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James Cook University



JCU is placed in the top 300 of universities in the world and ranks among the top 30 young universities in the Times Higher Education Best Young Universities in the World rankings. The institution is research intensive and produces research of high impact, particularly on issues of importance to the tropics.

JCU is ranked as world-class or better in 38 areas of research (Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2019), including number one globally for Marine Biology and number two worldwide for Biodiversity Conservation Research (Centre for World University Rankings).

JCU campuses are designed to facilitate world leading teaching, learning and research, with students having access to cutting-edge and innovative facilities. In keeping with the research outlook of the university, JCU has 124 research partners globally and the university's research has been acknowledged as world class or higher in 38 areas.

With two main locations in Cairns and Townsville, and metropolitan campuses in Brisbane and Singapore, JCU is home to more than 21,500 students and 4,400 staff.

Students can choose from a wide variety of subjects and courses in disciplines including arts and humanities business and commerce education engineering health sciences and IT. Students can be assured of high-quality teaching and personalised attention from faculty, with an excellent student-to-teacher ratio.

Students at JCU can be assured of a supportive and safe environment. Everything from social activities to counselling and medical assistance to career guidance, is provided. International students have a dedicated team to assist with orientation and integration into life at JCU.

JCU enjoys an outstanding reputation with employers and graduates of the university are highly prized across industries. This is illustrated by the fact that JCU received a five-star rating from the Good Universities Guide for seven years in a row when rating graduate job success.

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Sustainable development

James Cook University is regarded as the world's best university in its commitment to sustainable development through global partnerships.

The Times Higher Education University Impact Ratings, which were published in April 2020, ranked how universities were ‘walking the talk', and judged them against the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN.

James Cook University is found to be the world's number one in working towards UN SDG 17, which relates to partnerships.

JCU Provost, Professor Chris Cocklin shared how sustainable development is at the center of its role as a university for the tropics and forms the basis of much of JCU's teaching and research. He noted, ''It's important to understand the interconnectedness of these goals. Achieving good health might seem the obvious focus for nurses and doctors, but it also requires attention to the social determinants of health, such as education and poverty. Those intersections make goal 17, working in partnerships, critical to the success of 2030 Agenda.''

Professor Cocklin pointed out that the ranking was testament to JCU's students, graduates, staff, communities, organisations and the individuals that the university collaborates with.

JCU Covid-19 updates

  • JCU offers the EAP program and the diploma pathway programs in engineering, health (nursing pathway), technology and science in 2021.
  • JCU continues to offer the International Excellence Scholarship and International Student Merit Stipend in 2021, as well as a range of other scholarships including Pathways Scholarships and Destination Australia Scholarships.

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Why JCU?

There are a number of reasons to choose JCU including:

World-class facilities

With an excellent global reputation, as well as impressive, world-class facilities and committed academic staff, students can be certain that pursuing their education at James Cook University will offer a new direction, or the ideal start to their careers.

Courses designed for success

The university's career-focused courses are developed to give students the kind of education which employers rate highly. Students will receive practical and hands-on training, as well as learn from real-life scenarios which take them beyond the university's campuses.

Leader in research excellence

JCU is known for its research excellence and impact on issues such as those that are of importance to the tropics. JCU is rated world-class in 38 research areas (Excellence in Research Australia 2018). Its research centres, including the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, and the Cairns Institute, perform research that is internationally recognised in fields such as plant and animal science, ecology and environment, coral reef science, geosciences, tropical health and medicine, and tourism.

Excellence in student support

JCU was awarded five stars for student support (Good Universities Guide) and offers a range of support services. Its international student support team comprises experienced and dedicated staff who can assist international students prior to arrival, during orientation, and through to transitioning to student life at JCU.

Opportunities for practical experience

The university's courses are developed to provide students with several opportunities for practical experience.

Advantages and opportunities

Students get the chance to complete part of their Australian degree at one of the 60 plus partner universities of JCU, in more than 20 countries. Students may also have the chance to study some of their degrees at JCU's Singapore campus.

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

International students, for whom English is not a first language, are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English by undertaking a test like TOEFL, Academic IELTS, or Pearson (PTE Academic). The university may also accept other English language tests.

If a students' test score for English does not meet the entry requirements of their chosen course, then they can explore other options. Many students who cannot meet the necessary English language entry requirements, but can satisfy the academic entry requirements to pursue James Cook University degrees, receive a ‘packaged offer' comprised of a duration of academic English language studies, as well as an offer into a course at the university.

International pathways to JCU

The university provides various international pathway programs for students who cannot satisfy either the academic or English language requirements. Diploma pathway programs are available in science, engineering, health (nursing pathway), and technology and allows students to progress to year two of an undergraduate JCU degree.

Scholarships and funding

International students at JCU are offered various scholarships and grants. This includes the research scholarships which are awarded to those students who commence their research degrees at master's or doctoral levels.

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The university offers various facilities including computer labs which are accessible throughout the day, and a comprehensive collection of books and other resources which students can benefit from in the library.

JCU is dedicated to research that has an impact on life in the tropics. To realise this outcome, JCU has invested significantly in facilities and structures to support research and development activity. These initiatives are leveraged, wherever possible, to acquire additional external investment, as well as facility development with the best value outcomes.

The university's researchers explore different ways to enhance the health of remote and regional communities, increase the management and knowledge of critical ecosystems, as well as discover various ways to build compassionate communities and cities.

