Why go all the way to the other side of the world to study when there are so many university courses available in the UK? Here are a few things to consider
University quality: Research and global standing
Australia and New Zealand are both home to internationally prestigious, research-led universities, many of which are ranked among the world’s best. The qualifications they award are recognised and respected by employers and universities worldwide.
Australian and New Zealand universities are engaged in pioneering research in many different fields. The technology for the world’s first vaccine for cervical cancer was discovered at the University of Queensland; solar cell researchers at UNSW Australia played a key role in achieving the highest efficiency for solar power, setting a world record of 43 per cent of sunlight converted into electricity; while in New Zealand University of Otago researchers have developed a simple urine test to detect kidney transplant rejection, which they hope will eventually replace the current invasive biopsy test.
Governments and businesses worldwide seek the expertise and research power of Australian and New Zealand universities and their discoveries and academics are in demand by organisations from NATO to NASA.
Research excellence is key to ensuring a quality learning experience for all students, including undergraduates and taught postgraduates, as discoveries and knowledge filter down to inform all levels of university teaching.
International rankings and reputation
The strength of Australian and New Zealand universities is confirmed by their standing in international university rankings.
In the 2018 QS World University Rankings, seven Australian universities and one New Zealand university rank in the world’s top 100. There are 42 universities in Australia and just eight in New Zealand, so the proportion judged to be among the world’s best is indicative of how high standards are. The UK has around 120 universities; 16 of which were ranked in the world’s top 100 by QS in its 2018 report.
It is important to check and compare different rankings to get a balanced picture. We recommend also checking the annual international university rankings from the Times Higher Education and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) by Shanghai Jiao Tong. The Times Higher Education rankings report for 2015/2016 places six Australian universities in the world’s top 100, as compared to 12 from the UK.
A chance to broaden your horizons
Going to university is not just about studying. Where would you like to live for a few years? Studying in a different country is a unique chance to experience a different culture and lifestyle. As an international student you will have the freedom to live in New Zealand or Australia for the duration of your course; the time to immerse yourself in a different lifestyle and the chance to travel – all while getting a world-class, internationally recognised university education.
Living such a long way from home for an extended period of time isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and it can be challenging, particularly at first. But if you are independent by nature, with initiative and a sense of adventure, there are some amazing experiences to be had. Depending on where you are, once classes are over you can head to the beach, go skiing for the weekend, take in an exhibition or an art gallery, learn to dive, or just explore the great outdoors. Read about our students' experiences of studying in Australia and New Zealand on this page.
Flexible courses and dedicated, accessible academics
General degrees – for example the Bachelor of Arts, Master of Commerce or Bachelor of Science – are much broader and more flexible in structure in Australia and New Zealand than is usually the case in the UK. This means you will have a much wider choice in terms of the subjects that you study, and can create a programme uniquely tailored to your interests and career goals. Contact teaching hours for undergraduates are typically higher than at many UK universities, and the teaching culture throughout is relaxed and informal. One of the most regular pieces of feedback we get from students (whether undergraduate or PhD) is how accessible and friendly they find academic staff to be. Discover more about how undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes are structured.
These are the best places in the world to study certain subjects
Australian and New Zealand universities are recognised as world leaders in a large, diverse range of subjects, including psychology, sport science, mining engineering, accounting and finance, physiotherapy, geology, geography, social work, tourism, environmental science and management and marine studies, to name but a few. If you are working toward a career in one of these fields, studying in Australia or New Zealand could give you the best possible start.
Both countries also offer students and researchers unparalleled access to the natural world and amazing opportunities for fieldwork. Marine scientists in Australia, for example, can use the Great Barrier Reef as a laboratory, or work in the waters of Tasmania, which are classed as the cleanest anywhere in the world bar those of Antarctica.
Strong graduate job prospects
Studying a degree overseas will make your CV stand out to an employer. It’s not that getting a job application from someone who has studied at an Australian or New Zealand university is unusual for multinationals in the UK – after all, there are estimated to be around 500,000 Aussies and Kiwis currently working in the UK, many of them graduates – but it’s still unusual for a UK student to study overseas, whether it’s in New Zealand or Australia or in the US, Europe or Asia. Employers tell us that they would immediately assume such applicants had sought-after traits such as initiative and independence, as well as a valuable international perspective and outlook on life.
There are also currently opportunities in both countries for students to stay and work after finishing a degree. Both Australia and New Zealand have strong economies and good graduate job markets, so this could be a great chance for you to land that all-important first job before returning to the UK with work experience to back up your degree. Find out about some of the work visa options after graduating here or contact Study Options for more information.
International degree recognition
Australia and New Zealand both have education systems that are based on the UK model and Australian and New Zealand university qualifications are recognised all over the world as being the direct equivalent of qualifications awarded by UK universities.
This is key if you are planning to study a professional degree – for example medicine, veterinary medicine, nursing, engineering or social work – overseas. Many of the national regulatory bodies for these professions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand already have agreements in place with one another to ensure that graduates from one country are immediately approved to work in the other. The UK Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), for example, accredits all of the Bachelor of Veterinary Science degrees taught at our Australian and New Zealand universities. This allows students to qualify as a vet and return immediately to work in the UK, without having to take a registration test or further study.
Make the most of your time as a student
Universities in Australia and New Zealand are very focused on the student experience and offer a huge range of opportunities for you to maximise your time at university. You can take part in an academic exchange, and study at a partner university almost anywhere in the world for a term or a year. Or undertake an internship, join a voluntary project, get involved with student clubs and societies, or do a leadership programme. Or all of the above!