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

  • 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.
University rankings list numbers.

Top 5 Online Universities in Australia

Updated: 15 March 2016

Best Online Universities by Subject

The top 5 list for online education matches up with subject rankings.

Universities such as UNE, Deakin and USQ also appear in the subject lists below.


For each of 8 major study areas, we identified the top 2-4 online universities.

  • The rankings are based mainly on graduate satisfaction (the % of graduates with a major in the area who are happy with course quality).
  • Another factor contributing to rankings is course depth. The best universities in each category offer a good selection of online courses and units.
  • Other considerations are opportunities for workplace learning, enrollment flexibility and student numbers.


The best online universities for arts are University of New England (UNE), University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Deakin University.

The universities offer wide selections of humanities and communications subjects. Course satisfaction rates among graduates are high.

Business courses.


The best online business schools in Australia are UNE, Edith Cowan University (ECU) and Ducere.

  • UNE and ECU have highly rated business schools and offer a variety of majors.
  • Ducere has new courses with some great features. They are self-paced (meaning you can start any time), replace exams with applied projects, and include contributions from world business and political leaders.
Teacher education degree courses.


UNE and Deakin 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.
Engineering degree courses.


Australia's strongest online engineering schools are USQ and Deakin.

  • 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.
Health science degree courses.


The strongest distance education universities for health and community are Deakin and 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, psychology, public health and social work.
Information technology and computer science degree courses.

Information Technology

Information technology degrees are readily available online. Some of the best choices are Deakin, Southern Cross University (SCU) and Federation University Australia (FedUni).

  • Deakin and FedUni programs offer plenty of variety.
  • SCU's Bachelor of Information Technology degree aims to be comprehensive for all students.
Law degree courses.

Law and Justice

The best online law schools are ECU, Charles Darwin University (CDU) and UNE.

  • The law courses at ECU and CDU have high satisfaction ratings.
  • CDU's law program has achievable entry standards.
  • You can complete UNE's Bachelor of Law degree in 3 years if you already have a degree.


For online science courses, 3 of the best universities are UNE, CSU and SCU.

Science courses are not always available online because of the need for lab classes and field trips. But UNE and CSU have large distance learning programs. Where required, the universities organise residential schools for students to do hands-on learning.

SCU offers specialist degrees in areas such as the environment, forestry, and marine science.

Rankings Notes

Looking at overall performance, UNE is Australia's best online university.

  • It is a leading online university in arts, business, education and science.
  • UNE is also the 3rd largest, has the equal highest course satisfaction rate, and produces high graduate salaries.

The other top 5 universities, like UNE, offer a wide selection of good quality courses.

  • Deakin performs well in education, engineering, health and IT.
  • USQ is strong in arts, engineering and health.
  • ECU is good for business and law.
  • CSU gets high ratings in arts and science.

Overall university rankings for Australia are available here.

To discover the best online degrees in your subject, see the course pages.