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Australia’s best universities ranked on sustainability

Universities have the power to effect big change, so one university rankings company is now including sustainability when ranking unis. Here’s how the best Australian unis fared

The latest university rankings from higher education analyst Quacquarelli Symonds are out, and this year they’re a little different. 

Australian universities continue to punch above their weight, with the University of Melbourne coming in the highest of the Australian universities at 14th in the world, followed by the University of NSW and The University of Sydney, at equal 19th.

But the bigwigs at QS say an increasing number of students, particularly Gen Z, expect universities to take positive action toward sustainability. And that as many as 41% of prospective students will check out what the uni they’re considering going to is doing about environmental sustainability.

So this year, QS has ranked universities on sustainability, along with all the other helpful metrics like employment outcomes, or academic and employer reputation.

QS founder Nunzio Quacquarelli says the student community the organisation serves understands the significance of the climate crisis and sees a real responsibility among universities in supporting the sustainability agenda. 

“In 2023, we will be the first among the major rankings to incorporate sustainability into their flagship rankings.  

“I’m especially proud of this change as we hope it’ll help universities to focus even more on what they can do to improve their research output and their commitment to environmental and social change, and how they make the institutions themselves more sustainable.” 

Here’s the top 10 Australian universities by sustainability, according to QS. 

UniversitySustainability scoreOverall scoreGlobal QS ranking
The University of Sydney99.786.719
University of NSW99.686.719
The University of Adelaide96.36262
RMIT University96.252.4140
Griffith University93.340.1243
The University of Newcastle93.348.7173
University of Technology Sydney93.161.890
University of Wollongong92.350.1162
Macquarie University91.853.7130
Queensland University of Technology90.646.8189
Data from

Read more about the study paths and careers in environmental sustainability here, and be inspired by these role models combining STEM with their passion for the environment.

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