Thinking about studying in New South Wales? From the beach to the bush, Australia’s most populous state offers a student lifestyle to suit every taste and budget. Plus, there are 11 universities in the state to choose from, including many of Australia’s top-ranked educational institutions.

We’ve put together a guide to all the universities in NSW to help you decide which is the right fit for you.

Sydney

Australian Catholic University (ACU)

Established: 1991

Location: ACU has campuses in Sydney (North Sydney and Strathfield), as well as Adelaide, Ballarat, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne.

Courses: ACU offers courses across education, arts, health sciences, law, business, and theology and philosophy. The University has a particular focus on sport science, nursing and education.

Student population: There are nearly 35,000 students studying at ACU in total, with around 4,600 international students from 103 countries.

Graduate success rate: ACU is the top university in Australia for employer satisfaction. The University has been offered five stars for employability.

Notable alumni include author Melina Marchetta and rugby union player Matt Burke.

Global rankings and awards: ACU is ranked 401-500 in the world in the 2019 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. It sits in the top 3% of all universities worldwide, is one of the top 10 Catholic universities globally, and is one of the top 100 young universities in the world.

Fun fact: In 2015, the university opened the Rome Centre, a collaboration with the Catholic University of America, located in Rome, Italy. However, as a publicly funded university, you do not have to be Catholic to attend ACU.

Macquarie University

Established: 1964

Location: Macquarie Park

Courses: At Macquarie University, you can choose degrees across arts, business, human sciences, medicine and health sciences, and science and engineering. The University has a strong reputation in environmental sciences, physical sciences, and agricultural and veterinary sciences.

Student population: There are just over 40,000 students studying at Macquarie University, including nearly 9,000 international students.

Graduate success rate: In the 2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey, nearly 75% of graduates were employed full-time within four months of completing their course. Macquarie University also sits in the top 130 universities in the world for employability according to the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2018.

Notable alumni include Nine News anchor Peter Overton and comedian Adam Hills.

Global rankings and awards: Macquarie University is currently ranked 237th in the world in the QS World University Rankings, and is in the top 1% of universities worldwide.

Fun fact: Three members of Australian children’s music group the Wiggles are graduates of Macquarie.

University of NSW (UNSW)

Established: 1949

Location: Kensington, with an art and design school located in Paddington.

Courses: At UNSW, you can study art and design, arts, social sciences, the built environment, business, engineering, law, medicine, and science. UNSW is strong in engineering and finance.

Student population: There are more than 59,000 students studying at UNSW, with over 20,000 international students. The top 10 countries of origin for international students at UNSW are China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Republic of Korea, USA, India, Pakistan and Vietnam.

Graduate success rate: In 2018, 72.9% of graduates were employed full-time four months after completing their course, and the University is currently ranked 28th in the world for employability in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings.

Notable alumni include actor Rebel Wilson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Global rankings and awards: UNSW is currently ranked 43rd in the world in QS World University Rankings.

Fun fact: Researchers at UNSW are working on building the world’s first quantum computer at the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communications Technology on campus.

University of Notre Dame

Established: 1989

Location: Campuses in Sydney (Broadway and Darlinghurst), Fremantle and Broome (WA)

Courses: The University of Notre Dame’s Sydney campus offers courses across the sciences, law, business, education, medicine, nursing, philosophy and theology. The University has a particular focus on theology, philosophy and ethics.

Student population: The University of Notre Dame is a deliberately smaller educational institution. There are over 12,000 students studying at Notre Dame in total, and just over 5,600 studying at the Sydney campus. with around 250 international students.

Graduate success rate: Between 2016 and 2018, an average of 79.6% of graduates were employed full-time within four months of completing their course. 

Notable alumni include Australian Paralympic alpine skier Dr Toby Kane and former Australian rugby union footballer Marty Roebuck.

Global rankings and awards: Notre Dame is not ranked in the QS World University Rankings. However, according to students, it is the top university in Perth and Sydney for ‘Skills scale’ and ‘Graduate employability’ in the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT). 

Notre Dame is also in the top two universities in Australia for ‘Overall quality of educational experience’. The University’s result is 90.2%, while the national average is 79%.

Fun fact: As a private university, Notre Dame is known for its small class sizes. Student applications must be made directly to the University, taking into account students’ personal qualities, motivation to study, academic potential, contribution to school, church or community life, and academic record, as well as an interview.

University of Sydney (USYD)

Established: 1850

Location: Camperdown

Courses: The University of Sydney offers courses across arts and social sciences, business, engineering, health sciences, medicine and health, science, architecture, design and planning, music, and law. The University focuses mainly on sports-related subjects, law and veterinary science.

Student population: There are around 59,000 students at the University of Sydney, including over 10,000 students from over 130 countries.

Graduate success rate: In the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey, 81% of undergraduates found full-time employment immediately after completing their course. The University is also currently fifth in the world for graduate employability in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings. 

Notable alumni include seven former prime ministers of Australia and Zhao Zong-Yuan, the youngest Australian to become a chess Grandmaster and is the number-two ranked chess player in Australia.

Global rankings and awards: The University is currently ranked 42nd in the world in the QS World University Rankings.

Fun fact: The University of Sydney is Australia’s oldest university, founded even before the federation of the country in 1901.

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Established: 1988

Location: Ultimo, with new campuses in Moore Park and Botany.

Courses: You can study across arts and social sciences, business, design, architecture and building, engineering and information technology, law, health and science. UTS excels in nursing, art and design.

Student population: There are just over 45,000 students studying at UTS, including 15,000 international students.

Graduate success rate: UTS is currently ranked 64th in the world for graduate employability in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings.

