The best-rated universities in South Australia

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South Australia may be best known for its rolling hills, food and wine, but it’s also home to some globally recognised universities. Adelaide in particular, as the state’s business centre and home to many government and financial institutions, is a popular study destination for students seeking career outcomes.

In fact, more than half of students surveyed nationally by Canstar Blue said their university degree was vital for their future career prospects (64%), while 51% said university was the best time of their life from a social perspective. So, making the right choice from the start is important.

That’s why Canstar Blue surveyed more than 120 current students and graduates of the past 10 years to find which universities they rated the best in South Australia. There are many 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, including how satisfied they were overall with their experience.

In our 2021 student satisfaction review, we collected enough data from two public and private universities (assessed by domestic students) in eight categories: quality of education received, learning resources, student support available, teaching staff, career opportunities and prospects after graduation, campus amenities, social aspects and overall satisfaction. Please see our methodology here.

So, which are the highest-rated universities in South Australia for student satisfaction?

Which SA universities were included in our 2021 ratings?

Here are the universities in South Australia that were included in Canstar Blue’s 2021 student satisfaction survey, listed below in alphabetical order.

University Locations
University of Adelaide Adelaide, Roseworthy, Waite & regional centres
University of South Australia (UniSA) Adelaide, Mount Gambier & regional centres

Most Satisfied Students – University of Adelaide

Best universities in South Australia

The University of Adelaide, informally known as Adelaide University, topped our universities review for South Australia, receiving a five-star rating for overall student satisfaction, as well as in all other categories: quality of education, learning resources, student support available, teaching staff, career opportunities and prospects after graduation, campus amenities and social aspects.

The University of South Australia (UniSA), the largest university in South Australia by student population, was also rated five stars by the students and graduates surveyed for the student support available.

What is the University of Adelaide known for?

The University of Adelaide is a public research university located in Adelaide, South Australia. It’s one of the oldest universities in Australia, having been established in 1874. Adelaide University is known for its high-impact research programs that aim to solve global economic and social challenges, and therefore as a good place to undertake postgraduate studies. It has been recognised in the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) ranking conducted by the Australian Research Council.

The University of Adelaide is ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) for 16 subject areas, including electronic engineering, instruments science technology and nursing. It has been named South Australia’s top public university for graduate employability and employer satisfaction in the Graduate Outcomes Survey conducted by Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

What is the University of Adelaide known for?

The University of Adelaide is a public research university located in Adelaide, South Australia. It’s one of the oldest universities in Australia, having been established in 1874. Adelaide University is known for its high-impact research programs that aim to solve global economic and social challenges, and therefore as a good place to undertake postgraduate studies. It has been recognised in the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) ranking conducted by the Australian Research Council.

The University of Adelaide is ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) for 16 subject areas, including electronic engineering, instruments science technology and nursing. It has been named South Australia’s top public university for graduate employability and employer satisfaction in the Graduate Outcomes Survey conducted by Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

Does the University of Adelaide offer online learning?

The University of Adelaide offers full-term undergraduate and postgraduate degrees (including masters by coursework) and specialised short courses online through MyUni. The platform can be accessed online and via an app and is an all-in-one hub for access to course materials, discussions, feedback and personalised student support. The University of Adelaide also offers open online learning through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS), where students can study free AdelaideX courses online and receive a verified certificate for a small fee.

Australian & State University Ratings 2021

Universities in South Australia

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 South Australia?

There are three public universities in South Australia, all of which have campuses in Adelaide and some also have regional centres. These include the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, and Flinders University. Carnegie Mellon University and Torrens University in Adelaide, both private institutions, have campuses in the state too. South Australia also has specialist higher education institutions for business, hospitality and technology, as well as tertiary education providers such as Technical and Further Education (TAFE).

Is Adelaide University better than the University of South Australia?

All three public universities in South Australia feature in the QS World University Rankings, which makes them all strong options for students, so the decision may come down to your specific field of study. The University of Adelaide is well-regarded for its business degrees and for accounting or economics and appears in various world rankings for graduate outcomes. It’s also a member of the Group of Eight that comprises Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, alongside Monash University and the University of Sydney.

The University of South Australia is more often recognised, meanwhile, for its programs in information technology and computer science. UniSA has also been rated South Australia’s number one university for graduate careers and student satisfaction in the QILT Graduate Outcomes Survey. It was similarly recognised in the Australian Research Council’s ERA ranking.

What is the best-rated university in South Australia?

What is the best university in South Australia

Our university ratings saw the University of Adelaide place number one in all key areas, including quality of education, learning resources, student support available, teaching staff, career opportunities and prospects after graduation, campus amenities, social aspects and overall student satisfaction. The University of South Australia (UniSA) rated five stars for student support available.

However, these aren’t the only institutions worth considering for your studies, so be sure to investigate other university rankings for guidance on which rank well for education excellence, graduate outcomes and student experience. Some popular rankings include the QS World University Rankings, the ARWU and The Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE).

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 reputation of university, acceptance of enrolment and physical location.

  • Reputation of university & courses: 47%
  • Application to study was accepted: 47%
  • Location: 43%
  • Facilities (i.e. campus facilities, technology in library, classrooms, etc.): 26%
  • Friends or family went to the same university: 21%
  • Received a scholarship to attend: 12%
  • Extra-curricular activities (i.e. colleges, sporting and social opportunities, clubs, etc.): 10%

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