Griffith University

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Griffith University
Griffith University logo.png
Motto Know more. Do more.
Established 1971
Type Public university
Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM
Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian O'Connor
Executive Professor Ned Pankhurst (Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor)
Professor Adam Shoemaker (Academic Provost)
Professor Martin Betts (Deputy Vice Chancellor, Engagement)
Colin McAndrew (Vice President, Corporate Services)
Administrative staff
4,000 FTE
Students 44,468 (2014)
Undergraduates Over 33,000
Postgraduates Over 9,000
Location Brisbane, Gold Coast, Logan, Queensland, Australia
Campus Gold Coast, Logan, Nathan, Mt Gravatt and South Bank
Affiliations Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning and Innovative Research Universities

Griffith University is a public research university in South East Queensland on the east coast of Australia. Formally founded in 1971, Griffith opened its doors in 1975, introducing Australia’s first degrees in environmental science and Asian studies.

The University is named after Sir Samuel Walker Griffith, who was twice Premier of Queensland and the first Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. Sir Samuel Griffith played a major role in the Federation of Australia and was the principal author of the Australian constitution.

Opening initially with the one campus at Nathan and 451 students, the University now has five campuses spanning three cities, with the Nathan, Mount Gravatt and South Bank campuses in Brisbane and campuses at Logan and on the Gold Coast.[1] It has over 44,000 students[2] and offers a full suite of undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees in the areas of business and government, criminology and law, education, engineering and information technology, environment, planning and architecture, health, humanities and languages, music, science and aviation, and visual and creative arts.



In 1965 174 hectares (430 acres) of natural bushland at Nathan were set aside for a new campus.[3] Initially the site was to be part of the University of Queensland, which was experiencing strong demand in humanities and social sciences.[3] By 1970 a new institution was being mooted, and Theodor Bray (later Sir Theodor Bray) was asked by the Queensland Government to establish a second for Brisbane and the third for the state. After several months of discussion, the Queensland Government announced on 24 December 1970 that Bray would head a committee charged with establishing Griffith University. The Mount Gravatt site was renamed Nathan and set to become Griffith’s first campus.[4] On 30 September 1971, the Queensland Government officially created and recognised Griffith University with the passing of the Assent to Griffith University Act 1971.[4] On 5 March 1975, Griffith University began teaching 451 students in four schools: Australian Environmental Studies, Humanities, Modern Asian Studies and Science.[1] The university was distinguished by its "problem-based" rather than disciplinary approach to course design and research.


In the 1990s, the Dawkins Revolution saw a number tertiary education reforms in Australia, resulting in a series of amalgamations of colleges and universities. In 1990, the Mount Gravatt Teacher's College (established in 1969) and Gold Coast College of Advanced Education (established in 1987) became official campuses of Griffith University. The Queensland Conservatorium of Music continued the higher education mergers and became an official part of Griffith University in 1991. Originally established in 1957, the new entity became known as Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. In 1992, the amalgamations were completed for Griffith, with the Queensland College of Art (QCA), established in 1881 and recognised as the oldest continuous operating art training institution in Australia officially becoming part of the University.[4]

Griffith’s fifth campus, Logan, opened in 1998. Located in the suburb of Meadowbrook, on an area of green fields south of Brisbane, the Logan campus was established to specifically address the interests and needs of the Logan City area.[5]


Griffith University’s campuses are distinctive for their nature-based settings within urban environments.

Griffith University busway station on the South East Busway
Griffith University (Nathan Campus) from Stadium Path

Gold Coast campus[edit]

The Gold Coast campus is located in the Gold Coast suburb of Southport. Set in native bushland, on the land of the Aboriginal Yugambeh/Kombumerri peoples,[6] this campus plays host to over 18,200 students from all over Australia and the world. It is Griffith University's largest campus.

The campus has seen significant growth and development over the last few years, with the opening of the $150 million Griffith Health Centre in 2013 and the launch of the $38 million Griffith Business School building in 2014. The Gold Coast new light rail (G:link) service now has two stops on the campus.

On-campus student accommodation is available through the privately operated Griffith University Village.

Logan campus[edit]

Logan is Griffith University’s community-focused campus. Hosting almost 2500 students, the campus offers degrees in human services and social work, nursing and midwifery, business and commerce, and education. The campus has strong connections with the local community, hosting numerous sorting and cultural events throughout the year.

