Top Universities for Medicine and Life Sciences


The QS World University Rankings by Subject includes a ranking of 500 of the world’s top universities in the field of life sciences and medicine, based on a methodology which assesses research impact and employer/academic reputations.

Read on for an overview of the top universities in each world region for this broad subject area, or click here to explore the full results.

Top 10 Universities for the Life Sciences & Medicine subject area

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

Top universities for medicine and life sciences in the US & Canada

The US boasts an impressive 121 representatives in the life sciences and medicine ranking, including seven positions in the top 10 (above) and a total of 33 in the top 100. Outside the top 10, other top US universities for life sciences and medicine include: the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) (14th), University of California, San Diego (UCSD) (16th), Duke University (19th), and the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Washington share 23rd place.

Heading north, and Canada claims 20 of the world’s top universities for medicine and life sciences, with the University of Toronto leading the way at joint 18th. Other high-ranking Canadian institutions include McGill University and the University of British Columbia, which are both ranked joint 28th.

Top universities for medicine and life sciences in Europe

Europe is home to almost 200 of the top universities for medicine and life sciences, including 41 in the United Kingdom. As well as Oxbridge in the top 10, other strong UK institutions for this subject area include UCL (University College London) which falls just shy of the top 10 in 11th place, Imperial College London (12th), King’s College London (KCL) (18th) and the University of Edinburgh (21st).

Germany claims 35 of the world’s top life sciences and medicine schools, including three in the top 100: Ruprecht-Karls-Universitaet Heidelberg (=41st), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (=44th) and Technical University of Munich (TUM) (81st).

Italy also performs well with 23 representatives in this year’s ranking, led by the Università degli Studi di Milano at 80th.

France is represented by 12 entries this year, led by Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) at joint 94th. Also with 12 entries is Spain, including Universitat de Barcelona (UB) at 78th.

The Netherlands is home to 11 of the world’s top universities for life sciences and medicine, with the University of Amsterdam the best in the country at joint 35th. Five more Dutch institutions feature in the top 100, including the Erasmus University Rotterdam in joint 51st.

Sweden has 10 entrants in the ranking – as well as Karolinska Institutet in the top 10, another strong Swedish institution for life sciences and medicine is Uppsala University at 49th. Staying in the Nordic countries, Finland and Denmark have five representatives each, while Norway has four. From these countries, the highest-ranked institution for life sciences and medicine is the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, which is ranked 27th.

Elsewhere, Belgium and Switzerland have seven representatives each. All but one of Switzerland’s entries are in the top 100, with the University of Zurich the highest-ranked at 43rd. Belgium’s highest ranked institution for life sciences and medicine is KU Leuven at joint 66th.

Austria and Ireland have five top universities for medicine and life sciences each, while Greece and Portugal have four apiece. Of these countries, Austria has the best performing school for this subject area: Medizinische Universität Wien (Medical University of Vienna) (ranked 132nd).

Finally, the remaining European countries with at least one university featured among the world’s best for life sciences and medicine are Hungary (with three entries), Czech Republic (two), and Croatia, Estonia, Poland and Slovenia with one representative each. Of these countries, the highest-ranked university for life sciences and medicine is found in the Czech Republic, with Charles University ranked 226th in the world.

Top universities for medicine and life sciences in Australia and New Zealand

Australia has 24 institutions included among the world’s best for medicine and life sciences, including five in the top 50: the University of Melbourne (13th), the University of Sydney (17th), Monash University (=28th), the University of Queensland (32nd) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW Australia) (=44th).

Four more top universities for this subject area are found in neighboring New Zealand, led by the University of Auckland at joint 62nd.

Top universities for medicine and life sciences in Asia

A significant number of the world’s most prestigious schools for life sciences and medicine are found in Asia, with China and Japan claiming 23 entrants each. Two of China’s entrants are in the top 100, Peking University (ranked joint 51st) and Fudan University (joint 88th), while Japan has two schools featured in the top 50: the University of Tokyo (22nd) and Kyoto University (40th).

