Melbourne University vs Monash University

“Ladies and germs, girls and boys, we have the match of the century, a combat extravaganza, a battle royale between two of Victoria’s premier tertiary institutions! Both hailing from Group of Eight repute, the time has come for these two scholastic heavy-weights to square off in the ring and pull out the punches!”

The ringmaster draws in a deep breath,

“R-r-r-r-r-r-roooooound one!” he rolls out his decree as part of the evening’s theatrics.

A scantily clad dame saunters into the ring, her skin, under her shimmering leotard, glistening under the heady beams of stage lighting. In her silken hands, she holds a large piece of card above her, which reads a roughly painted number one.

The roar of the crowd thunders against the walls of the enclosure, while several spectators  hurl the discards of food waste in ovation.

“Aaaaand in the red corner we have… The University of Meeeeeelbourne!”

The crowd now begins to chant rhythmically, stamping in time on the floor boards beneath them.

Then, turning to the other side of the ring, he announces the second contestant;

“Hold up folks, let’s hold some of our applause for our competitor, the dark horse in the competition. In the blue corner, ladies and gentlemen… Monash University!”

Ding! Ding!

The bell tolls, and the battle begins…

The Red Corner: Melbourne “Boom Boom” University


Melbourne University, is the crowning glory of Victoria, ranked number one in its home state, and number two in all the land. On its own leafy campus in Parkville, Melbourne, is but a heartbeat away from the bustling city life of the great Southern city itself.

In recent years the Melbourne Model has been introduced as part of keeping pace with the international standard, which means all undergraduate students have to study a generalized degree before they can move onto a an area of specialization. They’ve thus reduced the number of undergraduate degrees to six options. This requires students in their first year to study both a compulsory interdisciplinary subject as well as a subject outside of their faculty.

This is a double edged-sword for some students. The opportunity to study subjects in Science, Arts, Music, Commerce, Biomedicine or Environments (whichever it is that you’re not actually enrolled to study in), can work to broaden your horizons and maybe peak an interest that isn’t available in your faculty.

However, this can be more of an ideal situation. The subjects available to students as breadth can be limited, and are sometimes contingent on prerequisites or at least recommended prior learning. So while you might like the sound of Neuroscience and The Mind, the subject will no doubt employ concepts and a vocabulary that you might not be so familiar with.

In addition to a breadth, in first year, students are required to study an IDF (Inter-Disciplinary Foundation subject), which is a generic subject which serves to prepare your brain for the higher levels of analysis and reasoning required at a university level.

While these are great ideas in theory, in practice it is contingent on what kind of student you are, and how prepared you are for your university career. As all first year subjects serve as requisites for second and third year, your first year subjects need to be selected carefully. Extra precaution should be taken with subjects that require study in both semesters, such as languages, as these will limit your options to test out the waters in other subjects.

Socially, Melbourne’s “college culture” is one of the largest and most established in Australia. If you choose to live on college, you’ll know this. If you choose not to live on college, you’ll know this too. The chants and clangs of O-Week are everywhere to be heard, and you’ll no doubt encounter “college couture” – de rigueur tracksuit pants and college rugby jersey.

Otherwise, Melbourne Uni is only a hop, step and a jump from major shopping and cafe strips, such as Lygon Street, Brusnwick Street, Smith Street, Sydney Road and of course the Melbourne CBD.

The Blue Corner: Monash “Devil From The South” University


Ranked second in its home state and sixth overall in Australia, Monash University has entered the stakes as a prime contender. Since entering the Group of Eight, Monash has performed in leaps and bounds across postgraduate study and research.

Monash still follows a traditional model, and allows students to pick and choose subjects, some cross-faculty. In the case  that you want to do a major outside of your faculty there are a plethora of double degrees (about 60) available, and it may be a good idea to check out these options.  This means that a degree (or double degree) at Monash is a lot more flexible, and allows you to try out a range of different subjects before you commit to a major.

Resources wise, Monash is well equipped, with a generous library and ample study space. The grounds are plentiful with green lawns for studying, philosophising, and other such tertiary accredited activities.

Monash, however, located out in Clayton, does not have the privilege of location such as  Melbourne Uni. Hailing from a rural-ish area (well… Canberra), I had always professed an aversion to moving “from one country town to another” – ergo, my choice to move to Melbourne – and although confronting at first, the train ride to Monash is not actually that bad. It’s time spent reading, people watching and completing crosswords. That said, Monash is also spread out across five Melbourne campuses, meaning that there’s generally an option available to you.

The Verdict?

Both universities are prestigious in their own rights, and have a lot to offer both undergraduate and postgraduate students. They each have a different culture, which stems from their varied locations and degree structures. Like most things in life, university preference is a personal choice, and often the right path to university can take a couple of wrong turns.

Head to head, for me,  Monash turned out to be the victor. The flexibility of the degree appealed to me, as I found that there wasn’t anything outside of my faculty that I would be enthusiastic to major in.

It is however, an important decision, and one upon which a lot of other life choices will be dependent. Do your research, check out the open days, and weigh up your options.

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9 Comments

  1. Jarrod Potter says:

    Your picture of Monash is of Monash’s Berwick campus, not Clayton as you talked about in the article.

  2. melbourne is better says:

    melbourne is better on the basis of international rep alone

  3. pharmacon says:

    @melbourne is better – not everyone will be selecting their university on the basis of international reputation. imo prospective students can choose their univeristies based on 3 classes of reptuation – statewide, nationwide and international. as Sarah has indicated, do your research and come to your own conclusion

  4. Jchan says:

    Not even just that pharmacon, the melbourne model is not for everyone

  5. ProfBob says:

    As a retired professor, with a doctorate in philosophy of education, I have to applaud any effort to add real education, a liberal arts education, to the recent emphasis on vocational education. Traditionally education has been about widening a person scope as a citizen and a human being. More recently it has moved to vocational education. It seems to me that we need both if we are to be truly human, good citizens, and productive people in a highly technological world. The most interesting thing I have seen on this is in the recent e-book, book 9 titled “A Libertarian Paradise” at http://andgulliverreturns.info.
    American universities have long been either liberal arts colleges or vocational institutions which required some basic liberal arts courses. Living in Norway I find that their university education is almost entirely vocational. However it seems that their television and reading helps to make up some lacks in a formal liberal arts education.
    From what I see of the Melbourne model, i applaud it.

  6. Carrieann says:

    Always the best content from these prodigious wrtires.

  7. Sarah says:

    @ Jarrod Potter, no that is definitely not the Berwick campus I go there every day and I know for sure that that is the Clayton campus.

  8. Hugh says:

    @ Sarah, you’re right. that’s Robert Menzies Building in the main campus of Monash, in Clayton.

  9. Graham says:

    Monash is a hole, look a the Menzies Building would you really want to go to a uni everyday for 3 years or more, and see that eye sore everyday? Furthermore Monash has not much international rep.

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