Australian National University vs University of Sydney: Which Should You Choose?

Australian National University vs University of Sydney: which university should I attend? This is a question that many students ask themselves when they are deciding where to study.

Both the Australian National University and the University of Sydney have unique qualities, making it hard for prospective students to decide where to attend.

In this blog post, we will compare the two universities in terms of tuition fees, student population size, graduate employment rate, and more!

About the Australian National University (ANU)

australian national university vs university of sydney
City of Canberra. Credit: canva

The Australian National University (ANU) is a public university in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Its main campus includes seven teaching and research colleges and several national academies and institutes.

ANU, the only institution founded by the Australian Parliament, was established in 1946. Canberra University College, founded in 1929 and joined with ANU in 1960, is its predecessor.

The Australian National University enrolls 10,052 undergraduate and 10,840 postgraduate students and has 3,753 personnel. As of 2018, the university’s endowment was valued at A$1.8 billion.

About University of Sydney (USyd)

The University of Sydney is a public research university in Sydney, Australia. The first institution in Australia and one of the world’s best universities was founded in 1850. It is one of Australia’s six sandstone institutions and one of the country’s most famous colleges.

The University of Sydney is located in the inner-city suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington. It has been ranked in the top 10 of the world’s most beautiful universities by the British Daily Telegraph and the American Huffington Post. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees through eight academic faculties and university schools.

The University of Sydney is a member of the Group of Eight, CEMS, Pacific Rim Universities Association, and Commonwealth Universities.

Australian National University vs University of Sydney

The City and Cost of Living

Canberra is a cosmopolitan city with modern, vibrant qualities that exudes the laid-back and pleasant atmosphere of a larger country town. In many ways, living in Canberra is like having the best of both worlds. The following are some of the characteristics of this metropolis:

  • Ranked as having the highest quality of life in the world by Numbeo in the 2019 Quality of Life Index
  • Home to 410,300 residents
  • Ranked as Australia’s most liveable city in REA Group’s Life in Australia 2019 report

Sydney is one of the world’s most beautiful, safe, and liveable cities. Because of its low crime rate, you can walk around Sydney’s streets and use public transportation at any time of day or night. Sydney has recognized for its gorgeous beaches as well as its fantastic climate.

With the assumption of students with cheap to a moderate living style and shared house accommodation, the estimation of cost of living for both cities is below.

Canberra: from $AUD 597/week

  • Accommodation: from 218/week
  • Transport: from $AUD 25/week
  • Food: from $AUD 159/week
  • Personal: from $AUD 29/week
  • Clothing: from $AUD 140/week
  • Entertainment: from $AUD 26/week

Sydney: from $AUD 665/week

  • Accommodation: from 238/week
  • Transport: from $AUD 54/week
  • Food: from $AUD 159/week
  • Personal: from $AUD 36/week
  • Clothing: from $AUD 140/week
  • Entertainment: from $AUD 38/week

Source: cost of living calculator

ANU Vs USyd University Rankings

The Australian National University

  • #1 in Australia (QS World University Ranking / QS WUR 2022)
  • #27 in the world (QS World University Ranking / QS WUR 2022)
  • #2 in Australia (Times Higher Education / THE 2022)
  • #54 in the world (Times Higher Education / THE 2022)
  • #5 in Australia (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020)
  • #66 in the world (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020)

The University of Sydney

  • #3 in Australia (QS World University Ranking / QS WUR 2022)
  • #38 in the world (QS World University Ranking / QS WUR 2022)
  • #5 in Australia (Times Higher Education / THE 2022)
  • #58 in the world (Times Higher Education / THE 2022)
  • #1 in Australia (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020)
  • #4 in the world (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020)

Rankings by Subjects

The rankings are based on QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 (Australia).

