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has held steady at 19th place.

Strong performances across Australian universities

The latest QS World University Rankings have demonstrated the resilience of Australian universities. Despite intense competition from institutions around Asia, which has impacted the rankings of many British and American universities, Australian higher education institutions have maintained strong positions.

This year, 38 Australian universities were ranked, with almost half (47%) of these institutions improving their standings. Nine universities, including the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, and UNSW, made it into the top 100. The other universities in the top 100 are:

  • Australian National University (ANU): 30th
  • Monash University: 37th
  • University of Queensland: 40th
  • University of Western Australia: 77th
  • University of Adelaide: 82nd
  • University of Technology Sydney (UTS): 88th

Concerns over policy changes impacting Australian rankings

Jessica Turner, CEO of QS, has cautioned that Australia’s strong position in the rankings could be at risk due to upcoming policy changes. These changes include a “soft” cap on student numbers and potential increases in visa fees.

In February, the number of international students in Australia reached a record high of over 700,000. In response, the federal government has implemented stricter migration controls to manage this influx. 

Turner emphasised the importance of these international students to the country’s education sector and overall competitiveness. She stated, “It is important to balance regulatory measures with the need to support the international education sector and the opportunities it provides. We hope that a thoughtful approach will be taken to avoid unintended negative impacts on students, universities, and Australia’s global competitiveness.”