The southern state of Victoria is home to many of Australia’s top universities. Seven universities and 34 campuses can be found in Melbourne, which was ranked the world’s most liveable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2017. In fact, the city has consistently ranked in the Top 5 among the world’s Best Student Cities, coming third in 2018.
But metropolitan Melbourne isn’t the only area of the state with first-rate universities. Regional Victoria also hosts several campuses as well as two of its own universities. To help you decide which institution suits you best, we’ve put together this guide to everything you need to know about universities in Victoria — including the latest in Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) global rankings.
University of Melbourne (UniMelb)
Location: UniMelb has its main campus in Parkville, plus smaller campuses in Southbank, Burnley, Creswick, Dookie, Shepparton and Werribee.
Courses: UniMelb is particularly popular for courses across the arts and humanities, law and legal studies, anatomy and physiology, and engineering (mining and minerals).
Student population: There are over 50,000 students at UniMelb, of whom around 20,000 are international students from over 140 countries.
Graduate success rate: UniMelb has a graduate employability rating of 98% and is ranked 7th in global employability by QS.
Notable alumni include Australian prime ministers Alfred Deakin, Robert Menzies, Harold Holt, and Julia Gillard, as well as Professor Ian H Frazer, who was the lead scientist in developing the Gardasil vaccine, comedian Ronny Chieng, and former Human Rights Commissioner, Professor Gillian Triggs.
Global rankings and awards: UniMelb is ranked 32nd in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, making it Australia’s top university according to THE. It belongs to the prestigious Group of Eight of Australia’s leading universities and came in at 38th in the QS Global Ranking 2020.
Fun fact: Melbourne’s oldest university was first established by a group of four professors and 16 students. Today, it has now grown to include numerous institutes, research centres and facilities with a strong academic reputation.
Location: Monash has its main campus in Clayton, plus smaller campuses in Caulfield, Parkville, Berwick, Malaysia, South Africa and the Monash Student Union (MONSU) Peninsula.
Courses: Monash ranks highly for courses in pharmacy and pharmacology, education and training, performance arts, nursing, anatomy and physiology and engineering.
Student population: Over 78,000, of whom around 23,000 are international students.
Graduate success rate: Monash has a graduate employability rating of 65% and is ranked 66th in global employability by QS.
Notable alumni include former Australian treasurer Peter Costello, author Paul Jennings, cartoonist Michael Leunig, and Ruslan Kogan, founder of Kogan.com.
Global rankings and awards: Monash is ranked 58th in the QS Global Rankings 2020. It belongs to the prestigious Group of Eight and the Times Higher Education Top 1% (2018-2019). It was also ranked 21st in the Times Education World’s Most International Universities in 2017.
Fun fact: Monash has a huge international reach, including a major campus in Malaysia. This has allowed Monash to be a leader in research, with over 150 fields across its 10 faculties.
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)
Established: 1887, awarded university status in 1992.
Location: RMIT has its main campus in Melbourne City, smaller campuses in Brunswick and Bundoora, and two campuses in Vietnam.
Courses: RMIT is popular for art and design, architecture, information management and communication and media studies.
Student population: RMIT has a student population of around 82,000, including 28,000 international students, of whom 17,600 are taught offshore (with almost 7,000 at RMIT Vietnam).
Notable alumni include fashion designer Toni Maticevski, musician and songwriter Andrew Stockdale, photojournalist John Garrett, and film director and producer James Wan.
Graduate success rate: RMIT has a graduate employability rating of 63% and is ranked 77th in global employability by QS.
Global rankings and awards: RMIT is ranked 238th in the QS Global Rankings in 2020. It was also included in the QS Top 50 under 50 (ranked 21 in 2019) and came in at 12th in the world for art and design and 22nd for architecture.
Fun fact: RMIT was originally founded as a night school to train workers for the new jobs created by the industrial revolution in Australia in the late 1800s.
Swinburne University of Technology
Established: 1908, awarded university status in 1992.
Location: Swinburne has its main campus in Hawthorn, plus campuses in Croydon, Wantirna and Sarawak, Malaysia.
Courses: Swinburne is known for its courses in art and design, physics and astronomy, communication and media, engineering and computer science.
Student population: Swinburne has around 38,000 students, of whom 3,500 are onshore international and 3,500 are offshore international students.
Notable alumni include author Graeme Base, journalist Mark Beretta, and director Gillian Armstrong.
Graduate success rate: Swinburne is ranked in the 301-500 range in global employability by QS.
Global rankings and awards: Swinburne is ranked 383rd in the QS Global Rankings 2020. It was also included in the QS Top 50 under 50 (ranked 45) and the QS World University Rankings Top 3%. It was ranked 65th in the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings in 2018 and its civil engineering course came in at 133rd in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).
Fun fact: As a young university with strong industry links, Swinburne’s programs are designed to meet industry needs. Swinburne has received special awards for its action towards gender equality, particularly for women pursuing STEM careers.
La Trobe University
Location: La Trobe has its main campus in Bundoora, plus smaller campuses in Melbourne City, Bendigo, Albury-Wodonga, Mildura, Shepparton and Sydney.
Courses: La Trobe is popular for sports-related subjects, as well as archaeology, nursing, philosophy, sociology, and education and training.
