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University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne
Latin: Universitas Melburniensis[1][2][3]
Motto Postera Crescam Laude (Latin)
Motto in English
"May I grow in the esteem of future generations"
Established 1853
Type Public
Endowment AU$1.335 billion[4]
Chancellor Elizabeth Alexander
Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis
Academic staff
3,729 [5]
Students 42,563 [5]
3,521 [5]
Location Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Campus Urban
(Parkville Campus)
36 hectares (0.4 km2)[6]
Affiliations Universitas 21, Go8, APRU, ACU
University logo

The University of Melbourne (informally Melbourne University or simply Melbourne) is an Australian public research university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is Australia's second oldest university[7] and the oldest in Victoria.[7] Times Higher Education ranks Melbourne as 33rd in the world,[8] while the QS World University Rankings places Melbourne 31st in the world.[9] According to QS World University Subject Rankings 2015,[10] the University of Melbourne is ranked 5th in the world for Education, 8th in Law, 13th in Computer Science & IT, 13th in Arts and Humanities,[11] 14th in Dentistry and 18th in Medicine.

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. Since 1872 various residential colleges have become affiliated with the university. There are 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, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, 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.[12][13][14]

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.[15]


  • Arms 1
  • History 2
  • Governance 3
    • Endowment 3.1
  • Academia 4
    • Research 4.1
  • Campus 5
    • Residential colleges 5.1
    • Architecture 5.2
    • Libraries 5.3
    • Other campuses 5.4
  • Arts and culture 6
  • The Melbourne Curriculum 7
    • Professional-entry master's degrees 7.1
    • Reaction to the Melbourne Curriculum 7.2
  • VCA merger and controversy 8
  • Rankings 9
  • Notable graduates 10
  • Student activities 11
    • "Prosh Week" 11.1
    • Sport 11.2
    • Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) 11.3
  • See also 12
  • References 13
    • Books 13.1
    • Newspaper 13.2
  • External links 14


Melbourne University-South Lawn

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 Horace's Odes: ego postera crescam laude recens.


Cussonia Court, home to the Schools of Classics and Philosophy

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.[16] 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.[17] The foundation stone was laid on 3 July 1854, and on the same day the foundation stone for the State Library[18] 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 view of the Melbourne Law School, Business and Economics, The Spot and Alan Gilbert Building.

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.[19]

In 1881, the admission of women was a seen as victory over the more conservative ruling council.[20]

The university's 150th anniversary was celebrated in 2003.[21]

Autumn at the university grounds


Governance of the university is grounded in an act of parliament, the University of Melbourne Act 2009.[22] 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.[23]


The University of Melbourne has an endowment of approximately $1.335 billion,[4] the largest of any Australian tertiary institution. However, Australian endowments are relatively small compared with those of the wealthiest US universities.

This was after a recovery period of the University's hardship following the 2008 Great Recession, where it shrank by 22%. This required restructuring of the university including cutting of some staff.[24]


College Crescent and Ormond College in the campus of Melbourne University

The university has 11 academic units,[25] some of which incorporate a graduate school. The overall attrition and retention rates at the university are the lowest and highest respectively in Australia.[26] The university has one of the highest admission requirements in the country, with the median ATAR of its undergraduates being 94.05 (2009).[27] 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.[27]

According to the 2009 Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings, Melbourne was then 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.[27]

Researchers at the University of Melbourne have published a paper, ‘Vocational education's variable links to vocations’, that "considers the roles that tertiary education qualifications, in particular mid-level qualifications, play in assisting their graduates to gain entry to and progression in work and how they may be strengthened".[28]


Melbourne University claims that its research expenditure is second only to that of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).[29] In 2010 the university spent $813 million on research.[5] In the same year the university had the highest numbers of federal government Australian Postgraduate Awards (APA) and International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS),[30] as well as the largest totals of Research Higher Degree (RHD) student load (3,222 students) and RHD completions (715).[31]


Residential colleges

Melbourne University has 12 residential colleges in total, seven of 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.[32]

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.

Trinity College
Ormond College
Janet Clarke Hall
St Mary's College
Queen's College
Newman College
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.[33]

The new Wilson Hall replaced the original building which was destroyed by fire.[34][35][36]


Baillieu Library in Parkville Campus. January, 2014
Inside the Baillieu Library in January, 2014

The Melbourne University Library has three million visitors performing 42 million loan transactions every year.[37] 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.[37] The library also holds over 32,000 e-books, hundreds of databases and 63,000 general and specialist journals in digital form.[37]

The libraries include:[38]

  • 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

Melbourne Business School in Parkville

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

The Burnley campus is where horticultural courses are taught.[39] Performing arts courses are taught at the Southbank campus. Commerce courses are taught at the Hawthorn campus.[40] Veterinary science is taught at the Werribee campus.

