The guide profiles thirty fields of study and provides information on the universities that offer them, including five star ratings on student cohort, student experience, student retention rate and graduate employment and salaries.
“International students, in particular students from Asian countries, find university rankings a very important factor when deciding on what and where to study”
Graduates in pharmacy, dentistry and medicine were shown to be most successful in obtaining full time work while students graduating in the areas of creative arts, sports and leisure and general sciences were the most likely to still be looking for full time employment four months after graduating.
Western Australia fared particularly well in the graduate starting salaries category, with four out of seven institutions rated five stars – Notre Dame, ECU, the University of Western Australia and Curtin University – located in the province.
Among international students, subject popularity followed global trends with business and management attracting the most students, some 86,000 undergraduates, at the 39 universities surveyed. Other ratings show smaller universities fared well in the teaching quality stakes in this year’s guide, while Go8 universities didn’t rate as highly as expected in overall satisfaction.
Engineering and technology (18,626), computing and IT (13,736) and accounting (13,619) were also among the most popular subjects for international students.
However, of the top four subjects for overseas students, only engineering and technology achieved a four-star rating overall. Accounting received three stars, while the other two subjects only received two stars.
The guide’s subject profiles makes it a useful asset for international students, who typically care more about subject rankings or the academic reputation of a course than overall university rankings when deciding where to study, according to Ross White, Education Data Manager for Hobsons.
“International students, in particular students from Asian countries, find university rankings a very important factor when deciding on what and where to study (supported by Hobsons’ Teaching Quality research report),” he told The PIE News.
“International students are looking for value for money for the high cost of an Australian education, and therefore want to ensure their experience while studying, as well as their employment prospects are positive,” he added.
International students accounted for 22% of all students at Australian universities in 2012-13, according to Department of Education figures.
Bond, Sunshine Coast, UNE, ECU and Notre Dame all received five stars for overall satisfaction, as did Swinburne University of Technology and Deakin University.
However, Victoria University, the University of Canberra, CQUniversity, Charles Sturt University, Southern Cross University, RMIT University and the University of Sydney all received only one star for overall satisfaction, placing them in the bottom 20% of universities for this category.
Both the teaching quality and overall course satisfaction metrics were based on the results of Graduate Careers Australia’s Graduate Destination survey and Course Experience questionnaire.
Western Australia fared particularly well in the graduate starting salaries category
Surprisingly, no members of the Group of Eight (Go8) coalition of leading Australian universities rated five stars for teaching quality, generic skills graduates acquired while studying or overall satisfaction.
The guide shows that Victorian universities are among the best in Australia for student retention, but have lost ground in graduate employment stakes. Four out of eight fell in this area, including Melbourne university, which meant that none scored more than three stars for graduate employment. Only Federation University showed signs of improvement, moving up from two stars to three-stars.
The guide is produced annually by Hobsons for sale to students and their advisers including parents, schools and agents.