South Korea is home to 19 of the world’s top life sciences and medicine schools, including two in the top 100: Seoul National University (=35th) and Yonsei University (=85th)

Taiwan has 10 entrants in the ranking, led by National Taiwan University (NTU) at joint 44th, while Thailand’s six representatives are led by Mahidol University at joint 115th.

Hong Kong has five top universities for life sciences and medicine, including the University of Hong Kong at 34th and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) (65th).

Of Malaysia’s four representatives, its leading university in this subject area, Universiti Malaya (UM), made an impressive leap from the QS World University Rankings by Faculty 2015/16, climbing from joint 249th to joint 164th.

Singapore may only have two entries, but both feature in the global top 150 for life sciences and medicine: National University of Singapore (NUS) (20th) and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) (=123rd).

Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia, Pakistan and The Philippines are all new to the life sciences and medicine ranking this year with one entrant each.

Top universities for medicine & life sciences in Latin America

Of the 16 Latin American institutions featured in the life sciences and medicine ranking, 10 are based in Brazil – including the highest-ranked institution in the region for this subject area – Universidade de São Paulo (USP) (129th). Also ranked in the global top 250 is Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) at joint 230th.

Mexico and Chile both claim two top universities for life sciences and medicine each, with Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) ranked joint 176th while Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) is featured at 227th.

Lastly, Argentina and Colombia have one representative each in the ranking, with Argentina’s Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) ranked joint 207th for this subject area.

Top universities for medicine & life sciences in Africa & the Middle East

South Africa is represented by five top universities for life sciences and medicine, led by the University of Cape Town at joint 105th. Egypt has three entrants in the ranking, with Cairo University its highest ranked at joint 295th, while Uganda is new with one entrant.

In the Middle East, Israel is home to five of the world’s top universities for life sciences and medicine, with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem the leader of these in 142nd place.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey have two representatives in the ranking each, with the Saudi Arabian King Saud University (KSU) featured at joint 243rd.

Finally, Iran and Lebanon are both new to this year’s life sciences and medicine ranking with one entrant each.


How Cheap is it to Study in the World’s 10 Best Student Cities?

costs_top_10The QS Best Student Cities 2017 results are out now, and Canada’s cultural capital Montréal is leading the way, demoting last year’s winner Paris to second place. But how much does it cost to study in Montréal and the rest of the top 10 best student cities?

Read on to find out which of our best student cities you can afford to live in, based on average living costs, tuition fees and each city’s Affordability ranking.

1. Montréal


  • Affordability rank:  39th
  • Average annual living expenses: CA$14,700 (~US$11,300) according to the Université de Montréal.
  • Average international tuition fees (at QS-ranked universities): US$12,200 per year

Other things to mention:

  • If you come from a warmer climate, you’ll also need to take into account the money you’ll spend on warm winter clothing – Montréal gets pretty cold!
  • Don’t forget to factor in extra costs. Health insurance, for example, will cost around CA$600 (~US$450) a year.

Find out more about the costs of studying in Canada, plus other practical advice, in our complete guide.

2. Paris


  • Affordability rank:  38th
  • Average annual living expenses: €12,000 (~US$12,800), according to Université Paris-Sorbonne.
  • Average international tuition fees (at QS-ranked universities): US$2,900 per year

Other things to mention:

  • Tuition fees are the same in Paris for domestic and international students.
  • The highly selective grandes écoles and grands établissements (great schools and establishments) set their own fees, which are considerably higher than other institutions.

Find out more about the costs of studying in France, plus other practical advice, in our complete guide.

3. London


  • Affordability rank:  105th
  • Average annual living expenses: at least £15,180 (~US$18,960)
  • Average international tuition fees (at QS-ranked universities): US$21,400 per year

Other things to mention:

  • Tuition fees vary depending on whether you’re classed as a home, EU or international student. (Find out more here).
  • There’s so far been no increase in tuition fees for EU students following the Brexit vote, and EU students also remain entitled to the same loans and grants. However, this situation may change in the future.

Find out more about the costs of studying in the UK, plus advice on other topics, in our complete guide.

