UK vs Australia: Which is Better For International Students?

UK vs Australia: Which is Better For International Students?

UK vs Australia: Which is Better For International Students?
Sahil Dahal

In this article, we comprehensively examine the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia as compelling options for international students. Both countries attract a significant number of international student applications. The UK is renowned for its University of Cambridge, whereas Australia boasts top-ranking universities such as the University of Melbourne and ANU. These institutions hold national and international recognition, consistently ranking among the top 100 according to QS World University Rankings and THE World University Rankings.

International students considering studying in the UK have a diverse range of course options and prestigious universities to select from. On the other hand, those contemplating higher education in Australia can benefit from extended post-study work opportunities and longer stays compared to the UK. Additionally, Australia offers a wide array of courses across its 30 universities.

UK vs Australia

The article delves into popular courses, admission prerequisites, fees, student visas, and scholarships and provides comprehensive insights about both countries. Students grappling with the decision between the UK and Australia can find clarity by exploring each aspect presented here.

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UK vs Australia Higher Education Highlights 


United Kingdom (UK)


Total International Students (2023)

Approximately 679,970

About 619,371 

Total Indian Students (2023)

Around 85,000 (Estimated)

Approximately 96,000 (Estimated)

Top Disciplines

Art & Design, Business Studies, Computer Science, Accounting, Finance, Life Sciences, Creative Arts, Geology, Information Technology, Nursing, Law, Data Science, Political Science

Architecture, Psychology, Agricultural Sciences, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Accounting, Actuarial Science, Cybersecurity, Business and Management


British Pounds (£)

Australian Dollar (AUD or AU$)

Top Universities

The University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Imperial College London, UCL, The University of Edinburgh, The University of Manchester, King's College London

Australian National University, The University of Melbourne, The University of Sydney, The University of New South Wales, The University of Queensland, Monash University, The University of Western Australia

Average Cost of Living

Around £12,000 per year (Estimated)

Approximately AUD 1,870 per month

Work Opportunities

Post-study work visas available for international students, allowing them to work in the UK for up to 2 years (or 3 years for PhD graduates) after graduation.

Post-study work visas available, such as the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), offering up to 2 to 4 years of work rights in Australia after completing studies.

Natural Beauty and Climate

Offers a diverse range of landscapes, historic sites, and a temperate climate with varying weather patterns.

Known for its stunning natural landscapes, including beaches, the outback, and the Great Barrier Reef, along with a generally warm and sunny climate.

Comparing Popular Study Choices in the UK and Australia

When considering higher education options, international students often gravitate towards specific courses that have gained popularity in both the UK and Australia. These academic pursuits offer rewarding opportunities for students to enhance their skills and pursue successful careers. Below, we delve into the favoured fields of study in each country while also exploring the distinctive admission criteria that potential students should be aware of:

Popular Academic Fields in the UK

The United Kingdom boasts a variety of sought-after courses that have consistently attracted international students:

Law: Known for its prestigious legal education, the UK offers comprehensive law programs that equip students with a deep understanding of legal systems and principles.

Business: Renowned for its globally recognized business schools, the UK provides diverse business and management courses to foster future industry leaders.

Medicine: The UK's medical programs uphold high education and clinical training standards, producing skilled medical professionals.

Data Science: The rise of data-driven industries has made data science programs increasingly popular, allowing students to delve into analytics and insights.

Architecture: The UK's architectural courses combine creativity with technical skills, preparing students for impactful careers in design and construction.

Computer Science: The country's offerings cover various specializations catering to the ever-evolving tech landscape.

Engineering: The UK's engineering courses span various disciplines, equipping students with the skills needed for innovation and problem-solving.

Popular Academic Fields in Australia

Australia, likewise, offers a diverse array of courses that attract international students seeking quality education and career prospects:

Business: Australian institutions provide comprehensive business education, nurturing future entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Engineering & Technology: With a focus on innovation, Australia's engineering and technology courses prepare students for the challenges of the modern world.

Medicine & Healthcare: Renowned for its healthcare programs, Australia trains medical professionals to excel in a rapidly advancing field.

Accounting: The country's accounting courses provide a solid foundation for students pursuing careers in finance and commerce.

Hotel Management: With a thriving tourism industry, Australia's hotel management courses offer specialized training for the hospitality sector.

Environmental Science: Environmental programs address pressing global concerns, equipping students with the knowledge to tackle ecological challenges.

Admission Requirements: UK and Australia

Understanding the admission criteria for these countries is essential for prospective students aiming to embark on their academic journeys:

UK Admission Criteria

Undergraduate (UG) Courses: Premier UK universities have transitioned from requiring 13 years of pre-university education to recognizing CBSE plus two certificates for UG course admission.

Postgraduate (PG) Courses: Admission to PG courses typically requires completion of a three-year UG degree. Management courses often require GMAT, while GRE may be necessary for science programs (check university-specific requirements).

Work Experience: Management courses may stipulate work experience, similar to the US model.

Language Proficiency: While universities may waive TOEFL or IELTS requirements, they remain crucial for visa application purposes.

Australian Admission Criteria

Undergraduate (UG) Courses: Most Australian universities accept 12 years of pre-university education for direct UG admission.

Postgraduate (PG) Courses: A three-year UG degree is generally the entry point for PG courses, while engineering may require a four-year UG degree. GMAT is often mandatory for management and GRE for science programs.

Work Experience: Some colleges waive work experience requirements for management courses, offering alternative enrollment options like graduate certificates or diplomas.

Language Proficiency: TOEFL or IELTS scores, though potentially waived by universities, play a crucial role in the visa application process.

