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Group of Eight: Australia’s Best Universities

The Group of Eight, or Go8 in short, consists some of Australia’s top research-intensive universities.

Incorporated in 1999, the Go8 comprise the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, the University of Western Australia, the University of Adelaide, Monash University and University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney.

Purpose and Statistics

While Australia has an array of universities, each standing out with its own set of qualities, the Go8 was formed to influence the development of sustainable national higher education and research policy, besides focusing on developing international alliances and research scholarships.

It is a premier group that prides itself on being elite but not elitist, having welcomed over 100,000 international students from 200 countries.

Go8 institutions educate more than half of Australia’s doctors, dentists and vets, as well as more than 40% of the country’s engineering graduates.

In terms of postgraduate education, the Go8 enrols one third of all postgraduate students in Australia.

Group of Eight Members

1. University of Melbourne

World University Rankings 2019: 32

Australia Ranking: 1

Founded in 1853, the University of Melbourne is Australia’s leading university, an international leader in research, teaching and learning.

It has attracted students from more than 150 countries, each to one of its 22 discipline specific faculties and graduate schools - housed within a blend of modern-day and period architecture.

One of the University’s key features is its educational model – the Melbourne Model – which combines broad undergraduate studies with a professional specialisation at graduate level.

Given today’s extremely competitive job market, the University’s curriculum, also the first of its kind in Australia, equips students with the know-how to tackle problems of the future, while developing both skill and resilience.

There are also more than 340 award programmes ranging from Graduate Certificates to Masters and PhD. 

Location-wise, there are seven campuses spread across Melbourne and Victoria, including the Parkville campus that offers a free guided tour for visitors.

2. Australian National University

World University Rankings 2019: 49

Australia Ranking: 2

Established in 1946 in the Australian capital of Canberra, Australian National University (ANU) is recognised worldwide for its exceptional teaching standards and outstanding research quality.

Its global clout is reflected in its membership within the prestigious International Alliance of Research Universities, alongside institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge.

Despite being relatively young as a world-class institution, ANU constantly upgrades its facilities to help fuel each student’s experience.

For one, its National Computational Infrastructure houses Raijin – the most powerful super-computer in the Southern Hemisphere.

Apart from offering a comprehensive range of courses, comprising major disciplines like Law, Science, Health & Medicine as well as specialised options such as Indigenous Studies, ANU offers a slew of scholarships for international students.

These include the Bachelor Undergraduate Science Scholarship and the ANU Excellence Scholarship Programme. 

In terms of location, ANU has a main campus in Canberra, with more than 5,000 students living on campus.

3. University of Sydney

World University Rankings 2019: 59

Australia Ranking: 3

Founded in 1851, the University of Sydney is the oldest university in Australia, steeped in tradition and history that you can see coursing through its Neo-Gothic sandstone walls.

One of the University’s key highlights is its recent reimagination of the undergraduate experience.

The unique model is designed to equip students with a core set of graduate attributes, something that will power them to success once they hit the working world. 

Some of the attributes include critical thinking, inventiveness and cross-cultural competencies.

The above model is ably supported by six faculties and three schools – each offering an array of academic programmes – from Arts & Social Sciences and Business, to Law and Architecture, Design and Planning.

The University’s wide array of facilities are notable as well, with countless on-campus study spaces, cafes and restaurants, sports venues and even an International Student Lounge to help with transition to university life.

A range of scholarships are also available, including the Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarship – up to A$40,000 is awarded to international students if the application is successful.

The University has 11 campuses dotting the state, from the inner city of Sydney (Camperdown/Darlington) to the Great Barrier Reef (One Tree Island Research Station).

4. The University of Queensland

World University Rankings 2019: 69

Australia Ranking: 4

Founded in 1909, The University of Queensland (UQ) is highly distinguished, with its glorious sandstone architecture erected within the leafy suburbs of St. Lucia, Brisbane.

UQ is one of the biggest institutions in Australia, with almost 7,000 staff and 52,000 students, of which 15,400 are international students from 141 different countries.

Teaching quality at UQ is exemplary, having won more Australian awards for teaching than any other universities.

That, paired with UQ’s emphasis on nurturing students into graduates who can make a positive impact, has resulted in the University being given above 90 percent for overall student satisfaction.

A wide range of academic subjects are taught within the University’s six faculties, supported by eight multidisciplinary research institutes and more than 100 research and educational sites sprawled across Queensland.

Coupled with world class facilities housed within both modern and sandstone buildings, UQ charms with a dynamic campus experience.

Its main St. Lucia campus (out of three campuses) is a vibrant collection of lakes, parks and assorted greenery, while the Gatton campus offers a laidback vibe, complete with a community garden and farms.