The Australian National University

  • Art & Humanities: #2
  • Life Science & Medicine: #8
  • Engineering & Technology: #5
  • Natural Sciences: #1
  • Social Sciences & Management: #3
  • Computer Science & Information System: #2
  • Art & Design: #9
  • Accounting & Finance: #5
  • Business & Management Studies: #6
  • Law & Legal Studies: #4

The University of Sydney

  • Art & Humanities: #3
  • Life Science & Medicine: #1
  • Engineering & Technology: #4
  • Natural Sciences: #3
  • Social Sciences & Management: #2
  • Computer Science & Information System: #3
  • Art & Design: #8
  • Accounting & Finance: #3
  • Business & Management Studies: #3
  • Law & Legal Studies: #3

Campus Locations

The Australian National University

The main campus of the Australian National University (ANU) is located in Acton, a suburb of Canberra that covers 358 acres (1.45 km2) and has university structures landscaped within.

Many university campuses are of historical importance, dating back to when the national capital was formed, with more than 40 structures on the Commonwealth Heritage List and several others on local lists.

The University of Sydney

The main campus has been ranked in the top 10 of the world’s most beautiful universities by The British Daily Telegraph and other sources, such as Oxford.

The university is located across two inner-city suburbs – Camperdown and Darlington.

Faculties/Schools and Programs

The Australian National University

Undergraduate Programs

ANU College of Art and Social Sciences

  • Bachelor of Archaeological Practice (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Art History and Curatorship
  • Bachelor of Art History and Curatorship (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Arts (with Year in Asia)
  • Bachelor of Classical Studies
  • Bachelor of Classical Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Criminology
  • Bachelor of Criminology (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Design
  • Bachelor of Design (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Design Arts (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Development Studies
  • Bachelor of Development Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Development Studies (with Year in Asia)
  • Bachelor of European Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of International Relations
  • Bachelor of International Relations (Honours)
  • Bachelor of International Relations (With Year in Asia)
  • Bachelor of Languages
  • Bachelor of Languages (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Languages (with Year in Asia)
  • Bachelor of Latin American Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies
  • Bachelor of Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Music
  • Bachelor of Music (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Policy Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Political Science
  • Bachelor of Political Science (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics
  • Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Public Policy
  • Bachelor of Public Policy (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Visual Arts
  • Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours)
  • Diploma of Languages

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

  • Bachelor of Arts (with Year in Asia)
  • Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Affairs
  • Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Affairs (Ritsumeikan)
  • Bachelor of Asian Studies
  • Bachelor of Asian Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Asian Studies (with Year in Asia)
  • Bachelor of Development Studies (with Year in Asia)
  • Bachelor of International Relations (With Year in Asia)
  • Bachelor of International Security Studies
  • Bachelor of International Security Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of International Security Studies (with Year in Asia)
  • Bachelor of Languages (with Year in Asia)
  • Bachelor of Pacific Studies
  • Bachelor of Pacific Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)—Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science (with Year in Asia)

ANU College of Business and Economics

  • Bachelor of Accounting
  • Bachelor of Accounting (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Actuarial Studies
  • Bachelor of Actuarial Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Economics
  • Bachelor of Economics (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Finance
  • Bachelor of Finance (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Finance, Economics and Statistics (Honours)
  • Bachelor of International Business
  • Bachelor of International Business (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours in Actuarial Studies & Economics)
  • Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours in Actuarial Studies and Economics)
  • Bachelor of Statistics
  • Bachelor of Statistics (Honours)

ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science

  • Bachelor of Advanced Computing (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Advanced Computing (Research and Development) (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Applied Data Analytics
  • Bachelor of Applied Data Analytics (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Research and Development) (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Information Technology (Honours)

ANU College of Law

  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

ANU Joint Colleges of Science

  • Bachelor of Biotechnology
  • Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Environment and Sustainability
  • Bachelor of Environment and Sustainability (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Environment and Sustainability Advanced (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Genetics
  • Bachelor of Genetics (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Health Science
  • Bachelor of Health Science (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences
  • Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Medical Science
  • Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) – Science
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) / Bachelor of Science (Honours) – ANU as home institution
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) / Bachelor of Science (Honours) – NUS as home institution
  • Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Science (Advanced) (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Science (Psychology)
  • Bachelor of Science (Psychology) (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Science (with Year in Asia)

