What is the most popular course among international students in Australia?
The majority of international students are from China and enrolled in Management and Commerce courses. Source: AFP/William West

International students are enrolled in markedly different courses compared to their domestic peers in Australian universities, a new report by the country’s Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has found.

Nearly half of all international students are studying Management and Commerce courses, compared to only 15 percent among all domestic students, according to the 2018 Statistics Report on TEQSA Registered Higher Education Providers.

Overall, the broad field of study saw an increased enrollment of 4 percent compared to the year before.

“Forty-nine per cent of overseas students were studying a course in Management and Commerce in 2016,” the report wrote.

This was followed by Information and Technology, Engineering and other Related Technologies and Food, Hospitality and Personal Services. The subject that saw the highest increase in enrollment between 2013 and 2016 was Food, Hospitality and Personal Services, which saw a 60 percent increase within the span of three years.

The subject with the highest popularity among Australian but least favourable among international students was Education, followed by Health and Mixed Food Programs.

The Statistics Report provides a snapshot and time series of national statistics from across the sector, bringing together data collected directly by TEQSA and data sourced from the main higher education statistics collection managed by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

This update of high-level information across four key areas: providers, students, academic staff and finance focuses on data relating to 2016.

Over 400,000 international students accounted for close to one-fifth (19 percent) of total sector revenue totalling AU$7.0 billion in 2017. It is the largest growing source of revenue from 2014 to 2017, growing by AU$2.2 billion.

“Overseas student numbers in Australia has continued to grow over time. In 2016, majority of overseas students were from China (38 percent) and India (16 percent). All countries in the top five have grown
from 2015, except Pakistan, where there was an eight per cent decline.

“The two fastest-growing source markets between 2015 and 2016 were Nepal (21 percent increase), and China (13 percent increase),” the report explained.

The report also found that the most popular study locations for these students from abroad were the states of Victoria and New South Wales, which hosted the highest number of overseas students (36 percent and 30 percent respectively).

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