James Cook University

James Cook University Education Central, Townsville.

Education Central (Townsville). Photo credit: Learning Environments Australasia

James Cook University is based in the tropical north of Australia, with campuses in Townsville and Cairns. It's a noted research institution in tropical and marine ecosystems. JCU also has a large health faculty and offers medical degrees. Student reviews are welcome from current and former JCU students.

JCU Rating

User Rating 2.73 (67 votes)
Comments Rating 1.08 (12 reviews)

Student Reviews

28 Responses

  1. Jesse
    | Reply

    Not a caring learning environment, disappointed.

    I am at the point where I must decide if I have just wasted four years of my life at JCU.
    I study Education, and I have seen both fellow students, and lecturers, leave in large numbers.
    I presumed that university was just too tough for the people that left, then, I was shocked to see many familiar faces at the government run LANTITE tests. I discovered many of my peers (and some lecturers) had changed to CQ University, and they loved it!
    Having lived ‘it’ in person for four long years, it is unsettling to see all the videos playing on the JCU monitors, with happy smiling faces, and people having fun. ‘O’ Week year one was the only ‘fun’ in my four years, some of my peers describe the experience of learning at JCU as “Trial by Fire”. I genuinely feel there is no support till it is all too late, or there is no empathy where it is most in need. The policy of pushing students to breaking point and beyond, to toughen them up, and prepare them for the real world, is out of touch – with the real world.
    Friends at Griffith and CQ insist they are not under the same pressure.
    We are taught that learning does not take place effectively in unhappy, hi pressure environments, then JCU goes and puts students into that same environment. It makes it worse when staff tell you they do not agree with the educational system used by the uni, then leave. There is little comfort provided by speaking to graduates who say they hated every day spent at JCU, and struggled to understand what was required, admitting that they only passed because they had help from a parent or sibling with that degree.

    If I had the opportunity to have chosen CQ University or another university instead, I would jump at it.
    I would encourage all new learners to make informed and intelligent choices regarding their university and not jump excitedly at their first offer.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  2. a seagull on a stroll
    | Reply

    There are countless universities in Australia that are infinitely better

    JCU is the cop out university that (mostly) locals use as the last resort if their grades weren’t too flash. The opportunities at JCU are very limited and it’s incredibly inconvenient for international students. I’d recommend looking into;
    Australian National University: best university in Australia. Highly decorated faculty, extremely supportive for international students, best employability rate, many jobs available for students on campus and great accommodation including catered, self-catered and flexi-catered. They offer double degrees wherein a person can study 2 degrees for the time and price of 1. Alumni includes Nobel Prize winners and Australian prime ministers.

    University of Melbourne: considered best after ANU for mostly the same reasons, as well as an extensive history. Alumni includes 9 Nobel prize winners.

    Monash University: pretty sure they offer double degrees similar to ANU but don’t quote me on that. Many campuses outside of the country including Canada, several in China, South Africa and Singapore.

    I’d recommend also looking into UNSW and UQ.

    Bottom line: if you can, go anywhere but here.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

    • Lucy T
      | Reply

      These reviews are accurate

      Too true and well said. Most people will come here if they are local or study medicine here if they have flunked the UMAT exam. Scholarships are given to ‘top students’ to try and raise their averages… unfortunately doesn’t work too well for them.

      Not to mention JCU has suffered financial loss 5 years in a row. Yet the income of the hierarchy keeps rising.

      If you are thinking of doing a long degree here you better hope the uni lasts longer than your course does 🙂

      Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  3. Brandon
    | Reply

    cash grabbing

    not great that’s for sure don’t expect to learn much here it’s mostly just for the piece of paper. And on top of that expect the university to try to empty your wallet at every turn from parking to encouraging you to do pointless subjects.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  4. Anonymous
    | Reply


    I have been at JCU now for 4 years

    I have regrettably made the worst decision to come here. A few examples to elaborate why other students should not come to Townsville when they are looking at studying medicine overseas

    1. As a Canadian student with a (Hons) BSc – they did not accept my application for advanced standing based on one simple criteria – I have not learned the required information on the Australian Health System – instead of coming to a solution, instead we are charged an extra 40k on the first year

    2. Time off – because this is a program for students coming in at 18 years old there isn’t much room to work outside of university hours because the city only runs 9-5 monday through friday, and all classes are sign in – so if you’re an impoverished foreign uni student don’t expect any financial support.

