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Australian National University

The Australian National University
Coat of arms of ANU
Motto Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum (Latin)
First to learn the nature of things
Established 1946
Type Public
Endowment A$1.13 billion[1]
Chancellor The Hon Gareth Evans AC
Vice-Chancellor Ian Young AO
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 10,052
Postgraduates 10,840
Location Acton, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Campus Urban, 1.45 square kilometres (358 acres)
Affiliations IARU, Group of Eight, APRU, AURA, ASAIHL

The Australian National University (ANU) is a public university in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. Located in the suburb of Acton, the main campus encompasses seven teaching and research colleges, in addition to several national institutes.[2]

Founded in 1946, it is the only university to have been created by the Parliament of Australia. Originally a postgraduate research university, ANU commenced undergraduate teaching in 1960 when it integrated the Canberra University College, which had been established in 1929 as a campus of the University of Melbourne.[3] ANU enrols 10,052 undergraduate and 10,840 postgraduate students and employs 3,753 staff.[4] The university's endowment stood at A$1.13 billion in 2012.[1]

ANU is consistently ranked among the world's top universities. ANU is ranked co-equal 19th in the world (first in Australia) with King's College London by the 2015/16 QS World University Rankings,[5] and 45th in the world (second in Australia) by the 2014/15 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[6] In the 2014 Times Higher Education Global Employability University Ranking, an annual ranking of university graduates' employability, ANU was ranked 20th in the world (first in Australia).[7] ANU is ranked 179th (6th best in Australia) in the 2015 Center for World University Rankings [8] and 89th (first in Australia) in the 2015 Leiden ranking.[9] ANU ranks 151st (7th in Australia)in the URAP ranking.[10] ANU is ranked first in the 4 Palmes category in the Eduniversal ranking.[11] ANU is positioned in the Top 10% in teaching, Top 10% in international outlook and Top 10% in research in the world in 2016.[12]

ANU counts six Nobel laureates among its faculty and alumni.[13] Students entering ANU in 2013 had a median Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 93,[14][15] the equal-highest among Australian universities.[16] ANU was named the world's 7th most international university in a 2014 study by Times Higher Education.[17]


  • History 1
    • Post-war origins 1.1
    • Canberra University College 1.2
    • Modern era 1.3
  • Academics 2
    • Rankings 2.1
    • Colleges 2.2
      • Arts and Social Sciences 2.2.1
      • Asia and the Pacific 2.2.2
      • Business and Economics 2.2.3
      • Engineering and Computer Science 2.2.4
      • Law 2.2.5
      • Medicine, Biology and Environment 2.2.6
      • Physical and Mathematical Sciences 2.2.7
  • Campus 3
    • Library 3.1
    • Residential halls and colleges 3.2
  • Notable alumni and faculty 4
  • Affiliations 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Post-war origins

Calls for the establishment of a national university in Australia began as early as 1900.[18] After the location of the nation's capital, Canberra, was determined in 1908, land was set aside for the university at the foot Black Mountain in the city designs by Walter Burley Griffin.[18] Planning for the university was disrupted by World War II but resumed with the creation of the Department of Post-War Reconstruction in 1942, ultimately leading to the passage of the Australian National University Act 1946 by the Parliament of Australia on 1 August 1946.[18]

Remains of the ANU homopolar generator designed by Mark Oliphant

A group of eminent Australian scholars returned from overseas to join the university, including Sir John Curtin School of Medical Research.[18]

The first resident's hall, University House, was opened in 1954 for faculty members and postgraduate students.[3] Mount Stromlo Observatory, established by the federal government in 1924, became part of ANU in 1957.[3] The first locations of the ANU Library, the Menzies and Chifley buildings, opened in 1963.[3] The Australian Forestry School, located in Canberra since 1927, was amalgamated by ANU in 1965.[3]

Canberra University College

Canberra University College (CUC) was the first institution of higher education in the national capital, having been established in 1929 and enrolling its first undergraduate pupils in 1930.[18][20] Its founding was led by Sir Robert Garran, one of the drafters of the Australian Constitution and the first Solicitor-General of Australia.[21] CUC was affiliated with the University of Melbourne and its degrees were granted by that university.[18] Academic leaders at CUC included historian Manning Clark, political scientist Finlay Crisp, poet A. D. Hope and economist Heinz Arndt.[21]

In 1960, CUC was integrated into ANU as the School of General Studies, initially with faculties in arts, economics, law and science.[3] Faculties in Oriental studies and engineering were introduced later.[3] Bruce Hall, the first residential college for undergraduates, opened in 1961.[3]

ANU School of Art located at the former Canberra High School building

Modern era

The Canberra School of Music and the Canberra School of Art were amalgamated by ANU in 1992.[3]

