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Types of Australian universities

Know the different kinds of universities Australia has

Australia is one of the most popular study abroad destinations among international students and is ranked highly by various world university rankings, which implies its excellent teaching and learning methodologies, research output, academic standards and international outlook. 

It’s quite a daunting task to select the right university, and that’s why we are here to help you at IDP. While you give your first thoughts to where you wish to study, here’s a quick read on the types of Australian universities. Knowing some history is a good thing, isn’t it?

1. The 1960s-1970s universities

During the era of mid-1960s to 1970s, state governments established universities (supported by the Commonwealth Government) in the mainland capitals to cope up with the demand for higher education. The main aim of the member universities was to design the new education pattern different from traditional universities. 

The universities formed during that era were: 

  • Macquarie University

  • La Trobe University

  • Flinders University

  • Griffith University

  • The University of Newcastle

  • James Cook University

  • Deakin University

  • Murdoch University

  • The University of Wollongong

As the name suggests, these universities were established in the mid-1960s-1970s and are traditionally different from the older capital city universities with medium-sized research budgets.

2. Australian Technology Network (ATN)

The Australian Technology Network (ATN) formed in 1999 is a group of Australia’s five of the most innovative and enterprising universities with a focus on providing impactful technology solutions for the betterment of economy and society. Initially, the ATN was formed in 1975 as the Directors of Central Institutes of Technology (DOCIT); however, due to aspirational differences, it was disbanded in 1982. 

Its member universities are: 

  • Deakin University

  • Curtin University

  • RMIT University

  • University of South Australia

  • The University of Technology Sydney

These institutions were established as technical institutes in a capital city and were formally given the university status after 1987. These universities have expertise in the technological area of study.

3. Group of Eight (Go8)

These are the largest and oldest educational institutions of Australia pioneering in research and education. Formed in 1999, the Group of Eight (Go8) is a cluster of eight top Australian universities famous for proving quality education and research facilities across the world. These are known for their high rankings, ample research opportunities and strong industry connections which is why it's preferred by many international students. 

Its member universities are: 

  • University of Melbourne

  • Australian National University

  • University of Sydney

  • The University of Queensland

  • Monash University

  • The University of New South Wales Sydney

  • The University of Western Australia

  • The University of Adelaide

These are the oldest universities in their mainland capital with ample research budgets with high reputation.

Read more: Group of Eight (Go8) universities

4. Regional universities 

Australia has a group of seven universities that come under the Regional Universities Network (RUN) based in regional Australia (established in 2011). The group aims to make a significant contribution towards the growth of regional economies and communities. The universities ensure that higher education is accessible and achievable to all and produce qualified professionals required for regional development.

Its member universities are:

  • CQ University Australia

  • Charles Sturt University

  • Southern Cross University

  • University of New England

  • Federation University

  • University of Southern Queensland

  • University of the Sunshine Coast (USC)

These universities enjoy the highest crowd of students in centres with a population of fewer than 250,000 people. These universities work towards becoming a metropolitan new generation university.

5. New generation universities 

The Australian government established colleges of advanced education for students who graduated from higher secondary school to introduce them to the new type of higher education institutions. However, this distinction between the university and non-university sector became untenable and was dissolved in 1988. Also, the network of these universities was established as a lobby group in 2002 which lasted for only a few years.

Its member universities were: 

  • Australian Catholic University

  • Bond University

  • Canberra University

  • Edith Cowan University

  • The University of Notre Dame 

  • Victoria University

  • Western Sydney University 

These institutions are established as colleges of advanced education with continuously developing research expertise.

Updated on January 24, 2021

Read more insightful articles by our Australia experts

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Dual degrees in Australia

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Masters by Research in Australia

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Can I visit a branch in Australia if I need help?
by anurudh
Yes, IDP have branches in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth that you can visit or you can also contact IDP Australia.
How many top ranking universities are there in Australia?
by Ajay
There are 35 top universities in Australia according to Times Higher Education's World University Rankings 2020. Six of them feature in the prestigious top 100.
Are there any scholarship opportunities available for the UK?
by Anouk
There are number of scholarships available. It depends on the profile of the student, the course they are applying and the university.

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