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Study in USA vs Australia: A Comparative Guide on USA vs Australia For International Students


Known among the top study abroad destinations for international students, USA as well as Australia are highly sought after by lakhs of Indian aspirants making is USA or Australia better for international students a tough question to answer. If you go by the figures, there are around 10,00,000 international students enrolled in the USA vs Australia has around 4,70,000 international students which shows the USA is still the most popular choice. To decide the best country for yourself, it is essential to compare education in USA  vs Australia not only on the basis of rankings but also the education system, student life, standard of living, scholarships, stay back options among others.

It is quite usual to be confused about the choice to study in USA vs Australia. This guide will help you make an informed decision between studying USA vs Australia. You will find below detailed information about the top universities, admission requirements, tuition fees, cost of living usa vs australia, scholarships, visa process, PR and a lot more!

Table of Contents:

Top Universities to Study in USA vs Australia

Undoubtedly, USA vs Australia both are home to elite institutions that attract millions of international students every year. To decide is USA or Australia better for international students, it is crucial that we take a look at the top universities in both of these countries.

Top 10 Universities in USA

Universities in USA are characterized by their world class education globally. The rankings of its institutions speak for its excellence. If we take a look at the top 10 universities in USA, all of them remarkably rank among the top 25 worldwide among which 5 universities have made it to the top 10. Here is a table showing rankings of the top 10 US universities in QS WUR 2023:

US Universities

World QS Rank 2023

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Stanford University


Harvard University


California Institute of Technology


University of Chicago


University of Pennsylvania


Princeton University


Yale University


Cornell University


Columbia University


Suggested: View more top universities and colleges in USA

Top 10 Universities in Australia

When we talk about the leading 10 universities in Australia, it is worth noting that 7 universities rank among the top 100 globally in the QS Rankings 2023. Let us glance through the top 10 universities in Australia as per the QS World University Rankings 2023 before moving any further:

Australian Universities

World QS Rank 2023

The Australian National University


The University of Melbourne


The University of Sydney


University of New South Wales


The University of Queensland


Monash University


The University of Western Australia


The University of Adelaide


University of Technology Sydney


University of Wollongong


Suggested: View top universities and colleges in Australia

USA vs Australia: Admission Requirements for International Students

Universities in USA and Australia accept applications twice a year for the Fall and Spring semesters, Fall being the primary intake. The application process for international students is streamlined and involves completing an online application and submitting it along with the necessary application fee and supporting documents.

The basic eligibility criteria for admission to USA vs Australia is similar whereas you will have to fulfill additional requirements depending upon the university and chosen program. Academic admission requirements include completion of previous education qualification depending on degree level, submission of English proficiency test scores and entrance test scores.

Take a look at the summary of the admission requirements for various UG and PG programs in USA vs Australia:


Eligibility Criteria


Complete 12 years of schooling for admission to UG courses.

Complete 3-4 years of bachelor’s degree is required for admission to master’s degree programs.

You will need a minimum IELTS score of 5.5 for admission to bachelor’s degree and 6.0 to 6.5 depending on the competitiveness of the master’s degree programs.


Complete 12 years of pre-university education for admission to UG level courses.

Complete 3 year bachelor’s degree for admission to master’s degree programs.

Minimum IELTS score of 5.5 for UG courses and 6.0 for PG courses is recommended.

GMAT scores are required for management programs and GRE scores for other PG programs.

Tuition Fees for International Students in USA vs Australia

One of the major decisions involved for education in Australia compared to USA is related to the tuition fees. It is very well-known that the tuition fees at US universities are relatively high compared to other countries. There are good chances of being awarded scholarships that will help you cover partial to full tuition fees. Here is a table showing comparison between the tuition fees to study in USA vs Australia: 


Tuition Fees in USA (in USD)

Tuition Fees in Australia (in AUD)

Undergraduate degree



Graduate degree



Doctoral program



Diploma/ certificate/ vocational training



Suggested: Total cost of studying in USA/ Total cost of studying in Australia

Cost of Living for International Students in USA vs Australia

The opportunity to be awarded all-inclusive scholarships is very limited and therefore all international students have to meet the living expenses by paying out of pocket. Your exact cost of living USA vs Australia will vary depending on your type of accommodation, location and lifestyle. The average cost of living in USA for Indian students is around 8,00,000-15,00,000 INR per year whereas for living in Australia it is around 10,30,000-10,85,000 INR per year.

