University of New South Wales

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Not to be confused with University of South Wales.
The University of New South Wales
UNSW coat of arms.png
Coat of Arms of UNSW
Former names
New South Wales University of Technology (1949–1958)
Motto Scientia Manu et Mente (Latin)
Motto in English
"Knowledge by Hand and Mind"
Type Public
Established 1949
Endowment A$1.67 billion[1]
Chancellor David Gonski
President Ian Jacobs
Vice-Chancellor Ian Jacobs
Administrative staff
Students 53,481[3]
Undergraduates 32,501[4]
Postgraduates 20,980[5]
Location Sydney, 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)
Affiliations Group of Eight, Universitas 21, APRU, ADFA, Association of Commonwealth Universities, Global Alliance of Technological Universities
UNSW logo.png

The University of New South Wales (UNSW; branded as UNSW Australia[6]) is an Australian public research university located in the suburb of Kensington in Sydney, established in 1949. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in Australia, with stringent entry requirements.

UNSW attracts the highest median Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank in Australia,[7] and sets the highest combined ATAR cut-offs out of any Australian university. It was ranked among the top 50 universities in the world in the 2015-16 QS World University Rankings. The university is particularly strong in engineering and technology, commerce and economics, and law; the 2015 QS World University Rankings by Subject ranked UNSW to be 12th in the world for accounting and finance, 15th for law, and 21st in engineering and technology. UNSW has produced more millionaires,[8] and its graduates hold more chief executive positions of ASX 200 listed companies,[9] than any other university in Australia.

The university comprises eight faculties, through which it offers bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. The main campus is located on a 38-hectare site in the Sydney suburb of Kensington, seven kilometres from the centre of Sydney. The creative arts faculty, UNSW Art & Design, is located in Paddington, UNSW Canberra is located at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra and sub-campuses are located in the Sydney CBD, the suburbs of Randwick and Coogee. Research stations are located throughout the state of New South Wales.[10]

UNSW is a founding member of the Group of Eight, a coalition of Australian research-intensive universities, and of Universitas 21, a leading global network of research universities. It has international exchange and research partnerships with over 200 universities around the world.


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.[11] 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.[11] 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.

The university, originally named the "New South Wales University of Technology", gained its statutory status through the enactment of the New South Wales University of Technology Act 1949 (NSW) by the Parliament of New South Wales in Sydney in 1949. In March 1948, classes commenced with a first intake of 46 students pursuing programs including civil engineering, mechanical engineering, mining engineering and electrical engineering.[12] At that time the thesis programs were innovative. 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.[13]

Initially, the university operated from the inner Sydney Technical College city campus in Ultimo. 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's name was changed to the "University of New South Wales" to reflect its transformation from a technology-based institution to a generalist university. In 1960, it established faculties of arts and medicine and shortly after decided to add the Faculty of Law, which came into being in 1971.[14]

The university's first director was Arthur Denning (1949–1952), who made important contributions to founding the university. In 1953, he was replaced by Philip Baxter, who continued as vice-chancellor when this position's title was changed in 1955.[15] Baxter's dynamic, if authoritarian, management was central to the university's first 20 years. His visionary, but at times controversial, energies saw the university grow from a handful to 15,000 students by 1968.[16] He also pioneered new scientific and technological disciplines despite the criticism of traditionalists.[citation needed] Staff recruited both locally and overseas, soon established a wide international reputation.[citation needed] The new vice-chancellor, 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 the vice-chancellor, Michael Birt (1981–1992),[17] provided a firm base for the energetic corporatism and campus enhancements pursued by the subsequent vice-chancellor, John Niland (1992–2002). The 1990s saw the addition of fine arts to the university. The university established colleges in Newcastle (1951) and Wollongong (1961), which eventually became the University of Newcastle and the University of Wollongong in 1965 and 1975 respectively.

