Canberra beat out Sydney and Melbourne to become Australia’s capital city. It’s within the rather tiny ACT (Australian Capital Territory), which is entirely surrounded by NSW. A lot of thought was put into planning the city, especially when it came to incorporating the abundant vegetation within the city’s limits. It may only be the eighth biggest city in Australia, but it packs power when it comes to its education. It is home to Australian National University, which consistently ranks in the top three universities in Australia and within the top 40 universities in the world. The weather is great, the vibe is exciting, and the people are friendly. When you get right down to it, there are very few reasons why you wouldn’t want to study in Canberra.
Let’s take a closer look at what Canberra has to offer students.
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Universities and Colleges
Australian National University
Australian National University is recognised as one of the best universities in the world; Times Higher Education Rankings, Academic Ranking of World Universities, and QS Rankings all place it within the top three universities in Australia and the top 70 universities in the world. Its social science, natural science, and mathematics departments are particularly highly esteemed.
ANU School of Art
It consists of eight colleges, each with its own schools and centres:
- ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences, which includes the Research School of Humanities and the Research School of Social Sciences.The School of Humanities, which includes Archaeology and Anthropology, Cultural Inquiry, Language Studies, and Music. The School of Social Sciences includes History, Philosophy, Politics & International Relations, and Sociology.
- ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, which offers specialisations in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia, and Oceania in subject areas that include language, economics, culture, and politics.
- ANU College of Business & Economics, which includes the Research School of Accounting & Business Information Systems, Research School of Economics, Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies & Applied Statistics, and the Research School of Management.
- ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science, which includes the Research School of Engineering and the Research School of Computer Science.
- ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, which includes the Research School of Biology, Research School of Population Health, Research School of Psychology, Climate Change Institute, Fenner School of Environment & Safety, Medical School, and the John Curtin School of Medical Research.
- ANU College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, which includes the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Research School of Chemistry, Research School of Earth Sciences, Research School of Physics & Engineering, Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, Centre for Advanced Microscopy, Energy Change Institute, and the Mathematical Sciences Institute.
- ANU College of Law, which includes the Australian Centre for Environmental Law, Australian Centre for Intellectual Property Law, Centre for Military & Security Law, Australian Network for Japanese Law, Centre for Climate Law and Policy, Centre for Commercial Law, Centre for International & Public Law, and the Centre for Law & Economics.
- National Security College, which offers graduate and PhD study opportunities in subjects such as National Security Policymaking, Civil-Military Relations, and Ethics and Technologies of War.
Australian National University has one main campus in Canberra: Acton Campus. It also has four satellite campuses in Australia.
1) Mt Stromlo Observatory – ACT
2) Siding Spring Observatory – NSW
3) North Australia Research Unit – NT
4) Kioloa Coastal Campus – NSW
ANU offers students a number of study opportunities from single undergraduate diplomas to double graduate master’s degrees. Research-intensive programs such as professional doctorates are also available.
University of Canberra
University of Canberra has a well-deserved reputation for producing the most employable graduates in the country. In other words, the knowledge and skills imparted are so relevant that employees can’t wait to get their hands on the university’s fresh-faced graduates.
It has four faculties:
- The Faculty of Arts and Design, which includes the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research and the News and Media Research Centre.
- The Faculty of Education, Science, Technology & Mathematics, which includes the Inspire Centre for ICT in Education, Education Institute, Australian Institute for Sustainable Communities, National Centre for Forensic Studies, Centre for Research in Therapeutic Solutions, and the Institute for Applied Ecology.
- The Faculty of Business, Government & Law, which includes the School of Government & Policy, School of Information Systems & Accounting, School of Law & Justice, and the School of Management.
- The Faculty of Health, which includes the state-of-the-art Centre for Research and Action in Public Health (CeRAPH).
There is one campus that provides students with the kind of calm and relaxing atmosphere that is conducive to study, while keeping them within walking distance of all the excitement of the city.
The University of Canberra offers students a variety of study opportunities from university preparation courses to research degrees.
Australian Catholic University
Australian Catholic University is open to all students, no matter what their religion or belief system. It places a great deal of emphasis on providing students with as much practical experience as possible, so that they are fully-equipped to become constructive members of the workforce as soon as they graduate. To this end, it has many professional placement and volunteer work programs.
Australian Catholic University has six faculties:
- The Faculty of Arts and Sciences
- The Faculty of Business
- The Faculty of Education
- The Faculty of Health Sciences
- The Faculty of Law
- The Faculty of Theology and Philosophy
ACU has six campuses in Australia, one of which is in Canberra: Signadou Campus.
