Top Universities in Australia 2020 | Top Universities

Top Universities in Australia 2020

By Craig O

Updated April 20, 2021 Updated April 20, 2021

The Australian National University (ANU) is the best university in Australia this year.

Despite falling five places globally in the QS World University Rankings 2020, ANU remains ahead of the next-best university in the country, the University of Melbourne.

Of the 35 Australian universities to be ranked this year, only five have fallen in rank since last year with ANU being one of them. In general, Australian universities have made impressive improvements.

One factor driving this improvement has been an increase in the proportion of international students at many Australian universities. 26 of the 35 ranked institutions have received a higher score for this indicator than in last year’s ranking (read about the methodology here), and nine of the world’s 50 most internationally diverse universities are now Australian.

Read on for a closer look at the country’s top 10 universities, as well as a brief overview of how the other 25 performed.

QS World University Rankings 2020 – Top 10 Universities in Australia

Aus Rank

Global Rank




Australian National University (ANU)



University of Melbourne



University of Sydney



University of New South Wales (UNSW)



University of Queensland (UQ)



Monash University



University of Western Australia (UWA)



University of Adelaide



University of Technology Sydney (UTS)



University of Newcastle, Australia (UON)

10. University of Newcastle, Australia (UON)

University of Newcastle

Not to be confused with its namesake in the UK, the University of Newcastle was founded in 1965 and has its main campus in the Callaghan suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales. It has approximately 26,600 students spread across six campuses, including one in Singapore.

9. University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

University of Technology Sydney

UTS is one of the youngest top Australian universities, established in its current form in 1988. Improving its global rank by 20 places this year, UTS is ranked within the world’s top 100 for four of the six ranking indicators, including employer reputation.

8. University of Adelaide

University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide has been recognized for its innovations in various areas of research by the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA), a national research evaluation framework conducted by the Australian Research Council (ARC). It has climbed eight places this year to sit just outside the world’s top 100.

7. University of Western Australia (UWA)

University of Western Australia

The first of seven Australian universities to feature inside the top 100 in the world, the University of Western Australia outscores all of the Australian universities above it for both the proportion of international faculty members and the number of citations per faculty member (a measure of research output).

6. Monash University

Climbing just one place globally this year, Monash University is mainly based in Melbourne but has five campuses in the state of Victoria and two overseas, in Malaysia and South Africa. It’s among the world’s 50 best universities for both academic and employer reputation.

5. University of Queensland (UQ)

University of Queensland

The first of our top universities in Australia to rank inside the world’s top 50 institutions, the University of Queensland is mainly based in state capital Brisbane and has been responsible for a number of recent research innovations, such as the cervical cancer vaccine.

4. University of New South Wales (UNSW)

A founding member of the Group of Eight, a coalition of Australian research-intensive universities, the University of New South Wales has a poor ratio of faculty to students, but more than makes up for it with strong scores in the other five ranking indicators.

3. University of Sydney

architecture ranking

The University of Sydney continues to be the third-best university in Australia and is the oldest of these top three, having been founded in 1850. It also scores higher for its proportion of international students than either of the universities above it.

2. University of Melbourne

architecture schools

The University of Melbourne has a very diverse student body, with nearly 40 percent of its students coming from outside Australia. It also earns the distinction of being the highest-ranked Australian university for both academic and employer reputation.

1. Australian National University (ANU)

Top in Australia for yet another year, ANU’s strong performance is helped by scoring well in all but one of the ranking indicators. However, as the only university in the top 10 to fall in rank this year, the gap between ANU and the others is certainly becoming tighter.

The remaining 25 Australian universities are ranked as follows. After 500, institutions are banded (e.g. 501-510, 511-520 etc.)

QS World University Rankings 2020 – Top Universities in Australia

Aus Rank

Global Rank




University of Wollongong



Queensland University of Technology (QUT)



Curtin University



Macquarie University



RMIT University



Deakin University



University of Southern Australia (UniSA)



University of Tasmania



Griffith University



James Cook University (JCU)



Swinburne University of Technology



La Trobe University



Flinders University



Bond University



Western Sydney University



University of Canberra



Murdoch University



Central Queensland University



Victoria University



Charles Darwin University



Edith Cowan University (ECU)



Southern Cross University



University of Southern Queensland



Australian Catholic University



University of New England Australia

This article was originally published in June 2019 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

As Head of Content, Craig is responsible for all articles and guides published across TopUniversities and TopMBA. He has nearly 10 years of experience writing for a student audience and extensive knowledge of universities and study programs around the world.

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