With its Mediterranean climate, stunning scenery and incredible festival scene, South Australia is a popular option for international students. To help you choose the perfect university in Adelaide for your studies, check out our guide to the state’s four institutions.

The University of Adelaide

The oldest university in the state, the University of Adelaide holds a place in Australia’s prestigious Group of Eight – a coalition of world-leading, research-intensive universities.

Established: 1874

Location: The University of Adelaide has five campuses: North Terrace in Adelaide, Roseworthy College at Roseworthy, The Waite Institute at Urrbrae, Thebarton and the National Wine Centre in the Adelaide Park Lands. 

Courses: Adelaide offers courses across faculties including Arts; Engineering, Computer and Math Sciences; Health and Medical Sciences; Sciences; and Business, Economics and Law. 

The university is known for its medicine and science courses, with three Nobel laureate alumni graduating from these disciplines: William Lawrence Bragg, Howard Florey and Robin Warren.

Student population: In 2018, The University of Adelaide had a total of 27,094 students enrolled, with 7,870 of these being international students. The top three countries of origin for international students are China, Malaysia and India.

Notable alumni include Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister, musician Sia, and Dame Roma Mitchell, Australia’s first woman judge.

Global rankings and awards: The university is ranked in the top 150 in the world by QS, and its subjects of mineral and mining engineering, dentistry, nursing and veterinary science are in the world top 50.

Graduate success rate: 67% of University of Adelaide graduates are in full-time employment, with 83.5% employed overall. It is ranked in the 171 to 180 range for graduate employability by QS.

Fun fact: The University of Adelaide is the oldest university in the state and the third oldest in Australia. It was the first in the country to admit women to academic courses in 1881.

The University of South Australia (UniSA)

The University of South Australia is a founding member of the Australian Technology Network of universities – a group of four of the most innovative and enterprising universities in Australia.

Established: 1991

Location: The University has two campuses in Adelaide, City West and City East, plus Magill, Mawson Lakes, Whyalla and Mount Gambier.

Courses: It offers degrees across the faculties of Business; Education, Arts and Social Sciences; Health Sciences; and Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment. 

UniSA’s Business School is ranked in the top 1% worldwide and is in the top 100 universities in the world for Law.

Student population: UniSA is South Australia’s largest university, with almost 34,000 students enrolled. Of these, over 5,700 are international students, the majority of which arrive from the university’s international network linking them with Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

Notable alumni include musician and winner of the first season of Australian Idol, Guy Sebastian; politician Penny Wong; and Stephen Yarwood – Adelaide’s youngest mayor.

Graduate success rate: UniSA is the number one ranked university in South Australia for graduates finding full-time work after graduation. It is ranked in the 301-500 range for graduate employability by QS.

Global rankings and awards: Uni SA is ranked 274th in the world by QS, and 30th in the world’s top 50 universities aged under 50 years. 

Fun fact: In 2018, UniSA opened MOD., a futuristic museum that features Australia’s first Science on a Sphere exhibition.

Flinders University

The only university with its main campus outside Adelaide’s centre, Flinders University is instead set against the beautiful Adelaide Hills to the south of the city. The university is a member of the Innovative Research Universities Group, whose main purpose is to undertake advocacy on issues relating to research, higher education and university students.

Established: 1966

Location: Flinders is spread across its main campus at Bedford Park, the Victoria Square campus in Adelaide’s CBD, the Tonsley campus and four health-focused sites in the Northern Territory.

Courses: Students can take courses from the Business, Government and Law; Education, Psychology and Social Work; Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; Medicine and Public Health; Nursing and Health Sciences; and Science and Engineering faculties. 

The university is ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide for Nursing and is 1st in the world for Digital Illustration.

Student population: Flinders University has a total of almost 28,000 students enrolled, with 5,400 international students. These international students come to the university from over 35 different countries.

Notable alumni include Terrance Tao, Fields Medallist; film director, Scott Hicks; and roboticist Rodney Brooks.

Graduate success rate: 86% of Flinders University students are employed after graduation, with starting salaries of $57,000 AUD on average – the highest in the state.

Global rankings and awards: The university is in the top 50 universities in the Asia-Pacific Region and is ranked 424th by QS.

Fun fact: Flinders University was officially opened by The Queen Mother in 1966.

Torrens University

As part of the Laureate International Universities network, the private Torrens University has campuses in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. In 2012 it became Australia’s 40th university. The Adelaide campus was only opened in 2015, which means this up-and-coming university is still building a reputation for itself.

Established: 2012

Location: In Adelaide, Torrens has campuses at Victoria Square and Wakefield Street.

Courses: Torrens offers courses across the faculties of Business; Design; Education; English; Health; Health Science; Hospitality; Naturopathy; Nutritional Medicine; Project Management; Sports Management; Technology; and Western Herbal Medicine. 

Student population: Torrens University has a total of 10,300 enrolled students, 650 of which are in Adelaide. 

Graduate success rate: Torrens University’s 95.2% graduate labour force participation rate is one of the highest in Australia.

Global rankings and awards: As such a young university, Torrens is not yet included in the world rankings. However, the university has a strong focus on personalised learning, with small class sizes and a one-on-one success coach available for every student.

Fun fact: Upon commission, Torrens University became the first new university in Australia for 20 years.


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