University of New South Wales

University of New South Wales
University of New South Wales

Coat of Arms of UNSW
Latin: Universitas Nova Cambria Australis
Motto Scientia Manu et Mente (Latin)
Motto in English "Knowledge by Hand and Mind"
Established 1949 as the New South Wales University of Technology.
Type Public
Endowment AUD $1.0082 Bn[1]
Chancellor Mr David Gonski, AC
President Professor Frederick G. Hilmer, AO
Vice-Chancellor Professor Frederick G. Hilmer, AO
Admin. staff 6,014[2]
Students 46,302[3]
Undergraduates 24,485
Postgraduates 12,304
Location Kensington, Paddington, New South Wales, Australia
33°55′4″S 151°13′52″E / 33.91778°S 151.23111°E / -33.91778; 151.23111 (Kensington) 33°53′02″S 151°13′13″E / 33.88394°S 151.22032°E / -33.88394; 151.22032 (Paddington)
Campus Urban, parks, 38 hectares (0.38 km²)
Former names Sydney Mechanics' Institute
Sydney Technical College (1878)
New South Wales University of Technology
Affiliations Group of Eight, Universitas 21, Australian Defence Force Academy, Association of Commonwealth Universities
UNSW Coat of Arms.png

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) (informally New South), is a research-focused university based in Kensington, a suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The university is a member of the "Group of Eight" coalition of leading Australian universities, and is also a founding member of Universitas 21, an international network of leading research-intensive universities.

Despite its relatively short history, founded in 1949, UNSW is recognised as one of Australia’s leading teaching and research institutions, and has developed a strong reputation in a number of fields.[4] Graduates from the university are held in high regard by employers and receive some of the highest starting salaries in comparison to other universities in Australia. As a result, greater than half of New South Wales' top HSC students each year consistently make UNSW their first preference, more than all other universities in the state combined.[5]

UNSW currently has approximately 46,000 students studying in 600 undergraduate and postgraduate academic programs. Over 5,000 full-time staff work in its 76 schools, 69 research centres, six institutes, four teaching hospitals, eight residential colleges and many administrative departments.[citation needed]

Aside from the main campus in Kensington, UNSW has other campuses located throughout Sydney, including the College of Fine Arts campus in Paddington. In addition, the affiliated Australian Defence Force Academy is situated in Canberra.



University council's first meeting in 1949

The idea of founding the University originated from the crisis demands of World War II, during which the nation's attention was drawn to the critical role that science and technology played in transforming an agricultural society into a modern and industrial one.[6] The post-war Labor government of New South Wales recognised the increasing need to have a university specialised in training high quality engineers and technology-related professionals in numbers beyond that of the capacity and characteristics of the existing University of Sydney.[6] This led to the proposal to establish the Institute of Technology, submitted by the then New South Wales Minister for Education Bob Heffron, accepted on 9 July 1946. Instead of creating a completely new Institute, the government decided to have the existing Sydney Technical College operating at Ultimo substantially expanded.

The University, originally named the "New South Wales University of Technology", gained its statutory status through the enactment of New South Wales University of Technology Act 1949 (NSW) by Parliament of New South Wales in Sydney in 1949. In March 1948 classes commenced operation with its first cohort of 46 students pursuing programs including Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mining Engineering and Electronic Engineering.[7] At that time the thesis programmes were innovative, in the sense that each course embodied a specified and substantial period of practical training in the relevant industry. It was also unprecedented for tertiary institutions at that time to include compulsory instruction in humanities.[8]

Initially the University operated from the inner Sydney city campus at Ultimo (the current site of the University of Technology, Sydney). However, in 1951, the Parliament of New South Wales passed the New South Wales University of Technology (Construction) Act 1951 (NSW) to provide funding and allow buildings to be erected at the Kensington site where the university is now located.

In 1958 the University name was changed to the 'University of New South Wales' to reflect its intention to transform itself from a technology-based university to an all-rounded generalist university. In 1960 it broadened its curriculum and student base with the establishment of Faculties of Arts and Medicine, followed by the Faculty of Law in 1971.[9]

The university's first director was Arthur Denning (1949–1952), who made important contributions to the foundations of the university. In 1953 he was replaced by Professor Philip Baxter, who continued on as vice-chancellor when this position's title was changed in 1955.[10] Baxter's dynamic authoritarian management was central to the University's first twenty years. His visionary - but at times controversial - energies saw the university grow from a handful to 15,000 students by 1968 [1]. He also pioneered new scientific and technological disciplines against an external background of traditionalist criticism. Growing staff levels, recruited both locally and overseas, conducted research which soon established a wide international reputation. By the time of Sir Philip Baxter's retirement in 1969 the University had made a unique and enterprising mark on Australia. The new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rupert Myers (1969–1981), brought consolidation and an urbane management style to a period of expanding student numbers, demand for change in University style, and challenges of student unrest.

