Studying in Melbourne

studying in Melbourne
Updated 2023-07-09 13:57

Melbourne has most of what makes the Australian lifestyle so appealing – beautiful beaches, a Mediterranean climate with many sunny days, nightlife, cool shops, and a great food and coffee culture. It's no surprise it regularly tops lists of the world's most liveable cities. Victoria's capital and Australia's second-largest city is also home to seven well-regarded universities and a number of other tertiary institutions, making it a great destination for international students. Keep reading to discover what makes Melbourne so suitable for students and what the different universities have to offer international students.

Australia's best student city

In the latest QS Best Student Cities Rankings, Melbourne came in 5th. Melbourne consistently scores highly in these rankings, partly because of its excellent general livability – in fact, Melbourne has been voted the most liveable city in the world seven times in a row so it's no surprise international students are also ranking it highly.

Reasons why international students enjoy Melbourne include the city's diverse population – with lots of different cultures and ethnicities represented in the city, it's easy for students from other countries to feel welcome. As well as its cultural diversity, Melbourne is just fun. International students praise the weather, the beaches, the nightlife, the thriving music and art scene, and all of the exciting cultural events.

As well as being fun, Melbourne is also a pretty accessible city, although it can be expensive. The universities are easy to reach by public transport, and there is great infrastructure to assist students, such as free public libraries, plenty of student accommodation, student discounts with travel and transportation, and cheap-but-delicious dining options. Like other Australian cities, affordability may be its major drawback, with both living costs and fees on the rather high side. However, when it comes to its high standard of living and incredible surroundings, Melbourne remains tough to beat. Currently, there are around 182,000 international students currently living in Melbourne, which makes up almost 40% of Victoria's entire university student population.

The teaching culture in Australia

In general, students in Australia are encouraged to study independently and be responsible for completing their readings and research within the deadlines, but tutors will usually help students to adapt. Generally, academics and students maintain a casual and respectful attitude and refer to each other by first names, although this varies depending on the subject and institution. Students are welcome to challenge lecturers and tutors in tutorial discussions, and contributing in class will often be part of your final mark.

Entry requirements in Melbourne universities

Entry requirements for international students in Melbourne vary depending on the specific institution and course of study. Some general entry requirements that international students typically need to fulfill include the following:

Academic qualifications

International students in Melbourne are generally required to meet specific academic requirements for admission to their chosen program. This may include completion of a high school diploma or equivalent qualification and, in some cases, specific subject prerequisites. The academic requirements can vary depending on the level of study and the specific course or program.

English language proficiency

Proficiency in English is usually a requirement for international students. Most universities and institutions in Melbourne accept internationally recognized English language proficiency tests such as the IELTS, TOEFL, or Pearson Test of English (PTE). The required minimum scores can vary depending on the program and institution. Some institutions may also offer their English language programs or accept alternative English language qualifications.

Application process

International students are typically required to submit an application to the institution they wish to study at. This involves completing an application form, providing academic transcripts and certificates, English language test results, a statement of purpose or personal statement, and any other supporting documents as requested by the institution. It's important to check the specific application deadlines and requirements of the institution you are applying to.

Visa requirements

International students will need to obtain an appropriate student visa to study in Australia. The visa requirements and application process are administered by the Department of Home Affairs. Generally, students need to provide proof of enrollment in a registered course, evidence of financial capacity to cover living expenses and tuition fees, health insurance coverage, and meet health and character requirements.

It's essential to note that entry requirements can vary between institutions and programs, so it is recommended to visit the official websites of the universities or educational institutions you are interested in to obtain detailed and up-to-date information on their specific entry requirements for international students. Additionally, seeking guidance from education agents or contacting the international student admissions office of the chosen institution can provide further assistance in understanding and fulfilling the entry requirements.

Melbourne's universities

Melbourne's universities are known for quality education with world-class research capability. In fact, both Monash and the University of Melbourne scored in the top 100 in the QS World University rankings in 2023, the University of Melbourne being the second-best ranked in Australia at 33rd worldwide, and Monash came in at 57 (Australia's top-rated university is ANU, which scored 30 on the list).

University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne was established in 1853 and is consistently ranked among the leading universities in the world. To study at Melbourne University as an international student, you need to achieve academic eligibility, which varies from country to country, and show evidence that you have satisfied the university's English language requirements. Departments include the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Melbourne Law School, Melbourne Business School, Melbourne School of Engineering, and the Faculty of Arts.

Monash University

Monash University is renowned for being one of Australia's best faculties of medicine, nursing and health sciences and ranks well in social sciences, science, pharmacy, engineering and technology, as well as computer science. Departments include Monash Business School, the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, the Faculty of Law, Monash Engineering, and the Faculty of Arts. Monash provides a variety of English language courses and is one of the largest IELTS test centers in Australia, with more than 29,000 international students. For more information, you can visit the International Students webpage.

RMIT University

RMIT University is a global university of technology and design and Australia's largest tertiary institution. There are approximately 26,000 international students at RMIT. There are three campuses and two sites in Australia as well as two campuses in Vietnam and a center in Spain. RMIT is known for its focus on design and technology, with a global reputation in art and design, architecture, engineering, business and management studies, as well as accounting and finance. Departments include the School of Architecture and Urban Design, The School of Art and Design, The College of Business, School of Engineering, School of Computer Science and Information Technology.

