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James Cook University



JCU is in the top 250 of universities in the world and has five stars for employment, student support and skills development. 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 and Freshwater Biology and number two worldwide for Biodiversity Conservation (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. JCU has 124 research partners globally and has 21 research centres and institutes.

With two main campuses in Cairns and Townsville, and metropolitan campuses in Brisbane and Singapore, JCU is home to more than 20,000 students from 111 countries, with 4,000 staff.

Courses on offer include a wide range of health-related and medical disciplines, including tropical medicine and dentistry biomedical sciences STEM courses, business law and finance society and culture sport science education tourism and veterinary and animal science. Teaching is of high quality with a supportive, hands-on approach by faculty and an excellent student-to-teacher ratio.

Students at JCU benefit from a safe and nurturing environment. The university offers counselling, career guidance, and medical assistance services, and there are many social activities to get involved in. There's also a dedicated team to help international students feel at home.

Many of JCU's course programs include field work, clinical placements, lab time, work integrated learning programs, internships, and more. Students receive valuable experience in their chosen field, building up contacts while they study.

JCU has an excellent employment rate. It is proud to have a five-star rating from the Good Universities Guide for graduate job outcomes.

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What's new

JCU's $54m student accommodation to open in time for 2022 academic year

The new modern 10,000m2 student accommodation building will cater to over 400 students and provide affordable, group share accommodation with study bedrooms, communal facilities, and a central, self-catered kitchen and dining area.

It will be situated on Mount Stuart Street, next to the Technology Innovation Complex.

Deputy Vice Chancellor for Services and Resources Tricia Brand said the complex will be a wonderful option for international students who travel to Townsville to study.

''The new student accommodation complex is a crucial element of the renewal of the Townsville campus. This building will be a major drawcard for students who are looking to live on campus. It will offer high quality accommodation, and contribute to a more vibrant and dynamic campus for our students,'' Ms Brand said.

Watch a flythrough of the accommodation complex.

JCU Covid-19 updates

  • JCU continues to offer many courses online for students who wish to commence from home. If a student commences online, they will be able to travel to Australia when border restrictions are lifted and transfer to internal study at the commencement of the following study period. Scholarships are available. Please contact JCU to discuss all options.
  • JCU is providing support towards quarantine costs. New students who successfully complete 24 credit points of their course will receive AUD2,000 in credit against their tuition fees in the following semester. Students who withdraw from their course before 24 credit points have been reached will not be entitled to this support.
  • JCU continues to offer the International Excellence Scholarship and International Student Merit Stipend, as well as a range of other scholarships. Visit the website for further information.

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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.

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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Here are the university's campuses in Australia:

Cairns Campus

Approximately 3,000 students (10% international) study at JCU Cairns.

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

JCU Cairns offers modern teaching and research facilities, including an impressive information technology building, library, science laboratories, cafes, and student refectory.

The AUD30m Cairns Ideas Lab opened in 2020 and is home to JCU's innovative ‘Internet of Things' discipline. It aims to nurture young graduates and a new generation of students by engaging with industry through work-integrated learning. The new John Grey Hall of Residence student accommodation complex is on campus.

Townsville Campus

Around 13,000 students (13% international) study at JCU Townsville.

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

JCU Townsville houses various teaching and research facilities, cafes and fitness facilities, the main JCU library, and many student societies and clubs. Nearly 1,400 students live on-campus, offering a true community atmosphere.

JCU Brisbane

JCU Brisbane is a modern metropolitan campus in the centre of Brisbane. Students receive world-class education, work opportunities and a balanced lifestyle in a welcoming, multicultural city. JCU Brisbane offers a trimester model allowing students to accelerate their study and complete their degree faster.

JCU Singapore

JCU Singapore was established in 2003, as JCU's first international campus with 3,700 students. It offers superb facilities, collaborative study spaces, and world-renowned lecturers to ensure students have every opportunity for success. Singapore is a frontrunner in world health, technology and economic development and students here benefit from the city's rich multicultural community.

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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 career's 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, 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

View full cost of living
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

Total average cost: $2462

  • $1030
  • $898
  • $138
    Daily life
  • $396
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What our students think about us

Course Quality
Campus Safety
Student Support
Teaching Quality
Campus Environment
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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