JCU research hubs and campuses are located close to several of the most spectacular environments in the world. This includes the rainforests of the Wet Tropics, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and the savannas of Cape York Peninsula. These living laboratories offer both staff and students of JCU with unique opportunities for research, teaching and learning.

Many local, national and global research organisations as well as industry groups partner with JCU. These connections help to ensure that the courses offered at the university are research-rich and reflect the latest innovations. Most of the university's staff and students are located jointly with researchers from partner institutions.

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The following are the university's campuses in Australia:

Cairns Campus

Approximately 4,000 students, including nearly 385 international students, study at JCU Cairns.

JCU Cairns is home to modern teaching as well as research facilities. The facilities offered include an impressive information technology building, library, health science as well as science laboratories, cafes, and student refectory. An AUD 30 million Cairns Innovation Centre is set to open in late 2020 and is going to house the innovative ‘Internet of Things' program, and nurture young graduates and a new generation of students engaging deeply with industry through work-integrated learning. The new John Grey Hall of Residence is on campus and offers students safe accommodation options close to class.

Cairns is a tropical, clean, friendly, modern, and safe city with a relaxed atmosphere, enjoying close proximity to the World Heritage listed rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef.

Townsville Campus

Around 12,500 students, comprised of more than 1,500 international students, study at JCU Townsville.

JCU Townsville houses various teaching and research facilities, cafes, fitness and sporting facilities, the main JCU library, and a wealth of student societies and clubs. Nearly 1,400 students reside on-campus in colleges as well as halls of residence, offering a true community atmosphere on the campus.

Townsville is northern Australia's largest city and among Australia's fastest-growing regional centres - enjoying a diverse and strong economic base.

JCU Brisbane

With a modern campus situated in the very heart of the central business district of Brisbane, JCU Brisbane provides bachelor's degrees and postgraduate programs in the areas of Information Technology and business for international students.

Students have access to improved job-support services, as well as clear academic and English language pathways and can finish their studies in a short duration due to the trimester-based academic calendar.

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Graduate outcomes

The JCU careers and employment service has offices situated at both the Cairns and Townsville campuses. It provides career advice for both students and graduates, career planning workshops and job application advice, career information libraries, as well as an online job database known as the CareerHub. The service also arranges an annual careers fair which brings major employers, as well as industries, to the Cairns and Townsville campuses.

JCU Professional Employability Program

The Professional Employability Program is part of the Master of Engineering (Professional), Master of Data Science (Professional), Master of Science, Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Master of Science (Professional). The program includes a tailored plan that supports industry placements and employment objectives.

In partnership with Career Ahead, employability experts, JCU offers:

  • Workshops by discipline experts and HR practitioners to help students with career planning, professional networking, building employable skills, and navigation of the recruitment process. Regular industry involvement is offered through keynote speakers, work-based simulation and case study activity.
  • Resources such as guides for job search tools, career development templates, and development of personal employability portfolio.
  • Industry placements as part of the degree program which are typically taken up towards the completion of the program.

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International students

Average cost of living in Australia

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201st  / 1250

THE World ranking

Terrestrial Ecology
TSV The Science Place
Fresh Food Markets
TSV Eddie Mabo Library
Orpheus Research Station
Fletcherview Research Station
TSV The Science Place
The Cairns Institute
Lecture Theatre
Townsville Queensland 1 James Cook Drive
Cairns Queensland 14-88 McGregor Road
Brisbane City Queensland 349 Queen Street
JCU is Queensland?s second oldest university. The university offered first courses in Townsville in 1961 as an annex of the University of Queensland. At James Cook University, students can explore, discover, grow through research and teaching that makes a difference to people and societies, the natural world and built environment. A strong focus on student success, it is committed to excellence in applied learning, research that makes a difference and lecturers focused on the student experience. Since the establishment, the university has expanded into a multi campus institution. The students come from many backgrounds, promoting a rich cultural and experiential diversity on campus.

The James Cook University Academy is structured into six Colleges and one Centre, nested within two Divisions. Undergraduate and postgraduate courses span the Arts, Biomedical Sciences, Business, Creative Media, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Healthcare Sciences, Information Technology, Law, Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery, Pharmacy, Planning, Psychological Science, Science, Social Work, Sustainability and Veterinary Science. The University aims to give graduates the qualifications and skills needed for the global workforce.

JCU's main sites are located in tropical northern Queensland, a remarkable region where over a million visitors come each year to experience. James Cook University

Total average cost: $2464

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    Daily life
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What our students think about us

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World ranking
James Cook University James Cook University
Rated4/5based on2 student reviews
Customer reviews:
James Cook University - by, 2020-01-29
5.0/ 5 stars
James Cook University James Cook University
Rated4/5based on2 student reviews
Customer reviews:
James Cook University - by, 2020-01-30
3.0/ 5 stars

To find out more about the information shown here – read about How we collect and display course information. IDP assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. We always recommend that you speak to an IDP counsellor to get the latest and most accurate advice.

James Cook University James Cook University
Rated4/5based on2 student reviews
Customer reviews:
James Cook University - by, 2020-01-29
5.0/ 5 stars
James Cook University James Cook University
Rated4/5based on2 student reviews
Customer reviews:
James Cook University - by, 2020-01-30
3.0/ 5 stars

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