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Study Abroad: All about Canberra’s top universities & scholarships

Study Abroad: All about Canberra’s top universities & scholarships

Canberra, Australia’s capital, has a few globally ranked universities with Indian students being the second-largest nationality of international students in the city. Since 2016, the number of Indian students has been doubling; in 2023, there were 1,362 Indian students studying at Canberra’s universities – the highest number on record. Additionally, Indian-born residents form Canberra’s largest overseas-born population, with over 17,500 as of the last Census in 2021.

Justin Keevers, Assistant Director, Study Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government

In May 2024, the Oxford Economics Global Cities Index listed Canberra as the second-best city in the world for quality of life. Additionally, QS ranked Canberra #29 in the world’s Best Student Cities.

In an exclusive interview, Justin Keevers, Assistant Director, Study Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government, talks about the best universities in Canberra, scholarships for international students and the Welcoming Cities Network.

Which are the top 5 universities in Canberra?

• Ranked 30 on QS University World Ranking

• Guaranteed accommodation for first-year students

• Canberra’s leading university educator for engineering, science, and cultural studies.

• Ranked 403 on QS University World Ranking

• Top 5 in the world for reducing inequalities (THE Impact Rankings, 2023)

• Ranked 1 in Canberra for graduate employment

• Guaranteed accommodation for first-year students

• Canberra’s leading university educator for health, education, and management studies.

• Ranked 901–950 band on QS University World Ranking

• ACU’s Canberra campus is focused on delivering programs in teaching and allied health, including nursing, occupational therapy, speech pathology and social work.

• Ranked 19 on QS University World Ranking

• Attached to the Australian Defence Force Academy for undergraduate studies, international students accepted for postgraduate courses.

• In 2025, the University of New South Wales will commence building a new $1 billion campus in Canberra’s city centre

• Canberra’s largest provider of technical/vocational education (TAFE)

• 90% graduate and employer satisfaction rate

• New $250 million campus to be completed in 2025

• CIT offers short courses through Graduate Diplomas across a vast number of areas including allied health, fitness, trades, finance, Information & Communications Technology (ICT), renewable energy and education.

The tuition fees vary depending on the program/course for all the universities.

Which are the most popular programs chosen by Indian students?

Information Technology is the most popular field of education chosen by Indian students, followed by Management and Commerce and Natural and Physical Sciences.

Specific programs in Canberra with large numbers of Indian student enrolments are Nursing, Artificial Intelligence, Accounting, and Business Management.

A majority of Indian students in Canberra’s universities are studying for their Masters degree level or higher.

Are there any scholarships for Indian students?

While there are no exclusive scholarships for Indian students, universities offer numerous scholarships for international students, each with specific criteria set by the offering institution or organisation.

• The University of Canberra offers various options, such as the UC International High Achiever Scholarship and the UC International Course Merit Scholarship and more.

• ACU offers a range of scholarships for international students, like the ACU International Student Scholarship, Global Excellence Scholarship and ACU International Student Accommodation Scholarship.

• The Australian National University too, offers multiple scholarships for international students, recognising academic achievement and athletic performance.

• However, UNSW Canberra is an exception, offering scholarships which specifically cater to Maharashtrians. The Maharashtra State Government Sponsorship provides 20 PhD scholarships annually for high-achieving students from Maharashtra state universities under a MoU. They also have other popular scholarships students can opt for.

How easy is it to get part-time employment while studying?

The city offers well-paid job opportunities for students, boasting one of the highest average incomes and highest employment rates in the country. Many businesses in Canberra’s rely on casual student employees to operate, particularly in the hospitality and retail sectors. Education providers in Canberra can offer support to help find a job and have strong ties to local employers to facilitate internships, industry connections and graduate employment opportunities. Under Australian Government rules, student visa holders may work up to 48 hours a fortnight while studying, but they have no work restrictions when their course of study or training is not in session.

For most Indian students, the biggest concern is finding jobs after completion of studies. What are the rules about staying back after graduation?

Post completion of studies, students may be able to live and work in Canberra temporarily with a Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485). Because Canberra is classified as a regional city, eligible graduates can apply for an additional year on their Temporary Graduate Visa. Canberra has a thriving private sector, with more than 60% of jobs in over 35,000 businesses. The city also supports start-ups through the Canberra Innovation Network, offering accelerator programs, workshops, coaching, and funding.

Are internships a guaranteed route to securing jobs?

While internships provide valuable local work experience in both public and private organisations, they serve as a foundational step in one’s career journey rather than a guaranteed route to securing employment.

Canberra is part of Welcoming Cities Network. How does it help international students assimilate into the Australian culture?

The Welcoming Cities Network is a national network of cities, towns, and municipalities committed to creating an Australia where everyone can belong and participate. Canberra joined the network in 2019 and in 2023 was accredited as an ‘Advanced’ city within the Network. Through various initiatives and support systems, Canberra provides a welcoming environment that helps international students assimilate effectively. These efforts include orientation programs tailored to familiarise students with local customs, language support services, cultural events showcasing Australian traditions, and community engagement opportunities.

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