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Best University in Australia: UniMelb vs. ANU

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Best University in Australia: UniMelb vs. ANU

Best university in Australia is an eternal argument in Australian academia and industry. The higher education landscape in Australia is home to prestigious establishments, fostering a competitive and dynamic environment. The competition to determine the leading university often centers around the University of Melbourne (UniMelb) and the Australian National University (ANU). These best universities in Australia consistently compete for the highly sought-after top position, provoking enthusiastic debates among academics, students, and industry experts. This article explores the contentious nature of the rivalry between UniMelb and ANU, examining the defining characteristics of each institution and presenting arguments both in favor of and against their claims to be considered the best university in Australia.


Founded in 1853, the UniMelb holds the distinction of being one of Australia’s oldest and most esteemed educational establishments. Renowned for its commitment to scholarly brilliance, extensive research initiatives, and a wide range of programs spanning various fields of study, the university has consistently garnered global recognition. Its reputation is credited to its innovative research endeavors, robust industry affiliations, and a thriving campus community. The institution’s proficiency and rich academic heritage have earned it widespread admiration both within Australia and on an international scale.

Supporters of UniMelb argue that its extensive range of faculties and programs, along with its robust research infrastructure, offers a significant advantage over competitors. The best university in Australia, located in the heart of Melbourne, has a sprawling campus that fosters a vibrant and multicultural environment, promoting creativity and intellectual growth. Melbourne University has played a pivotal role in the past decades through its teaching/research innovation and leadership.

The best university in Australia places special emphasis on equipping students with the skills to tackle the world’s biological, social, economic, and environmental challenges while maintaining close connections with the community. Students can enroll in bachelor’s, master’s, PhD, and professional development degree programs, obtaining the qualifications necessary to confidently enter the job market.

Best University in Australia - Applyindex



Established in 1946, the ANU is renowned for its dedication to research, innovation, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Now, it’s always one of the candidates to be the best university in Australia. ANU strongly emphasizes scientific research and policy development, focusing on areas like astronomy, environmental science, and international relations. Situated in Canberra, the nation’s capital, the university has unparalleled access to government institutions, research centers, and think tanks.

Advocates of ANU argue that its specialized research focus and proximity to policymakers provide a unique advantage. ANU’s research-driven approach and emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving have led to groundbreaking discoveries and influential alumni shaping Australia’s intellectual landscape.  Best University in Australia - Applyindex


Best university in Australia against various criteria

– Research Excellence

The UniMelb maintains a broad research portfolio encompassing diverse disciplines. Its consistent high rankings in global university assessments highlight its commitment to pioneering research and the advancement of knowledge across multiple fields. The university’s research centers and institutes are widely recognized as significant contributors to academic disciplines, yielding numerous publications and citations. With robust research infrastructure and well-established industry connections, the university fosters collaborative partnerships with industry stakeholders, fostering impactful outcomes and driving innovation.

In contrast, the ANU is renowned for its focused research approach and specialization in key areas. ANU strongly emphasizes scientific research and policy development, specifically in astronomy, environmental science, and international relations. The university’s research centers and institutes dedicated to these fields have made noteworthy contributions to advancing knowledge and understanding. ANU’s proximity to government institutions in Canberra offers researchers unique opportunities for policy-related research, directly influencing policy decisions and public discourse.

The UniMelb stands out as the best university in Australia in terms of research, primarily attributed to its extensive range of studies spanning various disciplines, resulting in a higher number of publications and citations. On the other hand, ANU distinguishes itself in research by focusing on specific areas of study, enabling deep specialization and expertise in those particular domains. The university’s research centers have achieved significant breakthroughs and generated influential research outcomes, particularly within their specialized fields.

Ultimately, determining research excellence between UniMelb and ANU depends on the specific field or discipline. The UniMelb excels with its comprehensive research profile across disciplines, while ANU gains a unique advantage in specific domains through its specialized research approach and proximity to policy-making entities. Both institutions are recognized leaders in their respective areas, contributing significantly to Australia’s research landscape.

– World Rankings

Both universities have excelled in world rankings, emphasizing their dedication to quality education and research. The UniMelb consistently ranks within the top 50 globally, recognized for research output, international outlook, and teaching quality. Its interdisciplinary studies and robust research programs have garnered global recognition. Similarly, the Australian National University is esteemed in social sciences, arts, and humanities, frequently placing within the top 100 worldwide.

