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

Founded in 1850, the University of Sydney is not only the oldest university in the country of Australia, but it is also a member of several respected groups. 

These groups include the Group of Eight, the term applied to Australia’s eight most prominent research universities, and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, a consortium of 60 research schools in the pacific rim region. 

But the school’s most important association might be the sandstone universities, the term applied to Australia’s oldest tertiary universities, including the University of Tasmania and the University of Melbourne. 

U Sydney’s main campus is considered one of the most beautiful globally, alongside revered schools such as Oxford and Cambridge. This reputation is built thanks to the school’s many notable artworks and statues, including the Gilgamesh Statue and the Confucius Statue. 

Furthermore, the school grounds feature remarkable architecture from legendary designers such as Walter Liberty Vernon, Walter Burley Griffin, Leslie Wilkinson, and the New South Wales Government Architect. 

As one of Australia’s top schools, U Sydney has trained and employed a number of the country’s most influential figures. 

The school has been associated with five Nobel and two Crafoord laureates, and it is the alma mater of seven Australian prime ministers, two governors-general of Australia, nine state governors and territory administrators, and 24 justices of the High Court of Australia, including four chief justices. 

Additionally, 110 Rhodes Scholars and 19 Gates Scholars graduated from the University of Sydney. 

University of Sydney Acceptance Rate

University of Sydney
Jason Tong, Charles Perkins Centre interior, Sydney, CC BY 2.0

Because it is one of the best universities in Australia and one of the top schools globally, U Sydney is a top choice for college hopefuls. In 2020, the student body consisted of 60,868 students

While the university does not release its application numbers, we do know that it accepts only 30% of its applicants overall.

While that seems like a reasonably high percentage, applicants need to keep in mind that the number includes both domestic and international students. 

As a global institution, the University of Sydney encourages applications from all over the world. In fact, 23,404 of the school’s student body come from outside of Australia, nearly 40%. 

To help increase their chances, domestic students can embrace academic specialization. A strong focus means that you’re an expert. The knowledge demonstrates to people that you know what you’re talking about and have something to offer the community. 

With this knowledge – and more importantly, achievements such as awards – your application will show U Sydney that you will contribute to the community. 

University of Sydney Ranking

As we’ve already stated, the University of Sydney is one of the highest-rated schools in the world. But just how high does it rank? 

The highly respected U.S. News & World Report puts U Sydney near the top positions on several of its global ranking lists. 

Although the university places #27 in the world on the Best Global Universities list, it falls at #2 on Best Universities in Australia and New Zealand, just below the University of Melbourne. 

Individual programs rank even higher, with the school’s arts & humanities degree earning 11th place and oncology earning 8th place. 

U Sydney sits at the same place in nearly every other major list. The site gives the school the 38th spot on its international list, giving the university special praise for its academic reputation and its international faculty and student body. 

On the Times World University Rankings, U Sydney places at 51st place in the world. The site gives the school this position thanks to its citations from academics and its international engagement. 

Finally, the Center for World University Rankings gives U Sydney an overall score of 81.8, the 98th highest in the world. The Center ranks the school number two in Australia and 38th in the world for the quality of its research. 

Notable Alumni

Because it is such an important school on the world stage, the University of Sydney counts among its graduates some of the most influential people in Australia and across the globe. 

The school’s alumni include famous names in popular culture, such as Hollywood stars Dolph Lundgren and Rose Byrne, and important academics like biologist and climate scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. 

The school’s contributions to the Australian government include former Governors-General of Australia Sir William Patrick Deane and Sir John Kerr, as well as Australian Prime Ministers Tony Abbott, Sir Edmund Barton, John Howard, Sir William McMahon, Sir Earle Page, Malcolm Turnbull, and Gough Whitlam. 

U Sydney was the school of choice for international royals, including Princess of Swaziland Sikhanyiso Dlamini and King of Tonga Taufa’ahau Tupou IV.

The University of Sydney additionally graduated many of the country’s best authors in a range of genres. Geraldine Brooks, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her book March, studied at U Sydney, as did radical feminist writer Germaine Greer and the Medievalist Margaret Clunies Ross. 

Alumni in pop culture include directors Somaratne Dissanayake, Peter Weir, Jane Campion, and comedians such as Andrew Hansen, Chas Licciardello, Julian Morrow, Craig Reucassel, Chris Taylor. 

As this brief list demonstrates, the University of Sydney has an impressive group of graduates. 


Because it is a public institution, the University of Sydney doesn’t cost quite as much to attend as other schools of its caliber. But it still isn’t cheap. 

A variety of factors affect the amount students will pay in tuition and fees, including your domestic or international status. The university defines a domestic student as anyone who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, New Zealand citizen, or Australian humanitarian visa holder. 

That distinction is essential because 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 more, will pay AUD 6,684 each year. 

Band Two includes subjects such as mathematics, agriculture, and computing, and costs AUD 9,527 each year. 

Students in Band Three will pay AUD 11,155 each year to study law, accounting, economics, and more. 

Because they do not qualify for a CSP, international students pay quite a bit more. The school does not separate subjects studied by international students into bands, but tuition rates change according to the program. 

For example, international students studying law will pay AUD 46,000 every year, while those studying music will pay between $41,000 – 43,000 AUD each year. 

University of Sydney Acceptance Rate for International Students

University of Sydney
Jason Tong, Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney, CC BY 2.0

Despite those higher rates, the University of Sydney does encourage applications from students from around the globe. As stated earlier, nearly 40% of the students attending U Sydney come from outside of Australia, which means that they welcome applications from around the world. 

Interestingly, 30% of the international students who apply to study at the school receive offers of admission. 

While that’s a relatively high percentage, international students still need to be strategic about their application. Because U Sydney accepts applications two years before the course of study begins, applicants need to start early to gather information. 

The school recommends that international applicants begin by choosing their course of study using their course search tool. That tool will inform applicants of many elements, including the inherent requirements and prerequisites. 

Next, students must demonstrate their English language proficiencies. 

Finally, international students must provide several documents supporting their application, including academic transcripts, degree certificates, scholarship documentation, and (if applicable) marriage/change of name certificate.

As these tools suggest, U Sydney 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 Sydney Right For You?

With such an impressive history of respectable alumni, research, and innovation, the University of Sydney has built its reputation as one of the best schools in the world. But some applicants might look at U Sydney’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 Sydney offers. 

As we’ve already seen, U Sydney is one of the top schools in Australia and among the best in the world. 

Thousands of people have left U Sydney to go on to happy and successful careers, not just those on its list of famous alumni. International students will still have to pay quite a bit more for tuition, and they’ll have to pay quite a bit more in tuition. 

For most students looking for a top-ranked university in an international city, the University of Sydney has few options that can surpass it. 

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