With more than 25,000 international students currently studying across 200 educational institutions, Australia’s favourite holiday destination and host city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games is also fast becoming a serious place of learning. In 2016, the Gold Coast was named by QS Top Universities as the world’s best student city by the beach, while this year it was recognised by the International Educational Association of Australia as the country’s top regional student location.
International students play an important role in this entire story, studying in a range of disciplines from health, sports science, tourism property, international business and professional services. “Being part of a diverse, safe and welcoming community ranks highly with prospective students choosing study destinations, and that’s an important part of the Gold Coast’s growth story in education,” said according to Study Gold Coast CEO Shannon Willoughby.
The study experience on the Gold Coast is led by the city’s three research-intensive universities, namely Griffith, Bond and Southern Cross which boast an average international student cohort of 21 per cent. Gold Coast also has a range of technical and training colleges along with some of Australia’s best private schools.
With a student population of about 50,000, is the largest university on the Gold Coast. It ranks within the top 350 institutions globally on five of the largest world university rankings and has a number of discipline areas ranked in the top 200. For Indian students, programs in IT, engineering and those offered by the Griffith Business School are the most popular. Griffith also has a strong reputation with Indian students for courses in architecture and health management.
Griffith University has five campuses between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, with the Gold Coast home to the world-renowned Institute for Glycomics and the Menzies Health Institute Queensland. This accommodates one of the largest health groups of any university in Australia with more than 750 staff and student researchers at Menzies Health Institute alone.
Southern Cross University
Located at the southern end of the Gold Coast, is Australia’s only beachside campus. It is ranked in the top 150 universities under 50 years old in the world, according to Times Higher Education Young University Ranking. While it is the newest of the Gold Coast’s universities it is a multi-campus institution that hosts 13,400 students across three cities, with more than 2000 international students.
It is Australia’s first and largest private university. It is one of Australia’s most diverse educational institutions with international students comprising almost 40 per cent of the student cohort. Bond, with a student body of just 5000, also consistently rates among the best universities for graduate satisfaction with courses. While Chinese students have driven much of the growth in the Gold Coast education sector in recent years, its popularity has grown sharply among Indian students.
The Gold Coast reflects a broader national trend where enrolments from Indians studying in Australia have reached a seven-year high, according to the Australian High Commission in Delhi. Bond University has experienced an average of 20 per cent lift in enrolments each year from India over the past three years.
Among the most popular programmes at Australian universities are Nursing, the Arts, Health Sciences, Commerce, Engineering, Psychology, Teaching and Law.
The three most popular degrees for international students at Bond are Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Business Construction Management and Quantity Surveying. Popular Southern Cross University (SCU) programs include Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Information Technology, Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Master of Engineering Management/Master of Business Administration double degree and Master of International Tourism and Hotel Management.
The popularity of SCU’s Allied Health degrees is also increasing, especially the Bachelor of Nursing and the newly-introduced postgraduate qualification, the graduate certificate in Australian Nursing, which started last year.
“Southern Cross University welcomes international students from more than 60 countries and students from South Asia form a very important part of our international student cohort,” said Don Whitford, the university’s regional manager of South Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Gold Coast universities offer flexible entry options for international students, and minimum English language proficiency requirements vary depending on the study program. Griffith University offers pathways to study goals for those with lower language skills through the Griffith English Language Institute located on campus.
Applicants typically include students who have completed secondary school studies equivalent to Year 12 in Australia. For a bachelor program at Griffith, the requirement starts at the equivalent of an All India Secondary School Certificate (AISSC) average of 50 per cent in four academic subjects.
Bond University undergraduate degrees require an AISSC or Indian School Certificate minimum of 65 per cent average in the best four subjects. Some bachelor programs require higher minimum entry standards and may require specific prerequisites. This may include the submission of portfolios, medical checks or professional work experience.
Australian universities do not administer entrance exams. Instead, entry into specific degree programs is based on a student’s previous academic results and English proficiency test results.
International students seeking to study at Southern Cross University and Bond University must apply through one of their registered recruitment agents. For Griffith University, they can apply directly with the university or through a registered agent.
The article is authored by Nick Nichols, Study Gold Coast