University of Melbourne – Acceptance Rate, Ranking, Notable Alumni, and More

Most countries have their special terms to describe their oldest institutions for higher learning. Australians call their first six schools the “sandstone universities.” 

These six institutions include the country’s first college the University of Sydney, but also the school that was established a mere three years later, the University of Melbourne. 

Since its founding in 1853, the University of Melbourne has become the most respected college in Australia and one of the best in the world. 

The university boasts associations with several institutes and research centers across the country, including the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, and the Grattan Institute. 

U Melbourne also features fifteen graduate schools, such as the Melbourne Business School, the Melbourne Law School, and the Melbourne Medical School.

Every aspect of the school strives to embody its motto and its iconography. Drawing from its home province of Victoria, U Melbourne’s coat of arms features a blue shield emblazoned with the figure Victory, holding a laurel wreath over the stars of the Southern Cross. 

In English, the school’s motto “Postera crescam laude” means “later I shall grow by praise.” 

Will U Melbourne be the school for you to blaze a victorious trail into the future? Read on to find out!

University of Melbourne Acceptance Rate

University of Melbourne
Geoff Penaluna, Melbourne University grand building, CC BY-SA 2.0

Unlike the other sandstone schools, the University of Melbourne is remarkably open. The school does not release specific numbers, but most observers estimate that 70-80% of students who apply receive offers of admission. 

For those who fall into the 20 – 30% who are rejected, that number doesn’t sound particularly high, but it’s crucial to examine these numbers in context. As we’ll see shortly, U Melbourne has an excellent reputation, one of the best in the world. Other schools with similar rankings, such as Ivy League universities in the United States, only accept approximately 5% of applicants. Even the University of Sydney, U Melbourne’s slightly lower-ranked older sister, takes only 30% of its applicants. 

All of that said, it’s also important to keep in mind the school’s international reputation. Out of the 52,000 students who attend the school, approximately 42% come from outside of Australia. 

For that reason, the 70 – 80% of applicants who receive admission offers include many international students, thus increasing the difficulty. 

Also, specific programs in the school have much lower admission rates. The law and pre-med programs, for example, are far more competitive. 

Despite those qualifiers, the fact remains that it is easier to enter the University of Melbourne than many other schools of its caliber. Because it sees itself as a public university devoted to improving the quality of Australian minds, U Melbourne does all that it can to educate citizens and expose them to the larger world. 

University of Melbourne Ranking

Even though the University of Melbourne is not selective in its acceptance rate, it is an excellent and highly regarded school.  

According to the global university list from U.S. News & World Report, U Melbourne sits at #25 and in the #1 spot for universities in Australia and New Zealand. The publication also gives high rankings to U Melbourne’s individual programs. 

The school’s programs in arts and humanities, immunology, social sciences, and neurosciences fall within the top 25 in the world. 

Nearly every other outlet holds U Melbourne in similarly high regard. At, the school sits at 37th place globally, with special acknowledgment for its academic reputation, its reputation as an employer, and its ratio of international faculty and students.

According to the Times World University Rankings, U Melbourne is the 31st best university globally, a position awarded thanks to citations by academics and professionals and international outlook. 

Finally, the Center for World University Rankings gives U Melbourne an overall score of 83.7, which is the 63rd highest in the world. The Center ranks school number one in Australia and 36th in the world for the quality of its research. 

There is some variety to these specific placements, but all of the significant sources agree. The University of Melbourne is the best school in Australia and one of the best in the world. 

Notable Alumni

As the highest-ranked school in Australia, it’s no surprise that alumni of the University of Melbourne have become leaders in their field. The school has trained four Australian prime ministers and five governors-general, as well as several Nobel Laureates. 

Australian prime ministers Alfred Deakin, Julia Gillard, Harold Holt, and Sir Robert Menzies are U Melbourne graduates, as are governors-general of Australia Sir Zelman Cowen, Peter Hollingworth, Sir Isaac Isaacs, and Sir Ninian Stephen. 

Governors of Victoria who studied at U Melbourne include Alex Chernov, David de Kretser, Sir James Gobbo, John Landy, Richard McGarvie, and Sir Henry Winneke. 

