Higher Education

Navigate the realm of higher education opportunities for international students with Study NSW. Explore programs, degrees, and resources that foster excellence

Woman at Sydney University looking onto quadrangle

Explore different levels of education, available from world-class universities.

NSW universities offer a range of degree programmes, which are available to both Australian and international students. Degrees in Australia fall into two categories, undergraduate and postgraduate. 

NSW is home to 11 world-class universities, including 6 in metropolitan Sydney and 5 in the state’s regions.

These universities offer academic excellence in a safe, friendly and welcoming environment. International students can earn high-level English language skills, study a wide range of subjects and gain globally recognised qualification.

In 2024, QS Rankings ranked 6 NSW universities in their Top 200: 

  • University of Sydney
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Technology
  • University of Wollongong
  • University of Newcastle
  • Macquarie University.

The University of Technology, University of Wollongong and Western Sydney University also ranked in the top 50 Young University Rankings 2022, and Western Sydney University topped the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022.External Link 

NSW universities work closely with local and global businesses to maximise employment opportunities. Students gain the right experience to become the next generation of thought leaders.

The NSW Government also offers a geospatial database showcasing the state's higher education, research and development capabilities. The NSW Research MapExternal Link  is a virtual one-stop shop for information about more than 650 organisations and pieces of critical research and development (R&D) infrastructure across NSW. 

Students by lockers

Private institutions

Private institutions provide specialist and applied skills courses, many of which are not available at universities. With supportive, innovative and flexible learning environments, private institutions enable you to choose how, when, and where you study.

Private institutions also have strong links with industry. This means their courses are tailored to what employers want.

The Australian Government backs private institutions through its national regulatory and quality agency for higher education. The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)External Link  monitors quality and regulates universities and private institutions against a set of standards developed by the independent Higher Education Standards Panel.

Trio of students outside Sydney Harbour Bridge

Degrees in Australia

NSW’s higher education providers offer a diverse range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to international students.

Diploma and advanced diploma

Diplomas and advanced diplomas are generally practical courses for specific roles and skills such as project management. A diploma is generally completed in 2 years.

Associate degree

An associate degree is a short-cycle program ideal for professionals not in a position to complete a bachelor degree. An associate degree is usually completed in 2 years.

Bachelor degree

A bachelor degree is the standard qualification to begin a career. This is what most people think of when they think of a university degree.

Generally taking 3 to 5 years to complete, bachelor degrees offer a mix of theory and practice in a specific field.

Honours degree

An honours degree is an extension of your bachelor studies. Students work with a supervisor to complete a research project and thesis around a topic from their bachelor.

Graduate certificate or diploma

A graduate certificate or diploma is a short postgraduate qualification best suited to bachelor degree postgraduates. These qualifications can be useful for professional development or as a stepping stone to higher levels of education.

Masters degree

A masters degree is a postgraduate qualification students can enrol in after completing a bachelor degree. This degree can focus on research, coursework or a mix of both. It’s the highest-level postgraduate qualification available before a doctorate.

Doctoral degree (PhD)

A doctoral degree or PhD is the highest postgraduate qualification. Students undertake a major research project that makes a significant and original contribution to their field of study.

Higher doctorate degree

The higher doctorate degree is a formal and public recognition of a substantial and original contribution to an individual’s profession.

Jennifer Budimulia

Jennifer is a higher education student from Indonesia completing a medicine degree at Western Sydney University.

Jennifer chose NSW for its easy access to her home country and its wealth of opportunities in healthcare. Her favourite experience in NSW is meeting new people who open her eyes to different perspectives. This helps motivate Jennifer and raise her cultural awareness.  

During her studies, Jennifer gained valuable insights into the importance of mental health. She plans to specialise her studies in psychiatry before returning home to make a difference in Jakarta’s mental health space. 

Jennifer's tips  

“Be open to meeting new people and trying different things, even if you don’t think they’re for you. Relocating can be scary and you may sometimes feel homesick but it’s worth it. If you want to move for the weather, remember that NSW can get cold! Use the resources available to you at university, such as ‘how to write an essay’ and ‘what is plagiarising’. If you’re leaving home for the first time, don’t forget to practice your cooking.” 

Learn more about studying in Western Sydney.

Jennifer Budimulia International Student of the Year winner

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