• The Science Place. Photo credit: JCUThe Science Place. Photo credit: JCU
  • JCU campus in Townsville. Photo credit: JCUJCU campus in Townsville. Photo credit: JCU
  • Computer lab in the Student Centre. Photo credit: James Cook UniversityComputer lab in the Student Centre. Photo credit: James Cook University
  • Orpheus Island Research Station. Photo credit: James Cook UniversityOrpheus Island Research Station. Photo credit: James Cook University
  • Students in the Marine and Aquaculture Research Facility at JCU. Photo credit: James Cook UniversityStudents in the Marine and Aquaculture Research Facility at JCU. Photo credit: James Cook University

James Cook University (JCU) is surrounded by the spectacular ecosystems of the rainforests of the tropics, the dry savannahs of the Australian Outback, and the iconic Great Barrier Reef. JCU’s unique position enables students to study in a place unlike any other.

It is a comprehensive university, internationally recognised for excellence in teaching and research. Small class sizes, and lecturers committed to student success, make for a supportive environment.

JCU has three campuses, in the cities of Townsville and Cairns in Northern Queensland and in the vibrant city state of Singapore. JCU has 22,000 students, including close to 7,000 international students from over 108 countries.

JCU offers a comprehensive range of world-class, career-relevant undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Short-term study options are available and many courses include practical experience.

JCU at a glance

  • JCU is ranked in the top 2% of world universities by the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018
  • JCU’s tropical campuses are near the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforests of Tropical Australia
  • JCU is ranked in the top 50 universities under 50 years old by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018
  • JCU is consistently recognised for high levels of graduate success
  • JCU is ranked first in the world for research in marine and freshwater ecology and second for biodiversity conservation (CWUR 2017)
  • International Excellence Scholarships are available to reward and recognise academic excellence

Popular study areas

JCU works closely with employers and industry to ensure its degrees are relevant and meet the demands of the global workforce. Courses are available in areas including:

  • Marine biology and ecology 
  • Aquaculture
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Public health
  • Veterinary science
  • Law
  • Psychology and social work
  • Education
  • Business and IT
  • Creative arts
  • Engineering
  • Environmental earth science
  • Protected area management
  • Sustainability

A practical focus

A practical approach to learning is central to study at JCU. It has been awarded five stars for job success from the Good Universities Guide for the past seven years in a row.

During their studies, students gain hands-on experience through internships, placements and projects with industry, business and government organisations.

The University’s tropical location also offers students unparalleled opportunities to experience unique  fieldwork, research stations and state-of-the-art facilities.

A research intensive university

Recognised as a world leader in research and teaching, JCU is rated first in the world for marine and freshwater biology and second for biodiversity conservation (CWUR 2017). In 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) rated JCU as above world standard in 38 areas of research, and well above world standard in eight areas including geology, environmental science and management, ecology, and medical microbiology. A member of Innovative Research Universities Australia, JCU conducts internationally significant research using its network of research stations, centres and institutes including facilities in two UNESCO World Heritage sites; the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland.

Research facilities and centres include:

  • Cyclone Testing Station
  • Daintree Rainforest Observatory
  • Fletcherview Research Station
  • Marine And Aquaculture Research Facilities (MARF)
  • Orpheus Island Research Station
  • Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
  • Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
  • Centre for Biosecurity and Tropical Infectious Diseases
  • Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention
  • Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Centre for Disaster Studies
  • Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change

A supportive environment

JCU strives to create an educational environment where students are supported to take full advantage of their experience in Australia and at JCU. Accessible teaching staff, friendly campuses and support services (including student mentor and study skills programmes) ensure students get the personal attention they need to succeed. JCU has a dedicated International Student Support team that offers services ranging from social activities and referral services to academic and personal support.

Student accommodation

Purpose-built accommodation is available on campus in Townsville and Cairns. Private rental options, such as share housing with easy access to campus, are affordable and readily available in both cities.


JCU recognises and rewards academic excellence through its International Excellence Scholarship programme. These offer students a significant tuition fee reduction for the duration of approved degrees, providing they maintain a strong GPA. There is no need to apply; scholarship eligibility is assessed at the same time as an application to study at James Cook University.

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