Postgraduate Programs

ANU College of Art and Social Sciences

  • Graduate Certificate of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development
  • Graduate Certificate of General and Applied Linguistics
  • Graduate Certificate of Museum and Heritage Studies
  • Graduate Certificate of Social Research
  • Graduate Certificate of Studies
  • Graduate Diploma of Studies
  • Master of Anthropology
  • Master of Anthropology (Advanced)
  • Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development
  • Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development (Advanced)
  • Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development (Advanced) – Online
  • Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development – Online
  • Master of Archaeological Science (Advanced)
  • Master of Archaeological and Evolutionary Science
  • Master of Archaeological and Evolutionary Science (Advanced)
  • Master of Art History and Curatorial Studies
  • Master of Art History and Curatorial Studies (Advanced)
  • Master of Arts – Arts Administration / Master of Museum and Heritage Studies
  • Master of Biological Anthropology (Advanced)
  • Master of Classical Studies (Advanced)
  • Master of Contemporary Practices in Art and Design
  • Master of Contemporary Practices in Art and Design (Advanced)
  • Master of Culture Health and Medicine (Advanced)
  • Master of Culture, Health and Medicine
  • Master of Digital Humanities and Public Culture
  • Master of Digital Humanities and Public Culture (Advanced)
  • Master of General and Applied Linguistics
  • Master of General and Applied Linguistics (Advanced)
  • Master of Globalisation (Advanced)
  • Master of History
  • Master of History (Advanced)
  • Master of Islam in the Modern World (Advanced)
  • Master of Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies
  • Master of Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies (Advanced)
  • Master of Museum and Heritage Studies
  • Master of Museum and Heritage Studies (Advanced)
  • Master of Political Science
  • Master of Political Science (Advanced)
  • Master of Social Research
  • Master of Social Research (Advanced)
  • Master of Studies
  • Master of Translation (Advanced)

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

  • Executive Master of Public Administration
  • Executive Master of Public Policy
  • Graduate Certificate of Climate Policy
  • Graduate Certificate of Diplomacy
  • Graduate Certificate of Engaging Asia
  • Graduate Certificate of Engaging the Pacific
  • Graduate Certificate of Environmental Management
  • Graduate Certificate of Environmental and Resource Economics
  • Graduate Certificate of International Relations
  • Graduate Certificate of International and Development Economics
  • Graduate Certificate of Military and Defence Studies
  • Graduate Certificate of National Security Policy
  • Graduate Certificate of Pacific Development
  • Graduate Certificate of Policy Design and Analysis
  • Graduate Certificate of Political Science
  • Graduate Certificate of Public Management
  • Graduate Certificate of Public Policy
  • Graduate Certificate of Regulation and Governance
  • Graduate Certificate of Strategic Studies
  • Graduate Diploma of International Affairs
  • Graduate Diploma of Military and Defence Studies
  • Graduate Diploma of Public Policy
  • Master of Asian and Pacific Studies
  • Master of Climate Change
  • Master of Diplomacy
  • Master of Engaging Asia
  • Master of Environmental Management and Development
  • Master of Environmental Management and Development – Online
  • Master of Environmental and Resource Economics
  • Master of International Law and Diplomacy
  • Master of International Relations
  • Master of International and Development Economics
  • Master of Military and Defence Studies
  • Master of Military and Defence Studies (Advanced)
  • Master of National Security Policy
  • Master of Pacific Development
  • Master of Political Science
  • Master of Political Science (Advanced)
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Public Policy
  • Master of Public Policy/Master of Public Policy ANU – U Tokyo
  • Master of Public Policy/Master of Public Policy ANU-U Tokyo
  • Master of Regulation and Governance
  • Master of Strategic Studies
  • Master of Strategic Studies (Advanced)

ANU College of Business and Economics

  • Graduate Certificate of Accounting
  • Graduate Certificate of Digital Transformation
  • Graduate Certificate of Economics
  • Graduate Certificate of Finance and Actuarial Statistics
  • Graduate Certificate of Management
  • Graduate Certificate of Management (Online)
  • Graduate Diploma of Business
  • Graduate Diploma of Economics
  • Master of Accounting
  • Master of Actuarial Practice
  • Master of Actuarial Studies
  • Master of Applied Accounting
  • Master of Applied Economics
  • Master of Applied Finance
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Information Systems
  • Master of Commerce (Advanced)
  • Master of Economic Policy
  • Master of Economics
  • Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Master of Finance
  • Master of Financial Economics
  • Master of Financial Management
  • Master of Financial Management and Law
  • Master of International Management
  • Master of Management
  • Master of Management (Advanced)
  • Master of Marketing Management
  • Master of Professional Accounting
  • Master of Project Management
  • Master of Statistics

ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science

  • Graduate Certificate of Applied Data Analytics
  • Graduate Certificate of Data Engineering
  • Graduate Certificate of Machine Learning and Computer Vision
  • Graduate Certificate of Systems Engineering
  • Graduate Diploma of Applied Cybernetics
  • Graduate Diploma of Applied Data Analytics
  • Graduate Diploma of Computing
  • Master of Applied Cybernetics
  • Master of Applied Cybernetics (Advanced)
  • Master of Applied Data Analytics
  • Master of Computing
  • Master of Computing (Advanced)
  • Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering
  • Master of Engineering in Mechatronics
  • Master of Engineering in Photonics
  • Master of Engineering in Renewable Energy
  • Master of Machine Learning and Computer Vision

ANU College of Law

  • Graduate Certificate of Law
  • Graduate Certificate of Military Law
  • Graduate Certificate of New Technologies Law
  • Graduate Diploma of Military Law
  • Juris Doctor
  • Juris Doctor (Honours)
  • Master of Financial Management and Law
  • Master of International Law and Diplomacy
  • Master of Laws
  • Master of Military Law

ANU Joint Colleges of Science

  • Doctor of Medicine and Surgery
  • Graduate Certificate of Environment
  • Graduate Certificate of Public Health
  • Graduate Certificate of Science
  • Graduate Certificate of Science Communication
  • Graduate Diploma of Environment
  • Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology
  • Graduate Diploma of Public Health
  • Graduate Diploma of Science
  • Master of Biotechnology
  • Master of Biotechnology (Advanced)
  • Master of Clinical Psychology
  • Master of Culture Health and Medicine (Advanced)
  • Master of Culture, Health and Medicine
  • Master of Earth Sciences (Advanced)
  • Master of Energy Change
  • Master of Energy Change (Advanced)
  • Master of Environment
  • Master of Environment (Advanced)
  • Master of Environmental Science
  • Master of Environmental Science (Advanced)
  • Master of Forestry
  • Master of Forestry (Advanced)
  • Master of Mathematical Sciences (Advanced)
  • Master of Neuroscience
  • Master of Neuroscience (Advanced)
  • Master of Preclinical Science
  • Master of Professional Psychology
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master of Public Health (Advanced)
  • Master of Science (Advanced) in Agricultural Innovation
  • Master of Science (Advanced) in Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Master of Science (Advanced) in Biological Sciences
  • Master of Science (Advanced) in Materials Science
  • Master of Science (Advanced) in Nuclear Science
  • Master of Science (Advanced) in Precision Instrumentation and Measurement
  • Master of Science (Advanced) in Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Master of Science (Advanced) in Quantum Technology
  • Master of Science (Advanced) in Theoretical Physics
  • Master of Science Communication
  • Master of Science Communication Outreach
  • Master of Science in Agricultural Innovation
  • Master of Science in Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Master of Science in Biological Sciences
  • Master of Science in Earth Sciences
  • Master of Science in Materials Science
  • Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences
  • Master of Science in Nuclear Science
  • Master of Science in Precision Instrumentation and Measurement
  • Master of Science in Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Master of Science in Quantum Technology
  • Master of Science in Theoretical Physics

The University of Sydney

Undergraduate Programs

Architecture, Design, and Planning

  • Bachelor of Architecture and Environments
  • Bachelor of Design Computing
  • Bachelor of Design in Architecture
  • Bachelor of Design in Architecture

Arts and Social Sciences

  • Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies
  • Bachelor of Economics
  • Bachelor of Education (Health and Physical Education)
  • Bachelor of Education (Primary)

Dentistry

  • Doctor of Dental Medicine

Engineering, Project Management, and Information Technologies

  • Bachelor of Advanced Computing
  • Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Aeronautical)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Biomedical)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Chemical and Biomolecular)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Civil)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Electrical)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Mechanical)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Mechatronic)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Software)
  • Bachelor of Project Management