ANU established its Medical School in 2002, after obtaining federal government approval in 2000.[22]

On 18 January 2003, the Canberra bushfires largely destroyed the Mount Stromlo Observatory.[23] ANU astronomers now conduct research from the Siding Spring Observatory, which contains 10 telescopes including the Anglo-Australian Telescope.[24]

In February 2013, financial entrepreneur and ANU graduate Graham Tuckwell made the largest university donation in Australian history by giving $50 million to fund an undergraduate scholarship program at ANU.[25]


ANU is governed by a 15-member Council, whose members include the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor.[26] Gareth Evans, a former Foreign Minister of Australia, has been ANU Chancellor since 2010 and Ian Young, a research engineer, was appointed Vice-Chancellor in 2011.[27] Ian Chubb, Vice-Chancellor from 2001 to 2011, is now the Chief Scientist of Australia.

Undergraduate students are represented by the Australian National University Students' Association (ANUSA) and postgraduates by the Postgraduate and Research Students' Association (PARSA). The Australian National University Union manages catering and retail outlets and function amenities on behalf of all students.

In its most recent disclosure at the end of 2012, ANU recorded an endowment of A$1.13 billion.[1]

University rankings
Australian National University
QS World[28] 19
QS Arts & Humanities[29] 12
QS Engineering & Tech.[30] 49
QS Life Sciences & Medicine[31] 93
QS Natural Sciences[32] 20
QS Social Sciences & Mgmt.[33] 18
THE-WUR World[34] 45
THE-WUR Arts & Humanities[35] 16
ARWU World[36] 74
Australian rankings
QS National[37] 1
THE-WUR National[38] 2
ARWU National[39] 2
CWTS Leiden National[40] 1


ANU is consistently ranked among the world's top universities. In 2014, the university was placed 25th, 48th and 66th in the world by the QS,[41] Times,[6] and Shanghai rankings respectively.[42]

ANU is also consistently ranked 1st in Australia by all major university rankings. ANU was ranked 1st in Australia in the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2014, 3rd in 2013 and 1st in 2011-2012.[43] In the 2014/15 QS World University Rankings, ANU placed 1st overall in Australia,[44] with the university also ranked 1st in the fields of politics and international studies, history, philosophy, sociology, modern languages, mathematics, electrical engineering, earth and marine sciences, and geography.[45] Five subjects also attained top ten world rankings, with politics and international studies placing 6th in the world, history 7th, geography 8th, linguistics 9th and philosophy 10th.[45]


ANU was reorganised in 2006 to create seven Colleges, each of which conducts both teaching and research.[3]

Arts and Social Sciences

The ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences is divided into the Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) and the Research School of Humanities and the Arts (RSHA). Within RSSS there are schools dedicated to history, philosophy, sociology, political science and international relations, Middle Eastern studies and Latin American studies.[46] RSHA contains schools focusing on anthropology, archaeology, classics, art history, English literature, drama, film studies, gender studies, linguistics, European languages as well as an art and music school.[47] In 2013, ANU ranked 9th in the world in linguistics and 16th in the world for modern languages.[48]

ANU College of Law

Asia and the Pacific

The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific is a specialist centre of Asian and Pacific studies and languages, with the largest number of experts in these fields of any university in the English-speaking world.[49] It also houses the Crawford School of Public Policy and CSCAP Australia.[50]

Business and Economics

The ANU College of Business and Economics comprises four Research Schools, which in turn conduct research and teaching in economics, finance, accounting, actuarial studies, statistics, marketing and management.[51] The college is professionally accredited with the Institute of Chartered Accountants, CPA Australia, the Australian Computer Society, the Actuaries Institute Australia, the Institute of Public Accountants, the Association of International Accountants, Chartered Financial Analyst Institute[52] and attains membership of World Wide Web Consortium.[53]

Engineering and Computer Science

The ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science is divided into two Research Schools, which study a range of engineering and computer science topics respectively. ANU is home to the National Computational Infrastructure National Facility and was a co-founder of NICTA, the chief information and communications technology research centre in Australia. Research groups in ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science include Algorithms and Data, Applied Signal Processing, Artificial Intelligence, Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems, Computer Systems, Computer Vision and Robotics, Data-Intensive Computing, Information and Human Centred Computing, Logic & Computation, Materials and Manufacturing, Semiconductor and Solar Cells, Software Intensive Systems Engineering, Solar Thermal Group, Systems and Control.[54]

