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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: 150,000
Student Population: Townsville: 11,500
Cairns: 4,000
International Students: Townsville: 1,500
Cairns: 380
Semester 1 Starts: February
Semester 2 Starts: July
Colleges: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
College of Arts, Society and Education
College of Business, Law and Governance
College of Healthcare Sciences
College of Medicine and Dentistry
College of Public Health, Medical & Veterinary Sciences
College of Science and Engineering

James Cook University

A brighter future for life in the tropics, worldwide.

One of the world's leading institutions focusing on the tropics, Australia's James Cook University is surrounded by the spectacular ecosystems of the rainforests of the wet tropics, the dry savannahs, and the iconic Great Barrier Reef. JCU's unique location enables students from Australia and overseas to study in a diverse physical environment unparalleled by any university in the world.

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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.

James Cook University is defined by the tropics. JCU is unique among Australian universities, woven into the intellectual, economic and social fabric of the tropical location and set amid irreplaceable ecosystems and cultures that fire intellects and imaginations. JCU's aims are challenging but attainable. Marshalling broad intellectual strengths, the university seeks knowledge-based ways to help the world’s tropical regions prosper. JCU does this through shaping their teaching, research and engagement around four themes:

1. Tropical Ecosystems and Environment
2. Industries and Economies in the Tropics
3. Peoples and Societies in the Tropics
4. Tropical Health, Medicine and Biosecurity

This, the university’s triennial plan, builds upon the Strategic Intent through stating priorities and presenting aims and objectives in relation to the university's core business and the enablers—the resources, services and capabilities that underpin the activities of the university. The Strategic Intent has a 5- to 10-year outlook while the University Plan has a 3- to 5-year outlook.

Born for the tropics

Ranked in the top 2 percent of the world's tertiary institutions by the respected Academic Ranking of World Universities produced by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, James Cook University is dedicated to creating a brighter future for life in the tropics world-wide, through graduates and discoveries that make a difference.

Dedicated to research

The university conducts nationally significant and internationally recognised research in areas such as marine sciences, biodiversity, tropical ecology and environments, global warming, tourism, and tropical medicine and public health care in under-served populations.

A comprehensive university

Since JCU's establishment in 1970, the university has expanded into a multi-campus institution with the main campuses in the tropical cities of Cairns, Singapore and Townsville, with smaller study centres in Mount Isa, Thursday Island and Mackay. JCU also has a campus in Brisbane, operated by Russo Higher Education.

JCU students come from many backgrounds, promoting a rich cultural and experiential diversity on campus. Undergraduate and postgraduate courses span the Arts, Biomedical Sciences, Business, Creative Media, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Healthcare Sciences, Information Technology, Law, Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery, Pharmacy, Planning, Psychological Science, Science, Social Work, Sustainability and Veterinary Science. James Cook University aims to give graduates the qualifications and skills they need for the global workforce.

Relevant to the region

James Cook University also recognises their special obligation to be relevant to their own region and have forged close linkages into the economy and social fabric of the northern Queensland. JCU is dedicated to ensuring that its teaching, learning and research is not only of high quality, but also delivers practical benefits to the peoples and industries of the region.

Academic Divisions

Division of Tropical Environments and Societies
The Division of Tropical Environments and Societies recognises the grand challenges facing the world today and the particular role that will be played out in the tropics. Here more than anywhere else environments and societies will see dramatic change in population growth, loss of biodiversity, and an apparent need for food production and security.

The Division of Tropical Environments and Societies is uniquely positioned to deliver excellence across teaching and learning and research in these areas. There are four colleges within this division:

1. College of Science and Engineering
The College of Science and Engineering promotes, supports and administers quality teaching, hands-on experiences, industry placements and research at JCU in the areas of Marine Biology & Aquaculture, Zoology and Ecology, Geoscience, Environmental Management, Physical Sciences, and Engineering.

3. College of Business, Law and Governance
This college is responsible for teaching and research in the areas of Accounting, Governance and Management, Economics and Marketing, Law, Tourism and Information Technology.

3. College of Arts, Society and Education
The College of Arts, Society and Education is responsible for teaching and research in the areas of in education, arts and creative media, social sciences, and social work.

Division of Tropical Health and Medicine
Through its research, teaching and engagement activities, the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University is at the forefront of improving health in rural, remote, Indigenous and tropical communities within Australia and worldwide. This division holds three colleges:

1. College of Medicine and Dentistry
The college aims to lead positive change in health and medical care for communities of tropical Australia and beyond through socially accountable health education, discoveries, partnerships and advocacy that make a difference. Schools within this college include JCU Medical School, JCU Dental School, and JCU Pharmacy School.

2. College of Healthcare Sciences
As part of the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, the College of Healthcare Sciences offers quality teaching and research in the areas of Physiotherapy; Speech Pathology; Occupational Therapy; Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition; Psychology; and Clinical Exercise Physiology and Sport and Exercise Science.

3. College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences
The College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences promotes, fosters, supports and administers quality teaching and research at JCU in the areas of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Biomedicine, Veterinary Sciences, and Molecular and Cell Biology.

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.

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

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 4,200 including approximately 500 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.

Townsville 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.

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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