Canada vs. Australia: Digging Deeper into the School Rankings

As we outlined in our previous article on the top Australian and Canadian universities, once you decide to study abroad, you then face a choice of which country to choose, and which city to choose to live and study in. You may also wish to work during and after your studies. While both Canada and Australia have highly ranked universities, it is always a good idea to compare the depth of options available. That means looking at mid-ranked universities which can still offer great value, as well as community colleges or technical schools that offer diplomas in careers you might with to consider. There’s a lot more on offer than just scrambling for a place in Med School at The University of Melbourne or University of Toronto. 

Read Part One


Mid-Ranked Universities

University of Queensland By Sedination at en.wikipedia [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], from Wikimedia Commons

University of Queensland by Sedination / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Do not think of these schools as middling or mediocre by any means. These are universities that either just fell short of the best 5 rankings by Canadian or Australian schools on a global scale that we highlighted in our last article, or are highly ranked in domestic Canadian or Australian rankings, but less so in global rankings. Part of the reason is they often do not have as high a research profile as the top ranked schools, but do very well in terms of undergraduate teaching quality.

The following summarizes those schools that rank relatively highly in global surveys but did not make it into the top 5. We use the same 3 surveys: Times Higher Education (THE), QS World University Rankings, and Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). The THE survey focuses on academic reputation, the QS survey focuses more on student and employer satisfaction, while the ARWU survey is research-results oriented with a science and engineering emphasis. All 3 surveys are internationally recognized and are often used in by governments, corporations, schools, or students and parents themselves.

University THE Rank QS Rank AWSU Rank
1. The University of Queensland, Brisbane 67 43 85
2. Monash University, Melbourne 44 70 101-150
3. The University of New South Wales, Sydney 100 48 101-150
4. The University of Western Australia, Perth - 89 88 (4-6 in Australia)
5. The University of Alberta, Edmonton - 84 101-150 (5-6 in Canada)
6. Universite de Montreal - 83 88 (4 in Canada)¹
7. McMaster University, Hamilton - 113 90 (4 in Canada)
8. The University of Adelaide - 100 151-200 (8 in Australia)
9. Macquarie University, Sydney 67 254 201-300 (9 in Australia)
10. York University, Toronto 97 421-430 401-500 (19-21 in Canada)

¹ The curriculum is mostly in French although some thesis presentations and other work may be presented in another language like English.  

What this table shows is the subjectivity of each ranking – or the difference in focus of methodology, if you like, between various ranking systems. For example, Macquarie and York Universities come close to the bottom in the QS and AWSU rankings but come in the top 100 in the THE survey. At the same time many schools that do reasonably well in QS and AWSU do not appear in the THE top 100. It is always a good idea to use several rankings only as a general guide, like an index in a library, and dig further to see what any specific school has to offer. For example, if your interest is Modern Languages then The Australian National University and University of Toronto both rank very well at 14 in the QS survey while the University of Melbourne is at 23. In Geography, a subject mattered dominated by British schools according to the QS rankings, you will find the University of British Columbia, The Australian National University, and University of Toronto at 10, 11, and 12. Remember, use several rankings and do further research to see what school suits you best.


Community Colleges and Technical Institutes


Community Colleges are found in urban, suburban, and rural locations in both Canada and Australia. Because most international students, as well as immigrants, choose to locate in larger urban areas, we will focus on Colleges and Institutes in Toronto and Sydney. While international and even domestic ranking systems at the community college and technical school level are hard to find, we can use in the case of Toronto, the entrance requirements for individual subjects or programs within the Ontario Community College system. The higher the requirements, the more in-demand these occupations are. For example:

  • Centennial College: Paramedic (9101) requires 75% average in English, Math, Biology, and Physics or Chemistry as minimum entrance standards. In fact, to be competitive, you will need an average of 90 – 95% over the 4 courses.
  • Centennial College: Practical Nursing (9350) also requires 75% in the same 4 courses and to be competitive you will need an overall average of 80 – 85% in the 4 courses.
  • George Brown College: Dental Hygiene (5124) requires a 70% minimum in English and Biology and a 60% minimum in Chemistry, Math, and Physics.
  • OCAD University: The former Ontario College of Art & Design is a highly reputable institute with a minimum academic requirement of 70% as well as 70% in senior level academic English for international students. You must also submit a portfolio of your work or a writing sample. 



In Australia the Technical and Further Education, (TAFE), colleges or institutes are state funded and operated and provide tertiary vocational training under the National Training System and Australian Qualifications Framework in a wide range of areas including:

  • Hospitality
  • Tourism
  • Construction
  • Visual Arts
  • Information Technology

In New South Wales, as well as in other states, they issue a variety of certificates and diplomas that can often be used as partial credits towards a Bachelor’s degree. They include:

  • Certificate I, II, III, and IV
  • Diplomas
  • Advanced Diplomas
  • Graduate Certificates
  • Graduate Diplomas

In Sydney you have several TAFE colleges and institutes:

  • Northern Sydney Institute (NSI): Offers online, classroom, and workplace training and programs. It offers a wide variety of courses from Automotive to Children’s Services, to Hospitality to Marketing and Media, as well as Information Technology and Communication.
  • South Western Sydney Institute (SWSI) is an enormous college with 73,000 students across about 10 colleges in the Sydney area. The award winning institution offers over 700 courses across a wide variety of areas and have participated in international skills training programs across Asia and the Middle East.
  • Sydney TAFE (formerly Sydney Institute of Technology) has 7 colleges across 8 campuses and offers a variety of courses from Architecture to Fashion and Graphic Design as well as Health and Life Sciences, Nursing and Real Estate among others.

Go here for entrance requirements to TAFE colleges in New South Wales. Remember that TAFE colleges and institutes will help you achieve certification in Australia which means you can start working as a full-time professional assuming you have the required visa.

Finally, in the case of both Australia, which offers a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), and Canada which has in place a Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP) that is valid up to 3 years, depending on the length of your academic program, and is a step towards gaining permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program, offer work visas and/or permits for graduates from local colleges and institutes.

Get a Study Permit to Canada

Category: is independently run and does not seek editorial input from IMMIgroup Inc. The views of the authors of content on do not reflect the views of the consultants employed by IMMIgroup Inc.

"All images on are CC licensed, public domain or the work of IMMIgroup employees. If you see your image on and it has not been CC licensed, please contact us immediately at [email protected] so we can take it down."