Studying Business in Australia

Australia is amongst the world’s best places to live and study. The climate is appealing with long warm summers and mild winters. Some of our planet’s finest natural features such as beaches, reefs and mountain ranges are close to our major population centres. Given its population, Australia’s cities are consistently over represented in “World’s most liveable cities” surveys, with five Australian cities currently ranked in the top 10 in the world (the Economist 2015). Importantly, living costs and tuition fees provide excellent value for money relative to countries of comparable educational, technological and economic living standard.

Australia has forged a reputation for providing high quality globally-recognised education and has produced some of the world’s leading business scholars, particularly in accounting and finance. Australian degrees are recognised across the world and the credibility of an Australian education assists with mobility and entry into a business career.


Thousands of students study in Australia with business degree programs being the most popular. Approximately 600,000 international students are currently studying in Australia. Over one third of these are studying at our universities and the majority of international students enrolled at a university are studying a business program. These include undergraduate and specialised masters programs, diplomas, MBAs, higher research masters degrees and PhD programs. (Australian Education International).

Australia has a high level of cultural diversity. 26 per cent of the permanent population were born in another country and a further 20 per cent are children of immigrants (Australia Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census). Similarly, its international students come from a large number of countries. 33 per cent of international students come from North-East Asia, mainly from China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea; 19 per cent of students come from South-East Asia drawing mainly from Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam; 15 per cent of students come from Central Asia, India in particular; with 14 per cent coming from the Americas. Europe and Africa are growing strongly with French, German and Scandinavian students being the most common arrivals from Europe.

Tuition fee levels generally reflect the prestige and location of the institution and reflect market demand for programs. The need for all Australian institutions to comply with the Australian Qualifications Framework and the accompanying TEQSA audit process, provides students with a quality assurance framework across the entire sector. Quality is also signalled by international accreditation labels. A significant number of Australian business schools are accredited by one or other or both of the major international accreditation bodies, AACSB International (North America) and EQUIS (Europe). The various sources of regular external scrutiny ensures that the curriculum in our business schools is kept up to date and reflective of modern business needs. From the student perspective this means that their studies will prepare them well for their future aspirations, whether they be career focussed or looking to higher study. Current Australian visa regulations assist in career development by allowing most business students who study for two years or more to stay for a further two years to gain post-study work experience.

studying business in australia

Business schools come in various forms: large traditional schools such as the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne and Western Australia; multi-campus schools such as the Universities of Monash, Charles Sturt and Griffith; or distance-education specialists like the University of Southern Queensland. In Australia, international students have a wide variety of choices in study environments with those looking to large city locations having the choice of Universities such as RMIT and Macquarie, mid-sized cities such as University of South Australia and Curtin University of Technology, and for those who prefer smaller learning communities having the choice of options such as the University of Tasmania or one of the regional Business Schools like James Cook University.

Undergraduate business degrees comprise three years’ equivalent full-time study and are taught in English. The first year typically covers eight foundation courses in key business areas such as economics, accounting, management, organisations, finance and marketing. Students then follow a major to study in the two higher years. The major is a set of sequenced courses that focus on a particular discipline. Students therefore need to select the set of courses that are most aligned to their interests and career aspirations by the end of the first year.

Double degrees or combined degrees are also available. Students can enrol in two degrees simultaneously and take half their courses in each of two disciplines. Combined degrees enable students to obtain a business qualification while adding study in a language, science or the arts. Combined degrees take longer to complete (typically four to five years).

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Business schools are constantly improving their international student services. Alumni associations with international chapters can help with job placement back in the home country, in addition to offering general support and social and business networking opportunities.

A business qualification with international study and work experience certainly seems to be prominent in the background of many global business leaders. For example, one-in-three chief executives in top US and Australian companies hold a business or economics qualification.

Given global demand for well qualified business graduates, there has never been a better time to consider obtaining an Australian business degree. The Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) represents all Australian university business Schools from which one-in-three Australian university students graduate.  Our aim is to advance and promote the value of excellence in business education and research working together with industry, government and the community.

Mr. Stan Astachnowicz, Former International Network Chair, Australian Business Deans Council