The cost of living USA vs Australia is relatively higher, see for yourself the basic expenses that will be included in your budget:


Cost of living per year in USA (in USD)

Cost of living per year in Australia (in NZD)







Utility bills



Phone & Internet



Public Transport






Health insurance



USA vs Australia: Financial Aid for International Students

USA and Australia both provide extensive financial aid for international students. Universities in USA and Australia offer numerous scholarship opportunities. Scholarships are the most preferred form of financial aid because there is no need for repayment and moreover it can cover 25-100% of the tuition expenses. Take a look at the most widely offered scholarships to study in USA vs Australia:

Scholarships in USA

Scholarships in Australia

  • Fulbright Scholarship
  • Rotary Peace Fellowship Program
  • Clark Global Scholarship Program
  • Stanford University Scholarship
  • Yale University Scholarship
  • ACI Foundation Scholarship
  • AAUW International Fellowships
  • Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship
  • Tata Scholarships
  • Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships
  • Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships
  • Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowships
  • Australian Leadership Awards
  • International Postgraduate Research Scholarship
  • Endeavor Postgraduate Scholarship Awards
  • Deakin International Scholarships
  • Sydney Scholars India Scholarship
  • University of Queensland India-Australia BEL Excellence Scholarship
  • Macquarie University International Scholarship
  • University of Sydney International Research Scholarship
  • University of Adelaide Ashok Khurana Scholarship for Indian Students
  • University of Adelaide Global Academic Excellence Scholarship

Suggested: Scholarships for MS in US

Education System in USA vs Australia

To choose is USA or Australia better for international students you must clearly know the distinction between the education systems of both countries. Discussed below are the systems of education in Australia compared to USA:


  • You can choose to pursue one of the many qualifications offered in the US such as an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, certificate, diploma, vocational training, professional degree or PhD.
  • A bachelor’s degree in the US can be completed in 3-4 years whereas the standard duration of a master’s degree program is 2 years.
  • The duration of certificate and diploma courses and vocational training may be as short as 6 months to 2 years.
  • The US education system follows a 4-point GPA scale that assesses various factors such as class performance, tests, participation in extracurricular activities, etc.
  • The biggest advantage of studying in the US is that you will get the flexibility to choose general courses even if they are not related to your discipline. 
  • Institutions in USA are not distinguished on the basis of college or university. Both colleges as well as universities offer degree programs while the latter usually has a larger student population.
  • Taking an honors degree program is not much of a choice rather it depends on your GPA.


  • Australia follows a 3-tier education system where courses are grouped into primary, secondary and tertiary levels. 
  • Education in Australia compared to USA follows the standards set by the Australia Qualifications Framework (AQF). 
  • Under the AQF there are 10 levels: levels 1-4 for certificate courses, level 5 for diploma programs, level 6 for advanced diploma and associate degrees, level 7 for bachelor’s degree, level 8 for bachelor honors degree, graduate certificate and diploma, level 9 for master’s degrees and level 10 for doctoral degrees.
  • You can complete an Australian bachelor’s degree in 3 years. Depending on your specialization, a postgraduate program in Australia can be completed in 1-2 years.
  • Australian degrees are intense and concentrated to a particular discipline so students mostly opt for degrees directly related to their academic background. 
  • In Australia, colleges offer technical and vocational training while universities offer full fledged degree programs.
  • Just like the US education system, the Australian grading system is also based on GPA with a 7 point scale.

Suggested: Is Australia a good higher education choice?

Student Life in USA vs Australia

While studying in USA vs Australia, you will have a completely different experience at campus. Your learning experience will be enriched with a lot more than just education. You will be meeting people from different parts of the world. You will get a warm and welcoming environment at universities in USA vs Australia. Let us take at what is different about student life and education in Australia compared to USA:


  • There are 18 cities in the US that are named among the most student friendly cities globally including Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, etc.
  • You will be surrounded by supportive university staff who will help you with all kinds of resources necessary for your student life.
  • University students in US have a lively student life that includes meeting new people, enjoying sports, eating out, partying, among other fun activities.
  • On the academic side, you will get exposure and opportunity to join various clubs, sororities and fraternities or take part in intramural sports, social service, volunteering, etc.

Suggested: View more about student life in USA


  • Australia is home to 7 cities ranked in the top 100 in QS Best Student Cities 2023 including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Gold Coast.
  • The most convenient thing about studying at an Australian university is that international student support is always available.
  • As an international student one of the struggles is the language barrier but since the official language in Australia is English you will find it easy to interact with others.
  • Most students spend their leisure time indulging in water-based activities such as surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, etc. especially if you are in a city close to the coastline.
  • Other activities include playing sports such as cricket, tennis, rugby, shopping or eating out.

Student Visa Process to Study in USA vs Australia

Whether you choose to study in USA or Australia, a student visa is the first thing you will require to enter the country after getting admission. You will have to make sure that you keep the visa valid at all times. Once you have a student visa, you become eligible to work part time both in USA and Australia as well as further apply for a post study work permit after completing your program.

Take a look at the student visa process in USA vs Australia:

Visa Process in USA

Visa Process in Australia

You need a F-1 student visa.

