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Is it hard to get into UQ

Is it hard to get into UQ?

Uni life
Published 11 May, 2023  ·  5-minute read

So, you’re leaning towards The University of Queensland for your QTAC application, but you’re not 100% sure if you’ll get accepted. Perhaps you’ve seen some ATAR thresholds that have left you wondering if it’s too hard to get into UQ.

Well, firstly, it’s probably not.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way – and there’s almost always a way to study at UQ. Whether you don’t get the ATAR you need or don’t have an ATAR at all, there are alternative pathways you can take to enrol at UQ and work towards getting into your desired program.

But let’s get back to the question at hand:

Is it hard to get into UQ?

For any university in Australia, this question really comes down to what you specifically want to study. The ATAR required can vary widely between study areas, which means the degree you want to do is the main thing that will determine how difficult it is to get into UQ.

For example:

Explore more programs’ entry thresholds

Why are some programs harder to get into?

You might think a higher rank means a harder degree. And while that seems logical, ATAR thresholds don’t necessarily reflect how difficult a program is to complete. What they do represent is how popular a program is and how many spots are available each year.

At UQ, we provide our students with relevant, practical experiences (like placements and internships) to prepare you for the working world. But there are only so many opportunities like these available in the industry organisations we partner with, which is why some of our most popular programs also have the strictest caps on student numbers.

The ATAR of the student who took the last ‘seat’ in a program is what determines the estimated threshold for the following year, giving you an indication of how hard it’ll be to get into that program.

Some programs, on the other hand, don’t rely on practical placements so much or have plentiful work experience opportunities available. This means the limit is much higher, and so the program can accept more students and doesn’t need to push up the ATAR threshold.

Two students sit on a bench chatting with sandstone buildings, students and trees in the background

Is it hard to get into UQ vs other universities?

With so much variance between programs, it’s difficult to objectively evaluate how hard it is to get into UQ compared to other universities. What we can do, however, is look at some key examples of specific degrees to get a rough picture – across Queensland first, and then across the country.

All figures presented are based on selection rank cut-offs from 2022 (or 2023 where available) and should be viewed as a guide only.

Selection rank examples: Queensland

Program UQ QUT Griffith SCU CQU JCU
Bachelor of Arts 70.00 70.00* 65.00 60.00 60.00 59.40
Bachelor of Science 80.00 70.00 67.00 70.00 69.00 66.50
Bachelor of Nursing 78.00 84.00 72.00 N/A 68.00 66.45*
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) 84.00 79.00 72.00 70.00* N/A 75.00
Bachelor of Laws N/A N/A N/A 80.00 74.00 75.70
Bachelor of Laws (Honours) 97.50 87.00 82.00 N/A N/A N/A
Bachelor of Business 76.00* 70.00 67.00 60.00 60.00 59.40

*QUT doesn’t offer a Bachelor of Arts, so we’ve used the selection rank from their Bachelor of Creative Industries instead. JCU’s nursing degree is a Bachelor of Nursing Science. SCU’s engineering degree is a Bachelor of Engineering Systems (Honours). UQ’s business program is called a Bachelor of Business Management.

As you can see from the Bachelor of Laws rows above, having an honours year included can make a significant difference to the ATAR required. But what is an honours year, and why is it worth doing? Find out here.

Based on this selection of programs, UQ appears to regularly require an ATAR of 5-15 ranks above other universities in Queensland. However, keep in mind that this is only a small snapshot of the programs that we and the other listed universities offer.

The entry thresholds published by most universities are not for your base ATAR. These figures factor in any rank adjustments (or admission schemes) you might be able to apply to your ATAR – and you can learn all about these here: How to get extra ATAR points (rank adjustments). Some scholarships, such as the LEAD Law scholarship, can also boost your selection rank for those programs with more ambitious targets (looking at you, Law).

Now, what if we compare to some other universities around Australia?

Selection rank examples: interstate

Program UQ ANU USyd Monash UWA UTS
Bachelor of Arts 70.00 80.00 80.00 75.00 75.00 N/A
Bachelor of Science 80.00 80.00 80.00 82.00 75.00 75.60
Bachelor of Nursing 78.00 N/A 84.00 73.65 N/A 78.00
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) 84.00 85.00 90.00 85.00 80.00 80.20
Bachelor of Laws (Honours) 97.50 97.00 99.50 97.00 N/A 96.15
Bachelor of Business 76.00* 80.00* N/A 75.15 75.00 85.00

*UQ’s business program is called a Bachelor of Business Management, and ANU’s is a Bachelor of Business Administration.

Looking across the country, we can see that UQ’s entry ranks are quite standard compared to some of Australia’s other top universities.

So, do we have an answer then? Is it hard to get into UQ compared to other universities?

Yes… and no.

If you’re only looking at local Queensland universities, UQ probably does seem a little hard to get into. Depending on the degree, we may indeed have a higher entry threshold than your other options.

However, if you’re researching the best-ranked universities around Australia, you’ll find UQ is typically no harder to get into than some of the other states’ most respected universities.

Is there a correlation between us having similar entry thresholds to other universities that have world-class teachers and facilities? Well, we’ll leave that up to you to discover. 😉

Explore UQ's undergraduate study options

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