The stabilising techniques of the 1980s managed by Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Birt (1981–1992)[11] provided a firm base for the energetic corporatism and campus enhancements pursued by the subsequent Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Niland (1992–2002). The 1990s saw the addition of a Fine Arts dimension to the University and further development of the public and community outreach which has characterised the University from its beginnings. At present, private sources contribute 45% of its annual funding.[12]

The University established Colleges in Newcastle (1951) and Wollongong (1961), which eventually became two independent universities in 1965 and 1975 respectively, namely the University of Newcastle and the University of Wollongong.

The University is home to the Lowy Cancer Research Centre, one of Australia's largest cancer research facilities. The centre, costing $127 million, is Australia's first facility to bring together researchers in childhood and adult cancer.[13][14]


The Grant of Arms was made by the College of Arms on 3 March 1952. The grant reads:

Argent on a Cross Gules a Lion passant guardant between four Mullets of eight points Or a Chief Sable charged with an open Book proper thereon the word "SCIENTIA" in letters also sable.[15]
The Flag of UNSW

The lion and the four stars of the Southern Cross on the St George's Cross have reference to the State of New South Wales which established the University; the open book with "SCIENTIA" (knowledge) across its pages is a reminder of its purpose. The placement of "Scientia" on the book was inspired by its appearance on the arms of the Imperial College of Science and Technology, formed in 1907. Beneath the shield is the motto "Manu et Mente" (with hand and mind), which was the motto of the Sydney Technical College, from which the University developed.[15]

An update of the design and colours of the Arms was undertaken in 1970, which provided a more contemporary design, yet retained all the Arms’ heraldic associations. In 1994 the University title was added to the UNSW arms, as was the abbreviation "UNSW", to create the UNSW Symbol, which is used for everyday and marketing purposes.[15]

There is also a university flag, which consists of the coat of arms centred on a mid blue field. The blue field of the flag is lined with a yellow band on the top, right hand and bottom sides only. There is a further band of black on the top, right hand and bottom sides which is equal in width to the yellow band.[16]


The University is governed by Council of 22 members including parliamentary and ex-officio members, members elected by staff, students and graduates of the University, and members appointed by the Minister for Education or by Council itself. It is responsible for acting on the University’s behalf to promote its objectives and interests. The governance of universities has come under increasing scrutiny nationally in recent years, and UNSW and its Council are committed to meeting this scrutiny by demonstrating the highest standards.

The principal academic body is the Academic Board which receives advice on academic matters from the Faculties, College (Australian Defence Force Academy), and the Boards of Studies. It is responsible for academic policy setting, academic strategy via its eight standing committees, approval and delivery of programs, and academic standards. The Board comprises 56 members, including the Vice-Chancellor, members of the Executive Team, Deans and Faculty Presiding Members, 24 members elected from the academic staff and four from the student body. Membership also includes ‘such other persons’ approved by Council. The Academic Board advises the Vice-Chancellor and Council on matters relating to teaching, scholarship and research and takes decisions on delegation from Council. Its purpose is to make academic policy; approve courses and programs; further and co-ordinate the work of the Faculties and other academic units; and support teaching, scholarship and research.

The chief executive officer of the University is the Vice-Chancellor and President. The Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Pro-Vice-Chancellors are responsible for academic operations, research policy, research management, quality assurance and external relations including sponsorship. The Chancellor is usually an eminent member of society. (See UNSW Chancellors and UNSW Vice-Chancellors).

The Faculties and boards are responsible for the teaching and examining of subjects within their scope and the Academic Board co-ordinates and furthers their work.


The Australian School of Business

The University has nine faculties:

The University also has an association with:


Main Walkway, Lower campus
Library Lawn, upper campus
Quadrangle Building
Analytical Centre
University Library Building

The main UNSW campus is situated in Kensington, Sydney. Two of the University's faculties are situated elsewhere. The College of Fine Arts, is located in the inner suburb of Paddington. The Australian Defence Force Academy is situated in Canberra.

The University also has additional campuses and field stations at Randwick, Coogee, Botany, Dee Why, Cowan, Manly Vale, Fowlers Gap and Bankstown Airport.

The main UNSW campus is divided geographically into two areas: upper campus and lower campus. The site of the lower campus was vested in the university in two lots in December 1952 and June 1954, while the upper campus was vested in the university in November 1959.[17] These two are separated mainly by an elevation rise between the quadrangle and the Scientia building. It takes roughly fifteen minutes to walk from one extreme to the other.


The University has a number of residential colleges, including: Philip Baxter College, Basser College, Goldstein College, New College, Warrane College, International House, Shalom College and Creston College.