Costs for UG and PG Courses: UK vs Australia

Below is a comprehensive examination of different factors concerning expenses that international students need to consider when pursuing their studies in the United Kingdom or Australia:


UG Courses in the UK

UG Courses in Australia

PG Courses in the UK

PG Courses in Australia

Average Tuition Fee (per year)

BSc: £18,745

BTech: £18,612

BBA: £16,778

BSc: AU$31,199

BTech: AU$42,968

BBA: AU$34,819

MA: £17,527

MS: £19,318

MBA: £21,035

MA: AU$37,633

MS: AU$49,563

MBA: AU$169,925

Average Living Expense






3-4 Years

3-4 Years

1.5-2 Years

1-2 Years

Exams Accepted





Student Visa: UK vs Australia

Here are the essential steps to obtain your student visa and maximise your study experience abroad.

UK Student Visa

Pursuing your dreams in the UK requires a Tier 4 (General) student visa. This visa category has undergone recent revisions, making the process slightly more challenging. Here's what you need to know:

Full-Time Focus: The Tier 4 student visa is exclusively designed for full-time study programs, ensuring you dive deep into your educational pursuits.

Duration Details: Depending on your chosen course, the visa duration varies. For diploma courses, embrace up to three enriching years. If you're pursuing a university degree, relish a four-year stay to soak in comprehensive knowledge.

Investment in Education: Securing your Tier 4 visa involves a fee of £310. Additionally, a separate fee of £310 applies for dependents accompanying you.

Intriguing Possibilities: While not mandatory, a consulate interview might be part of the process. Let your passion for education shine if you're called to converse about your academic aspirations.

Balancing Act: Some students may savour the opportunity to work part-time during their studies. Variables affecting this option are case-specific, bringing flexibility to your educational journey. Engage in on-campus part-time work, up to 20 hours weekly during the term, and relish full-time roles during breaks. Alternatively, dive into full-time work placements integrated into a 'sandwich course.'

Australian Student Visa

Australian student visa experience is marked by unique characteristics that set the stage for an incredible scholarly voyage:

Modern Convenience: Bid farewell to traditional visa stickers. The Australian student visa adopts a streamlined approach, aligning with contemporary trends.

Cost Consideration: To embark on your Australian adventure, allocate $680 for your visa application. This investment opens the door to enriching educational endeavours.

Elevated Opportunities: Pursuing a Masters's degree or a PhD in Australia offers an extra perk – your spouse gains dependent status, and they can immerse themselves in unlimited employment opportunities.

Work-Wise Flexibility: Strike a balance between academics and experience. Australian student visa holders can engage in part-time work, up to 40 hours per fortnight, ensuring financial independence while they study.

Post Study Work Permit: UK vs Australia

Transitioning from an international student to a thriving professional in a foreign land requires a solid understanding of post-study work permits. Navigate the intricacies of the UK and Australia's post-study work permit requirements and pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career.

UK Post-Study Work Permit

While the Tier 1 (Post-study work) visa chapter closed in 2012, your ambitions need not be curtailed. The path to working in the UK after your studies have evolved, demanding a keen understanding of the present landscape:

Tier 2 Transition: To embark on a post-study work journey in the UK, the Tier 2 visa takes centre stage. Designed for Highly Skilled Workers, this visa is your gateway to building a robust career.

Salary Benchmark: A pivotal criterion for Tier 2 eligibility is an annual minimum wage of £20,500 or higher for your prospective role. Meeting this benchmark propels you towards a thriving professional expedition.

Maximum Stay: Carve your career path in the UK with determination, as the Tier 2 visa accommodates a maximum stay of five years. Within this span, seize opportunities, hone your skills, and make your mark in the global professional arena.

Australia Post-Study Work Permit

Australia, a land of vast opportunities, presents a unique post-study work permit scenario for graduates. Aspire towards a fulfilling career with insights into the Australian post-study work permit landscape:

Bachelor's & Master's Graduates: Graduates who have triumphed with a Bachelor's or Master's degree can unlock a two-year post-study work visa. This valuable period enables you to immerse yourself in Australian industries, gain hands-on experience, and cultivate your professional identity.

Alternate Avenues: Diverse academic accomplishments deserve recognition. Other graduates, encompassing various qualifications, can harness the 18-month subclass 485 visa through the graduate work stream. This tailored route opens doors to thriving sectors, igniting your journey towards excellence.

100,000+ students achieved their study abroad dreams with us.  Start your journey today.


What are the key differences between studying in the UK and Australia for international students?

The UK offers historical universities and diverse cultures with shorter programs, while Australia provides a high quality of life and work opportunities amidst natural landscapes. Consider program lengths, cultural experiences, and lifestyle when choosing.

What is the cost of studying and living in the UK versus Australia?

The UK has higher tuition fees and living costs, especially in cities like London, while Australia offers slightly lower fees and favourable exchange rates. Both offer scholarships, part-time work, and post-study visas to manage expenses.

How do post-study work opportunities compare between the UK and Australia?

The UK's Graduate Route visa allows two years (three for PhD), and Australia's Temporary Graduate visa offers two to four years based on qualification. Both provide international work experience after studies.

Which country has a more diverse and inclusive environment for international students?

Both the UK and Australia are welcoming and culturally diverse. The UK has a rich history and global connections, and Australia offers a friendly and inclusive society. Research and choose based on your preferences.

How does the academic system differ between the UK and Australia for international students?

The UK has shorter, research-focused programs (three years for a bachelor's), and Australia offers practical, industry-focused degrees (three to four years). Consider learning style and program duration.

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