4. Seoul


  • Affordability rank:  74th
  • Average annual living expenses: US$13,500, according to Seoul National University (SNU)
  • Average international tuition fees (at QS-ranked universities): US$6,300

Other things to mention:

  • There are two semesters in each academic year in South Korea, and undergraduate programs are typically four years long.
  • An increasing number of scholarships are available – you can browse some examples here.

Find out more about studying in South Korea.

5. Melbourne


  • Affordability rank:  104th
  • Average annual living expenses: AU$19,830 (~US$15,250). You can find a breakdown of weekly costs here.
  • Average international tuition fees (at QS-ranked universities): US$23,300

Other things to mention:

Find out more about studying in Australia with our complete guide.

6. Berlin


  • Affordability rank:  16th
  • Average annual living expenses: €9,600 (~US$10,240), according to the Hertie School of Governance.
  • Average international tuition fees (at QS-ranked universities): US$0 (undergraduate)

Other things to mention:

  • Tuition is free at undergraduate and PhD level, but you may need to pay fees for master’s programs.
  • A variety of scholarships are available, including grants on the Erasmus + program.

Get more information and advice on studying in Germany with our complete guide.

7. Tokyo


  • Affordability rank:  78th
  • Average annual living expenses: US$17,300 according to
  • Average international tuition fees (at QS-ranked universities): US$6,600

Other things to mention:

  • Tokyo receives a high score for Desirability and is one of the 10 safest student cities in the index.
  • There are a number of scholarships available at universities in Tokyo, as well as some from the Japanese government – you can browse these here.

Find out more about studying in Japan with our complete guide.

8. Boston


  • Affordability rank:  114th
  • Average living expenses: US$20,750 per nine-month academic year, according to Boston University (equal to $27,666 per year).
  • Average international tuition fees (at QS-ranked universities): $46,800

Other things to mention:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, located near Boston, are both need-blind to international students. This means that your financial background is not considered when deciding to offer you a place and they pledge to meet your demonstrated financial need to enable you to attend.
  • You can calculate your own costs of studying in Boston using the Net Price Calculator, which also tells you what financial aid you may be eligible for.

Get more guidance on studying in the US with our complete guide.

9. Munich


  • Affordability rank:  23rd
  • Average annual living expenses: €10,800, according to Speaking Denglish, a student blogger.
  • Average international tuition fees (at QS-ranked universities): US$0 (Undergraduate)

Other things to mention:

  • As with Berlin, tuition is free at all public universities at undergraduate/PhD level.
  • Living costs are slightly more expensive than at Berlin, with private accommodation more expensive than student halls.

10. Vancouver


  • Affordability rank:  51st
  • Average living expenses: CA$10,050 (~US$7,700) for every two semesters (eight months) according to Vancouver’s Columbia College, which is equal to CA$15,075 (~US$11,525) per year.
  • Average international tuition fees (at QS-ranked universities): US$18,000

Other things to mention:

Figures given for living costs are average estimates only. Your budget may differ, depending on your lifestyle and spending habits.

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Top Universities for Accounting & Finance in 2017


Released annually, the QS World University Rankings by Subject includes a ranking of the top 200 universities in the field of accounting and finance. If this is a course you might be interested in studying, read on for a summary of the top universities for accounting and finance in each world region, or click here for the full interactive ranking table.

Top 10 Universities for Accounting & Finance in the World

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

Rank Name of Institution Location
1 Harvard University United States
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) US
 3 Stanford University US
 4 University of Oxford United Kingdom
5 London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) UK
6 University of Pennsylvania US
7 University of Chicago US
8 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) US
9 University of Cambridge UK
10 New York University (NYU) US
See the full accounting & finance ranking >

Top universities for accounting & finance in the US and Canada

The US claims more than a quarter of the 200 positions in the accounting and finance ranking (53 in all), including seven spots in the top 10 above. As well as these, 10 more US universities feature in the global top 50 for accounting and finance, including Columbia University (13th), Yale University (=14th),  University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (16th) and Princeton University (22nd).

Canada is home to 10 of the world’s top universities for accounting and finance, including the University of Toronto (=28th) and the University of British Colombia (=34th) in the top 40, and four more schools in the top 100.