An Australian subclass 500 student visa is required to study in Australia.

An application fee of 160 USD and SEVIS fee of 350 USD is to be paid.

An application fee of 630 AUD is required.

Processing time: 15 days to 12 months

Processing time: 1 month to 10 months


  • Copy of passport
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Academic transcripts 
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • English language proficiency test scores
  • GRE/ GMAT/ SAT/ ACT scores
  • Financial documents including bank statements, tax return, FD certificate, etc.


  • Proof of identity
  • Copy of passport or birth certificate
  • Confirmation of Enrollment (CoE)
  • Proof of money to meet expenses of studying in Australia
  • Proof of Overseas Health Cover
  • Genuine Temporary Entrant document
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • Documents of partner or any dependents accompanying you.

What are the Stay Back Options After Studies in USA vs Australia

It is prudent to evaluate your stay back options after you study in USA vs Australia to understand your future opportunities. The stayback options in USA vs Australia are quite different and you must take a look at the comparison between both in the table below:

Stayback Options in USA

Stayback Options in Australia

  • You can apply for an Optical Practical Training (OPT) before or after completing your program.
  • You will be allowed to stay in US for 1 year with an OPT.
  • Students from STEM backgrounds can stay in USA for 24 months after completing their program.
  • If you have a sponsoring employer and can prove to USCIS your qualification for the position, you can apply for a H-1B visa and work in USA for 6 years.
  • The usual type of visa availed by international students to stay back in Australia after graduation is the 485 Skilled Graduate Temporary Visa.
  • It will allow you to live and work in Australia for 18 months to gain work experience if you have completed a program of 2 years or longer.
  • Some other options that you may consider to stay back in Australia depending on your eligibility are 402 Training and Research Visa, 487 Regional Sponsored Visa, 887 Skilled Regional Residence Visa, 885 Skilled Independent Residence Visa, 886 Skilled Sponsor Resident Visa.

Post Study Work Opportunities in USA vs Australia

Looking at the post study work opportunities and the job market situation is one of the few crucial elements for comparing study abroad destinations. Here it must be noted that employers in both the USA and Australia are eager to work with passionate individuals and offer lucrative packages for the same. Take a look at the post study work opportunities and salary prospects in USA vs Australia:


  • On an average a working professional in the US can earn around 94,700 USD per year depending on the organization, job role, position, experience, etc.
  • If you are working in the US as a fresher you can expect to earn 24,000 USD per year which can shoot up to 423,000 USD per year with experience.
  • Some of the most popular job sectors in the US include Finance, Management, Data Science, IT, Biomedical, Engineering, Advertising and PR, etc.
  • Speaking of graduate employability,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Harvard University, California Institute of Technology, University of Chicago are ranked among the top 10 globally in QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2023.


  • The minimum starting salary of an individual in Australia is 23,000 AUD which can eventually go up to 405,000 AUD.
  • Compared to this, a working professional in Australia earns around 90,800 AUD per year.
  • For working in Australia, the top fields of job include Education, IT and Computer Science, Accounting and Finance, Hospitality, Medicine among others.
  • University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, Monash University and University of Technology Sydney are on the top when we talk about graduate employability.

PR in USA vs Australia

If you are to choose: is USA or Australia better for international students, you must know the PR rules of both countries. Both USA and Australia offer PR to international students on fulfilling the eligibility criteria. It is somewhat easier to get a PR in Australia than Australia due to the length and complexity of the process. Here you will get insights about the PR process in USA vs Australia:


Getting a PR in USA is quite a lengthy process. In order to be eligible for a PR in USA, you must reside in USA for at least 5 years for employment. You will be granted a “green card” after completing the minimum requisite. However, as simple as the process might sound, it is not so easy to get PR in USA.

Suggested: Top ways to settle in USA for international students


To obtain a PR in Australia, your eligibility will be determined based on point requirements. A minimum of 65 points are required to apply for a PR in Australia. Having a score above 85 will make it easier for you to obtain a PR. Your points will be calculated by taking into account qualifications, work experience, age, occupation, etc.

The ultimate choice is USA or Australia better for international students lies with you. There is no definite answer or comparison why Australia is better than US for study or vice versa. It depends upon your dreams and aspirations and which country will provide you the right environment to excel and achieve your dreams. Choosing between USA vs Australia is a big decision for your future and must be taken after due consideration. So speak to our Yocket counselors today and get complete guidance to study in USA vs Australia.

Frequently Asked Questions about Studying in USA vs Australia

Is USA or Australia better for international students? 

Is it cheaper to study in Australia than USA?

Which country has a cheaper cost of living USA vs Australia?

Which country, USA vs Australia, has an easier PR process?

Are there better job opportunities in USA than Australia?

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