Notable alumni include actor Hugh Jackman and author and comedian Anh Do.

Global rankings and awards: UTS is ranked 140th in the world in the QS World University Rankings and is Australia’s number one young university.

Fun fact: Known as the “paper bag”, the iconic Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, which is part of the UTS Business School, was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.

Western Sydney University (WSU)

Established: 1989

Location: Western Sydney University has campuses in the Sydney suburbs of Bankstown, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith, Quakers Hill, Richmond, Sydney Olympic Park, and in the CBD.

Courses: Study across business, computing, engineering and mathematics, education, humanities, communication, arts, law, medicine, nursing and midwifery, social sciences and psychology, and science and health. The University is strong in ecology, nursing and education.

Student population: WSU has 45,000 students overall, including 5,000 international students from over 70 countries.

Graduate success rate: WSU is the number-one university in Sydney when it comes to employer satisfaction.

Notable alumni include actor Joel Edgerton and comedy duo The Umbilical Brothers.

Global rankings and awards: According to the 2019 Times Higher Education Young University Rankings, WSU is ranked 58th in the world among universities under 50 years old. It is also ranked 468th in the world in the QS World University Rankings and sits in the top 2% of universities worldwide according to the Times Higher Education global rankings.

Fun fact: In 2014, Peter K. Jonason, a Postgraduate Psychology professor at WSU, won the Ig Nobel Prize for Psychology for his research into the “dark” personalities of people who stay up late. The Ig Nobel Prize is awarded annually to celebrate unusual or humorous achievements in scientific research.

Regional

Charles Sturt University (CSU)

Established: 1989

Location: CSU’s main campuses are in Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga, with specialist campuses in Canberra, Goulburn, Manly (Sydney) and Parramatta.

Courses: CSU offers degrees across arts and education, business, justice and behavioural sciences and science, with a particular focus on agriculture and forestry, and education and training.

Student population: There are 44,000 students in total, with 9,000 international students.

Graduate success rate: According to the Good Universities Guide, last year around 85% of graduates found full-time employment within four months of completing their course. 

Notable alumni include journalist Samantha Armytage and former Australian cricketer Stuart Karppinen.

Global rankings and awards: CSU is currently ranked 801-1000 in the world in the QS World University Rankings.

Fun fact: CSU is named after Charles Napier Sturt, an explorer who mapped the Macquarie and Murrumbidgee Rivers in central Australia in the 1800s.

Southern Cross University (SCU)

Established: 1994

Location: Southern Cross University has campuses in Coffs Harbour and Lismore in NSW, and the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Courses: Arts and social sciences, business, education, environment, engineering, Indigenous studies, health, law and marine science. SCU is considered the number one university for psychology according to the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

Student population: There are over 18,000 students across SCU’s campuses, including 5,100 international students.

Graduate success rate: SCU graduates have a very high success rate, reporting a higher than average salary in their chosen fields, particularly agriculture and environmental studies.

Notable alumni include former Australian international rugby union player Justin Harrison and paralympic gold medalist Ben Newton.

Global rankings and awards: SCU currently ranks within the top 150 in the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings. It also ranked number one in Australia for international student support according to the International Student Barometer (ISB).

Fun fact: Australian band Grinspoon was founded by students at Southern Cross University.

University of New England (UNE)

Established: 1954

Location: Armidale

Courses: Humanities, arts, social sciences and education, science, agriculture, business, law, and medicine and health. The University excels in agriculture and forestry, and education and training.

Student population: UNE is home to just over 22,000 students, including around 1,100 international students from over 80 different countries.

Graduate success rate: According to the Good Universities Guide, 77.5% of graduates find full-time employment within four months of completing their course. 

Notable alumni include former deputy prime minister of Australia Barnaby Joyce and Antarctic researcher Catherine King.

Global rankings and awards: UNE is currently ranked 801-1000 in the world in the QS World University Rankings.

Fun fact: UNE was the first Australian university established outside a state capital city.

University of Newcastle (UoN)

Established: 1965

Location: Callaghan, Newcastle

Courses: Business, law, education, arts, engineering, the built environment, health and medicine, and science. The University of Newcastle’s engineering and nursing degrees are particularly strong.

Student population: There are around 37,000 students studying at the University, including just over 7,000 international students.

Graduate success rate: Between 2016 and 2018, an average of 70.7% of graduates were employed full-time four months after completing their course. 

Notable alumni include Australian Federal Court judge Kevin Lindgren and journalist Ross Gittins.

Global rankings and awards: The University of Newcastle is currently ranked 207th in the world in the QS World University Rankings.

Fun fact: The University of Newcastle Medical School pioneered the use of the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) in the early 1990s, which has since been accepted across Australia as additional selection criteria when applying for a medicine degree.

University of Wollongong

Established: 1975

Location: The main campus is located in Wollongong, but there are satellite campuses in the Shoalhaven region of NSW and in Sydney.

Courses: Business, engineering, information sciences, law, humanities and arts, science, medicine and health, and social sciences, with a particular focus on engineering and nursing.

Student population: There are just over 25,000 students studying at the Wollongong campus, and there are 6,000 international students studying across all of the University’s campuses.

Graduate success rate: Between 2016 and 2018, 75.5% of graduates were employed full-time within four months of completing their course. 

Notable alumni include scientist, author and commentator “Dr Karl” Kruszelnicki and actor Clare Bowen.

Global rankings and awards: The University of Wollongong is currently ranked 212th in the world in the QS World University Rankings and 16th in the QS Top 50 Under 50 Rankings.

Fun fact: UOW’s Dubai campus has been in operation for more than 20 years, and in 2015 UOW opened its Hong Kong campus.