Top universities for accounting & finance in Europe

The UK is represented 27 times in the accounting and finance ranking, 14 of which are in the top 100. Outside the three in the top 10 above, other leading UK entries include London Business School (12th), the University of Manchester (19th), the University of Warwick (32nd), Imperial College London (38th) and the University of Edinburgh (48th).

Outside the UK, a further 43 top accounting and finance schools are found in Europe. The Netherlands, Germany and Spain have six entries each, with Spain’s Universidad de Navarra the highest ranked at 50th. Half of the Netherlands’ entries are in the top 100, including Erasmus University Rotterdam.

France is another strong destination for studying accounting and finance, with five entrants including INSEAD and HEC Paris both ranked in the top 50.

Switzerland and Italy each offer four representatives, with the Swiss ETH Zurich and the University of St Gallen in the top 100, while Italy’s Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi is ranked 33rd.

Six more top accounting and finance schools are found in the Nordic Countries, with Denmark’s Copenhagen Business School (40th) and Stockholm School of Economics (51-100) the highest-ranked.

Finally, Austria, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Russia have one entrant in the accounting and finance ranking each, with Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven the highest-ranked of these at 51-100.

Top universities for accounting & finance in Australia & New Zealand

Australia boasts 17 entries in the accounting and finance ranking, including 10 in the top 100, led by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) at 11th. Other high ranking Aussie universities include the University of Melbourne (=14th), the University of Sydney (20th), Australian National University (ANU) (=23rd) and Monash University (=26th).

New Zealand claims seven more of the world’s top universities for accounting and finance, led by the University of Auckland at 37th place, while Victoria University of Wellington joins it in the top 100.

Top universities for accounting & finance in Asia

An impressive 39 top accounting and finance schools are found in the Asian region, eight of which are found in China. China’s highest ranked institutions for this subject are Peking University and Tsinghua University, both ranked in the top 50.

South Korea offers seven more of the world’s top universities for accounting and finance, again with two in the global top 50: Seoul National University and Korea University.

Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia each have five representatives in the accounting and finance ranking. All of Hong Kong’s featured universities are in the top 100, led by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) at 17th place. Meanwhile Japan’s highest-ranked institution for this subject is the University of Tokyo (47th). Malaysia’s is Universiti Malaya (UM) at 101-150.

Taiwan is home to four more top accounting and finance schools, led by National Taiwan University (NTU) at 51-100, while Singapore’s three entrants include the high-ranking National University of Singapore (NUS) (18th) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) (21st). Finally, Thailand and Indonesia also feature in the ranking with one entrant each.

Top universities for accounting and finance elsewhere in the world

Latin America is home to three more of the world’s top accounting and finance schools, with Brazil, Chile and Mexico each claiming one entrant in the ranking. Ranked 51-100 for this subject are Chile’s Universidad de Chile and Brazil’s Universidade de São Paulo, while Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) is ranked 101-150.

And, finally in Africa, South Africa has one university in this year’s ranking, the University of Pretoria, which is ranked 151-200.

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View the full accounting and finance ranking 

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Out now: QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017


It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017 is here. Featuring more subjects than ever before (46 to be precise), this year’s ranking is the largest of its kind. If you know what you’d like to study but haven’t decided on a university yet, you literally don’t need to go anywhere else.

Four new subjects make their debut in this year’s ranking: anatomy & physiology, hospitality & leisure management, sports-related subjects and theology, divinity & religious studies. As well as adding new subjects, many of this year’s ranking tables have also been expanded to include even more universities than ever before.

This year, the subject ranking also incorporates rankings for five different broad subject areas: arts & humanities, engineering & technology, life sciences & medicine, natural sciences and social sciences & management.

Published annually since 2011, the QS World University Rankings by Subject aims to highlight the world’s top-performing institutions in a broad spectrum of individual academic areas and help prospective students identify leading universities in their chosen field of study.

Leading the way in this year’s rankings are several familiar faces from the world of heavyweight academia. Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) both dominate with 15 and 12 number one rankings respectively across the 46 subjects. The only other university to top more than one subject ranking is the University of Oxford.