In terms of employability, UQ is among the top 50 universities in the world according to the 2018 QS Graduate Employability Ranking.

5. Monash University

World University Rankings 2019: 84

Australia Ranking: 5

The second oldest university in Victoria, Monash University was established in 1958, with four campuses sprinkled across the state.

In fact, the University has a formidable global footprint, with an international campus in Malaysia, joint research academies in India and China, a learning centre in Italy as well as an alliance with the University of Warwick.

Besides being a member of the Group of Eight, Monash is the only Australian member of the M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies.

Curriculum-wise, undergraduate students can choose from two types of courses – comprehensive and specialist. The former can be taken in five broad fields: arts, business, information technology, science and commerce.

As for the specialist type, students can pursue a specific field of study from day one. 

The institution believes in the power of collaboration, where shared ambitions are effective in helping students and staff alike make a greater impact on society.

With a team of dedicated teachers, coupled with the presence of modern facilities and other amenities, students are provided with the best possible conditions to excel.

The Focus Monash framework was also implemented a few years ago, as part of a five-year strategic plan, to foster diversity and inclusion within the community.

6. The University of New South Wales

World University Rankings 2019: 96

Australia Ranking: 6

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) was founded in 1949 with an initial focus on technology and the sciences.

It has since garnered a reputation for making ground-breaking contributions to research, as well as exhibiting world class teaching standards.

With eight variant campuses across Sydney, UNSW is also a member of the Universitas 21 network, and showcases an interesting statistic that it has more millionaire alumni than any other university in Australia.

Funding for UNSW has also grown from strength to strength, ever since it was awarded the largest amount of Australian Research Council funding in 2014 – A$68 million for new projects.

It was recently awarded 43% of ARC Linkage Grants for nine other projects that include research on marine pollution, ocean weather and aboriginal health.

During this period, the University also underwent a massive A$215 million redevelopment, elevating and improving various elements to produce the most conducive and supportive environment for students. 

International students have also shown a keen interest in UNSW, with over 13,000 of them pursuing various courses in Sydney.

For those who are keen on scholarships, there is a broad range for international students, including the Humanities and Languages Equity Scholarship for undergraduates, as well as Study Abroad Scholarships and the Juris Doctor (JD) Scholarship for post graduate study.

7. The University of Western Australia

World University Rankings 2019: 134

Australia Ranking: 7

Established in 1911, The University of Western Australia (UWA) is one of the leading research institutions in Australia.

With a main campus in Perth and a second one in Albany, UWA was given a five-star rating by the Good Universities Guide 2018 for an excellent low student-to-teacher ratio.

Students could also leverage on UWA’s strong industry partnerships to gain work experience via various courses.

Recently, the University fared well in world university subject rankings. UWA was placed first in Australia in four areas: Marine Engineering, Agricultural Sciences, Environmental Science and Engineering as well as Biological Sciences.

A state-of-the-art learning space – dubbed the EZONE UWA – will also be completed by 2020. Slated for engineering and mathematical science students, this top-notch facility will deliver an unparalleled student experience via new technologies and interactive learning models.

At the moment, students are already relishing the perks of the Guild Village – a thriving carousel of cafes, shops and services – as well as the Bayliss Building  - a five-story, 17,000 sqm tech haven.

Myriad scholarships are available for talented international students, spanning both undergraduate and postgraduate categories.

8. The University of Adelaide

World University Rankings 2019: 135

Australia Ranking: 8

Founded in 1874, The University of Adelaide is the third oldest university in Australia, with its main campus located on North Terrace in the Adelaide city centre.

Apart from being ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world, the institution is renowned for having distinguished alumni – in the form of 110 Rhodes scholars and five Nobel Laureates (the latter being one-third of Australia’s total Nobel prize winners).

This is not a surprise, given the University’s standing as a leading research hub, with heavy involvement in stimulating and challenging new projects.

It was recently awarded close to A$12 million for two of its prestigious 17 Australian Laureate Fellowships, 1 Industrial Transformation Training Centre and 4 Future Fellowships by the Australian Government.

These grants were meant to reward the University’s dedication and pioneering research in areas such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions with solar fuel generation, as well as improving profitability of the wine industry.

Better yet, the Australian Government has also pledged A$50 million towards constructing a new industry-led cyber security Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). 

The above developments, paired with the institution’s storied heritage and reputation, have attracted large cohorts of international students to the University, now standing at over 7,635 students from more than 100 countries.

Some have been beneficiaries of the University’s range of scholarships, including the University of Adelaide Matching Scholarships, Global Citizens Scholarships as well as the Global Academic Excellence Scholarships.

Interested in studying in a Go8 university? We can help you. Book an appointment with an IDP Education Counsellor to find out more. It’s free. Just fill out the form below.

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