Charles Sturt University
Canberra is one of Charles Sturt University’s many locations. It’s here that you will find the university’s School of Theology with all of its related qualifications, such as Bachelor of Theology, Graduate Certificate in Religious & Values Education, Master of Arts (Ageing & Pastoral Studies), Master of Arts (Pastoral Counselling), and Master of Ministry.
It contains two centres:
- St Mark’s National Theological Centre
- The Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT)
Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) offers the full range of nationally accredited and recognised TAFE and VET courses in Australia. Courses are available in the variety of formats that people have come to expect, namely online, on-campus, full-time, part-time, and in the workplace.
Study areas include:
- Art & Design
- Beauty & Hairdressing
- Building & Construction
- Business, Management & Accounting
- Communication, Media & Music
- Community, Children & Disability
- Electrical & Plumbing
- Engineering & Metal Fabrication
- English & Other Languages
- Environment & Horticulture
- Fitness, Sport & Massage
- Hospitality, Tourism & Events
- Science & Forensics
- Surveying & Spatial Information
- Teacher Training
- Veterinary and Animal Studies
CIT has six campuses in Canberra:
1) CIT Bruce is in north Canberra and boasts the renowned Sustainability Hub.
2) CIT Fyshwick Trade Skills Centre is in Canberra’s industrial area. It specialises in trades such as Plumbing and Electrotechnology.
3) CIT Gungahlin is also in north Canberra and provides access to a CISCO lab, commercial kitchen, and visual art centres.
4) CIT Reid is close the Canberra’s CBD.
5) CIT Tuggeranong is in the town’s centre.
6) CIT Woden is in Canberra’s inner-south.
Students in Canberra have several accommodation options. Many colleges and universities offer on-campus accommodation; for example, the University of Canberra has accommodation at Weeden Lodge, University of Canberra Village, and Arscott House. The schools may also have support services that help students find registered (approved) housing off-campus.
Homestays are a popular option. If you fancy the idea of living with a family then you should consult the Australian Homestay Network. The network provides special training to families who would like to open their homes to students. Families are also thoroughly vetted and inspected, so you know that you will be safe.
Other options include renting furnished or semi-furnished flats on your own, or sharing flats and houses with other students. Sites such as UniLodge will help you find accommodation that suits your needs, as well as your budget.
Living in Canberra
Many of the major cities in Australia are located in areas that have two seasons: summer and winter. Canberra offers students far more variety with four complete seasons. This means you get to enjoy the heat of summer, the cold of winter, and the glorious mildness of spring and autumn.
In 2012, a report by AMP and the University of Canberra’s National Centre of Economic and Social Modelling revealed that Canberra has the highest standard of living when compared to other major cities in Australia. The cost of living has remained reasonable, the healthcare is superb, the public transport is reliable and there are plenty of affordable entertainment options.
Thanks to the thought that went into planning the city, getting from one place to another is relatively easy. It also helps that the city has a great public transport system. The easiest way to get around is to use the ACTION buses. Students using ACTION buses benefit from special concessions when they pay cash, but they can also benefit from ACT’s Student Transport Program, which provides free transport from Monday to Friday during school terms. Canberra also tries to encourage cycling as much as possible by providing a vast network of dedicated cycle paths.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining options, as Canberra offers everything from five-star restaurants to cheap fast food outlets. According to Visit Canberra, the city has over 300 eateries, so you can choose whether you want traditional family fare, exotic foreign culinary experiences or just plain old hamburgers.
Things to do on a budget
Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex
There are plenty of activities to keep students when they’re not hitting the books. There is a variety of sports clubs for active students to get their fitness fix, and there are cultural clubs for things like art appreciation and poetry readings.
Cultural things to see include:
- The ANCA Gallery, which showcases emerging contemporary visual arts. Entry is free.
- ANU School of Art Gallery, which hosts several different events, including exhibitions and lectures. Entry is free.
Fascinating things to do include:
- The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, which is part of NASA’s Deep Space Network. Entry is free.
- CSIRO Discovery Centre, which takes visitors on an interactive tour of science in Australia. There is a student discount available.
Outdoorsy things to do include:
- The Australian National Botanic Gardens, which hosts a variety of events, exhibitions and guided walks. Entry is free.
- Black Mountain walking trails.
Shopping is varied with all the standard malls, supermarkets and outlets. But there are also several markets for students looking for a bargain, or just for something different. Markets include:
- Belconnen Fresh Food Markets with pretty much everything edible it’s possible to find in Australia. Entry is free.
- Benedict House with a selection of art, accessories and jewellery, as well as interesting fresh produce on weekends. Entry is free.
From the quality of the standard of living to the quality of the education, it’s clear that Canberra is one of the most student-friendly cities in the world, let alone Australia. So, don’t wait any longer, search TafeCourses.com.au’s selection of courses in Canberra and register now.
Read our guide to TAFE courses in Australia.