The school is the alma mater of highly successful business people, including Qantas Airways chairman Leigh Clifford, former ANZ Bank chairman Charles Goode, Morgan Stanley CEO and chairman James P. Gorman, and Village Roadshow executive chairman Robert Kirby. 

In the world of philosophy and literature, the University of Melbourne has trained animal rights activist Peter Singer, crime writer Kerry Greenwood, and novelist Gerald Murnane. Other academics include Rhodes Scholar Sir John Behan, former University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Alec Broers, and Harvard University art historian Maria Gough. 

The University of Melbourne has made significant contributions to the world of popular culture as well. 

Some of the most famous celebrities who graduated from the school include actors Tahir Raj Bhasin, Elizabeth Debicki, and Portia de Rossi. A number of successful directors and animators studied at U Melbourne, including Adam Elliot, Rob Stitch, and Sarah Watt. 


Because it is a public university that strives to improve the lives of its community, the University of Melbourne keeps its tuition rates relatively low. 

This isn’t to say that it’s cheap to study at U Melbourne, but it isn’t nearly as expensive as other schools of its caliber. 

Like all public institutions in Australia, several factors affect the cost of tuition, but none are as crucial as your residency status. 

The cost of tuition is significantly lower for domestic students, including Australian citizens or permanent residents, New Zealand citizens, or Australian humanitarian visa holders. Most domestic students are eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP), which means that the Australian Government partially subsidizes course fees. 

The amount that students need to pay after the CSP differs according to the academic band in which their subject falls

In Band One, which includes humanities, nursing, visual arts, and other courses, students will pay AUD 3,950.00 each year. 

Band Two includes subjects such as mathematics, agriculture, and computing, costing AUD 7,950.00 each year. 

Students in Band Three will pay AUD 11,300.00 each year to medicine, dentistry, and vet science. 

Subjects such as accounting, administration, and law fall into Band Four, which costs AUD 14,500.00 each year. 

International students do not qualify for a CSP and therefore pay quite a bit more in tuition. The school does not separate subjects studied by international students into bands, but tuition rates change according to the school in which they’re studying. 

For example, international students in the agriculture, engineering, sciences, and veterinary science programs will pay approximately AUD 44,256 every year. 

In contrast, those studying in the music, visual, and performing arts programs will pay between $ 22,240 – 58,496 AUD each year. 

University of Melbourne Acceptance Rate for International Students

University of Melbourne
Polly clip, Baillieu Library, CC BY-SA 3.0

While it certainly costs more for international students to study at the University of Melbourne, the school certainly encourages applications from students from around the globe. 

The school believes that a diverse student body enriches the lives of domestic students, and thus 42% of its student body comes from outside of Australia. 

While that’s a relatively high percentage, international students still need to be strategic about their application. The university provides plenty of support to help students outside of Australia navigate the application system, but it does require a lot of information to gather and supply. 

At the basic level, students must complete the Victorian Certificate of Education or an equivalent qualification. In many cases, the programs require additional information for international students, including prerequisite subjects, prerequisite tests, portfolio submission, interviews, or auditions. 

Finally, students must demonstrate their English language proficiencies. This can be done either by passing a qualified course or by passing an English language test. 

To help offset the cost of attending U Melbourne, the school also recommends that international students take advantage of scholarship options. These financial aids include work-study programs, merit scholarships, and grants for applicants from certain countries. 

As these tools suggest, U Melbourne welcomes applications from students from around the globe. The school does all it can to support international applicants and help them feel at home during their studies. 

Is the University of Melbourne Right For You?

With such an impressive history of respectable alumni, research, and innovation, the University of Melbourne has built its reputation as one of the best schools in the world. 

But some applicants might look at U Melbourne’s standards and decide they won’t make it in, despite the school’s high acceptance rate. 

But before moving on to another school, students would do well to look at everything U Melbourne offers. 

As we’ve already seen, U Melbourne is the best school in Australia and one of the best in the world. Even if all of the school’s famous alumni didn’t convince you, there’s plenty of evidence that U Melbourne graduates go on to have happy and financially fulfilling careers. 

International students will still have to pay quite a bit more for tuition.

Also, the cultural differences can be shocking for those from North America, especially the different seasons and weather. But it’s also worth remembering that U Melbourne is happy to support international students as much as possible, with everything from scholarships to administrative help.