Nathan campus[edit]

Nathan, Griffith’s foundation campus, is situated in tranquil, native bushland on the edge of Toohey Forest and less than 10 kilometres from the Brisbane CBD. Nathan hosts over 13,000 students and offers degrees in business and government, engineering and information technology, environment, humanities and languages, law, and science and aviation.

The buildings at the Nathan campus were designed to fit into the environment by Roger Kirk Johnson the founding architectural designer of the campus, following the slope of the land and using architectural means of cooling.[3] The library building was designed by Robin Gibson and won the first national award for library design. The clusters of buildings, sports facilities, bushland reserves and recreational areas are connected by integrated networks of walking paths.

In 2013, the six-star, green-rated Sir Samuel Griffith Centre was opened on the Nathan campus. The building operates off the grid and is powered by a combination of photovoltaics and hydrogen.

The campus has two residential colleges for students and a range of sporting facilities.

From 2015 onwards, the Nathan campus will serve as Brisbane Roar's new training base, with the Roar’s contract at long-time training venue Ballymore expiring, and the field at their previous Perry Park administration base not meeting the standards required by the Roar.[7]

Mount Gravatt campus[edit]

The Mount Gravatt campus, adjacent to the Nathan campus, hosts 4400 students. It is the University’s social sciences and humanities hub and the base for research into crucial social issues, including education and suicide prevention.

Like Nathan, the campus is situated on the edge of Toohey Forest. The campus features a recently upgraded aquatic and fitness centre, with a heated pool and indoor and outdoor recreation areas, co-located with a 16-court tennis centre, a training oval, and basketball and netball courts. On-campus student accommodation is also available.

South Bank campus[edit]

Located in Brisbane’s cultural precinct, the South Bank campus is Griffith University’s creative hub. It encompasses Griffith’s Queensland College of Art and Queensland Conservatorium, and the Griffith Film School and Griffith Graduate Centre. Hosting approximately 3400 students, the campus is adjacent to the Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, the Queensland State Library, Queensland Museum, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. It is a short walk from the Brisbane CBD.

Academic groups[edit]

Griffith University’s is structured in four academic groups, with teaching offered through a range of schools, colleges and departments.

Arts, Education and Law[edit]

Griffith Business School[edit]

  • Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics
  • Department of Employment Relations and Human Resources
  • Department of International Business and Asian Studies
  • Department of Marketing
  • Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management
  • School of Government and International Relations

Griffith Health[edit]

  • School of Allied Health Sciences
  • School of Applied Psychology
  • School of Dentistry and Oral Health
  • School of Human Services and Social Work
  • School of Medical Science
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • School of Pharmacy

Griffith Sciences[edit]

  • School of Engineering
  • School of Environment
  • School of Natural Sciences
  • School of Information and Communication Technology


University rankings
Griffith University
QS World[8] 329
QS Arts & Humanities[9] 212
QS Life Sciences & Medicine[10] 263
QS Social Sciences & Mgmt.[11] 143
THE-WUR World[13] 251-300[12]
ARWU World[14] 361
CWTS Leiden World[15] 323
Australian rankings
QS National[16] 18
ARWU National[17] 10-18
USNWR National[18] 16
CWTS Leiden National[15] 19

Griffith is in the top 400 in five major world rankings:

  • Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)
  • QS World University Rankings (QS)
  • Leiden Ranking (Leiden University)
  • Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE-WUR)[19]
  • University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP).[20]

Griffith also ranks highly as a young university, ranking 37th in the 2015/16 QS University Rankings Top 50 Under 50 [21] and 82nd in the 2015 Times Higher Education Top 100 under 50.[22]

Study area rankings[edit]

Griffith results for the 2015 QS World University Rankings by Subject:[23]

Top 51–100[edit]

  • Law
  • Education
  • Politics and International Studies
  • Architecture/Built Environment
  • Art and Design

Top 101–150[edit]

  • English Language and Literature
  • Business and Management

Top 151–200[edit]

  • Agriculture and forestry
  • Environmental Sciences
  • History
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Top 251–300[edit]

  • Medicine (ranked for the first time in 2015)
  • Biological Sciences

Top 301–350[edit]

  • Computer Science and Information Systems


The Griffith MBA is ranked among Australia's leading MBA programs in CEO Magazine and its 2015 MBA Rankings.[24] The rankings are compiled by the International Graduate Forum and are designed to present a 360-degree view of the world’s leading business schools. The Griffith MBA is placed sixth in the top tier of Australian programs, and is the only Queensland program to feature in the top 10. It also features in the magazine’s top 20 Global MBA Rankings.