Health Sciences

  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Diagnostic Radiography)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise Physiology)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology)
  • Bachelor of Oral Health

Pharmacy

  • Bachelor of Pharmacy

Postgraduate Programs

Architecture, Design, and Planning

  • Master of Architectural Science (Audio and Acoustics)
  • Master of Architectural Science (High Performance Buildings)
  • Master of Architectural Science (Illumination Design)
  • Master of Architectural Science (Sustainable Design)
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Design (Design Innovation)
  • Master of Design (Design Innovation)
  • Master of Design (Strategic Design)
  • Master of Heritage Conservation
  • Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts
  • Master of Urban Design

Science

  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Sydney Medical School

  • Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine

Sydney Nursing School (Nursing and Midwifery)

  • Bachelor of Arts and Master of Nursing

The University of Sydney Business School

  • MBA

Usyd Vs ANU: Cost (Tuition Fee)

Estimation tuition fees for both universities are:

  • Australian National University: From $AUD 28,000 to 50,000 per year
  • University of Sydney: From $AUD 36,000 to 57,000 per year

Acceptance Rate and Admission

The Australian National University

The acceptance rate at the Australian National University is around 35%, which makes it highly competitive. The university’s seven academic colleges provide 56 undergraduate programs, 120+ postgraduate degrees, and various professional development opportunities.

Australian National University ATAR Requirements

If you were an Australian Year 12 student before 2020 and have not completed further education, you may be eligible for admission to ANU based on your ATAR or equivalent.

Those without an ATAR will need to have a qualification that can be considered comparable, such as a Year 12 certificate, diploma, associate degree, or pathway program.

The University of Sydney

The University of Sydney has an acceptance rate of 30%. This indicates that the university’s admissions process is extremely competitive. The University of Sydney remains a popular choice for both Australian and overseas students wanting to further their education in Australia.

To be considered, standard applicants must have a minimum GPA of 5 as determined by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC). Rural applicants must have a minimum UAC GPA of 4.5 to be considered.

Application

The Australian National University

  1. Choose a degree
  2. Check entry requirements
  3. Gather your documents
  4. Check your finance
  5. Submit your application (select the ‘Apply now’ button on your course page)

The University of Sydney

  1. Choose a course 
  2. Check your eligibility
  3. Gather your documents
  4. Check your finance
  5. Submit your application (select the ‘Apply now button on your course page)

Which University is For You?

The Australian National University is for You

The Australian National University is for you if you are looking for: 

  • Lower cost of living, from the accommodation, and transport, to entertainment
  • Study in one of the best universities in Australia
  • Lower tuition fee
  • Study areas such as:
    • Natural Science (the best in the country)
    • Computer science and information technology
    • Art and Humanities

The University of Sydney is for You

The University of Sydney is for you if you are looking for: 

  • Living in and experiencing the famous metropolitan city of Sydney
  • Study on one of the most famous and beautiful campuses in the world
  • Study areas such as:
    • Life Science and Medicine
    • Social Science and Management
    • Business

FAQs

Is ANU a good university?

ANU is one of the best universities in Australia. It has been consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the country, and it has an excellent reputation internationally.

The facilities and resources at ANU are world-class, and the faculty is renowned for their research excellence. If you’re looking for a top-quality education in Australia, ANU is definitely worth considering.

Is ANU prestigious?

The Australian National University has topped the list of Australia’s best universities and places 27th worldwide according to QS World University Rankings 2022.

According to the Good Universities Guide, ANU has 5-star ratings for student demand, staff qualifications, student: staff ratio, and student retention.

Is Australian National University in Sydney?

The Australian National University is in Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

Is it hard to get into Australian National University?

Yes. The Australian National University is a competitive university with an acceptance rate is 35%. Entry to most degrees requires ATAR scores of over 90+ (out of 100) or equivalent and meeting specific subject requirements for your chosen course.

Is ANU better than UNSW?

In general, ANU is considered to be somewhat superior to UNSW. However, it all depends on the area of study you want to pursue. Engineering (and hopefully commerce) at UNSW is excellent, and Sydney appears to have greater employment opportunities than Canberra (but also with a higher cost of living).

See also: University of Melbourne vs University of Sydney: Which One is for You?