At present, private sources contribute 45% of its annual funding.[18]

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.[19][20]

In 2003, the university was invited by Singapore's Economic Development Board to consider opening a campus there. Following a 2004 decision to proceed, the first phase of a planned $200 m campus opened in 2007. Students and staff were sent home and the campus closed after one semester following substantial financial losses.[21]


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.[22]
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, Technology and Medicine 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.[22]

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.[22]

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 all sides. There is a further outer band of black on all sides which is equal in width to the yellow band.[23]

The ceremonial mace of the university is made of stainless steel with silver facings and a shaft of eumung timber. On the head are mounted four silver shields, two engraved with the arms of the State of New South Wales and two with the original-design arms of the university. A silver Waratah, NSW's floral emblem, surmounts the head. The mace was donated to the university by Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and was presented by the company's chairman, Colin Syme, on 6 December 1962.[24] A former NSW Government Architect, Cobden Parkes, was appointed as the first official mace-bearer.[25]


Main Walkway, Lower campus

The university is governed by council of 15 members including parliamentary and ex-officio members, members elected by staff, students and graduates of the university as well as members appointed by the Minister for Education or by the council itself. It is responsible for acting on the university's behalf to promote its objectives and interests.

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 the 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.


UNSW Business School

The university has nine faculties:

The university also has an association with the National Institute of Dramatic Art.

Rankings and entry[edit]

University rankings[edit]

The QS World University Rankings 2015-16 placed UNSW 46th in the world and 4th in Australia.[26] It was also awarded the QS 5 Star Plus badge for excellence, having received a five-star rating in all eight categories scoring over 900 points. The 2015 QS World University Rankings by Subject ranked UNSW to be 12th in the world for accounting and finance, 15th for law, 21st in engineering and technology and 21st for social sciences and management.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016 placed UNSW 82th in the world and 5th in Australia.

The Australian Good Universities Guide 2014 scored UNSW 5-star ratings across 10 categories, more than any other Australian university. Monash University ranked second with seven five stars, followed by ANU, Melbourne University and the University of Western Australia with six each.[27]

UNSW has produced more millionaires than any other Australian university and ranked 33rd in the world, according to the Spear's Wealth Management Survey.[8]

Engineers Australia ranked UNSW as having the highest number of graduates in "Australia's Top 100 Influential Engineers 2013" list at 23%, followed by Monash University at 8%, the University of Western Australia, Sydney University and the University of Queensland at 7%.[28]

Selection and entry[edit]

The table below summarises the ATAR results needed to secure entry into courses. UMAT is the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test. A (V) indicates that vacancies were available at the conclusion of the main round of offers to students.[29] LAT refers to the Law Admissions Test which will be administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research on behalf of The University of New South Wales from 2016.

Undergraduate Entry Cut-Off[citation needed]
The Australian National University The University of Melbourne Monash University The University of New South Wales The University of Sydney The University of Queensland
Combined Law 97.00 (V) Not Offered 98.00 99.70 (+LAT) 99.50 99.00
Medicine (local applicant pathway) Not Offered Not Offered 98.00+ (+UMAT) 99.00+ (+UMAT) 99.95 (No UMAT) 99.00+ (+UMAT)
Commerce 82.00 (V) 95.00 90.30 96.50 95.00 (V) 89.00
Economics 86.00 (V) Not Offered 90.30 93.00 90.00 (V) 89.00
Engineering 90.00 (V) Not Offered 91.10 91.00 90.00 (V) 89.00
Science 80.00 (V) 85.00 82.00 85.00 83.00 (V) 79.00
Arts 80.00 (V) 90.05 85.00 81.00 82.50 (V) 74.00

The university offers a bonus points scheme, "HSC Plus",[30] which awards points for performance in Australian Senior Secondary Certificate [Year 12] courses relevant to UNSW undergraduate degrees. The scheme does not apply for combined law or medicine.

The UNSW Co-op Program is offered across many programs in the faculties of the built environment, engineering, science and the Australian School of Business. The program offers industry funded scholarships to students and includes internships with the sponsoring companies. Students usually enter the program after an application and interview while in their final year of high school.[citation needed]


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. UNSW Canberra at ADFA is situated in Canberra.