Four other UK universities are ranked best in the world in a specific subject, including Loughborough University which is ranked the joint-best university for sports-related subjects. The University of Sussex also enjoys best-in-the-world status, having overtaken Harvard University to be ranked number one for development studies.

It’s not all about coming first though, something the University of Cambridge proves this year. No other institution in the world ranks in the top 10 for as many subjects as the British university. Other universities to feature in the most top 10s are the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Oxford and Stanford University.

All of this year’s results are presented in interactive online tables, which can be filtered by location and by performance indicator. To explore the results on your mobile device, download the free QS World University Rankings app, which is available for iPhone and Android. For more in-depth analysis, download our dedicated online supplement.

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5 Ways to Future-Proof Your Career


Demographic changes, the onset of digital transformation and rapid advances in technology have changed how consumers shop, businesses operate and people work.

 From news reporters to flight attendants, jobs are evolving faster than ever before, while thousands of new professions get listed on LinkedIn every day. Whatever your occupation, your job description won’t be exactly the same in two, five, ten years. And that’s okay. But you need to be prepared, to make sure you don’t get left behind. Read on for five ways to future-proof your career.

1. Choose a growing sector

Keep your eyes fixed on the bigger picture, to ensure you will still have a part to play in your industry and the wider world in the years to come. Is your industry responding to modern issues? Is it driving meaningful change? What are some of the biggest challenges it faces, and is your organization headed in the right direction?

According to a survey conducted last year by Canadian jobs website, the sectors with the biggest increase in hiring include high tech, healthcare and data analytics. Among the most in-demand CV boosters, Workopolis lists IT skills such as software and app development; customer relationship management (CRM); knowledge of HTML, Unix and JavaScript; and User Experience (UX) Design.

Meanwhile, according to US jobs website, emerging professions set for continued growth says growing professions include cyber security managers, data specialists in healthcare, video game designers, social media executives, and green-collar jobs in wind farm or solar thermal engineering.

2. Be a digital native

From GP consultations to ordering a coffee, more interactions and transactions are being completed online and on-demand, thanks to the onward march of digital technologies. To future-proof your career it’s important to stay up to date with the latest digital strategies and tools. The mobile web, social media, sponsored content, social monitoring – these are just some of the (fairly) new digital media trends you need to know back to front.

Many ongoing workplace and industry changes will be caused by the impact of high tech on companies’ operations and processes, as they seek to become leaner, more efficient and global. Mastery of Microsoft Office is old hat – you need to know how to build a social following, analyze big data, code and program. There are many courses, online and/or part-time, that can help you grow those in-demand tech skills. Ask your HR department or manager to sponsor you in a tech training course, or if this is something you’re really keen to invest in, consider a full postgraduate qualification.

3. Consider going solo

As workplaces and industries continue to evolve towards more agile and flexible operations, being able and willing to go freelance is another way to future-proof your career. Freelance work has experienced a significant growth in popularity over the past few years, and self-employed professionals are expected to continue to grow in number. This pathway is especially appealing to many in the current generation, who are often used to working outside of the ‘9 to 5’ norm, and who like the idea of setting up for themselves, with greater control over their schedule and work-life balance.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in three workers in the US were already earning income from work outside of the ‘9 to 5’ model in 2014, with as many as 15 million workers self-employed. According to the same report, the professions with the highest levels of expected growth in freelance work included personal care aides, management analysts, accountants, auditors and childcare workers.

4. Embrace change

The new generation of workers is largely rejecting the idea of settling into a job, punching a time card and expecting to be rewarded for the years put in – instead embracing change and job-hopping their way into new challenges and fulfilling roles.

A 2014 study published by the Harvard Business Review confirmed that today’s typical executive profile has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. Leaders in the top 10 roles of all the Fortune 100 companies in 1980 were for the most part ‘lifers’ – executives who had spent 20, 30 years working for the same company. The number of lifers in top executive roles today has steeply declined. The road to the top, as the Economist puts it, is ‘bumpy’, but the single biggest differentiator remains your higher education level. According to the same 2014 study, in fact, more than a third of the top 10 executives in Fortune 100 companies had an Ivy League MBA.

