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Overseas university spotlight: Deakin University (Australia)

Even prior to the pandemic, Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, was one of the most technologically and digitally advanced universities out there.

And when I heard it's considered the 'labrador of universities' for how friendly staff and students are, my interest was certainly piqued!

Here are some of the highlights from my visit to campus in October 2022.

Deakin University main campus

Melbourne, Australia

What could I possibly say about one of my favorite cities in the world?

Perhaps the first thing worth mentioning is that Melbourne was ranked the 10th most livable city in the world in the 2022 Global Liveability Index, which is based on five factors: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Melbourne skyline and Yarra River

Although it's one of the only major Australian cities in which I've never actually lived myself, I can certainly see the appeal, and it prides itself on being the culture, sport and coffee capital of the country.

You don't have to go far to come across an alley of graffiti art, a gallery or places to shop.

Melbourne graffiti street
Melbourne graffiti street: Shaq
Walking along the Yarra River at night
Possibly the most beautiful (and largest) H&M I've ever seen!
Possibly the most beautiful (and largest) H&M I've ever seen!
Federation Square
Federation Square
St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Cathedral

A brief stroll alongside the Yarra River will also lead you to Melbourne Park, where you'll find various sports stadiums.

Yarra River at night

Melbourne Park includes the world famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (the MCG) that hosts Australian rules football and cricket, the Rod Laver and Margaret Court Arenas (where the tennis grand slam, the Australian Open, takes place) and AAMI Park, home to soccer and rugby.


I managed to catch a Melbourne FC game while in town, and although it wasn't well attended, the atmosphere was still good!

Melbourne FC v Western United
Melbourne FC v Western United

Possibly my favorite aspect of Melbourne, of course, would be the plentitude of cafes; no burnt coffee to be found here!

Melbourne cafe culture

With a population of around 5 million, Melbourne also offers an amazing public transport system; there is free tram service within the city centre that you can hop on and off.

To go a bit farther afield, there are other trams, buses and trains, all linked and easily accessible with a myki transport card.

Flinders Street Railway Station
Flinders Street Railway Station
Melbourne trams
Strange Melbourne driving rules

Do pay attention when you're crossing the street though; Melbourne has a weird system where cars turn right from the far left lane (I will never understand this!).

One thing I do have to mention to students unfamiliar with Australia, however, is that Melbourne's weather can be... how should we say... unpredictable?!

In fact, it's not uncommon to experience four seasons in a day!

To me, this is absolutely part of its appeal, and the rain adds to the mysteriousness of the place (just bring an umbrella and dress in layers!).

But where Sydney tends to get the edge when it comes to beautiful beaches, Melbourne is not without its own fair share, however.

The most popular and convenient one is located in St Kilda, about a half hour on the train from the centre.

I also took the train out to Brighton Beach, home to the famous and colorful beach bungalows.

Brighton Beach
Brighton Beach bathing houses


Within the greater Melbourne area, Deakin University has three campuses from which students can choose (although some degrees are only taught in certain locations)--Burwood, Geelong and Warrnambool.

Burwood tends to be the one students opt for most commonly and is the one I visited on this trip.

It's about an hour on tram 75 from Melbourne centre and has around 17,000 students.

Burwood campus
The newer bridge connecting the campus
Deakin Student Central

The Geelong campus is a quieter option and is the largest in terms of physical space, but it's still only about an hour from Melbourne on the train.

And Warrnambool is the farthest of the three from Melbourne, about three hours on the train.

The Warrnambool campus is set on the banks of the Hopkins Rivers and is perfect for those interested in environmental science in particular.

Oh, and there is actually a 'fourth' campus to be fair--in the clouds!

A digital cloud, that is.

Deakin teaches more than 24,000 students online--and has been doing so even prior to the pandemic!

Trimester System

Unlike most universities, Deakin's academic calendar is based on a trimester system.

The first two trimesters are of a similar length to a semester, and Trimester 3 is optional and takes place over the Australian summer (November to February).

This means students have the flexibility to study in the trimesters which suit them.

For example, a student may study in Trimesters 1 and 3 if they wish to travel during summer in the U.S., or a student may study in all trimesters and finished the program sooner, which is unique.


Founded in 1974, the university was named after Alfred Deakin, the second Prime Minister of Australia.

And despite its relatively young age, in 2021, it was ranked to have the number one sports science department in the world in the Shanghai rankings, an unbelievable achievement.

On campus, there are brand new facilities and partnerships with the local sports clubs, such as the Geelong Footy Club, of which students benefit.

Sports science facilities

For example, this room below is a temperature-controlled environment (and was pretty hot when I visited!).

It allows students to test the affects of heat (or cold) on an athlete's performance.

Temperature controlled sports science room
Sports science classroom
Sports science equipment used by professional teams
Sports science equipment used by professional teams
Sports science facilities
Sports science facilities
Sports science facilities

In the Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science, there are around 100 students at the Geelong campus and 400 at Burwood.

This small-ish cohort allows the course to include a major practical component; students will complete a minimum of 220 practical hours by the time they graduate.

Deakin's nursing degree is also well-regarded (with competitive entry requirements), and the Deakin Business School is also in the top 1% of business schools globally, holding both AACSB and EQUIS accreditations.

Business School Trading Room
Deakin University Business School
View from the Law School

Career Education

One of the most unique aspects of a Deakin degree is the idea of career education.

Deakin holds the philosophy that a student's professional career starts on day one of the degree.

That said, it has worked to integrate 'career education' into all of its programs.

In 2021, 51 classes included this sort of learning, where students have to develop their career plans, undertake mock interviews or build an industry-specific resumes as part of assessments for the class.

In addition, all students undergo compulsory internships and have access to the DeakinTALENT program for life.

DeakinTALENT is a careers service that helps make students more employable through resume workshops, interview preparation, bringing industry reps to campus and more.

And one of the most convenient services is an artificial intelligence tool in which students can upload their resumes and receive instant feedback for 'anytime, anywhere' support.

Deakin University: Summary

Deakin University has not even had its 50th birthday yet, but it's safe to say it's making waves when it comes to higher education, particularly in the digital teaching space and in the field of sports science.

The students I met raved about the work integrated learning, and many had job offers before their degrees were even finished.

They spoke highly of the multicultural environment and experiences living in the dorms, where they regularly take turns hosting culture nights to cook each other food from their local countries.

And with a modern campus and all the benefits of being close to the buzzing metropolis of Melbourne, Deakin is a great option to consider for sure.


Interested in applying for college or grad school abroad?

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G'day! My name is Sara, and I'm the founder of College Apps Abroad and a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), one of only 40 CEP's in California and 300 worldwide. I have more than 10 years of experience working in international recruitment and admissions, and I've studied and lived overseas myself in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Brazil for almost a decade. I've also worked for some of the world's top institutions, including The University of Edinburgh, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Western Australia (UWA)!

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