The university also has additional campuses and field stations in Randwick, Coogee, Botany, Dee Why, Cowan, Manly Vale, Fowlers Gap, Albury and at 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.[31] 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.

Quadrangle Building


The university has a number of residential accommodation options, including:

Library Lawn, upper campus

In 2014, a staged redevelopment of UNSW's on-campus accommodation portfolio was concluded. The redevelopment included a complete rebuild of two of the three existing Kengsington Colleges; Basser and Goldstein, as well as the addition of the three new colleges; Fig Tree Hall, Colombo House and UNSW Hall. The development has also included a rerefurbishment of the historic Goldstein Dining Hall and the construction of the University Terraces, a new on-campus apartment complex which opened in 2013.


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

Main article: UNSW Venues


  • UNSW Lowy Cancer Research Centre is a facility at the university. It is Australia's first facility bringing together researchers in childhood and adult cancers as well as one of the country's largest cancer research facilities, housing up to 400 researchers.
  • The Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre is a 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.[32][33]
  • The L5 Building houses NICTA, the UNSW Foundation Studies Program and the UNSW Institute of Languages.

The university also has a website and Facebook page, which in 2015 displayed controversial pictures.[34]

Study abroad

UNSW has maintained an extensive partnership with universities abroad. UNSW sends approximately 400 students to partner institutions each semester. Some of the universities which UNSW students are able to attend are:

Princeton University, McGill University, University of Pennsylvania (inc. Wharton), Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Brown University, Columbia University (summer law students only), University of California Berkeley, University of California Santa Cruz (inc. Baskin), UCLA, University of Michigan (inc. Ross), New York University (inc. Stern), Cornell University, University of Texas at Austin (inc. McCombs), University College Maastricht, University of Padua, University College London (law students only), Imperial College London, London School of Economics and ETH Zurich.

Student projects[edit]

Students of the university are involved in a number of projects, including:

  • Sunswift Solar Racing Team, who hold the FIA world record for the fastest electric car over a 500 kilometres (310 mi) distance[35] and in 2015 are creating Australia's first road legal solar car to adhere to Australian Design Rules.
  • rUNSWift,[36] the university's team in the international RoboCup Standard Platform League competition, is the most successful[citation needed] team in the world with wins in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2014 as well as coming second in 1999, 2002, 2006 and 2010.
  • BLUEsat Satellite (development in progress)
  • UNSW Redback Racing[37] UNSW's entrant into the SAE-Australasia Formula SAE-A Competition (National winners in 2000)
  • The MAVSTAR[38] (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[39] 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.
  • iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) a worldwide synthetic biology competition. BABS UNSW entered their first team in 2015.

Student organisations[edit]

In 2007, the three previous student organisations, the UNSW Student Guild, UNSW Union and COFA Students' Association were wound up and reformed as a new student organisation known as the Arc @ UNSW.[40] This new student organisation is a major service provider on campus, running a number of retail outlets, student media such as Tharunka and an 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 2007, the University of New South Wales Sports Association[41] 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 30 UNSW affiliated sporting clubs that compete both at home and abroad.

Engagement with high school and primary school students[edit]

Main walk on a rainy O-week day

UNSW engages with primary and secondary education, administering several national and international academic competitions for school age children. These include:

  • 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[42] - 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[43] - 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[44] - 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.

Notable people[edit]



UNSW Canberra[edit]

UNSW Canberra is a campus of the UNSW and is located at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Since 1967 the university has been providing tertiary education to officers in the Australian Defence Force through the Royal Military College, Duntroon. In 1986 the Australian Defence Force Academy, a tri-service military training institution was established. The academy is run jointly between the commandant, who represents the Australian Defence Force side, and the rector, who represents the UNSW.

