Best-Rated Universities in
New South Wales (2023)



Fact Checked Fact Checked

New South Wales, sometimes called the Premier state, is known for its golden beaches, rich history and its capital city, Sydney. Sydney and surrounding cities are also known for their many universities and campuses, with Sydney home to some of the best known universities in Australia, with academic excellence at their core, with some ranking highly in international university scores.   

Such a choice can make picking one university hard, and since the majority of students surveyed by Canstar Blue (76%) said their university degree was vital for their future career prospects, and 56% called university the best time of their life from a social perspective, making the right choice is important.

How we rate universities (NSW)

Canstar Blue surveyed more than 719 current students and graduates of the past 10 years to identify the universities students rated the best in New South Wales. There are a lot of university ratings out there, but we wanted to take a different approach by asking students to rate their university on a range of factors that were important to them and to understand how satisfied they were overall with their university experience. Please see our methodology here.

Respondents rate their satisfaction with their university from zero to ten, where zero is extremely dissatisfied and ten is extremely satisfied. University satisfaction was rated by respondents on the following criteria:
  • Overall student satisfaction: measures student satisfaction with a university as an individual score, NOT a combined total of all criteria.
  • Quality of education received: the uni/course provided high-quality academic education and skills development, as well as adequate learning structures, educational materials, resources, etc.
  • Teaching staff: the uni/course administrators, lecturers, and tutors were approachable and fair in their assessments, had effective teaching styles/abilities, and provided sufficient learning support.
  • Opportunities & career prospects after graduation: the uni/course supported the transition from study to work and provided suitable employment outcomes or postgraduate study opportunities.
  • Learning resources: the university provided sufficient learning resources such as libraries, online portals, and laboratories, while courses had flexible learning options and suitable materials for the chosen field of study.
  • Student support available: the uni/course provided sufficient administrative, learning, and technical support, with access to lecturers, tutors, counsellors, administrators, and student services.
  • Social aspects: the uni/course provided sufficient networking opportunities, social events, and extra-curricular activities (i.e. clubs, societies, sporting and volunteering options, etc.).
  • Campus amenities: the university campus featured a good range of amenities, including access to public transport, adequate parking, lockers, libraries, cafeterias, Wi-Fi, on-campus accommodation options, etc.

The winning university is the one that receives the highest Overall satisfaction rating once all the scores from the Overall satisfaction criteria are combined and averaged.

  • Overall satisfaction is asked as a specific question and represents an individual measure, not a combined total of all criteria.
  • When we cannot determine a clear winner from the criteria for the Overall satisfaction rating, we will then look at the other criteria measured in the rating.
    • The university with the highest number of five-star ratings within the supporting criteria will become the five-star recipient in overall satisfaction, and thus win the award. If a clear leader still cannot be determined from the supporting criteria, joint winners will be declared.

Universities must have received at least 30 responses to be included, so not all universities available in New South Wales have been compared in this survey. In our 2023 student satisfaction review, we collected sufficient data for nine universities (assessed by domestic and international students) to be included in our ratings. So, which are the highest-rated universities in NEw South Wales for student satisfaction?

Which New South Wales universities were included in our 2023 ratings?

Here are the universities in New South Wales that were included in Canstar Blue’s 2023 student satisfaction survey, listed below in alphabetical order.

University Locations
Charles Sturt University (CSU) Bathurst, Dubbo, Port Macquarie & regional centres
Macquarie University Sydney
University of New England (UNE) Armidale & regional centres
University of Newcastle Newcastle
University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney & regional centres
University of Sydney Sydney & regional centres
University of Technology Sydney Sydney
University of Wollongong (UOW) Sydney, Wollongong & regional centres
Western Sydney University (WSU) Sydney

Most Satisfied Students | Macquarie University


Macquarie University topped our universities review for New South Wales, with five star ratings for campus amenities and overall satisfaction.

What is Macquarie University known for?

Macquarie University is known for its expertise in business, arts, engineering, health, human sciences, medicine and science. Ranked in the top 200 universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education 2022 results, Macquarie is considered one of the best universities in the country. The university is also ranked at number eight for employment outcomes in Australia according to the 2024 QS University Rankings, which speaks to the high demand for graduates from the uni for jobs.

A number of MBA courses are ranked in the top spots in Australia according to the QS University Rankings, with  the Master of Marketing and Master of Finance coming in at number one in Australia and Master of Management coming in at number two in Australia. Their rankings are also internationally recognised with Macquarie ranked at number 130 in the world.     

Does Macquarie University offer online learning?

Yes, Macquarie University offers online and flexible learning. With part-time study options and evening study options you can select classes that suit your timetable better, whether it be around work or other life commitments. The university also offers a more tailor made experience with dual degrees and combined degree options to better suit your desired career outcomes.

Australian & State University Ratings 2023

Interested in finding out how students rated other top universities from around Australia? Click on the links below to read more about the top-rated universities in the country.

How many universities are there in NSW?

There are 11 universities in the state of New South Wales within central city areas and in more rural New South Wales. There are some universities that are predominantly based out of New South Wales as well as a number of other universities that are spread out across the country such as Australian Catholic University, Southern Cross University and many more.

What to consider when choosing a university

Current and past students surveyed by Canstar Blue were asked to name the key reasons for choosing their university. The main factors identified included the reputation of the university, acceptance of enrolment from the university, and the physical location of the campuses. These are the reasons students and graduates cited for choosing their university:

  • The reputation of the university and courses: 41%
  • Application to study was accepted: 40%
  • Location: 39%
  • Facilities (i.e. campus facilities, technology in library, classrooms, etc.): 22%
  • Friends or family went to the same university: 15%
  • Cost/fees were more affordable than other universities: 14%
  • Received a scholarship to attend: 9%
  • Extra-curricular activities (i.e. colleges, sporting and social opportunities, clubs, etc.): 7%

Learn more about university in Australia

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About our consumer experts

Dean Heckscher: Site Editor

This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Site Editor, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.


Meet the Editorial Team


Samantha Howse: Consumer Research Specialist

Sam Howse Research Specialist

Samantha Howse is Canstar Blue’s Consumer Research Specialist, coordinating the consumer research program behind our customer satisfaction awards across Canstar and Canstar Blue in Australia and New Zealand. Sam has earned a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from Griffith University and, with seven years in market research and 2 years in marketing, she is experienced in survey design, implementation and analysis, coupled with an understanding of marketing principles and best practice.



Meet the Research Team