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How to get into the University of Sydney from the US

How to get into the University of Sydney from the US

Sydney is making a name for itself as one of the best universities in the world, and one that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees at a significant savings to the US.

Kevin Newton
Kevin Newton
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Photo by Camille Chen on Unsplash

Why choose the University of Sydney?

For students who want the chance to live in one of the most livable cities in the world (as per the Economist), gain a qualification from a global top 50 university, and have the opportunity to eventually live in Australia, the University of Sydney is an outstanding choice. Even if not all of those apply to you, Sydney is making a name for itself as one of the best universities in the world, and one that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees at a significant savings to the US, while still offering substantial flexibility. Best of all, its admissions policies for Americans are incredibly generous, with a major emphasis on grades in the area of interest.

What is the University of Sydney known for?

Like many other Australian universities, the University of Sydney is known for combining the best of the UK’s focus on depth with the American focus on breadth of education. What really sets Sydney apart though is just how flexible the place can be. There aren’t firm general education requirements like many universities in the United States, but students are still encouraged to reach across disciplines to study exactly what appeals to them. Want to study human rights with a minor in geology? At the University of Sydney, that’s possible.

University of Sydney Rankings

The University of Sydney is a member of the Group of Eight, comprising the eight best universities in Australia. The QS rankings consider Sydney to be a top 20 global university, while US News and World Report ranks it at 28. No matter how you count it, that puts the University of Sydney ahead of many Ivy Plus programs in the United States.

University of Sydney Study Abroad Programs


Like many other Australian universities, the University of Sydney offers a number of options for graduate-level study. One aspect that might be new to many Americans is the requirement for an honours year. In Australia, most undergraduate degrees are three years long, with the option of an honours year. This honours year acts as an introduction to advanced research, bridging the gap between undergraduate and higher study.


Because of the emphasis on research skills starting with the honours year, PhD programs can be completed relatively quickly at the University of Sydney. A wide range of options are available, with some even available as distance study options.


For students who can meet the honours requirement, the University of Sydney offers a wide array of masters degrees across dozens of subjects. For students who attended university outside of Australia or New Zealand, but still have a strong undergraduate degree, a bachelor’s degree with a major in a relevant field suffices for entry.

Summer Schools

Because of its location in the southern hemisphere, the University of Sydney does not offer traditional summer programs, as its academic year lasts from February to December.

What exams are required to study at the University of Sydney for US students?

One of the biggest surprises for American students is the relative ease with which an application can be made to the University of Sydney. The ACT or SAT is required, but the minimum scores are comparatively quite low to their global peer institutions. Some programs require only a 24 on the ACT, while even more competitive fields only ask for a 29. For Sciences, AP or IB courses are typically required to prove prerequisite knowledge.

University of Sydney Acceptance Rate

For Australian universities, the University of Sydney has a very competitive acceptance rate of 30%. Some fields have higher or lower application figures, with Bachelors of Arts degrees typically accepting more students than Bachelor of Science degrees.

Is it hard to get into the University of Sydney for US students?

Chances are that if you’re an American student, you just read that and were delighted! Americans in particular, especially those who have prepared for peer-level institutions in the United States, often have a relatively easy time gaining admission at the University of Sydney.

Sydney University Tuition Fee for US Students

Like many international universities, the University of Sydney charges different tuition rates depending on what a student plans on studying. As a rule, the humanities are cheaper than pure sciences. However, even pure sciences are a bargain compared to many US universities, with the tuition fee being around $50,000 Australian, or $33,000 US.

How to Apply for the University of Sydney from the US?

In sharp contrast to the US, applying to the University of Sydney is relatively straightforward. Depending on your field, a personal statement or a letter of recommendation may not even be necessary!

Instead, plan on the process to be very much decided on by your grades and your test scores. While official documents are often not necessary until you accept the offer, expect to send them soon.

For the sake of clarification, students can typically apply to enter either during Semester 1 (starting in February) or Semester 2 (starting in July or August).

How to be Accepted to the University of Sydney? 4 Tips From Experts.

  1. Max Out Your SAT or ACT - While the University of Sydney has minimums for each field, the better you do on either of these exams, the better your chances of admission.  This is especially true in more competitive courses.
  2. Don’t Worry About Honours…Yet - You’ll often have the option to apply for an honour degree straight away. Don’t feel the pressure to do so. Depending on what you ultimately decide to do, it may or may not be necessary. Additionally, there is always the option of doing it somewhere else.
  3. Consider a Gap Semester - Australian and New Zealander students very often take a gap year before starting university. Taking a gap semester will give you time to travel or work, and give you the chance to start university at the same time as many of your future classmates.
  4. Keep Aware of the Application Deadlines - Because you can start in either semester 1 or semester 2, the University of Sydney offers a lot of flexibility for students who may have found that their intended plans for university didn’t turn out quite as planned. It is possible to apply for admission to semester 2 (the fall semester in the Northern Hemisphere) as late as June, and applications for semester 1, which starts in February, are often as open as late as November.


Few other universities offer the combination of high global rankings, flexibility of course of study, and sheer livability as the University of Sydney. It’s not surprising that interest in the university continues to grow every year. Americans continue to stand out in their applications there, but one way to be sure your application is even stronger is to leverage Ivy Tutor Network’s expertise in subject tutoring and ACT/SAT test prep.


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