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James Cook University Quick Snap
Location: Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Main Campus: Douglas, Townsville
Smithfield, Cairns
City Population: Townsville: 190,000
Cairns: 170,000
Student Population: Townsville: 13,000
Cairns: 4,000
International Students: Townsville: 1,500
Cairns: 400
Semester 1 Starts: February
Semester 2 Starts: July
Faculties: Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences
Faculty of Law, Business and Creative Arts
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences
Faculty of Science and Engineering

James Cook University

A brighter future for life in the tropics, worldwide.

James Cook University (JCU) is the second oldest university in Queensland, and Australia's leading university in the tropics.

Offering excellence in teaching and research, JCU is a vibrant, multi-campus university with its main sites in the tropical Queensland cities of Townsville and Cairns, and modern city campuses in Singapore and Brisbane. Total student enrolments are more than 17,000 and growing, including over 4,000 international students from 100 countries. JCU's activities have a strong focus in regional Queensland, but its impact and reach are international, as recognized in the respected Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranking system, which has placed JCU in the top 500 Universities in the world and in the top 5% of universities worldwide. There are more 300 programs available to international students to study at JCU.

  • Overview
  • Why Study Here
  • Location
  • Popular Programs
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Diverse environments, vibrant communities and challenging academic programs are just a few of the reasons why so many students choose to study abroad at James Cook University. No other university can offer such a wide range of classes in the shadow of two of the world's finest natural heritage areas - The Wet Tropics Rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef.

Academic Highlights

JCU offers international students an extensive set of study choices at the Study Abroad, Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. Study areas include the arts and humanities, business, the creative arts, education, engineering, health sciences, information technology, law, medicine, social sciences and science. What's more important, however, is that JCU works with employers and industry to ensure that courses are relevant and cutting edge, and is constantly adapting and updating its programs to meet students' demands. Many degrees are structured to include practical sessions, field trips, internships and vacation placements, ensuring graduates are job-ready.

As a leading research university, JCU provides excellent facilities for teaching and learning. JCU teaching staff are highly qualified and dedicated, and many JCU academics are considered to be leaders in their fields. The unique location of James Cook University allows nationally significant and internationally-recognized research to be conducted by both staff and students. Much research focus is based on the industries and environments of northern Australia including marine biology, biodiversity, tropical environmental studies, earth sciences/geology, engineering, tropical health and tourism. JCU is a member of the prestigious national alliance, Innovative Research Universities and has as its vision to be one of the world's leading research universities in the tropics.

JCU's specialist research facilities range from island and rainforest field stations, research vessels and satellite technology, to biomedical laboratories and historical collections and more than 20 specialist research centres. These research capabilities mean that undergraduate students including study abroad students, enjoy unique opportunities for field trips, industry links, experience at research stations and access to what would be postgraduate-only facilities at many other universities.

University Services

James Cook University provides a full range of support services for students to help them make the most of their time at university. Whether you need help with an assignment, finding accommodation, personal welfare support, study skills assistance or job seeking, there are dedicated services on campus to assist you. The James Cook International office assists every international student at JCU to ensure their stay in Australia and at the university is a pleasant and productive one. The office should be your first point of contact if you need assistance. It provides a range of support services and information for students including
  • preparing for arrival information
  • free arrival service
  • orientation program
  • social activities
  • accommodation information
  • assistance in emergencies
  • personal well-being and welfare support
  • Overseas Student Health Cover information
  • Returning Home program


James Cook University's Accommodation Service helps students with on-campus accommodation in halls of residence and colleges, as well as in private rental or shared accommodation (off-campus). For students who prefer offcampus accommodation, the Service maintains a register of houses, units, apartments, shared accommodation, home stay and caretaker arrangements. The Service also provides tenancy information and advice on how to rent a private house or unit.

A wide range of quality housing is available for rent near the Townsville and Cairns campuses, and students may find that renting privately is an affordable alternative to living on campus.


Orientating yourself to Townsville or Cairns is just the beginning in finding your way around your new "home away from home." The James Cook International office works to ensure your transition to living and studying in Australia is as smooth as possible. From an arrival service which picks you up at the airport, bus or train station, you are taken to your pre-arranged accommodation. Informative Welcome Pack session are held before orientation week, assisting you with becoming familiar with the campus and community and answer any questions you may have about studying at JCU.

Orientation "O" Week of activities include all new Australian and International students, offering you opportunities to meet with academic advisors to finalize your subject selection, get to know your way around the campus and facilities and participate in social events.

Location: Townsville and Cairns

Townsville and Cairns are attractive coastal cities with populations of 190,000 and 170,000, respectively, and are within easy reach of the Great Barrier Reef. Both cities enjoy excellent tropical climates for most of the academic year including autumn, winter, and spring, and an average winter temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius.

North Queensland is well known for embracing a safe and relaxed tropical lifestyle. Established Indigenous, European and Asian communities add to the cultural diversity of the region not usually found outside of the capital cities.


Set in almost 400 hectares of natural bushland by the Ross River and Mount Stuart, the Townsville campus is home to 13,000 students in a safe, friendly environment just 13 km from the beach and downtown area. More than 1,400 students live on campus in colleges and halls of residence, giving the campus a true community atmosphere. The campus is also home to various Australian native birds and animals, including kookaburras, cockatoos, bush turkeys and wallabies. To discover more about the extensive range of Plants and animals on JCU's campuses, visit www-public.jcu.edu.au/discovernature/index.htm.