In regional Victoria, the Creswick and Dookie campuses are used for forestry and agriculture courses respectively.[41][42] 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.[43]

Arts and culture

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

  • The Ian Potter Museum of Art,[44] 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;[45] the Medical History Museum,[46] covering the history of the medical profession in Victoria; and the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology,[47] which contains more than 8,000 specimens relevant to the teaching of medicine and other health sciences.

The Melbourne Curriculum

The University of Melbourne is unlike any other university in Australia in the fact that instead of offering specialized undergraduate degrees the university instead, offers nine generalised 3 year degrees:[48]

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Agriculture
  • Bachelor of Biomedicine
  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Bachelor of Environments
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Music
  • Bachelor of Oral Health
  • Bachelor of Science

The change and the resulting curriculum is often referred to as the "Melbourne Model". The University then offers postgraduate courses(including the professional-entry master's degrees) which are more specialized which follow on from their undergraduate degree.

The "Melbourne Model" was implemented under the leadership of the Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis in 2008.

In 2007, Melbourne University aimed to offer 75% of graduate places as HECS (with the remaining 25% being full fee paying).[49]

Professional-entry master's 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,[50] 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 Applied Linguistics
  • 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 Curriculum

Various groups, including trade[51] and student unions,[52] [53] [54] academics,[55] [56] and some students[57][58] 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.[59]

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.[60] New dean Sharman Pretty outlined drastic changes under the university's plan for the college in early April 2009.[61] 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.[62] 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.[63]

In 2011, the Victorian State Government allocated $24 million to support arts education at the VCA[64][65] and the faculty was renamed the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.


University rankings
University of Melbourne
QS World[66] 42
THE-WUR World[67] 33
ARWU World[68] 44
USNWR World[69] 32
CWTS Leiden World[70] 117
Australian rankings
QS National[71] 2
THE-WUR National[72] 1
ARWU National[73] 1
USNWR National[74] 1
CWTS Leiden National[70] 2
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 2013 2014 2015
QS World University Rankings [75] 22 (2nd) 19 (1st) 22 (2nd) 22 (2nd) 27 (3rd) 38 (2nd) 36 (2nd) 38 (2nd) 31 (2nd) 36 (2nd) 31 (2nd) 33 (2nd) 42 (2nd)
Times Higher Education World University Rankings [76] 22 (2nd) 19 (1st) 22 (2nd) 27 (2nd) 38 (3rd) 36 (2nd) 36 (1st) 37 (1st) 28 (1st) 34 (1st) 33 (1st) 33 (1st)
Shanghai Jiao Tong University Academic Ranking of World Universities[77] 92 (2nd) 82 (2nd) 82 (2nd) 78 (2nd) 79 (2nd) 73 (2nd) 75 (2nd) 62 (2nd) 60 (1st) 57 (1st) 54 (1st) 44 (1st) 44 (1st)
Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT) [78] 64 (1st) 58 (1st) 51 (1st) 43 (1st) 45 (1st) 35(1st) 38 (1st)
Financial Times MBA rank[79] 64 (1st) 72 (2nd) 63 (1st) 69 (1st) 79 (2nd) 75 (2nd) 52 63 53 (2nd) 46 (2nd) 62 (2nd)
Economist Intelligence Unit's MBA rank [80] 84 (2nd) 26 (1st) 17 (1st) 44 32 (1st) 38 (2nd) 27 (2nd)
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
  1. ^ R1 refers to Australian and overseas Academics' rankings in tables 3.1 -3.7 of the report.
  2. ^ No. refers to the number of the Australian institutions in the table against which Melbourne is compared.
  3. ^ R2 refers to the Articles and Research rankings in tables 5.1 – 5.7 of the report.

In 2010 the University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP),[81] 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 [82]

Notable graduates

The University of Melbourne has produced many notable alumni, with graduates having held the offices of Governor-General, Governor of Victoria, Prime Ministers of Australia, Justices of the High, Federal, Family and Victorian Supreme courts, Premiers of Victoria and elected leaders of other states and territories, Nobel Laureates, a First Lady of East Timor, ministers of foreign countries, Lord Mayors, academics, architects, historians, poets, philosophers, politicians, scientists, physicists, authors, industry leaders, defence force personnel, corporate leaders, community leaders, and artists.

Student activities

Ground of Melbourne University Cricket Club in Parkville
Melbourne University women's football player jostles for best position in a marking contest

"Prosh Week"

A celebrated tradition at Melbourne is usually held in late September in which teams of students engage in various non-academic activities including Go-Kart Races and a 24-hour scavenger hunt.[83] – the winner claiming the "Prosh Week Trophy".[84]

The week was nicknamed "Posh week" due to the number of times students would have to dress up in formal attire for a glut of University Student Balls hosted around the time. The effects of alcohol caused words to be slurred, and thus "posh" became "prosh".[84]


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

The Melbourne University Sports Union was the predecessor to the current Melbourne University Sports Association. Since its inception, the aim of the Union and now the Association is to provide a collective voice for all affiliated sporting clubs on the University campus. In 2004, the Melbourne University Sports Association celebrated its centenary.

