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Online University Rankings: Top 5 List

Which are Australia's best online universities? Find out from our unique ranking of distance learning providers.
Online university rankings

Universities that specialise in distance education are more teaching focused than your average university. The sensible way to rank them is by looking at graduate satisfaction ratings, along with the depth and flexibility of courses. That's how we've ranked Australia's top online universities.

The university rankings by Online Study Australia are now being presented by Lerna Australia.

Top 5 Online Universities in Australia

If you're interested in studying for a degree online, here are the top 5 universities you may want to consider first.

Looking at overall performance, UNE is Australia's top online university. UNE is Australia's 2nd largest online university and among the very best in arts, business, education and science. UNE produces exceptionally high course satisfaction rates, and high graduate salaries.
Based on course ratings and depth, Deakin University is strong in education, engineering, health and information technology. Cloud (online) study is widely available for students who can't (or don't want to) regularly attend classes in person.
CSU is Australia's largest online university. It offers a wide course selection, and plays an important role in supporting regional study in NSW. CSU is higly rated in information technology, arts and science.
USQ is one of the bigger online unis and runs courses in just about every popular field. Among its stronger faculties are engineering and health.
ECU is not the biggest online university but outperforms many of the others in course satisfaction ratings. It's strongest in business and law.

Sources include course pages, Uni Reviews and UCube. Updated: 23 March 2022

Best Online Universities by Subject

Online universities have different areas of strength, as reflected in these subject rankings.

For a given subject, generally the top universities offer many electives, organise residential schools as required, deliver great teaching, and provide excellent student support services. Some statistical factors we consider are student numbers, course satisfaction percentages, and postgraduate tuition fees.

The best online universities for arts and communication are Charles Sturt University (CSU), Deakin University and the University of New England (UNE). The universities offer wide selections of humanities and communications subjects. Course satisfaction rates among graduates are also high.
The best online business schools in Australia are Ducere Global Business School, the University of New England (UNE) and Edith Cowan University (ECU). UNE and ECU have highly rated business schools and offer a variety of majors. Ducere, along with its university partners, offers flexible courses that allow you to do applied projects instead of studying for exams.
Computing / information technology degrees are readily available online. Some of the best choices are Charles Sturt University (CSU), Deakin University and Federation University Australia (FedUni). CSU, Deakin and FedUni programs all offer plenty of variety.
The University of New England (UNE) and Deakin University provide some of the best study options for education and teaching. UNE's teaching program is comprehensive and highly rated. Deakin has good qualification and extension courses at the postgraduate level.
Australia's strongest online engineering schools are the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and Deakin University. USQ has a large program that allows you to study off-campus wherever possible. Cloud (online) engineering students at Deakin attend a practice week each trimester.
The strongest distance ed universities for health and community are Deakin University and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). Both unis support distance learning in health fields by offering online and mixed-mode courses. You can study subjects such as health admin, nursing, public health and social work.
Law and criminal justice


The best online law schools are at the University of New England (UNE), University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Edith Cowan University (ECU) and Charles Darwin University (CDU). The law courses have high satisfaction ratings. CDU's law program has achievable entry standards. You can complete UNE and USQ Bachelor of Laws degrees in 3 years.
For online science courses, 3 of the best universities are the University of New England (UNE), Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Southern Cross University (SCU). Science courses are not always available online because of the need for lab classes and field trips. But UNE and CSU support large distance education programs. Where required, the universities organise residential schools for students to do hands-on learning.