Two hundred miles to the north of Townsville is the Cairns campus, with a student population of around 4,000 including approximately 400 international students. Described as the rainforest campus, the Cairns campus is surrounded on three sides by World Heritage-listed rainforests and conveniently located near the attractive northern beach suburbs. The campus is approximately 15 km from downtown Cairns and offers modern facilities in a pleasant layout. One of Australia's most popular tourist destinations, the city has a diverse population which is reflected in its cultural, shopping and sporting facilities.

North Queensland

JCU locations offer a large variety of outdoor activities including visits to the Great Barrier Reef and nearby islands and resorts, day-trips to historic outback towns such as Charters Towers and World-Heritage listed rainforests all within an hour's drive of both campuses. Popular outdoor water sports such as sailing, canoeing, kayaking, water-skiing and jet-skiing are all local options while some students prefer the adrenaline rush of close-by white water rafting, skydiving and bungee jumping. There are plenty of hiking and cycling trails to be explored as well.

Townville and Cairns are also home to professional rugby and basketball clubs, and a variety of intramural sporting activities such as beach volleyball, tennis, field hockey, basketball and soccer are also available. Whatever your personal interests, there are an abundance of activities on offer in JCU campus cities and surrounding areas.

Why Canadians Enjoy Studying at JCU

Canadian students at JCU love the fact that they can study quality degrees in a beautiful natural environment, while meeting students from over 100 countries around the world! JCU programs are cutting-edge and academics work closely with industry to ensure JCU degrees prepare students for “real world” careers.

JCU’s main campus is located in Townsville, which is a thriving coastal city and port, and a stepping-off point for visiting the Great Barrier Reef. The resort regions of the Whitsunday Islands and Mission Beach are within easy reach.

JCU is located in a tropical area, which has a regional setting as opposed to a big city setting. The population of the area reflects many university towns in Canada, and OzTREKK students enjoy the gorgeous, hot weather and the friendliness of Northern Queenslanders. The City of Townsville provides you with the feeling of a small-town atmosphere, yet there is plenty to see and do in and around the city. The campus is set in the bush and provides students the ability to relax while at school. As a smaller university, JCU staff members are approachable and friendly, and students enjoy the attention they receive upon arrival and throughout their program.

With more than two million visitors annually, Cairns is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia, and this is where JCU’s second largest campus is located. Attractions include two World Heritage natural environments – the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Wet Tropics ancient rainforests. Nearby resort regions include Port Douglas and Mission Beach, and the picturesque Atherton Tablelands and outback Queensland are within easy reach.

“My time abroad at JCU was absolutely amazing! The campus was beautiful, the people were friendly, and the program was excellent! Townsville is a small, yet beautiful city, with lots to do and see, and the warm weather and constant sunshine was fantastic! In my studies at my home institution, I was lacking the field component that I knew would help me in my future job pursuits. JCU gave me these essential skills, while enabling me to visit some of the beautiful places Queensland has to offer, such as the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest. For a girl interested in pursuing a career in tropical marine biology, this was the perfect place to go! The classes were well conducted and professors were very approachable and always available to help you if you needed it. I hope to return when I have completed my undergraduate degree to obtain my Masters. I miss my time spent at James Cook University, but have left with an incredible experience that will last a lifetime.”
Kelly Haussler JCU Study Abroad Semester – Tropical Marine Biology

Some Popular JCU Programs for Students from Canada

JCU Arts and Humanities (Undergraduate)

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Multimedia Journalism
  • Bachelor of Social Work

JCU Arts and Humanities (Graduate)

  • Master of Conflict Management and Resolution
  • Master of Social Science (Asia Pacific Governance and Development, Criminology, Environment and Heritage, Indigenous Studies)
  • Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying)

JCU Business School (Undergraduate)

  • Bachelor of Business

JCU Business School (Graduate)

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Economics
  • Master of Professional Accounting
  • Master of Tourism

JCU Dental School

JCU Engineering and IT School (Graduate)

  • Master of Engineering Science (Research)

JCU Environmental Sciences (Graduate)

  • Master of Development Practice
  • Master of Science (Majors include Environmental Earth Science, Environmental Marine Science, Natural Resource Management, Protected Area Management, Tropical Biology and Conservation)
  • Master of Tropical Urban and Regional Planning

JCU Health Sciences (Graduate)

  • Master of Biomedical Sciences
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Disaster and Refugee Health
  • Postgraduate Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

JCU Law School (Undergraduate)

JCU Law School (Graduate)

JCU Medical School

JCU Nursing School (Undergraduate)

  • Bachelor of Nursing Science

JCU Occupational Therapy School (Undergraduate)

  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

JCU Pharmacy School (Undergraduate)

JCU Physiotherapy School (Undergraduate)

  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy

JCU Public Health School (Graduate)

JCU Science Degrees (Undergraduate)

  • Bachelor of Marine Science
  • Bachelor of Geology
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences
  • Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science

JCU Science Degrees (Graduate)

  • Master of Applied Science
  • Master of Biomedical Sciences
  • Master of Development Practice
  • Master of Tropical Animal Science

JCU Teacher Education (Graduate)

JCU Veterinary School

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