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Melbourne University

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Melbourne University

Template:Use Australian English

The University of Melbourne
Coat of Arms of the University of Melbourne
Latin: Universitas Melburnensis
Motto Postera Crescam Laude
"We grow in the esteem of future generations"
Established 1853
Type Public
Endowment AU$1.173 billion[1]
Chancellor Elizabeth Alexander
Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis
Academic staff 3,586[2]
Students 38,281[2]
Doctoral students 3,244[2]
Location Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Campus Urban
Affiliations Group of EightUniversitas 21
The University of Melbourne logo

The University of Melbourne (commonly referred to as Melbourne University, Melbourne Uni, Melbourne and UniMelb) is an Australian public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is Australia's second oldest university[3] and the oldest in Victoria.[3] Commonly considered to be Australia's most prestigious university,[4][5] Melbourne is currently ranked as Australia's best university by Times Higher Education, Academic Ranking of World Universities and National Taiwan University Rankings.[6][7][8] Times Higher Education currently ranks Melbourne as 34th in the world,[6] while the QS World University Rankings places Melbourne 34th in the world.[9]

Melbourne's main campus is located in Parkville, an inner suburb north of the Melbourne central business district, with several other campuses located across Victoria. Melbourne is a sandstone university and a member of the Group of Eight, Universitas 21 and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. It claims it has the largest endowment and the largest research expenditure of any Australian university.[10] Since 1872 various residential colleges have become affiliated with the university. There are currently 12 colleges located on the main campus and in nearby suburbs offering academic, sporting and cultural programs alongside accommodation for Melbourne students and faculty.

Melbourne comprises 11 separate academic units and is associated with numerous institutes and research centres, including the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research and the Grattan Institute. Amongst Melbourne's 15 graduate schools the Melbourne Business School, the Melbourne Law School and the Melbourne Medical School are particularly well regarded.[11][12][13]

Four Australian prime ministers and five governors-general have graduated from Melbourne. Seven Nobel laureates have been students or faculty, the most of any Australian university.[14]


The university's coat of arms is a blue shield on which a depiction of "Victory" in white colour holds her laurel wreath over the stars of the Southern Cross. The motto, Postera crescam laude ("Later I shall grow by praise" or, more freely, "We shall grow in the esteem of future generations"), is written on a scroll beneath the shield. The Latin is from a line in a Horace ode: ego postera crescam laude recens.


Melbourne University was established by Hugh Childers, the Auditor-General and Finance Minister, in his first Budget Speech on 4 November 1852, who set aside a sum of £10,000 for the establishment of a university.[15] The university was established by Act of Incorporation on 22 January 1853, with power to confer degrees in arts, medicine, laws and music. The act provided for an annual endowment of £9,000, while a special grant of £20.000 was made for buildings that year.[16] The foundation stone was laid on 3 July 1854, and on the same day the foundation stone for the State Library[17] Classes commenced in 1855 with three professors and sixteen students; of this body of students, only four graduated. The original buildings were officially opened by the Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of Victoria, Sir Charles Hotham, on 3 October 1855. The first chancellor, Redmond Barry (later Sir Redmond), held the position until his death in 1880.

The inauguration of the university was made possible by the wealth resulting from Victoria's gold rush. The institution was designed to be a "civilising influence" at a time of rapid settlement and commercial growth.[18]

In 1881, the admission of women was a seen as victory over the more conservative ruling council.[19]

The university's 150th anniversary was celebrated in 2003.[20]


Governance of the university is grounded in an act of parliament, the Melbourne University Act 2009. The peak governing body is the "Council" the key responsibilities of which include appointing the Vice Chancellor and Principal, approving the strategic direction and annual budget, establishing operational policies and procedures and overseeing academic and commercial activities as well as risk management. The chair of the council is the "Chancellor". The "Academic Board" oversees learning, teaching and research activities and provides advice to the council on these matters. The "Committee of Convocation" represents graduates and its members are elected in proportion to the number of graduates in each faculty.[21]


In 2008, the university had an endowment of approximately $1.105 billion,[1] the largest of any Australian institution.[22] Whilst the fund had grown rapidly for several years, providing up to $100 million of income per year,[22] it shrank by 22% in 2008 as a result of the ongoing global financial crisis of 2007–2010.[1] However Australian endownments are relatively small compared with those of the wealthiest US universities.


The university has 12 academic units,[23] some of which incorporate a graduate school. The overall attrition and retention rates at the university are the lowest and highest respectively in Australia.[24] The university has one of the highest admission requirements in the country, with the median ENTER of its undergraduates being 94.05 (2009).[25] Furthermore, The university continued to attract outstanding students, for example, 50% of the Premier's VCE Top All-Round High Achievers enrolled at the University of Melbourne.[25]

According to the Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings (2009), Melbourne is the only Australian university to rank in the top 30 in all five core subject areas with three subject areas ranked in the top 20.[25]


Melbourne University claims that its research expenditure is second only to that of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (


Residential colleges

Melbourne University has 12 residential colleges in total, seven of the which are located in an arc around the cricket oval at the northern edge of the campus, known as College Crescent. The other five are located outside of university grounds.