The MBA is also the highest-ranking Australian MBA in the Aspen Institute's Centre for Business Education's most recent Beyond Grey Pinstripes Global Top 100, ranked at number 26.[25] Griffith University was awarded this ranking for its focus on responsible leadership, sustainable business practices and the Asia-Pacific. It was also was acknowledged as one of Australia's best, ranking fourth in Australia in the 2015 Financial Review BOSS Magazine MBA Survey.[26]

Teaching awards[edit]

Griffith features prominently in Australia’s national teaching awards and citations. Since 2009, Griffith has won seven awards for Teaching Excellence, four awards for Programs that Enhance Learning, 42 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning and seven National Teaching Fellowships. Two Griffith staff have been named the Prime Minister’s Australian Teacher of the Year.[2]


Griffith researchers work in 38 centres and institutes, investigating areas such as water science, climate change adaptation, criminology and crime prevention, sustainable tourism and health and chronic disease.

The University’s major research institutes include the:

  • Griffith Criminology Institute
  • Griffith Institute for Educational Research
  • Griffith Institute for Tourism
  • Griffith Asia Institute
  • Menzies Health Institute Queensland (formerly the Griffith Health Institute)
  • Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention
  • Australian Rivers Institute
  • Environmental Futures Research Institute
  • Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery
  • Institute for Glycomics
  • Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems.

Additionally, Griffith hosts several externally supported centres and facilities, including the:

  • National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility
  • Smart Water Research Centre
  • NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Nursing.

Research commercialisation[edit]

Griffith offers research commercialisation and services for business, industry and government through Griffith Enterprise.

Other centres[edit]

As well as research centres and institutes, Griffith has a number of cultural and community focused organisations. These include the EcoCentre, which provides a space for environmental education activities, exhibitions, seminars and workshops, and the Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue (formerly the Multi-Faith Centre).

Student life[edit]

Student organisations[edit]

Griffith University has a wide array of cultural, intellectual, sporting and social groups. Its Student Guild[27] is an organisation within the university which takes care of these clubs on the Gold Coast campus, as well as student issues, accommodation, employment, publication, events, sport and recreation. On the Nathan campus, Campus Life[28] supports many clubs including the long running GRUBS (Griffith University Bushwalking Club), The Karate and Kickboxing club and the Griffith University Aikido Club, recently incorporated and became independent of the University.

Uniquely, Griffith University students are[citation needed] represented by two statutory embedded student organisations. The Griffith University Student Representative Council (GUSRC) represents undergraduate students and the Griffith University Postgraduate Students Association (GUPSA) represents post-graduate students in all campuses apart from the Gold Coast. GUPSA is a constituent member of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations. Unique to the Gold Coast is the Student Guild (GUSG), which represents all students from this campus and has an administrative structure that is apparently[clarification needed] independent to the university.

Griffith Honours College[edit]

The Griffith Honours College offers high achieving students potential opportunities to enrich their university experience through mentoring, international experiences, leadership roles and community engagement activities.

Griffith Sports College[edit]

Students who are elite athletes are eligible to join the Griffith Sports College, which provides support by helping them balance sporting and university commitments.

GUMURRII Student Support Unit[edit]

Griffith’s GUMURRII Student Support Unit offers dedicated support for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander students. GUMURRII services include personal tutoring, help with applications for grants and scholarships and assistance with preparing to go to university for the first time.

Queensland Institute of Business and Technology[edit]

Located on Griffith University’s Mount Gravatt and Gold Coast campuses, the Queensland Institute of Business and Technology offers undergraduate diplomas in a range of areas, which provide a pathway into many of Griffith’s degree programs.

Griffith English Language Institute[edit]

Students from non-English-speaking backgrounds can study English at the Griffith English Language Institute (GELI). A wide range of English language courses are available to help students improve their English for work, travel, study or everyday purposes.