Outside of formal education, those with a readiness to continue learning and developing new skills are most likely to stay ahead in today’s change-driven workplaces. Never stop asking questions or seeking out new knowledge, and be wary of your comfort zone!

5. Level-up

A specialized master’s degree (in the right sector) could boost your career prospects for years to come, giving you access to roles at the companies you’d really love to work for. Depending on your field, investing in up-skilling in a growing field could help you gain job security, future-proof your career and increase your earning potential.

According to the latest figures from the US’s National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), engineering graduates are forecast to be the highest earners at master’s degree level, followed by those specializing in computer science and business.

Master’s degree
2016 average salary (US$)
2015 average salary (US$)
Computer Science
Math & Sciences
Social Sciences

Future-proof your career with a postgraduate degree

Ready to up-skill? Join fellow students and professionals at an upcoming QS World Grad School Tourevent in a city near you. This is your opportunity to meet representatives of leading universities and graduate schools from around the world, discuss emerging specializations and career paths, and get answers to all your questions about further study. You’ll also have the chance to attend free seminars, get a complimentary copy of the QS Top Grad School Guide, and apply for exclusive scholarships.

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How to Get an Australian Student Visa

How to Get an Australian Student Visa main image

In order to study in Australia, you will need to obtain an Australian student visa. You must be able to prove to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) that you meet the following keyAustralian student visa requirements: Genuine Student Requirement, Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement, financial requirements, English proficiency requirements, and health and character requirements. You’ll need to complete an Australian student visa application form, pay the visa application fee, and perhaps attend an interview. Read on for more detail on what all of this involves.

What is a ‘genuine student’?

 First, what’s meant by the term ‘genuine student’? To meet the criteria to be classed as a genuine student, you must show that you intend to obtain a valid educational outcome and that you are equipped with the language, educational and material background to reasonably be able to do this. When assessing whether the applicant for an Australian student visa is a genuine student, factors considered include:
  • English language proficiency
  • Sufficient finances
  • Prerequisite schooling (such as secondary and post-secondary education)
  • Age requirements
  • Intention to comply with visa conditions

What is a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)?

Introduced in November 2011, the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement states that the visa applicant must be able to demonstrate a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily for the purpose of study (or to accompany a student as a dependent (i.e. spouse or child), or as a guardian). The decision-makers at DIAC will consider the following factors:

  • The circumstances in your home country
  • The potential circumstances for you in Australia
  • The value of your chosen course to your future
  • Your immigration history
  • Any other relevant matters

In order to determining whether you are both a genuine student and a GTE, you may be asked to attend an interview at your nearest Australian embassy or consulate. Some applicants will only need to fill in a visa application form.

Completing an Australian student visa application form

You’ll first need to make sure you’re applying for the most relevant visa, using the correct Australian student visa application form. The DIAC website has a Visa Finder feature to help you find the most relevant type of visa for your circumstances. Most international students looking to study an undergraduate (bachelor’s) or postgraduate (master’s) degree will qualify for the Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573). Most students will be eligible to apply online, but if you find you cannot, you must make a paper application to the Australian embassy or consulate in your country. You can only apply online for a student visa a maximum of 124 days before your course starts.

Before applying for a visa, you will need to obtain a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) or a Letter of Offer confirming that you have been accepted into a course registered under the Commonwealth Register of Institutions of Courses (CRICOS). The COE will be in the form of an online code that you will need to enter into the appropriate section in the online visa application. You may also need to pay a deposit towards your tuition fees.

You will be able to change course afterwards if you wished, but it must be to one of the same levels, otherwise you will need to apply for a new visa entirely. Students may also package their studies to combine another course with their main course of study, in which case the visa application subclass will correspond to their main course of study (i.e. if your main course of study is an undergraduate degree, your visa subclass will be 573).

All students will need to identify their Assessment Level (AL) before they can proceed with their visa application. The AL is based on the course you intend to take and your country of origin, with AL 1 students regarded as the lowest immigration risk and AL 5 students the highest. The visa process will be slightly different depending on your assessment level, with students with ALs other than 1 having a more complicated visa application process.

