Best-Rated Online Universities (2023)



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Modern life, in which juggling full-time work and family commitments with continued learning is often a necessity, means that online or ‘flexible’ studying is an increasingly popular choice at many universities. Call it post-COVID education or lifestyle prioritisation, but students now often look for study programs that fit around their busy lives. Nearly a quarter of students (24%) surveyed by Canstar Blue undertook some type of distance or remote learning, with the majority either working casually or full-time while studying. More than a third (38%) look back at their time at university – either virtual or in-person − fondly.

It’s clear that university, whether it be online or on campus, part-time or full-time, is about more than just education. From study options and career paths to student support and learning outcomes, there are many things to consider when deciding which online university to choose, including how it fits into your lifestyle.

How we rate online universities (Australia)

Canstar Blue surveyed more than 598 current students and graduates of the past 10 years to identify which online universities students rate the best in Australia (Note: ‘online universities’ refers to any Australian university that offers online degrees and courses). 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.
  • Student support available: the uni/course provided sufficient administrative, learning, and technical support, with access to lecturers, tutors, counsellors, administrators, and student services.
  • 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.
  • Opportunities & career prospects after graduation: the uni/course supported the transition from study to work and provided suitable employment outcomes or postgraduate study opportunities.

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 Australia have been compared in this survey. In our 2023 student satisfaction review, we collected sufficient data for six universities (assessed by domestic and international students) to be included in our ratings. So, which are the highest-rated online universities for student satisfaction?

Which Australian online universities were included in our 2023 ratings?

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

University State
Charles Sturt University NSW
CQUniversity QLD, NSW, VIC, WA, SA
Deakin University VIC
Griffith University QLD
Swinburne University of Technology VIC, NSW
University of New England (UNE) NSW

Most Satisfied Students | Griffith University


Griffith University was rated five stars for quality of education received, student support available, learning resources, opportunities & career prospects after graduation and overall satisfaction.

What is Griffith University known for?

Griffith University offers a wide range of postgraduate and undergraduate degrees and courses, with options to study part-time or full-time depending on your schedule. Griffith University also offers over 100 of online degrees, allowing for hybrid or external learning, with a number of its degrees, subjects and teaching staff having received international acclaim.

What type of online learning does Griffith University offer?

Griffith University offers over 100 of degrees via online means, with its Digital campus allowing for online or hybrid learning. Online course materials, virtual classrooms, digital collaboration opportunities and online assessment lodging are all on offer, with a suite of services and guides available to also help you on your online learning journey, including dedicated IT support and an online library. If you’re not sure about what you’d like to study, Griffith University also allows you to search online courses via its website, with filters to help you find certain study areas or degrees, with examples of online courses including communication, computing and data analytics, public administration, climate change adaption and business administration.

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.

Is online learning at university worth it?

Online university degrees hold the same value as traditional degrees in most, but not all, industries, providing they’ve been accredited. Most Australian universities accredit their own courses and degrees. Education providers without self-accrediting authority must have their courses accredited by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), which is the national regulator for the higher education sector.

Keep in mind that online degrees are simply a choice in the way you learn, not the degree you earn. While accredited online degrees are just as good as traditional, on-campus degrees, it’s important to mention that some degrees are better suited to studying online than others. Degrees in areas such as accounting, IT, social sciences, and business can more easily be conducted online because they have fewer practical elements than study disciplines such as medicine, science-based programs, and engineering, which typically require more hands-on learning.

Your chosen university or higher education provider should be able to advise you on the best study options for your field of study, career goals, and personal circumstances. If you’re after more information, check out our guides on how online university works, and if they’re a good idea for you.

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.

  • 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