Residential colleges[edit]

Griffith University has four residential colleges with two of these located on its Nathan campus and one on both its Mt Gravatt and Gold Coast campuses. The three colleges located in Brisbane compete in the sporting Inter-College Cup, also known as the ICC. The premier event of the ICC is the Phar Cup, where both female and male teams compete in rugby league matches against each other.

Bellenden Ker College[edit]

Bellenden Ker College
University Griffith University
Full name Bellenden Ker College
Established 1980's
Named for Bellenden Ker
Gender Co-educational
  • Bellenden Ker College, a.k.a. BK, is a co-educational college located on the Nathan Campus in the Toohey forest reserve.
  • The building (N39) that houses the college was originally constructed to house athletes for the Brisbane Commonwealth Games in 1982.
  • The coat of arms of the college are two griffins quartered with the acronym BK. The Griffins were taken from the family coat of arms of Sir Samuel Griffith the man for whom the university is named.


KGBC Colleges
Kgbc smaller logo.png
University Griffith University
Full name Kinaba-, Girraween-, Barakula-, Carnarvon college
Established 1980's
Gender Co-educational
  • KGBC also known as "The Flats" consist of four co-educational undergraduate and postgraduate apartments on the Nathan Campus.
  • Kinaba college (N30), Girraween college (N24) and Barakula college (N15) all house undergraduate flat-shares and are self-catered.
  • Carnarvon college (N47) is composed of post-graduate, self-catered flats.

Mount Gravatt College[edit]

Mount Gravatt College
University Griffith University
Full name Mount Gravatt Residential College
Established 1980's
Named for Mount Gravatt
Gender Co-educational
  • Mt Gravatt College, a.k.a. MG, is a co-educational college located on the Mt Gravatt Campus which itself sits on the hill for which the surrounding suburbs are named.
  • The college consists of three main buildings, namely: Bundara (M03), the Roundhouse (M04) and Lowana (M05).

Griffith University Village[edit]

Griffith University Village
University Griffith University
Full name Griffith University Village
Gender Co-educational
  • Griffith University Village is a collection of co-ed apartments on the Gold Coast Campus.
  • The village is privately operated and is also the newest residential college at Griffith University.


Notable graduates have been journalists, musicians, actors, artists, filmmakers, photographers, athletes, activists and politicians in the Parliament of Australia and the Parliament of Queensland.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2014-16 Mission-based Compact – Griffith University". Australian Government. 
  2. ^ a b Annual Report 2014 (PDF). Griffith University. 
  3. ^ a b c Hogan, Janet (1982). Living History of Brisbane. Spring Hill, QLD: Boolarang Publications. pp. 130–131. ISBN 0-908175-41-8. 
  4. ^ a b c Quirke, Noel (1996). Preparing for the Future: A History of Griffith University, 1971-1996 (PDF). Nathan, Griffith University: Boolarong Press. ISBN 0 86857 864 9. 
  5. ^ "Our Campuses". Griffith Archive. Griffith University. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Monteverde, Marco. "A-League: Brisbane Roar set to establish training base at Griffith University". Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  9. ^ "QS World University Arts & Humanities Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  10. ^ "QS World University Life Sciences & Medicine Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  11. ^ "QS World University Social Sciences & Management Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  12. ^ Marshall, Deborah. "Griffith rises in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings". Griffith University. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  13. ^ "Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015". TSL Education Limited. 
  14. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2015". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 
  15. ^ a b "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2014". Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University. 
  16. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  17. ^ "ARWU 2014 Top 500 Universities in Australia". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 
  18. ^ "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities in Australia/New Zealand". U.S. News and World Report. 
  19. ^ Marshall, Deborah. "Griffith rises in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings". Griffith University. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  20. ^ "Australian Education". Education Statistics. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "QS University Rankings: Top 50 Under 50 2015". QS Top Universities. QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  22. ^ "Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 universities 2014". Times Higher Education World University Rankings. TES Global Ltd. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015". QS Top Universities. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  24. ^ "2015 MBA Rankings" (PDF). CEO Magazine. 
  25. ^ "Beyond Grey Pinstripes: MBA Survey". Aspen Institute. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  26. ^ "BOSS MBA rankings: The best MBA courses in the country". Financial Review. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  27. ^ "Student Guild Gold Coast Campus". Griffith University Gold Coast Student Guild. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  28. ^ "Campus Life". Griffith University. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°33′09″S 153°03′14″E / 27.5526°S 153.0539°E / -27.5526; 153.0539