Its research impact, student satisfaction, and international reputation contribute to its top-tier status. Prospective students should consider program offerings, campus culture, and personal fit alongside rankings. Table 1 lists the global rankings of these top Australian universities on some famous university ranking report websites in years 2022 and 2023. Overall, both universities offer high-quality education and ample growth opportunities.

Best University in Australia: UniMelb vs. ANU


– Academic Programs

The UniMelb provides diverse academic programs for interdisciplinary learning and a well-rounded education. It offers faculties and programs across various disciplines, including arts, business, engineering, health sciences, law, and science. Emphasizing interdisciplinary studies, the university helps students explore connections between fields and gain comprehensive understanding. With its renowned academic excellence, it provides a strong foundation for diverse career paths.

ANU focuses on specialized academic programs, enabling students to specialize and gain expertise. The university offers programs in arts, social sciences, business, economics, engineering, computer science, law, medicine, science, and more. ANU promotes research and critical thinking, encouraging deep engagement in chosen fields and contributions to knowledge advancements. Specialized research centers and institutes offer opportunities to work with leading experts.

In summary, the UniMelb offers a broader range of academic programs, fostering interdisciplinary exploration. ANU takes a focused approach, allowing specialization in specific fields. The choice depends on individual preferences and career goals, whether seeking a well-rounded education or specialized study. Thus, different perspectives can fairly nominate either of them as the top university in Australia. 

– Industry Connections

The UniMelb’s strong industry ties enhance its reputation for producing job-ready graduates. Located in Melbourne, a vibrant city, it offers numerous collaboration opportunities with industries. The university actively fosters relationships with industry partners, facilitating internships, work placements, and research collaborations. This close academia-industry interaction allows students to gain practical experience and develop valued job market skills.

ANU’s proximity to government bodies and research institutions creates unique industry connections, especially in public policy and international relations. Situated in Canberra, the nation’s capital, ANU has unparalleled access to government institutions, research centers, and think tanks. Students and researchers engage directly with policymakers, contributing to policy discussions and influencing decision-making. ANU’s strong emphasis on research and interdisciplinary collaboration attracts industry partnerships in technology, science, and social sciences.

In summary, UniMelb excels in strong industry ties, leveraging its dynamic city location to provide practical industry experiences. ANU benefits from proximity to government institutions, offering unique collaboration and policy influence opportunities. Both universities enable student-industry engagement, but opportunities and areas of focus vary based on location and expertise.

– Campus Environment

The campus environments of UniMelb and ANU differ in notable ways. The UniMelb boasts a vibrant and bustling campus, located in the heart of the city. Its urban setting offers students a dynamic and diverse experience, with easy access to cultural and recreational amenities. The campus is known for its architectural beauty, blending historic and modern structures. In contrast, ANU’s campus is nestled within a tranquil and serene environment in Canberra, surrounded by green spaces and natural landscapes.

This setting provides a peaceful and conducive atmosphere for studying and reflection. ANU’s campus design incorporates a cohesive layout, with buildings and facilities situated in close proximity to promote a sense of community and collaboration among students and faculty. Ultimately, while UniMelb offers an energetic and urban experience, ANU provides a more serene and nature-oriented campus environment.

Best university in Australia: Conclusion

Determining the best university in Australia sparks contentious debates over various factors. The UniMelb and ANU are esteemed institutions with distinct strengths in academia and research. The UniMelb excels with its diverse programs, research excellence, and industry connections, making it a formidable contender. Meanwhile, ANU’s specialized research focus, policy influence, and proximity to government institutions bestow significant prestige. Ultimately, the title of Australia’s best university remains perpetually debated, without a definitive answer in sight.

Which one of them do you think is the best university in Australia?

Tags: Oceania

Amin Reyhani

Author Since: April 20, 2024

1 Comment

  • […] According to the famous international university ranking report websites, i.e., Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings, Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) Rankings, etc. group of 8 universities are among the best universities in the world. Table 1 lists the latest ranking of the top Australian universities in the world in the years 2021 and 2022. It demonstrates the competition between the University of Melbourne and ANU to be the best university in Australia. […]

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