There are a number of theatre and music venues at the University, many of which are available for hire to the general public.


  • UNSW Lowy Cancer Research Centre is a facility at The University of New South Wales. It is Australia's first facility bringing together researchers in childhood and adult cancers, and one of the country's largest cancer research facilities, housing up to 400 researchers.
  • The Analytical Centre is a high-grade centre for the Faculties of Science, Medicine and Engineering. It is used to study the structure and composition of biological, chemical and physical materials.
  • The UNSW Fitness and Aquatic Centre provides health and fitness facilities and services to both students and the general public.[18][19]
  • The L5 Building houses NICTA, the UNSW Foundation Studies Program, and the UNSW Institute of Languages.

Student Projects

Students of the University are involved in a number of high-profile projects, including:

  • rUNSWift,[20] the University's team in the international RoboCup Standard Platform League competition, is the most successful team in the world with wins in 2000, 2001 and 2003 as well as coming second in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2010.
  • Sunswift Solar Car (officially the world's fastest solar-powered vehicle at 88 km/h[21] and second place in the Sunrace from Adelaide to Sydney)
  • BLUEsat Satellite (Development in Progress)
  • UNSW Redback Racing[22] UNSW's entrant into the SAE-Australasia Formula SAE-A Competition (National winners in 2000)
  • The MAVSTAR[23] (Micro Aerial Vehicles for Search, Tracking And Reconnaissance) project to develop a team of cooperative micro aerial and unmanned ground vehicles.
  • The Developing Country Project[24] makes a significant difference to people's lives and living conditions. Second year thesis students doing Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering are able to get involved. The project aims to assist villagers in developing countries to gain access to electricity to satisfy their energy needs in a clean and sustainable manner.

Student Organisations

Main walk on a rainy O-week day

In 2007, the four previous student organisations, the UNSW Student Guild, Postgraduate Board, UNSW Union and COFA Students' Association were wound up and reformed as a new student organisation known as the Arc @ UNSW. This new student organisation is a major service provider on campus, running a number of retail outlets, student media such as Tharunka and the entertainment venue, the Roundhouse. The Arc Student Representative Council represents students to the university and nationally and fights for their rights. Arc also provides support and funding to university clubs and societies and runs student volunteer programs such as Orientation Week.

In 2008 the University of New South Wales Sports Association and UNSW Lifestyle Centre merged to become UNSW Sport and Recreation. It runs the UNSW Fitness and Aquatic Centre, provides health and fitness facilities and services, and supports the thirty UNSW affiliated sporting clubs that compete both at home and abroad.

High School and Primary School competitions and resources

UNSW is well known for its engagement with primary and secondary education, administering several national and international academic competitions for school age children. These include, among others:

  • The Australian Schools Science Competition

International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) is conducted by Educational Assessment Australia, UNSW Global Pty Limited. UNSW Global is a not-for-profit provider of education, training and consulting services and a wholly owned enterprise of the University of New South Wales. It provides exams for students in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia[1], South Africa, Indonesia, Hong Kong, India and the Pacific region. It caters to students from year 3 (Australia) through year 12, examining skills in English, mathematics, science, computers, writing and spelling.

  • International Competitions and Assessments for Schools-Mathematics

International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS). From 2003-05, ICAS-Mathematics was called Australasian Schools Mathematics Assessment. Prior to 2003, it was known as the Primary Schools Mathematics Competition and was targeted at primary schools.

  • The UNSW COMPUTING ProgComp[26]

Since 1997, The School of Computer Science and Engineering (UNSW COMPUTING) as run the UNSW COMPUTING ProgComp. This competition has the overall aim of raising awareness amongst high school students of the craft of programming and to encourage students to develop and apply their computing knowledge and skills.

  • The UNSW COMPUTING John Lions Award for Contribution to Open Software[27]

Established in 2011, the John Lions Award for Contribution to Open Software is open to high school and undergraduate university students enrolled in an Australian secondary or tertiary institution. Full time and part time students are eligible, as well as local and internationals students. The annual prize is valued at $1,000.

  • The UNSW COMPUTING Robotics Workshops[28]

UNSW School of Computer Science and Engineering (UNSW COMPUTING) has developed specialised robotic workshops for school students. They focus on the use of the Lego NXT technology combined with the popular RoboCup Junior competition for schools. UNSW COMPUTING is also a National and NSW State sponsor of RoboCup Junior.