The residential colleges aim to provide accommodation and holistic education experience to university students.[28]

Most of the University's residential colleges also admit students from RMIT University and Monash University, Parkville campus, with selected colleges also accepting students from the Australian Catholic University and Victoria University.
Ormond College
Janet Clarke Hall
Queen's College
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Medley Hall
Whitley College, 1965–present
Ridley College, 1910–2007
University College, 1937–present
International House, 1957–present
Graduate House, 1962–present
St Hilda's College, 1964–present


Several of the earliest campus buildings, such as the Old Quadrangle and Baldwin Spencer buildings, feature period architecture.[29]

The new Wilson Hall[30] replaced the original building[31] which was destroyed by fire.[32]


The Melbourne University Library has three million visitors performing 42 million loan transactions every year.[33] The general collection comprises over 3.5 million items including books, DVDs, photographic slides, music scores and periodicals as well as rare maps, prints and other published materials.[33] The library also holds over 32,000 e-books, hundreds of databases and 63,000 general and specialist journals in digital form.[33]

The libraries include:[34]

  • Baillieu Library (arts and humanities)
  • Brownless Biomedical Library
  • Eastern Resource Centre (ERC)
  • Giblin Eunson Library (business, economics and education)
  • Law Library
  • Lenton Parr Music, Visual and Performing Arts Library (formerly VCA Library)
  • Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library
  • Melbourne School of Land and Environment Library (Burnley, Creswick, Dookie)
  • Veterinary Science Library

Other campuses


The university has four other campuses in metropolitan Melbourne at Burnley, Southbank, Hawthorn and Werribee.

The Burnley campus is where horticultural courses are taught.[35] Performing arts courses are taught at the Southbank campus. Commerce courses are taught at the Hawthorn campus.[36] Veterinary science is taught at the Werribee campus.

In regional Victoria, the Creswick and Dookie campuses are used for forestry and agriculture courses respectively.[37][38] They previously housed several hundred residential students, but are now largely used for short courses and research. The Shepparton campus is home to the Rural Health Academic Centre for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

The university is a part-owner of the Melbourne Business School, based at Parkville campus, which ranked 46th in the 2012 Financial Times global rankings.[39]

Arts and culture

The university is associated with several arts institutions in the wider community. These include:

  • The Ian Potter Museum of Art,[40] which houses the university's visual arts collection.
  • Thirty-three cultural collections, embodying the history of many of the academic disciplines taught at the university. These include the Grainger Museum Collection of musical cultural artefacts;[41] the Medical History Museum,[42] covering the history of the medical profession in Victoria; and the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology,[43] which contains more than 8,000 specimens relevant to the teaching of medicine and other health sciences.

"Melbourne Model"

Main article: Melbourne Model

In 2008, the "Melbourne Model" was introduced.

In 2007, Melbourne University aimed to offer 75% of graduate places as HECS (with the remaining 25% being full fee paying).[44]

Professional-entry masters degrees

A number of professional degrees are available only for graduate entry. These degrees are at a masters level according to the Australian Qualification Framework,[45] but are named "masters" or "doctorate" following the practice in North America. The professional degrees are:

  • Juris Doctor
  • Doctor of Medicine
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery
  • Doctor of Optometry
  • Doctor of Physiotherapy
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
  • Master of Animal Science
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Landscape Architecture
  • Master of Biotechnology
  • Master of Engineering
  • Master of Environment
  • Master of Education
  • Master of Forest Science
  • Master of Nursing Science
  • Master of Property and Construction
  • Master of Public Policy and Management
  • Master of Social Work
  • Master of Teaching
  • Master of Urban Horticulture
  • Master of Urban Planning
  • Master of Urban Design
  • Master of Food Science

Reaction to the "Melbourne Model"

Various groups, including trade[46] and student unions,[47] [48] [49] academics,[50] [51] and some students[52][53] have expressed criticism of the Melbourne Model, citing job and subject cuts, and a risk of "dumbing down" content. A group of students also produced a satirical musical regarding the matter.

VCA merger and controversy

As of May 2009 the university "suspended" the Bachelor of Music Theatre and Puppetry courses at the college and there were fears they may not return under the new curriculum.[54]

A 2005 heads of agreement over the merger of the VCA and the university stated that the management of academic programs at the VCA would ensure that "the VCA continues to exercise high levels of autonomy over the conduct and future development of its academic programs so as to ensure their integrity and quality" and also that the college's identity will be preserved.[55] New dean Sharman Pretty outlined drastic changes under the university's plan for the college in early April 2009.[56] As a result it is now being called into question whether the university have upheld that agreement.