    3. Time off for personal matters – don’t expect to get much consideration from the med school – I’ve had to go over to the actual university to get a hand with grief counselling with the death of my father, and only received 5 days to travel back home and see my father before he passed away.

    4. Disorganization – don’t expect lectures to be recorded, there are a few professors that are on it, but for the majority it’s not even close

    5. The city – if you’re thinking “beach vibes” – you’re probably wrong. Townsville is 18 hours north of Brisbane, there is no surf, and the beach is artificially man-made

    My suggestion – find somewhere else. Bond offers a 4-year degree for individuals seeking a quick & fast program. It might cost you an extra 20-40k but 100% will be worth it just to get away from North Queensland and finish 2 years early.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

    • A Doctor
      | Reply

      JCU medicine

      You can always study medicine in your own country. Dont expect Australian citizens to be supporting your decision to come here.

      • Lucy
        | Reply

        JCU medical school is notorious for not showing compassion to anyone, she wasn’t asking for a handout just a ‘fair go’ as we Aussies usually say.

        My colleague tells me of how she wasn’t allowed to take gatorade (in a clear plastic bottle) into an exam despite only being in the emergency ward a few hours previously. She also wasn’t given any special consideration. Not to mention all the blatant nepotism that seems to go on there. I wanted to do my MPH but after hearing all the nightmare stories decided my money was better spent elsewhere.

        Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

    • g
      | Reply

      No surf? Are you sure? Whitsundays is a couple of hours drive from Townsville and Townsville is a city by the sea. There are manmade beaches for kids and people who do not like to swim in the ocean. Have you been here before? Is this a fake review or smth?

  5. Kent
    | Reply


    I recently got an offer to study at JCU medicine in Townsville. After reading all these reviews I admit I have quite a bit of reservation about accepting my offer.
    1. To accept the offer, you would have to pay about $32,000.0. This amount is not fully refundable after 10 days
    2. What are the professors like? I am a graduate, international, non-white student, would this program work well for me?

    Please help!

  6. Gayathri Damara
    | Reply

    Hi! I planning to study Master of public health in Jcu , Townsville July 2018. I’m an International student from India.
    But Your reviews scared me. Please do suggest me.

  7. Bettsy Boo
    | Reply

    Masters of Nursing

    It seems my review of this course was not put up?????
    I would advise anyone thinking of doing Masters of Nursing to look at other Universites
    the quality of the units are below standard, you do not get instructions on essays/reports until 4 days prior to which makes it impossible to hand in decent work seeing it is a RUSHED 6 week course.
    The lecturers appear not to know how to mark or how to run this course.
    Their audio skills are appalling .
    You are treated like children in this course.
    No help you send work off only to get it back 9 days later which was no help.
    Rating -one
    COST 2,500 same as a law degree but half the quality. Ripped off.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  8. Anonymous
    | Reply

    Not great

    Hi guys, I graduated with JCU and I feel ripped off. I have had few chats with other students and even some of the professionals and it is time to start putting formal complaints in. The Minister of Higher Ed. at the moment is Simon Birmingham and you can find him on social media or write to his department. To me the quality of the course was a clear case of false advertisement. You can also write to the regulator of higher education to share your experience – The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  9. Lucas
    | Reply

    Sexual harassment prevalent, poor upper management, no complaints system

    The only people that seems to give JCU good reviews are the international students because they get priority over everyone else in every single way. There are also very clear teachers pets. The complaint management system is also trash as your complaint usually just goes back to the person you are complaining about and you end up suffering more for it.

    There is also a huge culture of sexual harassment. Unfortunately my friend was a victim of it. There was a review into JCU done by a former sex discrimination officer called the Broderick Review, you can look it up.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

    | Reply


    I have read all your reviews and ha your absolutely right. They are corrupt, inconsistant all round and dont give a dam. They take great pleasure in ripping strips off their students that doesnt even happen a high school. Wheres their code of conduct? Students are discriminated and bullied if you are not the flavour of the.month ….you fail. No support offered. STAY AWAY FROM JCU!