Past deans

Dean Term
E. R. Bryan[45] (Acting Dean) 1967
Sir Leslie H. Martin[45] 1967–1970
B. D. Beddie[45] 1971–1972
J. C. Burns[45] 1973–1978
T. G. Chapman[45] (acting dean) 1975, 1978, 1980
Geoff Wilson[45] 1978–1986

Past and present rectors

Rector Term
Geoff Wilson 1984–1991
Harry Heseltine AO[46] 1991–1996
John Richards FTSE 1996–1998
Peter Hall[47] (acting rector) 1998–1999
Robert King 1999–2004
David Lovell (acting rector) 2004
John Baird[48] 2004–2010
Michael Frater (2011–present)


See full list at List of University of New South Wales alumni


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  2. ^ "University of New South Wales" (PDF). Retrieved December 2014. 
  3. ^ "University of New South Wales" (PDF). Retrieved December 2014. 
  4. ^ "University of New South Wales" (PDF). Retrieved December 2014. 
  5. ^ "University of New South Wales" (PDF). Retrieved December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Brand Fast Facts" (PDF). University of New South Wales. December 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  7. ^ UNSW (2014). "Annual Report 2014". Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Finance & Political Breaking News Australia & Worldwide -". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Myriam Robin (15 October 2012). "What our corporate leaders studied at university". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "University of New South Wales". MyUniversity. Australian Government. 
  11. ^ a b O'Farrell, UNSW, a portrait: the University of New South Wales, 1949-1999, UNSW Press, 1999, p. 15 ISBN 0-86840-417-9
  12. ^ "University Official Records". University of New South Wales Records & Archives Office. 
  13. ^ O'Farrell, UNSW, a portrait: the University of New South Wales, 1949-1999, UNSW Press, 1999 at p33 ISBN 0-86840-417-9
  14. ^ State Archives, UNSW Records and Archives Office.
  15. ^ "University of New South Wales - UNSW Home - The Vice-Chancellors of the University of New South Wales Exhibition". Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "History | The University of New South Wales". 5 September 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "University of New South Wales - UNSW Home - The Vice-Chancellors of the University of New South Wales Exhibition". Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "History - The University of New South Wales". 5 September 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Prime Minister opens Lowy Cancer Research Centre at the University of New South Wales" (PDF). Australian Cancer Research Foundation. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "New cancer research centre for Sydney", Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on 23 July 2007.
  21. ^ "UNSW Singapore campus doomed to fail". The Australian. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c "UNSW Symbol Guidelines". University of New South Wales. 
  23. ^ "University of New South Wales Flag". Flags of the World. 
  24. ^ Event Program - Presentation of the Mace. University of New South Wales. 6 December 1962. 
  25. ^ O'Farrell, Patrick (1999). UNSW, a Portrait: The University of New South Wales, 1949-1999. Kensington: University of New South Wales Press. p. 5. ISBN 0 86840 417 9. 
  26. ^ "QS World University Rankings Results 2012 publisher=QS date=2012". 
  27. ^ "Institution Ratings - Hobsons Course Finder". Hobsons Course Finder. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  28. ^ "Top 100 : 2015, Page 1". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Bonus Points - Future Students - UNSW Australia". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  31. ^ "University of New South Wales - Records and Archives Office - Development of UNSW Kensington Campus Exhibition". Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  32. ^ "Sports UNSW". Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  33. ^ "UNSW Sport and Recreation website". Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ "It's official: Electric car world record smashed by UNSW Sunswift". UNSW Newsroom. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  36. ^ a b "RoboCup". Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  37. ^ "Redback Racing 63 - UNSW Formula SAE Team". Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  38. ^ Home. "MAVSTAR". Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  39. ^ Archived 7 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ "ProgComp". Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  43. ^ Archived 13 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ Archived 11 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  45. ^ a b c d e f Coulthard-Clarke, Christopher David (1986). Duntroon: The Royal Military College of Australia. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0868618837. 
  46. ^ "Emeritus Professor Harry Heseltine AO". Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  47. ^ "Emeritus Professor Peter Hall". Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  48. ^ "Converted to a rewarding field". The Canberra Times. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Willis, A.H. (1983). The University of New South Wales: The Baxter Years. ISBN 0-86840-057-2. 

External links[edit]

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