The Melbourne University Lacrosse Club (MULC) was established in 1883 and is the oldest continually operational lacrosse club in the world.[85]

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).[86][87]

The Melbourne University Tennis Club was one of the original five (5) clubs established for the students and staff of the University, with various tennis competitions and social tennis events held on campus as early as 1882.[88]

Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP)

Since its inception in 2012, MAP has evolved into a program that hosts a range of public events, workshops and feeder programs to help up-skill and connect entrepreneurs of all stages.[89] The best startups on campus are awarded access to the MAP Startup Accelerator. In 2014, MAP was one of two Australian university accelerators that have been named in a global list of top 25 university incubators produced by University Business Incubator Index.[90]

The first MAP cohort in 2012 includes Bluesky,[91] 121 Cast,[92] VenueMob[93] and New Wave Power Systems. Notably, Bluesky managed to enter the finals of the StarTrack Online Retail Industry Awards 2014[94] for best mobile shopping app against large Australian e-commerce incumbents including The Iconic and 121Cast signed a large content partnership contract with Southern Cross Austereo.[95]

MAP student founders have collectively raised over $5.6 million in funding, created more than 60 jobs and generated over $1.0 million in revenue.[96] They tackle big problems across a range of industries, from medical devices and hardware, to financial technology, web solutions, e-commerce and software.

See also


  1. ^ University of Melbourne, University of Melbourne Calendar 1902 (Melbourne: Melville & Mullen, 1902), 403.
  2. ^ University of Dublin, Records of the Tercententary Festival of the University of Dublin held 5th to 8th July, 1892 (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co., 1894), 174.
  3. ^ University of Sydney,Record of the Jubilee Celebrations of the University of Sydney: September 30th, 1902 (Sydney: William Brooks and Co., 1903), 136.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b c d University of Melbourne: Annual Report 2014
  6. ^ The University of Melbourne Campus - Video
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Selleck, 2003
  20. ^ Selleck 2003, p 164–165
  21. ^ 150th anniversary University of Melbourne website
  22. ^ University of Melbourne Act 2009 (Vic)
  23. ^
  24. ^ Battered Melbourne Uni slashes 220 jobs, The Age, 29 July 2009
  25. ^
  26. ^ Does this model have legs?, The Age, 15 August 2009
  27. ^ a b c
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b c About Us – Library, University of Melbourne website
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^ Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology
  48. ^
  49. ^ A matter of degrees, The Age, 14 April 2007
  50. ^ Australian Qualifications Framework. First Edition July 2012. [Cited 2 July 2012] URL:
  51. ^ "NTEU condemns University oF Melbourne's consultation sham over arts renewal strategy" National Tertiary Education Union, 10 July 2007. Accessed 3 May 2008
  52. ^ Cuts take toll on 'overworked' Melbourne Uni staff The Age, 11 April 2008. Accessed 3 May 2008
  53. ^ What do budgets, Burnley and the housing crisis have in common? President's Ponderings, 25 August 2008. Accessed 20 October 2008
  54. ^ Vice Chancellor Lies About Introduction of Melbourne Model at VCA VCA Student Union, 29 April 2008. Accessed 3 May 2008
  55. ^ 'Dreamlarge' a nightmare for the Arts Faculty Advocate, Volume 14, Number 2, July 2007. Accessed 26 October 2008
  56. ^ "The Melbourne Model: The jury is still out", Advocate, Volume 14, Number 2, July 2007. Accessed 26 October 2008
  57. ^ "Why the Melbourne Model is failing students", Eureka Street, 12 December 2008. Accessed 14 December 2008
  58. ^ "Express yourself, but steer clear of politics", The Age, 7 June 2008. Accessed 8 August 2008
  59. ^ [1] 21 May 2009, Accessed 19 July 2009
  60. ^ [2] 5.5.R1 – The Faculty of The Victorian College of The Arts. Accessed 19 July 2009
  61. ^ [3] Pretty well rehearsed in reshaping the arts. 12 April 2009. Accessed 19 July 2009
  62. ^ [4] Arts college teachers up in arms. 16 July 2009, Accessed 19 July 2009
  63. ^ [5] 28 May 2009. Accessed 19 July 2009
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^
  69. ^
  70. ^ a b
  71. ^
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^
  76. ^
  77. ^
  78. ^
  79. ^
  80. ^
  81. ^
  82. ^
  83. ^
  84. ^ a b "What is Prosh Week?", Farrago, Vol. 82, No. 5, August 2007.
  85. ^
  86. ^ Warnecke R., "Team Melbourne wins record haul at Uni Games", University sports news and events
  87. ^ Warnecke R,m "Gold Rush At Uni Games", University of Melbourne Voice, 10 November 2008
  88. ^ [6]
  89. ^
  90. ^
  91. ^
  92. ^
  93. ^
  94. ^
  95. ^
  96. ^


  • 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
  • Bibliography of the history of the University of Melbourne
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