Universities in Canberra - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

Study in Canberra

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Staff Writer

Updated Jun 30, 2022



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Canberra for students

Like other Australian cities, capital city Canberra scores well in the student mix indicator in the QS Best Student Cities ranking, reflecting its large and internationally diverse student population. As the home of Australia’s highest-ranked university, Australian National University (ANU) – ranked 30th in the latest QS World University Rankings® – it’s unsurprising to find the city has proven attractive to students from around the world. 

Canberra also receives a solid score for desirability, which draws on a range of sources to assess both actual quality of life and student demand. While it may be one of Australia’s few major settlements which is not within walking distance of the beach, Canberra nonetheless has plenty of natural attractions – including its own (man-made) lake right in the city center, and numerous nature reserves all around.

Respondents to the student survey praised Canberra’s safe, relaxed and welcoming environment, while also highlighting opportunities for those interested in national politics and government. One commented, “Moving from Sydney where everything is so chaotic and work-focused, Canberra definitely has the balance of fun and work.”

Would Canberra be your perfect student city? Take the survey.

Best universities in Canberra - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 35th

World ranking University
30 Australian National University (ANU)
511-520 University of Canberra

More about Canberra

Australia's capital scored well across ranking indicators, and in particular for desirability and employer activity.

To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Australian National University (30th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student View rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Canberra?

Cultural capital of Australia

As well as being Australia’s official capital city, Canberra is also renowned as the cultural capital of Australia. Many of Canberra’s museums, galleries and exhibitions offer free admission too! The National Museum of Australia, Parliament House as well as the National Gallery of Australia and National Portrait Gallery (both of which are regularly voted the nation’s favourite art museums) are often the top of peoples to-visit list.

Lots of natural attractions

Where other major Australian cities are dominated by skyscraper and towers, Canberra’s skyline is surrounded by lush green mountains. This means you’ll never be far from its wildlife-filled bushland reserves, gardens, as well as urban lakes, ponds and wetlands, including Black Mountain Nature Park, Lake Burley Griffin and the Botanic Gardens.

A relaxed and welcoming city

As a capital city with a population of just over 400,000, Canberra is a much quieter place to live than you might expect but it still offers all the benefits you’d expect of a major city.

The people of Canberra are also a friendly and welcoming bunch who love being outside and enjoy the natural beauty and cultural experiences the city has to offer. Canberra's universities also welcome nearly 20,000 international students from over 100 countries.

Cost of studying in Canberra

Studying in Canberra will cost international students an average of US$25,700 per year in tuition fees. A one-bedroom apartment in Canberra’s city centre will set you back around US$1,415 per month (approximately AUD$1,937), making it cheaper than Sydney but more expensive than other Australian student cities.

Such costs cause Canberra to have a lower affordability ranking, with the city placing 104th worldwide.

Life and culture in Canberra

Canberra’s public bus and light rail network is a convenient and cost-effective way to get around the city. There is also a great deal of things to see and do, as well as plenty of history and culture to explore.

With an extensive choice of dining and nightlife, captivating museums and galleries, and of course, stunning natural beauty, Canberra doesn’t disappoint.

Careers in Canberra

Canberra holds on to its position as a top 50 university for the employer activity indicator. The Australian capital offers graduates strong opportunities in diverse industries such as healthcare, education and training, professional services, retail, and construction.

What’s more, eligible international students can access an extra year of post-study work rights.

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