University of South Australia

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University of South Australia
University of South Australia.svg
Motto Educating professionals. Creating and applying knowledge. Engaging our communities.[citation needed]
Type Public research university
  • 1856 SA School of Arts
  • 1889 SA School of Mines & Industries
  • 1991 University of South Australia
Endowment A$610.8 million
Chancellor Jim McDowell
Vice-Chancellor David Lloyd
Academic staff
2,816 (Full-time)[1]
Students 31,966 (2017)
Location Adelaide, Whyalla and Mount Gambier, SA, Australia
34°55′29.41″S 138°35′44.35″E / 34.9248361°S 138.5956528°E / -34.9248361; 138.5956528Coordinates: 34°55′29.41″S 138°35′44.35″E / 34.9248361°S 138.5956528°E / -34.9248361; 138.5956528
Colours Blue, White          
Sports UniSA Sport

The University of South Australia (UniSA) is a public research university in the Australian state of South Australia. It is a founding member of the Australian Technology Network of universities, and is the largest university in South Australia with almost 32,000 students.

The university was founded in its current form in 1991 with the merger of the South Australian Institute of Technology (1889) and College of Advanced Education (1856), combining more than 150 years of teaching and research history.[2] The legislation to establish and name the new University of South Australia was introduced by the Hon Mike Rann MP, Minister of Employment and Further Education.[3] Under the University's Act, its original mission was "to preserve, extend and disseminate knowledge through teaching, research, scholarship and consultancy, and to provide educational programs that will enhance the diverse cultural life of the wider community".[4]

UniSA is among the world's top universities, ranked within the top 300 universities worldwide by the QS World University Ranking. In 2018, it was named as one of the world's best young universities ranked in the world's top 50 under 50 at #25 by Quacarelli Symonds [5]and was ranked 34th overall in the latest Times Higher Education ranking of Asia-Pacific Universities [6]. It has two Adelaide city centre campuses, two Adelaide metropolitan campuses, and two South Australian regional campuses.


UniSA was formed in 1991 by the merger of the South Australian Institute of Technology with three South Australian College of Advanced Education campuses.[7] To the former SACAE campuses of Magill, Salisbury, and Underdale, SAIT added its three campuses at City East, The Levels (now called Mawson Lakes) and Whyalla. The two other SACAE campuses, City (adjacent to University of Adelaide), and Sturt (in Bedford Park, adjacent to Flinders University), were later merged into their nearby universities.[8]

School of Arts[edit]

The South Australian School of Arts can trace its history back to 1856[9] and the work of Charles Hill and H. P. Gill, and connected to the South Australian School of Design. As such, it can claim to be one of the oldest art schools in Australia, and the oldest public art school.[10] The school, now within UniSA's Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, is also known for providing a visual arts scholarship, the Ann & Gordon Samstag Scholarship.[11]


The South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE) was formed in 1982 with the merger of five Colleges of Advanced Education (CAE). Adelaide, Hartley, Salisbury, Sturt, and Torrens CAEs became the Adelaide, Magill, Salisbury, Sturt, and Underdale campuses of the SACAE.[12]

The CAE themselves were formed from various teachers' colleges in 1973.[7]

  • Adelaide CAE developed from Adelaide Teachers' College (est. 1921), which had its roots in a training school established in 1876.
  • Murray Park CAE originated from Wattle Park Teachers College, which branched off from Adelaide Teachers College in 1957.
  • Torrens CAE had its origins in the South Australian School of Arts, which dates back to 1856,[13] and in Western Teachers College, which branched off from Adelaide Teachers College in 1962.
  • Kingston CAE developed from the Adelaide Kindergarten Teachers College (est. 1967), which had its roots in a kindergarten training centre established in 1907.
  • Sturt CAE was originally Bedford Park Teachers College (est. 1966).
  • Salisbury CAE was originally Salisbury Teachers College (est. 1968).

In 1979 Hartley CAE was formed from the merger of Murray Park CAE and Kingston CAE.


The South Australian Institute of Technology traced its origins back to 1889 when the South Australian School of Mines and Industries established on the corner of North Terrace and Frome Road between the University of Adelaide and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.[12] The building, the gift of Sir George Brookman,[14] was from 1918 to 1960 the home of Adelaide Technical High School. In 1960 it became the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) and Adelaide Technical High School moved to Glenunga to become Glenunga High. The SAIT was made up of three campuses, all of which remain a part of the University of South Australia.[7][12] In 1965 SAIT was designated a college of advanced education resulting in a broadening in the range of courses offered, particularly at the professional level.[12] Under a government reform to education in 1991 it was given the option of merging with the newly formed TAFE SA or the SACAE to form the University of South Australia. SAIT was an educational institution with 3 campuses in suburban Adelaide, and had a broad range of topics making it a clear fit with neither institution, though SACAE was chosen in the end.