Student population: La Trobe is home to just under 38,000 students, of whom around 9,000 are international students. The top countries of origin for international students are India, China, Singapore, Vietnam and Pakistan.
Global rankings and awards: La Trobe is ranked 400th in the QS Global Rankings 2020. It has QS 5 Stars rating across all areas and was ranked 341st in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2019.
Graduate success rate: La Trobe is ranked 251st in global employability by QS.
Notable alumni include Maureen Wheeler (co-founder of Lonely Planet), state politician Helen Buckingham, federal politician Sussan Ley, actress Pia Miranda, and Scott Pape, also known as the Barefoot Investor.
Fun fact: Australia’s only Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, the late Emeritus Professor Rhys Isaac, once worked at La Trobe.
Victoria University (VU)
Established: 1916, awarded university status in 1991.
Location: Footscray Park is the main VU campus, alongside Footscray Nicholson, VU at MetroWest, City Flinders, City Flinders Lane, City Queen, City King, St Albans, Sunshine, Werribee, VU Sydney and VU India.
Courses: VU is ranked highly for sports-related subjects, engineering (electrical), economics and econometrics, and computer science.
Student population: VU has over 27,000 students, of whom over 5,000 are onshore international and 3,000 are offshore international students.
Global rankings and awards: VU is ranked in the 601-650 range in the QS Global Ranking 2020. It was also included in the Times Higher Education Top 2% in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and ranked 56th in the Young University Rankings 2017.
Graduate success rate: There is no graduate data available for VU. However, VU is the only university in Australia to use a block teaching model, which emphasises job readiness as students are immersed in one subject at a time, in smaller classes.
Notable alumni include Dr Adrian Stoica (Senior Research Scientist for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology), Andrew Gaze (Head Coach for Sydney Kings basketball team), and Ms Deidre Anderson (President of Australia University Sport).
Fun fact: Thanks to its strengths in sports technology, Victoria has partnerships with major sports organisations throughout the state, as well as in Europe.
Australian Catholic University (ACU)
Established: 1991, after the amalgamation of four Catholic colleges in eastern Australia.
Location: In Melbourne, ACU has its campus in Fitzroy, alongside locations in Adelaide, Ballarat, Brisbane, Canberra, North Sydney, Strathfield and Rome.
Courses: ACU excels in subjects including nursing, education and training and psychology.
Student population: ACU has almost 35,000 students, of whom 4,600 are international students enrolled from 103 countries.
Global rankings and awards: ACU is ranked 801-1000 range in the QS Global Rankings 2020. It was also included in the Times Higher Education Young Universities Rankings Top 50 and ranked 36th in QS World University Rankings by Subject in 2017 for Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies.
Graduate success rate: 91% of ACU graduates are employed overall, with 77% in full-time employment (2018, domestic undergraduate students).
Notable alumni include founder of Nudie Juice James Ajaka, author Melina Marchetta, and Justin Madden, former AFL player and Victorian state minister.
Fun fact: ACU is one of the fastest-growing universities in Australia.
Location: Deakin has most students at its Melbourne Burwood campus, followed by campuses in Geelong Waurn Ponds, Geelong Waterfront and Warrnambool.
Courses: Deakin is globally recognised for its sports-related subjects, along with education and training, theology, nursing, communications and media studies, and performing arts.
Student population: Deakin has just under 58,000 students, of whom almost 12,000 are international students from 130 countries. The top countries of origin for international students are India, China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Global rankings and awards: Deakin is ranked in the 201-250 range in the QS Global Rankings 2020. It was also ranked in the Times Higher Education Young Universities Rankings Top 50 and the Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) Top 2% in 2016.
Notable alumni include Bollywood director Anurag Singh, ABC journalist Emma Albirici, UNICEF CEO Carolyn Hardy, and Tony Ellwood, the director of the National Gallery of Victoria.
Graduate success rate: Deakin is ranked 251st in global employability by QS. It was also ranked equal-third in Australia for graduate employability by the Times Higher Education index in 2016.
Fun fact: Deakin was Australia’s first university to offer distance education.
Federation University (FedUni)
Established: 1870, awarded university status in 1994. It was known as the University of Ballarat until 2014.
Location: FedUni has its main campus in Ballarat, as well as smaller campuses in Ararat, Horsham, Stawell, Churchill and Berwick.
Courses: FedUni is recognised for its humanities and social sciences subjects, as well as education, nursing, health sciences and engineering.
Student population: There are over 23,000 students enrolled at FedUni, including around 9,000 international students.
Global rankings and awards: The Good Universities Guide 2020 awarded FedUni a five-star rating for social equity and student support, putting it in Australia’s top 20%. It is also ranked as Victoria’s number-one university for overall employment.
Graduate success rate: According to the Good Universities Guide, 76.7% of Federation University Australia graduates are employed full-time four months after completing their course. It also has the highest overall employment rating (92%) of any Victorian-based university, according to the QILT survey.
Notable alumni include former Victorian premier Steve Bracks, Dr Cyril P Callister (the inventor of Vegemite), and Antarctic explorer and physicist Richard W Richards.
Fun fact: Federation University has partnerships with Chinese tertiary institutions such as Hebei University of Science and Technology and Shenzhen Polytechnic for joint programs in IT, civil engineering and business.
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