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Australian National University or University of Melbourne?

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The top two universities in Australia go head-to-head! Find out how location, subject strengths and tuition costs may affect your choice…

If you’re planning to study in Australia (and, let’s face it, why wouldn’t you?), two top universities in Australia loom large as potential study destinations. They are, of course, the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Melbourne, two of the highest-ranking universities in the country.

Ranked joint 29th and 38th in the QS World University Rankings® 2020 respectively, both are among the world’s very best universities, so you’re likely to have a fantastic university experience no matter which one you pick. That said, there are key differences between the two that might make the choice of university easier. Here’s what you need to know.

 

Australian National University (ANU)

University of Melbourne

QS World University Rankings® 2019

Ranked joint 29th in the world; first in Australia

Rated 29th in the world by academics and 72nd by employers

417th for faculty/student ratio

40th for citations per faculty member (research impact)

41st for international faculty ratio

30th for international student ratio

38th in the world; second in Australia

Rated 15th in the world by academics and 21st by employers

587th for faculty/student ratio

73rd for citations per faculty

109th for international faculty ratio

23rd for international student ratio

Subject strengths*

Joint 16th in the world for arts & humanities

Joint 120th for life sciences & medicine

Joint 33rd for natural sciences

Joint 61st for engineering & technology

23rd for social sciences & management

15th in the world for arts & humanities

21st for life sciences & medicine

38th for natural sciences

40th for engineering & technology

20th for social sciences & management

Academic reputation*

Slightly better-reputed than Melbourne in the fields of arts & humanities and natural sciences.

Stronger reputation for life sciences & medicine, engineering & technology and social sciences.

Location

Canberra, Australia’s governmental capital

Smaller and calmer

Inland, surrounded by mountains, hills and bush

Melbourne, Australia’s “cultural capital”

Larger and busier

On the south coast of Australia, on Port Philip bay

Student community

25,500 students in 2018 (most recent stats available)

11,633 undergraduates

11,931 postgraduates

7,425 international students (31% of total)

50,000 students in 2018 (Most recent stats available)

25,750 undergraduates

24,250 postgraduates

18,000 international students (36% of total)

Fees and funding

Annual undergraduate fees range between $36,480-$48,480 (~US$24,620- $32,719) depending on the chosen course. (2019 figures)

Annual undergraduate fees for domestic students range from A$6,684 to $11,155 (~US$4,537-$7,573) – 2019 figures.

Annual international undergraduate fees range from $30,112 to $95,648 (~US$20,443-$64,935). (2019 figures).

Annual international graduate student fees range from A$41,472 to A$42,784 (~US$28,155-$29,046).

*Based on the broad subject areas of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019.

QS World University Rankings® 2020

Given both universities are comfortably ranked within the top 50 universities in the world, it’s unsurprising both universities enjoy a stellar reputation among academics and employers. In this year’s world rankings, they both score extremely well in QS’s global academic reputation survey, with ANU ranking ahead of the University of Melbourne joint 29th in the world, compared to ANU’s 38th place. Melbourne also comes out ahead for employer reputation, ranking 21st in the world, while ANU is further behind in 72nd place.

ANU does come out of top in student/faculty ratio, for which it’s ranked 417th, while the University of Melbourne is ranked 587th for this measure. This indicator aims to give an approximate idea of the level of support students may be able to expect, given the number of full-time faculty members employed per student.

ANU also scores better than University of Melbourne for the number of research citations per faculty member, a metric which aims to assess research impact. It’s ranked 40th on this measure, while Melbourne is 73rd.

For international diversity, both are strong performers – unsurprising, given Australia’s long history of welcoming students and academics from overseas. Both are within the global top 50 for their percentage of international students: Melbourne 23rd and ANU 30th. For international faculty members, ANU is even stronger – ranked 41st in the world to Melbourne’s 109th.

In short, it’s a close race all round: ANU and the University of Melbourne lead in three indicators each. However, you may be more influenced by one factor than another (student/faculty ratio or percentage of international students, for example).

Subject strengths 

The latest edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject indicates that ANU is just one place above Melbourne in the broad subject area of arts and humanities, while Melbourne comes out ahead for life sciences, social sciences, and engineering and technology subjects. The two share a similar positions in economics and physics, ranking, but place very differently for subjects such as business and management, with the University of Melbourne in 20th place and ANU ranking 51-100. Contrastingly ANU scores significantly higher than the University of Melbourne in philosophy, ranking 5th and 51-100 respectively.

You can view a direct comparison of how both universities compare for specific disciplines in the table below.

Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Melbourne in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019

 

ANU

Melbourne

Accounting & finance

=39th

16th

Agriculture & forestry

41st

38th

Anatomy & physiology

15th

9th

Anthropology

7th

19th

Archaeology

17th

51-100

Architecture

--

17th

Art & design

51-100

34th

Biological sciences

44th

=29th

Business & management

51-100

20th

Chemistry

101-150

37th

Communication & media studies

--

=35th

Computer science & information systems

40th

32nd

Dentistry

--

30th

Development studies

12th

=18th

Earth & marine sciences

9th

=29th

Economics

25th

24th

Education & training

51-100

=14th

Engineering (chemical)

--

32nd

Engineering (civil)

--

22nd

Engineering (electrical)

51-100

35th

Engineering (mechanical)

101-150

51-100

Engineering (mining)

--

11th

English language & literature

40th

17th

Environmental sciences

22nd

29th

Geography

10th

15th

History

12th

26th

Law

=15th

6th

Linguistics

13th

22nd

Materials science

101-150

--

Mathematics

31st

41st

Medicine

51-100

17th

Modern languages

=30th

23rd

Nursing

--

37th

Performing arts

=45th

15th

Pharmacy

--

=41st

Philosophy

5th  

51-100

Physics & astronomy

42nd

=47th

Politics

10th

=31st

Psychology

38th

15th

Social policy & administration

10th

17th

Sociology

=10th

35th

Statistics

=34th

24th

Theology, divinity & religious studies

--

51-100

Veterinary science

--

17th


Canberra

Location

While there may be little difference between the two top universities in Australia in terms of the high quality of education they provide, there is a lot to distinguish them when it comes to location.

Melbourne

Often referred to as the nation’s cultural capital, Melbourne is an arty city featuring impressive architecture, world-leading museums and an on-the-pulse theatre and comedy scene. The city also offers a myriad of ultra-cool restaurants, clubs and shopping districts, as well as a healthy love of sports.

Coming third in the QS Best Student Cities 2019, Melbourne is a popular study destination due to its large and diverse student community, excellent quality of living and high concentration of world-class universities. Besides the University of Melbourne, the city is home to six more Australian universities which feature in the QS World University Rankings. These are Monash University (joint 58th in the world), RMIT University (238th), Deakin University (joint 271st), Swinburne University of Technology (joint 383rd),La Trobe University (joint 400th), and Victoria University (601-650).

Canberra

Home to ANU, Canberra is Australia’s capital city. It’s actually far smaller than Melbourne, both overall and in terms of its student population, which helps to make this city a somewhat calmer place to live. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on your personal preferences.

However, as Australia’s political hub, Canberra couldn’t exactly be described as sleepy. During parliamentary sittings, the city is alive with national politics. While it may be one of the country’s few major settlements further than a stone’s throw from a beach, Canberra boasts a different kind of natural attraction. Surrounded by mountains, hills and bush-land, as much as half of Canberra itself is protected as natural park and reserve land – so if you’re used to living in the countryside, Canberra may be the place where you’d feel more at home.

Aside from ANU, Canberra is also home to the University of Canberra, which is ranked joint 484th in the QS World University Rankings. The city itself is ranked 23rd in the QS Best Student Cities 2019, achieving its highest score for the Student Mix category.

Student community

The University of Melbourne is over double the size of ANU in terms of student community, with 50,000 students in total, including 18,000 international students. That means internationals account for over a third of the student population, reflected in the university’s high score in the international student ratio category of the rankings. ANU had 25,500 students as of 2018, while statistics show an almost equal divide of undergraduate (11,633) and postgraduate (11,931) students. Of these, 7,425 were international students in 2018, which was 31 percent of the student population at the time.

Melbourne

Tuition fees and living costs        

Based on the latest figures for incoming students, ANU and the University of Melbourne both offer the same costs for domestic students, thanks to the nation’s commonwealth support scheme which allows Australian residents to make a smaller contribution to their higher education costs, with the amount dependent on their chosen subject. Arts and humanities subjects (band 1) are typically the cheaper programs, while medical-related subjects, business and law programs (band 3) tend to be the most expensive.

International student fees are towards the upper end of the international spectrum, with annual tuition costs of around A$27,808 - $46,080 (~US$20,500-34,000) at both schools. Medicine is the most expensive subject for international students, with annual tuition fees of A$65,056 (~US$43,919) for clinical medicine at the University of Melbourne.

Scholarships and funding

With such high tuition fees, prospective students will be pleased to learn that both the University of Melbourne and Australian National University offer scholarships for international students, with both offering online search tools to enable students to identify scholarships relevant to their particular situation.

There are also a number of government scholarships available to study in Australia, including the Australia Awards, aimed at students at all study levels from developing countries, and the Destination Australia scholarship. You can find more scholarships to study in Australia here.

This article was originally published in November 2014. It was last updated in September 2019.

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Mahin H, Marion A & 116 others saved this
Laura Tucker's profile image
Written by Laura Tucker
Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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24 Comments

I hold a masters of Public Administration degree from University of ilorin from West Africa Nigeria

By the special grace of God i am considering my PH.D in Professional Doctorate in Public Policy and Administration my course interest includes Public Administration, Policies partnering government Information Communication Technology E /government Solutions in Africa governments/public institutions specifically

My aim afterwards by God's grace is becoming a Professional Developmental Policy consultant to Governments/Public institutions on Information Communication Technology (ICT) E/Governments solutions.

scholarship

Thank you

hi,i would like to know what is the employbality rate for international student passing out of melbourne university with master of international business. please help i have received an offer from the university and i am planning to join it soon.