  11. Claire
    | Reply

    JCU is dysfunctional, and has many cases of corruption between their ranks. As a result of these politics, students suffer. A good example is when a JCU member of staff was promoted after being found guilty of raping a student.


    In addition it was discovered that JCU childcare degrees were not accredited despite being one of the most expensive childcare courses in the country.

    The city itself (Townsville campus) has limited public transport, many students in my class had to hitch rides off other students for lectures.

    During my time, JCU’s VC pulled JCU out of any rankings so I do not know what the comment previous to me is saying about it being No.1. Perhaps for marine biology.

    Overall, poor experience. Spend your money and the best years of your life somewhere else.

  12. Mohammed
    | Reply

    FgghHi Brother, I was planning to join JCU Brisbane. Is that true they don’t provide free employment services as they are offering? Can I be placed in a job after the college? How is the teaching? I wanted to study Masters in IT. Do they provide any internships as they are offering? You a student of JCU Brisbane? Also what is meant by standard trimester? Altogether does it worth the money? I chose this uni because I didn’t get selected in QUT and Griffith. I am looking forward to study there and by getting a good job I wish to get a PR in Australia. I would like to hear from you at the earliest

  13. Jackson Malta
    | Reply

    As a Medicine student, JCU has offered extensive support and has put me on the right track. Being ranked number 1 in Australia, JCU has indeed earned the title with its bright academics and extensive useful facilities.

    • Gobsmacked
      | Reply


      No 1? Are you drunk? You do realise there are real universities down south whose degrees mean something?

      Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

    • Ben
      | Reply

      Yea it’s number 1 because they only encourage the small amount of happy students to take that survey. In addition, I’d be happy too if they passed me without actually earning it. Even more of a sign that it is corrupt lol.

      Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  14. Maria
    | Reply

    I have studied social work with JCU and with another uni hence I have a pretty healthy comparison. JCU have really disappointed me.

    Firstly, the academics there (a small group, you are likely to have the same lecturer for several subjects) are really isolated from the real world and only focused on their own research, independent thinking is not supported at all, in fact, it’s penalised. They do not seem to know about latest developments in social work and if you reference it in your assignments they will mark you down – I really think that’s because they never heard of it and the changing world is too much for them to handle.

    There is no consistency, literally, you need to have everything in writing as they will tell you one thing and then something else will happen.

    They are quite good at responding to emails in a timely manner however quite a few academics are really difficult to communicate with. I cannot put my finger on it but it was as if they were sleepwalking – as a student you may need to send 3-4 emails to get one question answered as they will persistently avoid answering it (not sure whether they are overworked or it’s a tropical syndrome).

    There are only about 25 students per year on campus and a handful online for social work and they still cannot remember who you are and that they have just spoken with you in person.

    JCU is a nationally registered university (with TEQSA) and a member of innovation network. There is no evidence of either. It’s so old school that it is not funny. In order to get any grade above credit as a person with a bit more updated knowledge you will have hold yourself back as their markers are clueless.

    JCU do not have diversified students group, they are not able to deal with students who have substantial working experience, reside in various states, are mature age, have multicultural background. If you are not from North or Far North QLD, aged 18-25 and white Australian you will have to put up with narrow mindedness and various forms of discrimination as the academic staff are still leaving in 80ties. The best chance you have at good grades if you study online and they do not know enough about you.

    I think students can do better than JCU. CQU has come a long way and I believe it’s a better option, they understand that students are customers. Or if you are an online student you can study anywhere Australia-wide.

    ———-JCU is not recommended to mature age, multicultural, international students or students residing in different states———

    • The Real Post Grad Student
      | Reply

      Reconsider your need to study post grad at JCU

      This previous old review is spot on unfortunately in 2019. I strongly suggest anyone considering studying Social Work at James Cook University to look around Australia for better options as the bean counters have taken control from the academics dumping ill-equipped International students in post graduate courses creating greater workloads for academics and domestic students having to deal with the learning and social problems created. I thought I was imagining it but after 4 corners exposing the antics at Murdoch University here is my experience with JCU.

      Some ‘Alarm Bells’ observed when it comes to some International Students:

      Students expressing, they could not get into their preferred Social Work degree at highly rated universities so JCU was the last resort, hence late enrolments impacting other students learning.