John Curtin School of Medical Research


The ANU College of Law conducts legal research and teaching, with centres dedicated to commercial law, international law, public law and environmental law.[55] In addition to numerous research programs, the College offers the professional LL.B. and J.D. degrees. It is the 7th oldest[56] of Australia's 36 law schools and was ranked 3rd among Australian and 14th among world law schools by the 2012 QS Rankings.[57] Students are given the chance to spend three weeks in Geneva concerning the institutional practice of International Law.[58]

Medicine, Biology and Environment

The ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment encompasses the John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR), the ANU Medical School, the Fenner School of Environment & Society and Research Schools of Biology, Psychology and Population Health.[59] JCSMR was established in 1948 as a result of the vision of Nobel laureate Howard Florey.[60] Three further Nobel Prizes have been won as a result of research at JCSMR—in 1963 by John Eccles and in 1996 by Peter Doherty and Rolf M. Zinkernagel.

Physical and Mathematical Sciences

The ANU College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences comprises the Research Schools of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Mathematical Sciences and Physics. Under the direction of Mark Oliphant, nuclear physics was one the university's most notable early research priorities, leading to the construction of a 500 megajoule homopolar generator and a 7.7 megaelectronvolts cyclotron in the 1950s.[61] These devices were to be used as part of a 10.6 gigaelectronvolt synchrotron particle accelerator that was never completed, however they remained in use for other research purposes.[61] ANU has been home to eight particle accelerators over the years and operates the 14UD and LINAS accelerators.[62] Professor Brian Schmidt (astrophysicist at Mount Stromlo Observatory) received the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on the accelerating expansion of the universe.

Linnaeus Way at ANU


The main campus of ANU extends across the Canberra suburb of Acton, which consists of 358 acres (1.45 km2) of mostly parkland with university buildings landscaped within.[63] ANU is roughly bisected by Sullivans Creek, part of the Murray–Darling basin, and is bordered by the native bushland of Black Mountain, Lake Burley Griffin, the suburb of Turner and the Canberra central business district. Many university sites are of historical significance dating from the establishment of the national capital, with over 40 buildings recognised by the Commonwealth Heritage List and several others on local lists.[64]

With over 10,000 trees on its campus,[65] ANU won an International Sustainable Campus Network Award in 2009[66] and was ranked the 2nd greenest university campus in Australia in 2011.[67]

Four of Australia's five CSIRO are situated next to the campus.

ANU occupies additional locations including Mount Stromlo Observatory on the outskirts of Canberra, Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, a campus at Kioloa on the South Coast of New South Wales and a research unit in Darwin.[68]

Chifley Library


The library of ANU originated in 1948 with the appointment of the first librarian, Arthur McDonald.[3] The library holds over 2.5 million physical volumes[69] distributed across six branches—the Chifley, Menzies, Hancock, Art & Music, and Law Libraries and the external Print Repository.[70]

Residential halls and colleges

Eight residential facilities are affiliated with ANU—Bruce Hall, Ursula Hall, Burgmann College, John XXIII College, Toad Hall, Burton & Garran Hall, Graduate House and Fenner Hall.[71] All are located on campus except Fenner Hall, which is located in the nearby suburb of Braddon. Students also reside in the privately run units adjoining the campus—Davey Lodge, Kinloch Lodge, Warrumbul Lodge and Lena Karmel Lodge. In 2010, the non-residential Griffin Hall was established for students living off-campus. Another off-campus student accommodation was launched by UniGardens Pty, University Gardens[72] located in Belconnen.

Notable alumni and faculty

Kevin Rudd, Former Prime Minister of Australia

Notable past faculty include Mark Oliphant, Keith Hancock, Manning Clark, Derek Freeman, H. C. Coombs, Hedley Bull and Frank Fenner. Nobel Prizes have been awarded to former ANU Chancellor Howard Florey and faculty members John Eccles, John Harsanyi, Rolf M. Zinkernagel, Peter Doherty and Brian Schmidt.[13] Notable present scholars include Hilary Charlesworth, Ian McAllister, Warwick McKibbin, Keith Dowding, Amin Saikal and Jeremy Shearmur.

ANU alumni are especially visible in government. Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd, former Australian Prime Ministers, attended the university, as did senior politicians Barry O'Farrell, Nick Minchin, Kim Beazley Sr, Peter Garrett, Craig Emerson, Stephen Conroy, Gary Gray, Warren Snowdon, Joe Ludwig and Catherine King and Michael Keenan. ANU has produced 30 current Australian Ambassadors and more than a dozen current heads of Australian Public Service departments, including Prime Minister & Cabinet secretary Michael Thawley, Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson, Finance secretary Jane Halton, Education secretary Lisa Paul, Agriculture secretary Paul Grimes, Attorney-General's secretary Chris Moraitis, Environment secretary Gordon de Brouwer, Employment secretary Renee Leon, Social Services secretary Finn Pratt, Industry secretary Glenys Beauchamp, ASIS director-general Nick Warner and ACCC chairman Rod Sims. Graduates also include Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Gordon Darcy Lilo, former Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Don Brash, former British cabinet minister Patricia Hewitt and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.