Modern Era[edit]

Shortly after the merger, Salisbury campus was vacated in 1996, given its proximity of the nearby Levels campus, but its sale was held up for many years by litigation. In 1997, a new campus was opened at City West with schools from Underdale being relocated there. In 2005, the campus at Underdale was closed as part of the Blueprint 2005 project, and its remaining programmes were moved to other campuses.

In 2013, the university released the 2013–2018 Strategic Plan named "Crossing The Horizon", shaping the future actions of the university nationally and internationally.[15] As part of the plan, the university committed to differentiate itself as Australia's University of Enterprise and to focus its activities on end-user needs. In 2014 the first building in a major new infrastructure plan to support those goals was opened. Named in recognition of the great Australian artist and UniSA alumnus, the Geoffrey Smart Building houses the UniSA Library and a host of student services. In 2018 two new buildings were opened; the new Great Hall, named Pridham Hall after a generous benefaction from a UniSA alumnus Andrew Pridham, and the University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute which houses the Centre for Cancer Biology (an alliance between UniSA and SA Health), the research-rich School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, UniSA's technology-based business incubation hub, the Innovation and CVollaboration Centre and a new and unique future-focused public museum, MOD.

In June 2018, the university, along with University of Adelaide, launched official talks of a possible merger. The proposition was endorsed by Steven Marshall and Simon Birmingham.[16]


There are two campuses in the Adelaide city centre (both on North Terrace), two metropolitan campuses (at Mawson Lakes, formerly The Levels, and Magill), and two campuses in regional South Australia, (Whyalla and Mount Gambier). A state-of-the-art Learning Centre, located in the western half of Hindley Street (in the city) is now complete.[17] The University of South Australia also delivers its offshore degree programs in collaboration with private institutions in Hong Kong Baptist University and other higher education institutions throughout Asia.

City East[edit]

UniSA City East Campus, which incorporates Brookman Hall

Located on the corner of North Terrace and Frome Road, adjacent to the University of Adelaide, on the site of the former South Australian Institute of Technology, and before that, the School of Mines), the City East campus is home to UniSA's Division of Health Sciences. It provides undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees for over 7,000 students.

The campus has undergone several building upgrades and expansions in recent years. The Basil Hetzel Building was opened in 2005 and includes 2,000 square metres of multipurpose biomechanical, pharmaceutical and microbiological laboratory space.[18] There was a major reconstruction to the historic School of Mines building in 2008–09[19] to include a new outdoor plaza, a new exercise physiology clinic, outdoor walkways, student lounges and other upgrades.

UniSA's health and biomedical research concentration encompasses the schools of Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery, Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Population Health and The Sansom Institute for Health Research.

A small selection of non health related programs are run from the City East campus, including construction management, geographic information systems, planning and geoinformatics, and surveying. City East is also home to the Centre for English Language in the University of South Australia (CELUSA) and the South Australian Institute of Business and Technology (SAIBT).

City West[edit]

Located on the corner of North Terrace and Morphett Street (in the city), the City West Campus is home to business, law, commerce and management, architecture and creative arts. It is located between North Terrace and Hindley Street in buildings constructed in the 1990s for the new campus, along with the new buildings (mentioned above).


Murray House and landscaped grounds, UniSA Magill Campus

Magill Campus is located on St. Bernard's Road at Magill. It focuses on a range of education, humanities and social science disciplines, including Psychology, Communication and Media, Public Relations, Journalism, and the Study of Creative Industries.[20] As home to the largest cohort of teaching students in the State, the purpose-built SamsungSMARTSchool at UniSA, located at the Magill campus, is a key initiative in the development of UniSA's teacher education. The new facility features an array of Samsung technology, including large form screens, video walls, outdoor PCs, smart phones, watches and tablets, virtual reality headsets and a digitally connected environment like no other in South Australia. The facility is designed to be a flexible education space which can be configured in a number of ways for specific teaching and learning experiences.[21]

Mawson Lakes[edit]

Mawson Lakes (formerly The Levels) houses computing and information technology, engineering, science, civil aviation, applied science, sports science, e-commerce and environmental studies programs. The campus also houses many research institutes and centres, including the Future Industries Institute (FII) which conducts industry-connected research and innovation in engineering and the physical sciences. The campus also houses a number of industry collaborations within the space and defence industries.[22]


Programs offered at Whyalla include nursing, social work, early childhood and primary teaching, engineering and community wellbeing as well as a Foundation Studies program.[23]

Mount Gambier[edit]

Based in the Limestone Coast region of southeast South Australia, UniSA's Mount Gambier Campus opened in 2005, and provides for country-based students and researchers.[24] Mount Gambier offers students undergraduate programs in nursing, social work, primary and early childhood education, and UniSA Foundation Studies, which prepares students for tertiary education. In 2016 the Mount Gambier Learning Centre was officially opened. Spanning 2,500m2, the learning centre uses high speed fibre optic infrastructure which gives Mount Gambier students access to resources at the same rate as metropolitan students.

Organisation and governance[edit]

Learning Centre, city west campus

Division of Health Sciences

  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences
  • School of Population Health

Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences

  • School of Art, Architecture and Design
  • School of Creative Industries
  • School of Education
  • School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy

UniSA Business School

  • School of Commerce
  • School of Management
  • School of Marketing
  • School of Law

Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment

  • School of Engineering
  • School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences
  • School of Natural and Built Environments

UniSA Online[edit]

In 2017 UniSA launched a suite of 12 new career-focused degrees to be delivered completely online and on demand.

Research Institutes The University of South Australia is home to three flagship institutes:

  • Future Industries Institute (FII)
  • Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science and
  • The Centre for Cancer Biology



Name Position Commenced Concluded
David Klingberg[25] Chancellor 1998 2008
Ian Gould Chancellor 2008 2015
Jim McDowell Chancellor 2016 current
Alan Mead Vice-Chancellor 1991 1997
Denise Bradley[25] Vice Chancellor 1997 2007
Peter Høj Vice Chancellor 2007 2012
David Lloyd Vice Chancellor 2013 current
Alice McCleary[26] Deputy Chancellor 2002 2009
Wendy Craik Deputy Chancellor 2010 2018

Academic profile[edit]

Rankings and achievements[edit]

University rankings
University of South Australia
QS World[27] 264
THE-WUR World[28] 201-250
USNWR World[29] 400=
CWTS Leiden World[30] 250
Australian rankings
QS National[27] 16
THE-WUR National [31] 3=
CWTS Leiden National[30] 16
ERA National[33] 8[32]

The University of South Australia is ranked within the top 300 universities worldwide by the QS World University Rankings [34] and 201-250th ranking bracket by the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[35] UniSA Business School is fully accredited by EQUIS, which accredited fewer than 200 universities worldwide.[36] In 2015 in the Excellence in Research for Australia rankings, 97% of UniSA's research was rated at world class or above.[37]


Student life[edit]


University of South Australia Students Association (USASA, formerly UniLife) is a democratic organisation run by students. USASA provides administrative support to over 100 sporting and social clubs, a range of events throughout the year and free advocacy and advice services, and also produces the UniSA student magazine Verse Magazine.

After the passing of the voluntary student unionism legislation the activities and collective voice of students was significantly diminished. However this has spurred the student association to work hard to offer students better value for money.[citation needed]


UniSA Sport, which manages the sporting life of students at the university, organizes and facilitates the development of sport clubs and activities on campuses. UniSA sport teams participate annually in both national and regional intercollegiate competitions such as the Australian University Games as well as the Southern University Games between Victorian, Tasmanian and South Australian universities.

Notable alumni[edit]


Business and commerce[edit]

Human Rights[edit]

Journalism and media[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "UniSA Business School – 25 years of enterprise". 
  3. ^ News Release, University of South Australia, 17 August 2006
  4. ^ "University legislation". University of South Australia. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  5. ^ 2019 QS Top 50 Universities Aged Under 50
  6. ^ Times Higher Education (THE) Asia-Pacific University Ranking 2018
  7. ^ a b c "UniSA genealogy". University of South Australia. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Australian Higher Education Institutions: Mergers and Amalgamations 1987-2004" (PDF). Universities Australia website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2008. 
  9. ^ "About the School of Arts". 
  10. ^ McCulloch, Alan Encyclopedia of Australian Art Hutchinson of London 1968 ISBN 0-09-081420-7
  11. ^ "The Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships". University of South Australia. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d "UniSA Milestones". University of South Australia. 22 November 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "School of Art History Project". University of South Australia. 26 August 2010. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  14. ^ "The Late Sir George Brookman". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 21 June 1927. p. 12. Retrieved 1 December 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
  15. ^ UniSA. "The University of South Australia: Home". Retrieved 2018-01-22. 
  16. ^ Griffiths, Luke. "South Australian universities in merger talks". The Australian. Retrieved 19 June 2018. 
  17. ^ "New $80m Learning Centre". University of South Australia. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  18. ^ "Basil Hetzel Building". University of South Australia. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "UniSA Facilities Management Unit Announcement". University of South Australia. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  20. ^ UniSA. "Magill campus". Retrieved 2018-01-22. 
  21. ^ Smart School
  22. ^ The Adelaide Planetarium University of South Australia. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  23. ^ "Whyalla Campus". University of South Australia. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  24. ^ UniSA. "The University of South Australia: Home". Retrieved 2018-01-22. 
  25. ^ a b "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). University of South Australia. Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  26. ^ "Annual Report 2009" (PDF). University of South Australia. Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  27. ^ a b "QS World University Rankings 2019". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  28. ^ "World University Rankings 2017-2018". TSL Education Limited. 
  29. ^ "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities Rankings 2016". U.S. News and World Report. 
  30. ^ a b "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017". Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University. 
  31. ^ "THE 2016-2017 - Australia". Times Higher Education. 
  32. ^ "All unis winners in research audit". The Australian. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  33. ^ "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network. 
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)
  38. ^ a b "101 things you might not know about UniSA" (PDF). UniSA. November 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 

External links[edit]