Ranking and Performance

Good Universities Guide 2011 ratings[29]
Measure Rating
Non-government earnings StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Student Demand StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Research Grants StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Research Intensivity StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Access and Equity
Access by equity groups StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Gender balance StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Indigenous participation StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Entry flexibility StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Proportion given credit for TAFE studies StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Proportion of entrants who are school leavers StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Who's There
Cultural diversity StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
The educational experience
Student/Staff ratio StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Staff qualifications StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Teaching quality StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Generic Skills StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Overall satisfaction StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Graduate outcomes
Graduate starting salary StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Getting a full-time job StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png
Positive graduate outcomes StarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.pngStarIconGold.png

The University was ranked 49th on the 2011 QS World University Rankings, receiving five gold stars for rated excellence.[30]

The Times-QS World University Ranking[31]
Category/Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Overall 49 46 47 45 44 41
Arts & Humanities 61 78 52 51 35 N/A
Natural Sciences 54 53 45 39 58 N/A
Engineering & IT 39 42 33 29 28 N/A
Social Sciences 35 33 35 28 30 N/A
Life Sciences 48 46 43 50 50 N/A

UNSW was ranked Number 1 in Australia for Computer Science in the 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities, and was the only Australian university to make the top 100 list.

UNSW was also the most cited Australian university in Computer Science, Engineering, Maths, and Psychology from 2002 to 2009 according to the Thomson Reuters-Indexed Journals.

In 2008, an analysis from Thomson Scientific, global research and development analysts, showed that UNSW is one of the top three institutions in Australia for leading in particular fields, dominating in mathematics, psychiatry and psychology. In these areas, the top three Australian institutions were the University of Sydney, UNSW and the University of Melbourne, respectively.[32]

In 2010, UNSW was the top performer in ARC Linkage grants, receiving $11.36 million for 28 projects involving collaboration with industry partners, and the largest share of grants ($47.8 million) went to UNSW as the lead institution in the country.

UNSW had the top score for both excellence and improvement in computing, engineering, science and architecture in the 2009 Australian Government's Learning And Teaching Performance Fund. UNSW also achieved the top score for excellence in business, law and economics.[33]

In 2009 the Financial Times Global MBA ranking placed the university's business faculty, The Australian School of Business 32nd worldwide, and top in Australia, with an average alumni salary of US$127,474.[34] In the 2007 survey, the school's Executive MBA program was ranked 23rd worldwide.[35] It is also the only Australian business school featured in the rankings for 7 consecutive years.

Notable people


  • Willis, A.H. (1983). The University of New South Wales: The Baxter Years. ISBN 0-86840-057-2. 
  1. ^ UNSW Annual Report 2007 Vol 2 Financial Statements p29 , Retrieved on 2007-09-12
  2. ^ "Facts in Brief - Staff". UNSW Institutional Analysis and Reporting Office. 2007-03-31. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  3. ^ "Facts in Brief - Enrolments". UNSW Institutional Analysis and Reporting Office. 2007-03-31. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  4. ^ About University of New South Wales, Universitas 21, Retrieved on 2006-10-20
  5. ^ The University of New South Wales Profile, QS Top Universities, Retrieved on 2011-01-20
  6. ^ a b O'Farrell, UNSW, a portrait: the University of New South Wales, 1949-1999, UNSW Press, 1999 at p15 ISBN 0-86840-417-9
  7. ^ "University Official Records". University of New South Wales Records & Archives Office. 
  8. ^ O'Farrell, UNSW, a portrait: the University of New South Wales, 1949-1999, UNSW Press, 1999 at p33 ISBN 0-86840-417-9
  9. ^ State Archives, UNSW Records and Archives Office.
  10. ^ University of New South Wales - UNSW Home - The Vice-Chancellors of the University of New South Wales Exhibition
  11. ^ University of New South Wales - UNSW Home - The Vice-Chancellors of the University of New South Wales Exhibition
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Prime Minister opens Lowy Cancer Research Centre at the University of New South Wales". Australian Cancer Research Foundation. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "New cancer research centre for Sydney", Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on 2007-09-23.
  15. ^ a b c "UNSW Symbol Guidelines". University of New South Wales. 
  16. ^ "University of New South Wales Flag". Flags of the World. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ UNSW Sport and Recreation website
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Aussie car breaks a world speed record". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 January 2011. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ The Good Universities Guide to Universities & Private Higher Education Providers 2011. Hobsons. 2010. pp. 41–45, 48–51. ISBN 978-1-921199-61-5. 
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Thomson Scientific UNSW Ranks in Top Three in Australia". Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  33. ^ "Learning and Teaching Performance Fund (LTPF)". Learning and Teaching @ UNSW. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  34. ^ "Global MBA Rankings". Financial Times. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  35. ^ "Executive MBA ranking 2006 Table". Financial Times (UK). Retrieved 2006-10-27. 

External links

Coordinates: 33°55′01″S 151°13′57″E / 33.916921°S 151.232514°E / -33.916921; 151.232514

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