La Trobe University

La Trobe University is a multi-campus university with its main campus in Bundoora, a suburb of Melbourne. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs, including arts, sciences, health sciences, business, law, education, and more. La Trobe University is known for its research focus and strong industry connections.

Deakin University

Deakin University has multiple campuses in Melbourne and regional Victoria. It offers a diverse range of courses across various disciplines, including business, health sciences, arts, engineering, education, and more. Deakin University is recognized for its innovative teaching methods and commitment to research.

Swinburne University of Technology

Swinburne University is a leading Australian university known for its strong industry partnerships and practical approach to education. It offers programs in areas such as engineering, business, design, information technology, health sciences, and social sciences.

Other tertiary study options in Melbourne

If you're looking to study in Melbourne but are considering entering a trade or vocation that doesn't require an academic degree, Melbourne is also home to a number of vocational schools and polytechnics that can help you gain qualifications.

  • Box Hill Institute: Box Hill Institute is a renowned vocational education and training (VET) institution. It offers a comprehensive range of certificate, diploma, and advanced diploma programs in fields such as hospitality, business, health sciences, design, and trades.
  • William Angliss Institute: William Angliss Institute specializes in education and training for the hospitality, tourism, and culinary arts industries. It offers a variety of programs ranging from certificates to bachelor's degrees, providing students with hands-on training and industry exposure.
  • Holmesglen Institute: Holmesglen Institute is another prominent vocational education institution in Melbourne. It offers a wide range of courses, including business, construction, IT, health sciences, hospitality, design, and more.
  • Melbourne Polytechnic: Melbourne Polytechnic offers vocational and higher education programs across various disciplines, including agriculture, art and design, business, education, health sciences, horticulture, and music.
  • Le Cordon Bleu: Le Cordon Bleu is a prestigious culinary arts and hospitality institute with a campus in Melbourne. It provides internationally recognized culinary programs and offers a pathway to a career in the culinary and hospitality industries.

Living in Melbourne

As in most Australian cities, tuition fees and the cost of living in Melbourne tend to be relatively high. Tuition fees will, of course, depend on the university and course program, and we recommend having a full understanding of your course fees before you commit to your program of study. RMIT University has prepared a thorough guide to the cost of living in Melbourne, so make sure to factor in all of these costs when working on an estimate of your budget. One thing that makes dealing with the cost of living a little easier is the fact that the student visa allows you to work up to 20 hours per week. In general, working while studying is encouraged, and for many, it's essential to make sure ends meet.

Student housing in Melbourne

One option for student housing in Melbourne is university-managed accommodation. Most universities have on-campus housing facilities that provide convenient access to campus. These accommodations often come in the form of residential halls or apartments. They offer a supportive community environment and typically include services such as security, maintenance, and communal spaces. Costs vary depending on the room type and amenities provided.

Most universities in Australia offer student accommodation or residential colleges, some of which may be off-campus or even include meals. These range from a variety of areas, from Box Hill, Brunswick East, Burwood, Carlton, Footscray, Hawthorn, and CBD Melbourne. Prices range between AUD $300 and AUS $750 per week, and you are advised to apply well in advance.

Alternatively, there are off-campus, independently-organized options available. Private rental apartments and shared houses are popular among students in Melbourne. Renting a private apartment provides greater independence and flexibility. However, it's important to consider additional costs such as utility bills, internet, and furniture. Shared houses or apartments offer the opportunity to split costs with other students, which can be more affordable.

Unlike student housing, you may not have to apply so far in advance for independent options, and you will find a wider variety of prices, reflecting the nature of the accommodation. Consider homestay options (AUS $195-500 per week, and can include meals), private rentals (AUS $230 - AUS $600 per week), flatshare (AUS $250 - AUS $400 per week), or even room shares starting around AUS $100 per week. Flatmates and Flatmate Finders are great sites to find shared accommodation in Melbourne.

Student work opportunities in Melbourne

International students in Melbourne have access to work opportunities that can help support their studies and provide valuable work experience. Australia's student visa regulations allow international students to work part-time while studying, up to 20 hours a week. If you are on a student visa in Melbourne, there are certain guidelines and restrictions regarding working while studying. Here's some information to consider about working on a student visa:

  • Work limitations: International students in Australia on a valid student visa can work for up to 40 hours per fortnight while school is in session, and there is no limit on the number of hours an international student can work during holidays.
  • Tax file number (TFN): To work in Australia, you will need to obtain a Tax File Number (TFN). This is a unique identification number issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) that allows you to work and pay taxes in the country. You can apply for a TFN online through the ATO website.
  • Job opportunities: Melbourne offers various job opportunities for students, including part-time positions, casual work, and internships. Common industries for student employment include hospitality, retail, customer service, and administration. Universities often have job boards and career services that can assist you in finding suitable job opportunities.
  • Budgeting and time management: Working while studying can be beneficial for financial reasons, but it's essential to manage your time effectively. Balancing work commitments with academic responsibilities requires good time management skills to ensure you can fulfill both obligations successfully.
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