Other notable alumni include High Court of Australia judges Stephen Gageler and Geoffrey Nettle, Chief Federal Magistrate John Pascoe, human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Kellogg's CEO John Bryant, former Singapore Airlines CEO Cheong Choong Kong, Indiana University president Michael McRobbie, University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellors Alan Gilbert and Glyn Davis, mathematician John H. Coates, public intellectual Clive Hamilton and economists Ross Garnaut, Peter Drysdale and John Quiggin.


ANU is a member of the Group of Eight and the International Alliance of Research Universities. As Australia’s only member of this association, ANU enjoys close relationships and exchange partnerships with the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of California, Berkeley, Yale University, Peking University, National University of Singapore, University of Tokyo, University of Copenhagen and ETH Zurich.[73][74]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Investment Performance Summary for Year Ended 31 December 2012" (PDF). Australian National University. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Academic Structure". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Timeline". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Quick Stats". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "QS World University Rankings Results 2014/15". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "World University Rankings 2014–2015".  
  7. ^ Elmes, John. "Times Higher Education Global Employability University Ranking 2014 | News".  
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
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  13. ^ a b "Nobel Prize winers". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "2014-16 Mission-based Compact: Commonwealth and ANU". Australian Government. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "University performance: where we are now (video)". Australian National University. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "A strong national university benefits the nation". Australian National University. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "The 25 Most International Universities".  
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "History of ANU". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Chancellors & Vice-Chancellors". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "Ordinance establishing Canberra University College" (PDF). ACT Legislation Register.  
  21. ^ a b "Canberra University College" (PDF). Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "History of ANU Medical School". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "Mount Stromlo Observatory". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  24. ^ "Telescopes". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  25. ^ "Billionaire gives back with $50m uni donation". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "ANU Council". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  27. ^ "Council membership". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  28. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  29. ^ "QS World University Arts & Humanities Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  30. ^ "QS World University Engineering & Technology Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  31. ^ "QS World University Life Sciences & Medicine Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  32. ^ "QS World University Natural Sciences Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  33. ^ "QS World University Social Sciences & Management Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  34. ^ "Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015". TSL Education Limited. 
  35. ^ "Top 100 universities for arts and humanities 2014-2015". TSL Education Limited. 
  36. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2015". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 
  37. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2015". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 
  38. ^ "THE 2014-2015 Top 400 Universities in Oceania". TSL Education Limited. 
  39. ^ "ARWU 2014 Top 500 Universities in Australia". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 
  40. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2014". Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University. 
  41. ^ "QS World University Rankings Results 2013". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  42. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities – 2013". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  43. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2014 - Ranking 2011-2012". Centre for Science and Technology Studies. 
  44. ^ "QS World University Rankings Results 2014/15". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  45. ^ a b "Newsroom". ANU. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  46. ^ "RSSS Schools". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  47. ^ "RSHA Schools". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  48. ^ "About us". Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  49. ^ "Our story - CAP". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  50. ^ "Australian member committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (Aus-CSCAP)". Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  51. ^ "Schools & centres - ANU College of Business and Economics". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  52. ^ "Professional organisations & accreditation". Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  53. ^
  54. ^ "Research Groups - CECS - ANU". Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  55. ^ "ANU College of Law research centres". Australian National University. Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  56. ^ "ANU Brochure" (PDF). Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  57. ^ "QS Rankings - Law". Quacquarelli Symonds. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  58. ^ "International Organisations (Geneva)". Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  59. ^ "About us - Science, Medicine & Health". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  60. ^ "About us - JCSMR". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  61. ^ a b "The Big Machine" (PDF). Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  62. ^ "The Accelerators of Nuclear Physics" (PDF). Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  63. ^ "ANU Tour". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  64. ^ "ANU Heritage Strategy" (PDF). Australian National University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  65. ^ "Acton Tree Trail". Australian National University. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  66. ^ "Sustainability awards". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  67. ^ "Australia's 10 greenest universities". The Australian. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  68. ^ "Campus - About ANU". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  69. ^ "Collections - ANU Library". The Australian. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  70. ^ "Branches- ANU Library". The Australian. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  71. ^ "Residential Halls and Colleges". Australian National University. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  72. ^ UniGardens Canberra ANU student accommodation, official website
  73. ^ "Members - IARU". Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  74. ^ "International exchange". ANU. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 

External links

  • Australian National University

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