      Students at post graduate level asking how to structure a minor 1500 word essay

      Students claiming, they have no idea how to create a PowerPoint presentation

      Students finding it difficult to navigate JCU’s complex learning systems

      Students in group work not bothering to turn up, poor oral, written communication or minimal participation.

      Lectures changing subject outlines on the fly to ensure students can pass the subject.

      As International students have become JCU’s bread and butter if you are a domestic student don’t expect any credible support as they simply do not care which is ironic considering we are here to study Social Work.

      If you have a decent GPA do yourself a favour and look around Australia as you don’t need to put up with this rubbish and as others have mentioned some content is seriously dated getting good grades here is very difficult as the markers are not exposed to new developments in Social Work.

      I do believe there are some good lecturers in the Social Work department but often their hands are tied by other academics with more power and management with an agenda of making as much money at the expense of learning.

      Another positive is the placement process is well run which is something considering the many problems at JCU.

      If this is going on with a discipline like Social Work who knows what is happening with other areas of the University so if you do go here be very careful.

      Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  15. Anna
    | Reply

    As a previous law student of James Cook University in Townsville. I can honestly say do not even bother. Anything besides medicine at JCU is purely just a facade designed to make as much profit from you as humanly possible. Around the time I left, they had started to shift all their content to online lectures and materials rather than actually delivering a positive learning environment.

    I’ve had experience in a few areas other than law however all were equally disappointing. None of my currently graduating law friends have gotten jobs, in fact I have not herd a single person to graduate from JCU and jump straight into the career related to their degree. Without having to do post-grad education at a real univeristy.

    Don’t be fooled. Its nothing but a scam.

    • Jenny
      | Reply

      do you know anything about the Brisbane campus? so a law degree from JCU is not recognized by employers?

  16. Maddy
    | Reply

    JCU were more than happy to take my money, but when I asked for support from a career advisor it could not possibly happen. Maybe, if I get lucky, I can talk to someone on Skype in 6 months time. OK, fine, every one of these students probably has career questions – let’s try student support. No, no luck here either. I studied in the arts program. There are really only 2 lecturers I had consistently. The Arts program is absolutely disgusting, despite the ads on TV. Hardly any subjects available to me in my major choice, had to go part time due to the complete lack of subjects for me to complete. “No problem!” JCU says, “Just do some subjects you don’t really care about for credit points! We still get money at the end of the day, so who cares?” Pay crazy fees for a parking permit that in no way guarantees a park, but you can bet that you will park on dirt half the time. I can’t understand why I have to pay $80 a year to park on dirt. It’s obvious that this university has no regard for the arts simply by looking around. Unless you’re going here to study medicine or marine biology, JCU doesn’t care about you. In the wise words of Tyrone, the man above me, “I’m broke as hell thanks to JCU, don’t come here if you know what’s good for you”.

  17. Tyrone Gliberstone
    | Reply

    It’s not good, don’t waste yo life here, u feel me my man, legit they don’t teach relevant stuff and they talking bout the eco-system… man noone nowhere care bout that, just take my money and let me leave, hell I’d pay them just to close down, 5 stars for success in getting a job… a job in what?! waste disposal.. man I broke as hell righ now thx to jcu, i aint got the funds to balance my edumacation, also how I meant to keep my man supplying me that goood stuff, you feel me? end of story don’t come here if u know what’s good for u.

    • Tony Sabu
      | Reply

      Hi Brother, I was planning to join JCU Brisbane. Is that true they don’t provide free employment services as they are offering? Can I be placed in a job after the college? How is the teaching? I wanted to study Masters in IT. Do they provide any internships as they are offering? You a student of JCU Brisbane? Also what is meant by standard trimester? Altogether does it worth the money? I chose this uni because I didn’t get selected in QUT and Griffith. I am looking forward to study there and by getting a good job I wish to get a PR in Australia. I would like to hear from you at the earliest.

  18. laura ronderos
    | Reply

    I study my MBA in the Brisbane Campus and it is terrible. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

    • Jenny
      | Reply

      Hi! Did you land a job after graduating? and how about your classmates? thanks

Leave a Reply

Your thoughts about the university?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *