University of western Sydney

University of Western Sydney
Parramatta Campus
Motto Bringing knowledge to life
Established 1989 as the University of Western Sydney
1891 as the Hawkesbury Agricultural College
1813 as the Parramatta
Female Orphan School
Type Public
Endowment A$474.3m (2009)[1]
Chancellor Dr Peter Shergold AC
Vice-Chancellor Professor Janice Reid AM
Students 40,257 (2012)
Undergraduates 32,865 (2012)
Postgraduates 6,636 (2012)
Location Sydney, NSW, Australia
Campus Urban, 1713.5 (ha)
24.1 - Bankstown
26.7 - Blacktown
154.8 - Campbelltown
1,280 - Hawkesbury
24.4 - Parramatta
203.5 - Penrith

Blue, White & Black  

Affiliations AACSB, ACU, AHURI,

The University of Western Sydney, also known as UWS, is a multi-campus, university in the Greater Western region of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

UWS has campuses in Greater Western Sydney - Parramatta, Richmond, Blacktown, Penrith (comprising Werrington South, Werrington North, and Kingswood), Bankstown, and Campbelltown. UWS is a provider of undergraduate, postgraduate and higher research degrees. In recent years UWS has opened a medical school. If all UWS campuses were to be combined, it would total approximately 1713.50 hectares.

Organisation/ Faculties

In 2012, the University underwent a major restructuring of its Schools (faculties). This involved the merging (and complete closure) of some Schools which saw the reduction from seventeen Schools down to nine. The current structure is as follow:[2]

  • School of Business
  • School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics
  • School of Education
  • School of Humanities and Communication Arts
  • School of Law
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • School of Social Sciences and Psychology
  • School of Science and Health

Research Institutes and Centres

The University of Western Sydney has 11 Research Institutes and Centres:

  • Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE)
  • Institute for Culture and Society (ICS)
  • Institute for Infrastructure Engineering (IIE)
  • The MARCS Institute (formerly MARCS Auditory Laboratories)
  • Centre for Complementary Medicine (CompleMED)
  • Centre for Educational Research
  • Centre for Health Research
  • Centre for Positive Psychology and Education
  • Religion and Society Research Centre
  • Urban Research Centre
  • Writing and Society Research Centre


In 2013 UWS was successful in obtaining over $5.8 million in grants from the prestigious Australian Research Council for 18 Discovery Projects, placing it 11th out of 40 universities in Australia. [3]


The winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Alexis Wright, is a UWS Postdoctoral Research Fellow.[5]

Rankings and awards

In 2013, UWS was ranked 28th among Australian Universities by the Australian Education Network. [6]

The Times-QS World University Ranking [7]
Category/Year 2013 2012




Overall 651-700 601+ 601+ 501-600 551-600
Arts & Humanities 284 N/A 508 351-400 N/A
Natural Sciences N/A N/A 802 N/A N/A
Engineering & IT N/A N/A 698 N/A N/A
Social Sciences 386 N/A 570 N/A N/A
Life Sciences N/A N/A 447 N/A N/A

Performance at several detailed indicators shows 2-3 star performances out of 5 in some areas under the universities "Key Indicators." Better outcomes are shown either than Key Indicators if you read further within the 2009 Good Universities Guide.[8]


The University of Western Sydney is made up of six campuses and one precinct, with each campus hosting their own unique array of courses, of which different units can be completed across multiple campuses.

Bankstown campus

The UWS Bankstown Campus is a relatively new campus, located at Milperra, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the Bankstown CBD. Specialising in the social sciences, most of the students on campus are psychology, sociology, arts and linguistic students. The campus also hosts the Bachelor of Policing degree and much of The MARCS Institute. The campus also includes a modern cafeteria/eatery area.

UWS's most well-known interpreting and translation course is taught at Bankstown campus. UWS trains and produces many NAATI accredited interpreters and translators.

The oldest building on campus was opened in 1989. The building contains a plaque indicating that it was opened by the then treasurer and former Prime Minister Paul Keating.

Campbelltown campus

The UWS Campbelltown Campus is located in the semi-rural Macarthur region in South Western Sydney. Together with the Bankstown campus, the Campbelltown campus was originally part of the Macarthur Institute of Higher Education, founded in 1984. The campus offers degrees (among many others) in medicine, health, sciences, nursing, law and business. Research centres are also located in the campus.

In 2007 the UWS School of Medicine was established and began offering the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree for the first time in the university's history. It is hoped that many of the School's graduates will practice in the Western Sydney region, in order to redress the shortage of healthcare professionals in the area.

The on-campus student accommodation (called 'Gunydji') was upgraded in 2010 with a maximum occupancy of 205. It is a complex of self-contained units that accommodate five tenants each.[9]

The campus is home to the UWS Rotary Observatory, designed by Dr. Ragbir Bhathal, consisting of two observing domes of 4.5m and 2.9m diameter respectively,[10] opened on 15 July 2000. The observatory is principally utilised for Optical S.E.T.I. research but also hosts community astronomy nights, in collaboration with Macarthur Astronomical Society. The campus also provides the venue for the Macarthur Astronomy Forum.

Hawkesbury campus

The Hawkesbury campus, also known as the Richmond campus, is located on a 1,300 hectare site in the Hawkesbury Valley in north-western Sydney, next to the town of Richmond. Courses are offered in environmental health, forensic science, nursing, medical science, natural science (environmental, agricultural, horticultural), secondary school science teaching. Hawkesbury campus facilities include research labs, farmland, aquacultural (not operational) and equine facilities, residential halls and cottages, a conference centre, religious centres, a campus social hub called Stable Square, featuring cafeterias, a bar, a music room and a large collection of Hawkesbury Agricultural College memorabilia.

The Hawkesbury campus houses the Hawkesbury Forest Experiment. The experiment consists of twelve giant chambers with individual, living trees in controlled environments which will help predict what will happen to the Australian bush over the next century.[11]

This campus is also home to the forensic science degree and holds a crime scene house, various forensic lab equipment. The Centre for Plant and Food Science is also located at this campus.[12]

Hawkesbury Earthcare Centre, an organic farming organisation with a seedbank is located at Hawkesbury Campus. The centre is affiliated with Henry Doubleday Research and the Alternative Technology Association.[13]

The Hawkesbury campus is next to Richmond TAFE. The nearest railway station is East Richmond


This campus was originally the Hawkesbury Agricultural College, established by the New South Wales Department of Agriculture in 1891. It later became a College of Advanced Education until 1989, then UWS Hawkesbury (as a member institution of UWS with campuses and Richmond and Quaker's Hill) until 2000. The School of Agriculture operated a commercial dairy until it closed in 2004.[14]

Parramatta campus and Westmead precinct

Former Female Orphan School, now the site of the Whitlam Institute.

The UWS Parramatta Campus was established in 1813 as a female orphan school.[15][16] The campus has long served the populace of Western Sydney and is located in a neighbouring and close suburb to Parramatta, called Rydalmere.

A historical site with contemporary features, the Rydalmere campus was established as a campus of UWS in 1998 and has proved one of the more coveted campus' for students as it is geographically located in the centre of the Greater Sydney region and out of the eight campuses of UWS, it is the nearest campus to the Sydney CBD (making it close to more amenities and employment areas).

Parramatta campus courses include occupation fields like Science, Business and Law/justice just to name a few. It also hosts their Science courses in modern buildings near to the Rydalmere campus at a site formerly used by quarantine authorities, CSIRO, Amdel Sugar, and the Biological and Chemical Research Institute laboratories.[17]

Before the Parramatta campus was developed, classes were held at the Westmead Precinct; that is now part of the Parramatta campus. The oldest building on the site was the home of the historic St Vincent's Orphanage. A school focused on IELTS proficiency, called UWS College, is currently located at the Westmead Precinct. The Westmead area is one of Sydney's premier medical districts and includes Westmead Hospital and The Children's Hospital at Westmead; both teaching hospitals, although not formally affiliated with UWS.

The University has announced the establishment of a new campus in the Parramatta CBD as an extension of its existing Parramatta Campus in 2014. The Parramatta City Campus will be located at 100 George Street. This will see some of its postgraduate courses relocate there, particularly in business (Sydney Graduate School of Management), the social sciences and humanities.

Penrith campus

The UWS Penrith Campuses, is made up of three areas in two Sydney suburbs; Kingswood, Werrington South and Werrington North.

Kingswood has most of the campus's student services and facilities, computer rooms, classrooms and lecture theatres. It also has tennis courts, a gym, a bar (the Swamp Bar) and student accommodation. The Allen Library, which has a focus on engineering and science texts, is located at Kingswood.

Werrington South has fewer classrooms and lecture theatres. It contains Ward Library in building BA which has a focus on arts, teaching and the humanities. It is also the home of the Office of the University Librarian, Copyright Officer, Library Systems/Photocopy Services, Information Resources and related staff. Werrington South also contains the faculty of communications, design and media. This is the campus for the Bachelor of Communications degree.

Werrington North used to be a teaching campus but is now administration only, and houses the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor's offices. It also has the Nepean Observatory built by Dr Graeme White (no longer with UWS) and members of the UWS Centre for Astronomy.

Focus areas are split between Werrington South and Kingswood, with most engineering, computing, music, fine arts and humanities subjects having classes in Kingswood and communication arts and drama subjects having classes at Werrington South.

The University of Western Sydney also hosts the broadcast centre of Sydney's community television station TVS on Werrington South located in Building BD.

University of Western Sydney hosts the radio broadcast centre of ABC Local Radio, ABC Radio National, ABC Classic FM, Triple J, ABC NewsRadio, ABC Dig Music, ABC Jazz, & ABC Country from the Ultimo radio studios.


1989 - 2000

The University consists of an amalgamation of campuses, each with their own unique and individual history. In 1891, the Hawkesbury campus was established as an agricultural college by the NSW Agricultural Society. At Parramatta, UWS owns and has renovated the Female Orphan School building, the foundation stone of which was laid by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1813.[18]

In 1987 the New South Wales Labor government decided to name the planned new university in Sydney's western suburbs Chifley University, after the former Australian Prime Minister, Ben Chifley. When, in 1989, a new Liberal government renamed it the University of Western Sydney, controversy broke out. According to a debate[19] on the topic, held in 1997 after the Labor Party had regained government, the decision to rename Chifley University reflected a desire to attach the name of Chifley to institutions of lasting significance, and that idea ultimately received the support of Bob Carr, later the Premier of New South Wales.

In 1989, teachers' colleges and Colleges of Advanced Education in Sydney's western suburbs were given university status under the University of Western Sydney Act of 1988. The 1990s saw the federation of three education providers: UWS Nepean, UWS Hawkesbury and UWS Macarthur. 1989 was the year the Hawke federal labour government introduced HECS, the Higher Education Contribution Scheme. The University has a legislative basis in NSW state legislation with the passing of the University of Western Sydney Act (NSW) 1997, which also empowers the university to make by-laws affecting the operation of the university. In 2000, in order to reduce administrative expenses and duplication of courses offered by the inner Sydney universities and to eliminate competition between UWS member institutions, UWS became one multi-campus university.

2000 - Present

Federal Government funding of Australia's universities as a percentage of Australia's GDP was in decline during the years of the Howard government.[20] Federal funding policy was very influential at UWS.[21] In 2000, after internal restructuring and cost-cutting, UWS Hawkesbury, UWS Macarthur and UWS Nepean ceased to exist as autonomous components of the now defunct University of Western Sydney federation and became the new multi-campus University of Western Sydney.[22] The subsequent demise of dozens of the university's degrees (for example, Master of Arts in Critical psychology, Bachelor of Arts majoring in Postmodern Studies, the Bachelor of Systems Agriculture[23] and the Bachelor of Aviation Studies)[24] attracted little, if any public outcry individually.[25] Degrees that were cancelled were "taught out", meaning the students were able to complete their course at UWS while the university enrolled no new students in those courses. The temporary suspension of the fine arts degree received more vocal opposition.[26] Many of Sydney's locally well known artists have worked for or studied at UWS.[27]

In the 2000s, UWS consolidated its schools of fine art, social science, humanities and psychology. In this decade the university introduced its first nanotechnology and biotechnology undergraduate degrees.

In 2002 UWS designed and installed standardised IT infrastructure across its campuses.[28]

In 2003, UWS sponsored a Samuel Beckett symposium as part of the Sydney Festival.[29]

In 2003 there was a highly publicised squabble over UWS between the New South Wales state government and the Australian federal government.[30]

In a letter to the University's board, Jackie Kelly, then Federal Member for Lindsay, accused UWS of mismanagement.[31] Liberal the Hon. Charlie Lynn MLC echoed Kelly's sentiments in NSW State Parliament:

"Over the past five years Professor Reid has changed UWS from a proud, locally focused, educationally advanced institution to a university that cannot now enrol students into correct courses. I contend that she has spent more time ensuring that the board of trustees and the university itself are more a left-wing branch of the Australian Labor Party than prestigious inclusive educational institutions. One only has to look at the political appointments to the board to understand this. It comprises left-wing luminaries such as the Hon. Kim Yeadon and the Hon. Jan Burnswoods, Labor Party member of Parliament Linda Burney, and Labor Councillor Meg Oates along with other Labor appointees. This is hardly representative of the political make-up of Western Sydney."[32]

In the NSW Legislative Assembly the Hon. Diane Beamer MP, Minister for Western Sydney, responded to Kelly's letter during a motion that decried the funding shortfall for places in nursing school at UWS:

"Is Jackie Kelly aware of the massive restructure undertaken by UWS that has cut $10 million from its operating costs? There is no fat left on the bone. Mrs Kelly recently described her own electorate as "pram city" and said that the men's greatest aspiration is to mow the lawn on the weekend. She has also abused UWS staff for daring to stand up for the institution. She accused UWS of constantly criticising the Federal Government about the lack of funding when all other universities expressed support for the proposed framework. I am sure that that claim is news to the University of Canberra, La Trobe University, Victoria University, the University of Tasmania and Adelaide University. All provided the Senate inquiry into higher education with submissions opposing the changes and saying that they would be worse off."[33]

UWS in a mission statement said:

"The Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan of the University of Western Sydney (pp16–19) presents the following as key strategic directions for 2004–2008 to place UWS in the right growth trajectory for 2025:

UWS will pursue a managed growth strategy. UWS will have a broad academic profile with a strong professional orientation. UWS will acquire a diversified revenue base and actively pursue financial self-reliance. UWS will actively pursue an international focus in its teaching and learning, research and community engagement. UWS will promote the distinctiveness of its campuses to maximise the visibility and standing of the University across its Region. UWS will be accessible to its student and staff communities in ways that meet their needs." [34]

Late in 2003, the university was considering parking fees and real estate rents for revenue streams.[35]

In 2004, Michael Le Grand won the inaugural UWS Sculpture Award.[36]

Also in 2004, UWS joined with Metro Screen and SLICE TV to successfully bid for Sydney's first permanent Community Television licence. Television Sydney, broadcasting as TVS, launched in February 2006 from a broadcast operations centre located on the Werrington South Campus.

In 2006 the UWS news site reported: "Demand to study at the University of Western Sydney is on the rise, with UWS receiving the third-biggest jump in first preferences among NSW and ACT universities for 2007".[37]

In 2007, UWS had its first intake for the Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery.[38] In the same year UWS was part of a consortium with Griffith University and the University of Melbourne to win funding for a National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies.[39]

In 2008, UWS announced its current water and energy saving strategies,[40] its Indigenous Advisory Board [41] and endorsed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations.


The University of Western Sydney School of Law comprises part of the College of Business at the University of Western Sydney. It is housed on the Parramatta and Campbeltown Campuses of the University. It is one of Sydney's youngest Law Schools. The UWS School of Law was established on 1 January 2001 as a result of the amalgamation of the three former federated members of the University of Western Sydney - Hawkesbury, Macarthur and Nepean. The establishment of the school brought together the law programs of those organisations. The law school places special emphasis on commercial law including taxation law, banking, finance and investment law, contracts and corporations law, and delivers programs in specialist areas such as elder law and international law.


Teams from the School of Law have won the following law competitions:

Winner 2003 National Final, Law Council of Australia, Family Law Mooting Competition Winner 2003 Australasian Law Students Association Competition, Best Winner 2008 Australasian Law Students Association Mooting Competition

Student organisations

Prior to 2009 the University of Western Sydney had two student organisations, each with their own focus and areas of responsibility. These organisations voluntarily shut down operations in 2009. These organisations were responsible for the bulk of extracurricular activities and services provided by the University.

Each organisation previously sourced their funds from Compulsory Student Unionism fees. With the passage of Voluntary Student Unionism legislation, UWS agreed to fund the organisations, but at a substantially reduced level. UWSSA also asked students to pay a voluntary $60 fee.

UWSSA and PAUWS were independent of the University while UWSConnect is wholly owned by UWS.

  • UWSSA Inc. — UWS Students' Association. Its motto was "Bringing life to knowledge" - a twist on the University's motto. It aimed to improve student life at the University by providing welfare and support services, and ran campaigns on issues affecting the student population.
  • PAUWS Inc. — The Postgraduate Association of UWS was a student's association for the postgraduate student population at the University.

UWSConnect Ltd. — company owned by the University which aims to improve university life by providing bars, cafés, sporting events, recreational activities, etc. It is responsible for organising commercial ties with the University and its students, such as advertising space within the University, vending machines and student discounts and special offers. UWSConnect has been criticised for high prices and poor quality food and events. This perception has dramatically improved since 2008, as the organisation consolidates itself at UWS.

Connect Fitness. — Connect Fitness is a not for profit organisation located on the grounds of the University of Western Sydney with four gyms now in operation over the Kingswood, Hawkesbury, Bankstown & Campbelltown campuses.

UWS College

In 2009 UWS opened UWSCollege at the old Blacktown campus of the University after protest about the divesting of property and resources from the site.

The UWSCollege Nirimba campus is built on the site of HMAS Nirimba, a former naval aviation base, and is also known as the Nirimba Education Precinct, in Quakers Hill, about a 10 minute drive from Blacktown. The nearest railway station is Quakers Hill. The campus has many historical buildings and 2 crossed air runways.

Nirimba Campus has student accommodation, air-conditioned lecture theatres and rooms built in the 1990s. The campus has views of nearby Schofields Aerodrome. Campus numbers have dwindled since the university reduced the range of courses available. It is primarily a single-discipline campus, offering business courses which are also taught at other UWS campuses. Nirimba campus is not far from Norwest Business Park.

Located in the Nirimba Education Precinct in Quakers Hill, the campus is the home of the UWS owned

In recent times there has been much controversy over the status of this campus, at one point UWS was depicted in the media as abandoning the campus and the local area it served.Save UWS Nirimba, where politicians and the University were petitioned to save the campus from closure, later it was decided rather than divesting they would set up UWSCollege.

UWS has recently announced for its Blacktown campus a brand new Medical facility called the Blacktown-Mount Druitt Clinical school [46] which would be based at Blacktown Hospital, making it the second clinical school associated with the School of Medicine.[47]

UWSCollege is a "pathways to university" institute and caters to those who wish to go to the University.

The library located in C21 was originally a dual purpose library, though run and staffed by UWS it was also used as the TAFE library. Now a 'triple purpose' library is also caters to the students of the UWSCollege. Both WSI TAFE and UWSCollege provide funding to UWS for this privilege, however as with all UWS libraries, purchasing, collection maintenance and staffing is managed centrally.

UWS International

The University has made academic cooperation agreements with the following international Universities

Refer: 2007,[48] 2008 [49]

Notable alumni

Main article: List of University of Western Sydney people

Despite University of Western Sydney's short and recent history, it has produced many notable alumni including politicians, business executives, authors and journalists.

See also

  • UWS News Centre Latest news from the University of Western Sydney
  • Television Sydney (TVS) - Sydney community TV station run from UWS Penrith Campus (Werrington South)



External links

  • University site
  • UWS Law Review
  • Sydney Graduate School of Management
  • UWS TeleHealth Research and Innovation Laboratory (THRIL)

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