The visa process is also different if you qualify for ‘streamlined visa processing’. This is available for international students wishing to study in Australia at a participating university if their main course is a bachelor’s degree or a master’s by coursework. If you are eligible for streamlined student visa processing you are not assigned an Assessment Level, as students eligible for this service are automatically determined to be low immigration risk. Eligible students will also have reduced evidentiary requirements for their student visa application. Students who intend to package their courses may still be eligible for streamlined visa processing if they meet certain requirements.

Australian student visa requirements

When filling in your online visa application form, you will need to provide evidence of the following Australian student visa requirements:

  • Financial requirements: Evidence of sufficient funds to cover tuition, travel and living costs. The Assessment Level of the student determines the level of funds required, who can provide these funds and how long the funds must be held. If you have dependents (such as a spouse and children), you will also need to show evidence of being able to cover living costs for them, regardless of whether they intend to travel to Australia or not.
  • English proficiency requirement: While all students are required to demonstrate they have the appropriate English language proficiency for their course, AL 1 and 2 applicants need only meet the requirements specified by their higher education provider, while AL 3 and 4 applicants must also provide DIAC with evidence of their English language proficiency. The DIAC website lists eligible tests, with possibilities being the IELTS, TOFEL iBT, Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) test. The score you will need will depend on whether you are starting a full degree, doing a foundation course or enrolling on a preliminary English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS).
  • Health requirements: Some students may be advised to take a medical and/or a radiological check-up to show they are in good health (this applies, for example, to those who intend to train as a doctor, dentist or nurse). If told to do so, you must attend an appointment with a doctor who has been approved by the Australian immigration department. Except those from Belgium or Norway, all students are obliged to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). You may purchase this cover through your university, or directly from one of the five approved providers: Australian Health Management, BUPA Australia, Medibank Private, Allianz Global Assistance and nib OSHC. The average cost of OSHC is AUS$437 (US$383) for 12 months for a single student. Students from Sweden who have purchased health insurance through CSN International or Kammarkollegiet will not need to purchase OSHC.
  • Character requirements: All students will also be assessed against the character requirementsstipulated by DIAC. This includes a criminal record check, to make sure you don’t have a substantial criminal record. You may also need to acquire a penal clearance certificate (or police certificate) or get a police statement, and may be asked to complete a Character Statutory Declaration Form.

Australian student visa documents

The DIAC website has a document checklist feature that will provide you with a list of documents required for your specific type of student visa. You simply need to select the type of visa you are requesting, and either indicate that you are eligible to apply for streamlined visa processing or select your appropriate Assessment Level. Then select ‘View Checklist’ to open a PDF document with all the necessary documents you need to provide. Typically, students must submit the following:

  • Completed Australia student visa application form (157A)
  • Paid visa application fee
  • Copy of passport biodata page (some students may be asked to physically provide their passport)
  • Certificate of Enrolment or Letter of Offer
  • Evidence of sufficient funds
  • Evidence of health insurance cover
  • English proficiency test results
  • Criminal record check results

Visa processing times will vary depending on your Assessment Level and the type of visa you are applying for. Allow up to four weeks, with online applications usually being considerably quicker. Your student visa will last for the duration of your studies, including holiday periods, and will also allow you some time to remain in Australia at the end of your course, in order to prepare for departure. Under some circumstances, it may be possible to apply for a further visa at the end of your course (consult the DIAC website for more details).

Arrival in Australia

You can arrive in Australia on your student visa up to 90 days before your course starts. Within seven days of arrival, you must inform your education provider of your resident address. While on a student visa, you may work up to 40 hours per fortnight during term time, and full time in the holidays. The visa is automatically issued with ‘permission to work’, although you are not allowed to begin working until your course has started. Keep in mind that any work required as part of your course is not included in the limit. If you intend to do unpaid or voluntary work, you must still apply for permission to work, and can still only work up to 40 hours per fortnight as mentioned above.

While in possession of a student visa, you have certain obligations to fulfil: you must remain enrolled in a CRICOS-registered course, attend classes regularly, make satisfactory course progress and maintain OSHC health insurance. There are also certain visa conditions you and yourdependents must comply with; breaching a visa condition may result in the cancellation of your visa.