You know that you’re interested in studying abroad for the semester in Sydney, Australia but, with five programs available through TEAN, how do you choose the right one for you? We’re here to help!

Below we have provided a comparison of all programs, from location and cost, to student population and housing. Take a look at the programs side by side to determine the best Sydney study abroad program for you.

First, here’s a quick rundown of the schools and their nicknames:


City schools
The University of Sydney and UTS are all located near each other in the city. Sydney Uni’s spacious campus is in the middle of the city’s most artistic neighborhood.

Schools near the beach
While it’s not difficult to access the beaches in Sydney from the city, both ICMS and UNSW put you much closer to the beaches than other Sydney schools. ICMS is a 10-minute walk down the hill to some of Sydney’s best beaches, Manly and Shelly Beach. While UNSW is a 10-minute bus ride from gorgeous Coogee Beach.

If you want to study abroad in Sydney, but prefer a more suburban setting then Macquarie University is for you, located a 40-minute train ride from the city.

While technically not in Sydney, if you’re looking to be close to the action but prefer living in a smaller community, consider the University of Wollongong. The city of Wollongong, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, is only 90-minutes by train from Sydney.

Shelly Beach Manly
Shelly Beach — a 10-minute walk from the ICMS campus. Photo by Michaela Miller, Otterbein University


TEAN offers various housing options in Sydney to suit your budget and lifestyle.

If rolling out of bed and being in class 10 minutes later is important to you then you’ll want to select a program that offers on-campus or very close to campus housing such as Macquarie Uni, UTS, ICMS or UNSW.

If living on the beach is your priority and you don’t mind a short commute by bus to campus then UNSW with TEAN’s beach side housing in Coogee is a great option. Note that the ICMS campus is only a 10-minute walk to the beach.

If you want easy access to both the city and the beach, a very high standard of housing and don’t mind commuting to school by train or bus, then TEAN’s top of line housing for UNSW, Sydney Uni and UTS students may be perfect for you.  Check out the video of this housing option.

Student population

Most schools in Australia are large public schools with enrollments of over 30,000 students. If that sounds overwhelming to you then consider a private school option like ICMS. If you’re used to a small private school, then studying abroad at one of Sydney’s big universities can give you a different college experience you wouldn’t otherwise get!


The University of Sydney and University of New South Wales rank in the top 50 universities in the world in the latest QS World University Rankings. These are the two oldest universities in Sydney and the most prestigious.

The other universities in Sydney are younger institutions, and in the QS World University Rankings of the top 50 under 50, UTS comes in at #8.


The University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and Macquarie University are all comprehensive universities offering a wide range of courses. UTS is more specialized (think MIT), with a great reputation for technology-related courses, as well as art and design, communications and media, and nursing.

The International College of Management, Sydney specializes in business-related programs, and is the ideal school in Sydney for hospitality and event management majors.

For academic discipline rankings we looked at both the Times Higher Education world university rankings and QS World University rankings that provide subject level analysis of universities. While Sydney Uni and UNSW are both in the top 50 schools in the world, a close look at the subject rankings sees Sydney Uni dominating in the areas of liberal arts and humanities, and UNSW dominating the rankings in engineering and technology, and physical sciences.

Sydney University science lab
“Prepping ourselves to dissect human brains in our Neuroscience class at Sydney University. Such an incredible experience!” Bridget Rooney, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Internship opportunities

If you want to combine your semester abroad with some international work experience the below programs offer an internship program for credit.

University of Sydney – Internships available in a wide variety of fields.
University of New South Wales, Sydney – Internships available in the fields of communications/media and business.
International College of Management, Sydney – Hospitality or event management internships available.

Entry Requirements

Your GPA will determine your acceptance at these schools:

2.5 / 4.0 Macquarie, UTS and ICMS
2.8 / 4.0 University of Sydney
3.0 / 4.0 University of New South Wales (UNSW will consider students with a 2.8 with recommendations)

Campus environment

Macquarie University has a large sprawling campus that sometimes feels like you’re in a large park. The University of Sydney and University of New South Wales campuses are also traditional self-contained campuses. Parts of the Sydney Uni campus are likened to Hogwarts – it really is that beautiful. The ICMS campus is a small, traditional campus. UTS is more like a city campus that is built into the city environment (think NYU).

UNSW campus at night
“By the end of a long day on the UNSW campus walking through the lit campus at night was worth all the hours you spent there that day.” Allison Shuman, Columbia College, Chicago

Academic calendar

Most Sydney universities follow the typical Australian academic calendar with semesters from February – June and July – November. However two Sydney schools offer an academic calendar that fit better with the US academic calendar.

The UNSW semesters run February – mid May and September – mid December. ICMS also roughly follows the U.S. academic calendar with semesters running January – May and September – December. ICMS offers a summer semester as well.


Being in the top three ranked schools in Australia, Sydney Uni is not surprisingly the highest cost program. With Macquarie and ICMS the lowest cost semester study abroad programs in Sydney. Macquarie and UTS offer a lowered tuition fee if you take 3 instead of 4 courses.

The standard enrollment for a semester at UNSW is 3 courses making the program costs for this prestigious school very competitive. Three courses is equivalent to 9 – 12 credits depending on your home school’s credit transfer policy. View all Sydney semester program fees.

*Make sure you visit your school’s study abroad office to check what restrictions there are for studying abroad. Some colleges approve certain schools only for studying abroad.

Learn more about all of TEAN’s Sydney study abroad programs. If you want to chat further about studying abroad in Sydney connect with a TEAN Program Manager or a TEAN Sydney alum. Or apply online now.

This article was originally published January, 2017. Updated September, 2021.