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Three students walk through UQ St Lucia's Great Court smiling and chatting with jacaranda trees in the background

Why we believe UQ is the best university in Brisbane

Uni life
Published 8 Jun, 2023  ·  7-minute read

So, you need to pick a university to attend in Brisbane. Why choose The University of Queensland?

You’ve probably heard the spiel about our university rankings, global reputation and notable alumni. But perhaps you’re not so concerned about such things – and that’s completely fine.

What about the best uni in Brisbane for things like convenience and student life? 

If you’re choosing a university in Brisbane because that’s where you live or it’s the closest option, these things may be more important. We’re talking about practical factors like how close it is to your home or your work, how easy it is to get to, and if there’s a gym you can join on campus.

You want to know how your future university will fit in with and enhance your lifestyle while you study.

Well, for all you pragmatic folk out there, we’re here to convince you that UQ is indeed #1 on the list of the best universities in Brisbane – even if you put all the prestige aside. Here's why.

1. It’s easy to get to.

Whether you’re travelling from north or south Brisbane, UQ’s St Lucia campus has great public transport links.

The easiest way to get to campus is via bus or ferry. There are two bus stations located on opposite sides of the campus, with more than 10 direct bus routes from Brisbane CBD and the outer suburbs. Many of the bus routes take the busway, so you aren’t contending with peak hour traffic and can get to class faster.

More interested in taking the train? Toowong and Park Road train stations both connect to regular bus services that’ll take you straight to St Lucia.

For those who like to cycle, there’s a scenic riverside bicycle path through Toowong to St Lucia, or if you’re coming from the south, you can take the Eleanor Schonell Bridge over the river. There are secure bicycle racks and storage rooms on campus, showering facilities and changing rooms, and even bicycle repair stations too.

Paid parking is also available on campus for those who wish to drive.

Two cyclists riding on a bicycle path next edged with blooming purple jacaranda trees

 The bicycle path along UQ Lakes is a popular and scenic route for cyclists on campus.

2. Everything you need is on campus.

If you need to post a parcel, pick up a prescription or get a haircut between classes, we’ve got you covered.

You may have noticed our St Lucia campus takes up the majority of St Lucia the suburb. As such, it’s like a village with all the daily amenities you need. There’s a pharmacy, GP, dentist, post office, bank, newsagency, EzyMart and even a hair salon.

Convenient, right?

You can finish class, swing by the post office to return a pair of shoes you impulse-bought online, grab a drink with your mates, hit the gym, pick up a few groceries and be home in time to watch Master Chef with your mum. All this without even having to leave campus!

How big is UQ, exactly?

  • St Lucia campus spans across 114 hectares.
  • UQ’s various campuses, sites and buildings cover around 1670 hectares.
  • UQ has around 56,000 enrolled students (based on 2021 figures).

There’s also a massive range of cafés, restaurants, bars and eateries to keep you fuelled during your studies. From cheap and cheerful options like Subway and Merlo coffee, to a fancy sit-down meal at Patina, there’s something for everyone. Many of the food outlets run student specials and offer deals for repeat customers, so we know you’ll become a regular in no time.

Prefer to bring your own food and save even more pennies? No worries. We’ve got microwave stations and kitchenettes dotted around the campus.

students socialising and eating pizza

Pizza Caffe has been on campus since 1992 and is a popular lunch spot in the UQ Union Complex.

3. There are heaps of sports and recreation programs.

A key part of the university experience is immersing yourself in student life, so naturally, you’ll be wanting to know what kind of facilities and events are on campus to help you make the most of your time here. At UQ, we have over 200 student-run clubs and societies that will help you find people with similar interests and discover new opportunities to connect, create and simply hang out.

UQ Sport has a massive range of programs, competitions and facilities. There are athletics, aquatic, tennis and fitness centres and basketball, beach volleyball and netball courts. Not to mention numerous top-notch playing fields. Whether you prefer to hit the gym solo, want to sweat it out in a group yoga session or join a social soccer team, UQ Sport can hook you up. There’s also a range of tournaments and competitions you can join, if competitive sport is more your jam.

UQ hosts a bunch of fun events and regular social programs throughout the year. Catch some live music, join a book club, attend a movie night or tour the art museum. There are markets on campus every Wednesday, a bunch of museums ready to be explored, and you may even catch the famous popcorn van wafting buttery goodness through the Great Court. UQ celebrates its fair share of exciting festivals and events as well. In the past, UQ has been involved in Brisbane Open House and Anywhere Festival, hosted Diwali and NAIDOC week celebrations and organised informative workshops and events for Sustainability Week and International Women's Day.

Choose to study at UQ St Lucia and you’ll never have a shortage of things to do and see. The campus is always buzzing with activity during semester, and no matter how long you spend here, there’s always the opportunity to discover something new.

Explore UQ student life further, and see everything you can get involved in to balance your study and social lives.

People playing tennis on purple courts

UQ's St Lucia campus has a whopping 21 tennis courts used for coaching, tournaments and social matches.

4. There’s more than one way to get in.

So, you may be thinking this all sounds great, but the main question is: is it hard to get into UQ?

ATAR cut-offs and entry requirements differ depending on what undergraduate program you want to study. But the good news is, even if you don’t quite get the ATAR you need to gain entry to your desired program, there are other pathways you can take to get into UQ.

UQ offers bridging courses, and the popular tertiary admissions pathway, to help those who may not have received the ATAR they were hoping for, or who don’t quite meet the other entry requirements, to access their program of choice.

There are also various admissions schemes that can help to boost your ATAR and increase your likelihood of studying at UQ. This ‘boost’ is referred to as an ‘adjustment’ at UQ, and is offered to Year 12 students who studied particular subjects in high school, to students who live in rural areas, and those who are experiencing financial difficulties, to name a few.

Check if you’re eligible for an admissions scheme

Many people seem to think you need to be top of your class in high school to get into UQ, but this simply isn’t the case. We take pride in the bright minds of our students, and we believe that includes anyone with the drive and passion to study with us. That’s why we offer alternate entry pathways – because as is the case with life, not everyone’s journey to tertiary education is linear.

5. There’s fee help and a wide range of scholarships.

All universities in Brisbane do have one thing in common: fees. But how you can pay them off may differ from university to university. Fortunately, in Australia, we have HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP and SA-HELP student loans to knock off some of the financial stress while you’re studying. However, there are other ways you can get assistance with paying for study expenses, depending on which uni you attend.

At UQ, we have a huge range of scholarships on offer to help with both tuition fees and expenses related to study like travel, laptops, textbooks and accommodation. There are scholarships for high academic achievers, elite athletes, international students, students studying particular programs, refugees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, LGBTQIA+ students, and students experiencing financial hardship. And the list doesn’t end there.

It’s always worth checking if there’s a scholarship that fits your circumstances. With a scholarship, you won’t have to pay the money back later like with a student loan, so you can focus your finances elsewhere (like saving for your first home or funding your startup idea) when you get your first full-time job out of uni.

Browse UQ scholarships

So, is UQ the best university in Brisbane?

We might be a little biased, but we think we’ve made a pretty clear argument for UQ not just being one of the best universities in Brisbane, but the best uni in Brisbane.

At the end of the day though, it's up to you to decide.

Need a little more convincing? Take a virtual tour of St Lucia campus.

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