University Spotlight – UNSW

Find out everything you need to know about study, living, support, and more at UNSW in our latest university spotlight.


Campuses & Access


UNSW occupies a very generously sized campus located in Kensington, right near the heart of the Sydney CBD, and it’s easily accessible by bus and light rail. There is some on-campus parking, but it’s not free and may be tricky to access. There’s also a smaller campus not far away in Paddington which houses the specialist Art & Design facility, and there are shuttle buses that run between the campus and a night shuttle bus as well.

The size of the Kensington campus means it can be difficult to navigate at times. The campus is on a slope, with a fairly intensive walk with several sets of stairs between the lower and upper campus. It takes around 15 minutes to walk from one end of the campus to the other.

Most of the buildings on the Kensington campus are accessible by wheelchair, and multi-storey buildings contain lifts for access to higher floors. Because of the huge size and sloping nature of the campus, getting around can be difficult, particularly for people with a disability. You can view an accessibility map of the campus here.


Online Learning


As UNSW only offer 17 online courses, and these are all for postgrad students, you might struggle to find a flexible online learning option for undergraduate entry. Most courses offered in a blended mode (a mix of online and on-campus) are also postgrad.

If you’re looking to study at an undergraduate level at UNSW, you’ll probably need to study on-campus.


Study Options


UNSW offer undergraduate courses in all the standard study areas, and are one of the only universities in Australia with an undergraduate Medicine program.

UNSW offer certain double degree combinations that allow you to fast track your studies. You can generally commence study in any term of the year (excluding the Summer term).

The academic year is split across three terms (trimesters), running roughly from mid-February to early December, with 2 week breaks between each term. A short optional Summer term is also offered from early January to early February. No classes are run over the Christmas and New Year period. Standard teaching hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm. You can view the academic calendar for the year here.

There is little flexibility in course offerings, and subjects can only be taken in the terms they are offered, which is at the discretion of the university. All students typically take subjects in a set order, and most courses are made up of core subjects (including your major or minor), plus some elective subjects. Course subjects and structure can be viewed in the course handbook.


Accommodation & Living


UNSW offers a variety of both on- and off-campus accommodation options catered to students. There are 7 colleges and 4 apartment units operated by UNSW, as well as 5 additional affiliated colleges and 2 affiliated apartments.

Accommodation places are limited and competitive, so it’s recommended to apply as soon as possible, even before results are released. Applications to some colleges also require additional documentation, including references, academic transcripts, and a letter of application – you must also attend an interview before being offered a place.

Sizes vary from studio to multi-bedroom options. 2023 prices vary between $150 to $797.70 per person per week, depending on size and location. Some accommodation options offer catering and cleaning services. The fees for all colleges and apartments include all utility bills – electricity, water, and internet (Wi-Fi).

In 2023, only yearly contracts are offered. Students must reapply for accommodation at the beginning of each year. There is no accommodation guarantee for first year students.

You can see all accommodation options and application processes here.

Living off campus in Sydney, particularly in the suburbs around UNSW, can be incredibly expensive (the current median rental price for an apartment in Kensington is $575 per week), and rental options are generally highly competitive. More affordable options further away can mean a very long travel time to and from campus.


Campus & Teaching Facilities


You’ll find lots to do on campus, and the Kensington campus has a wide variety of cafés and eateries. Other facilities include grocery stores, bookshop, pharmacy, physiotherapy studio, dentist, optometrist, and fitness and aquatic centre. There is a large library on-campus, as well as a separate law library. The Paddington campus also has a small library.

The Kensington campus has several specialist teaching buildings, particularly for STEM areas, including labs and research facilities. The Paddington campus has been purpose-built for art and design teaching, including fully equipped studio spaces, production facilities and media labs, so you’ll be learning in some of the best facilities on offer.


Student Support


UNSW offer a variety of student support services, ranging from Equitable Learning Services, academic support, career and professional development support, and health and wellbeing services.

All of this information is easy to find and access on their website here.


Industry Partnerships


UNSW has a variety of partnerships with industry and business, particularly in engineering, design, and business areas. They offer Work Integrated Learning (WIL) options in nearly all course areas, which means you’ll be able to gain real-world experience before you finish your degree.

UNSW also has close ties with government, including being the only university integrated with the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).


Information Accessibility


UNSW’s website is generally easy to read and navigate. They have most important information about study options, accommodation, scholarships, and support services in an easy to find place on their website. Their website includes a search function, which is easy to find and mostly provides relevant results.


Tours & Information Sessions


You can take a virtual tour of the Kensington campus here. They also run in-person tours on Saturday for the Kensington campus and Thursday for the Paddington campus.

UNSW run on campus information events for future students sporadically throughout the year. You can view the upcoming calendar of events here.


Next Steps


If you’re interested in study at UNSW and want to find out more information, the best way to do this is to contact them, either by phone on 1300 UNI NSW (1300 864 679), through online chat, or email. They also have a comprehensive list of FAQs.

UNSW also run one Open Day a year, scheduled for September.


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