Hi Nipun, there are no official graduate employment rate figures, but this page can help. The University of Melbourne was also ranked seventh in the most recent Graduate Employability Rankings, getting its best score for the 'graduate employment rate' indicator.

I have a master in Financial Engineering and looking for a postgrad business school to have a good chance of getting a full scholarship. I would be grateful if you can guide me where to start from?

I am also chirag. Basically I have just passed 12th with overall 60% marks !! I wnt to get a scholarship as I wnt to do my graduation in abroad . Am I be able to apply for a scholarship as I hve got 60% of marks !! If yes plz tell me how and if no my bad luck!! Thnx

Hi Chirag, if you'd like to study in Australia, we've listed a range of scholarships to study in Australia here, or alternatively you can browse our main list of scholarships to study abroad here. Good luck!

Hi!
I was just refused a CoE for ANU yesterday after waiting for almost six weeks since I paid the fees. The most agonizing aspect of it for me is that I was poised to start in July, meaning they wasted my time since I could have applied to other reputable universities. I feel embarrassed also because they continually disturbed on payment of their fees in May which I did after a week. Can you please reveal their motive for this action?

Hi,

For Urban Planning and/or Climate change policy, which university's degree would come handy for getting a graduate job in international agencies, ANU or UniMel?

Thanks in advance!

Great! I picked Holmes University Sydney!

I am chirag. Basically I have just passed 12th with overall 60% marks !! I wnt to get a scholarship as I wnt to do my graduation in abroad . Am I be able to apply for a scholarship as I hve got 60% of marks !! If yes plz tell me how and if no my bad luck!! Thnx

I am also Chirag

HI,I AM MOHAMMAD ZAKAUR RASHID FROM BANGLADESH.MASTER''S IN ARCHAEOLOGY(B.A=FIRST CLASS FIRST).DEFINED ARCHAEOLOGY MATHEMATICALLY N COPYRIGHTED IT YEARS BACK FROM BANGLADESH.FOR HIGHER STUDY IN ARCHAEOLOGY N TO GET A SCHOLARSHIP N STUDY IN AUSTRALIA,WHAT I HAVE TO DO?

Firstly, if you want to get the scholarship try NOT TYPING ALL IN CAPS, I myself am Chirag

hello
i have got an admit from the uni of Sydney for masters in aerospace. can i know how good the uni is. how are the employment opportunities and how is the aerospace sector in aus. please reply.need to apply for visa

Hi Pavan, the University of Sydney is currently ranked 45th in the world and third in Australia, and there are good employment prospects for graduates from universities in Sydney. I'm not sure on the current condition of the aerospace sector in Australia, but you may like to get in touch with the university to find out more about career prospects after graduation. If you need any help with appying for your visa, this article should be useful. Hope this helps!

good day how can i apply for admission

Hi Linonge. We have information about applying to Australian universities here: www.topuniversities.com/where-to-study/oceania/australia/guide.

plz inform me how to i get admission and scholarship.

Hi Yahya. We have information about applying to Australian universities in our country guide: www.topuniversities.com/where-to-study/oceania/australia/guide. And a list of scholarships for international students in Australia, here: www.topuniversities.com/student-info/scholarships/international-scholarships-study-australia

Hi Tatenda. To apply, you should visit the university website and follow the guidelines there. Usually applications are submitted online.

For more information about applying to universities in Australia, visit our country guide: https://www.topuniversities.com/where-to-study/oceania/australia/guide

For more on the costs and scholarships, this article may be helpful: https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/student-finance/how-much-does-it-cost-study-australia

Hope this helps.

how do i get admission and scholarship

There are required specifications when looking for an English tutor in Melbourne.

Дорогие друзья !

Ваш покорный слуга, выпускник далекого 81 г.МВТУ им. Н.Э.Баумана г.Москва.
Открыл СПОСОБ преобразования сил ГРАВИТАЦИИ в механическую - электрическую
энергию. Создан ГРАВИТАЦИОННЫЙ двигатель. Подробности в
Яндекс или Google наберите дословно " решена проблема энергетической
безопасности человека" . http://www.sciteclibrary.ru/rus/catalog/pages/13109.html Прошу всех , кто ознакомится, пригласить своих
друзей, однокурсников для увеличения аудитории. Те, у кого имеются
производственные мощности, более прибыльного бизнеса нет, любую информацию,
консультацию с превеликим удовольствием в любое время. Нахожусь г.Тирасполь полная информационная блокада. Прошу всех включиться в прорыв и внедрение уникального открытия исключив тем самым сжигание УГЛЕВОДОРОДОВ и возвращения первозданной природы.

С уважением Бачевич Валерий.

how do i gain an admission?