Staff at the college responded to the changes, claiming the university did not value vocational arts training, and voicing fears over the future of quality training at the VCA.[57] Former Victorian arts minister Race Mathews has also weighed in on the debate expressing his hope that, "Melbourne University will not proceed with its proposed changes to the Victorian College of the Arts," and for 'good sense' to prevail.[58]



The following is a summary of Melbourne University rankings, numbers in parentheses indicate ranking within Australia:

Publications 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
QS World University Rankings [60] 22 (2nd) 19 (1st) 22 (2nd) 22 (2nd) 27 (3rd) 38 (2nd) 36 (2nd) 38 (2nd) 31 (2nd) 36 (2nd)
Times Higher Education World University Rankings [61] 22 (2nd) 19 (1st) 22 (2nd) 27 (2nd) 38 (3rd) 36[9] (2nd) 36 (1st) 37 (1st) 28 (1st)
Shanghai Jiao Tong University Academic Ranking of World Universities[62] 92 (2nd) 82 (2nd) 82 (2nd) 78 (2nd) 79 (2nd) 73 (2nd) 75 (2nd) 62 (2nd) 60 (1st) 57 (1st)
Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT)[63][64] 64 (1st) 58 (1st) 51 (1st) 43 (1st) 35(1st)
Financial Times MBA rank[65] 64 (1st) 72 (2nd) 63 (1st) 69 (1st) 79 (2nd) 75 (2nd) 52 63 53 (2nd) 46 (2nd)
Economist Intelligence Unit's MBA rank[66] 84 (2nd) 26 (1st) 17 (1st) 44 32 (1st)

In 2008, the university was ranked 58th globally for scientific papers by the Higher Edutcation Evaluations and Accreditation Council of Taiwan[64]

Research produced by the Melbourne Institute in 2006 ranked Australian universities across seven main discipline areas: arts and humanities; business and economics; education; engineering; law; medicine; and science, with Melbourne University as the highest in business, law and medicine by both academic surveys and overall performance.

Discipline R1[Note 1] No.[Note 2] R2[Note 3] No.
Arts & Humanities 2 38 2 35
Business & Economics 1 39 1 34
Education 1 35 2 32
Engineering 1 28 3 28
Law 1 29 1 28
Medicine 1 14 1 13
Science 2 38 3 31

In 2010 the University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP),[67] ranked Melbourne Uni 40th globally and highest in Australia.

Notably, in 2013 the University of Melbourne's Medicine course was ranked 9th in the world, the first time an Australian University has been ranked in the top 10 medicine schools [68]

Notable graduates

The University of Melbourne has produced many notable East Timor, ministers of foreign countries, Lord Mayors, academics, architects, historians, poets, philosophers, politicians, scientists, physicists, authors, industry leaders, Defence Force generals, corporate leaders and artists.

Student activities

"Prosh Week"

A celebrated tradition at Melbourne is usually held in mid-August in which teams of students engage in various activities - the winner claiming the "Prosh Week Trophy".[69]

The week was nicknamed 'Posh week' due to the number of times students would have to dress up in formal attire. The effects of alcohol caused words to be slurred, and thus 'posh' became 'prosh'.[69]


The university has participated in various sports in its history and currently has 39 affiliated clubs. Sport is overseen by Melbourne University Sport.


The Melbourne University Lacrosse Club (MULC) was established in 1883 and is the oldest continually operational lacrosse club in the world.[70]


The Melbourne University Cycling Club (MUCyc) is associated with Cycling Australia and competes regularly at local and national races. In 2008 MUCyc won its seventh consecutive AUG championship (2002–2008).[71][72]

See also



  • Macintyre, S. & Selleck, R.J.W. (2003). A short history of the University of Melbourne. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-85058-8.
  • Selleck, R.J.W. (2003). The Shop: The University of Melbourne, 1850–1939. Melbourne: University of Melbourne Press. 930pp
  • Poynter, John & Rasmussen, Carolyn (1996). A Place Apart - The University of Melbourne: Decades of Challenge. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-84584-3.
  • Cain J II and J Hewitt. (2004). Off Course: From Public Place to Marketplace at Melbourne University. Melbourne: Scribe. review


  • McPhee, P. 2005. "From the Acting Vice-Chancellor." Uni News. The University of Melbourne. 03/10/05, p. 3.

External links

  • University website
  • Alumni Web Community
  • "Melbourne University Up Close" Podcast
  • Melbourne University Growing Esteem webpage
  • Bibliography of the history of the University of Melbourne
  • Architectural features of the university campuses

Coordinates: 37°47′47″S 144°57′41″E / 37.7963°S 144.9614°E / -37.7963; 144.9614

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