Curtin University

Curtin University
Former names
Western Australian Institute of Technology (1966–1986)
Curtin University of Technology (1986–2010)
Motto Make Tomorrow Better
Type Public
Established 1966
Chancellor Colin Beckett
Vice-Chancellor Deborah Terry
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 37,005
Postgraduates 10,955
Location Bentley, Western Australia, Australia
30°00′22″S 115°53′36″E / 30.00611°S 115.89333°E / -30.00611; 115.89333
Campus Urban; 116 hectares[1]
Affiliations ATN, ASAIHL, OUA

Curtin University (a trademark of Curtin University of Technology) is an Australian public research university based in Bentley, Perth, Western Australia. The university is named after the 14th Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin, and is the largest university in Western Australia, with over 50,000 students[2] (as of 2014) at locations including Perth, Margaret River, Kalgoorlie, Malaysia and Singapore.

View of Curtin University Chancellery Building
Curtin Stadium

Curtin was conferred university status after legislation was passed by the Parliament of Western Australia in 1986. Since then, the university has been expanding its presence and has campuses in Singapore and Sarawak. It has ties with 90 exchange universities in 20 countries.[3] The University comprises five main faculties with over 95 specialists centres. The University formerly had a Sydney campus between 2005 & 2016. On 17 September 2015, Curtin University Council made a decision to close its Sydney campus by early 2017.[4]

Curtin University is a member of Australian Technology Network (ATN), and is active in research in a range of academic and practical fields,[5] including Resources and Energy (e.g., petroleum gas), Information and Communication, Health, Ageing and Well-being (Public Health), Communities and Changing Environments, Growth and Prosperity and Creative Writing.

It is the only Western Australian university to produce a PhD recipient of the AINSE gold medal, which is the highest recognition for PhD-level research excellence in Australia and New Zealand.[6]

Curtin has become active in research and partnerships overseas, particularly in mainland China. It is involved in a number of business, management, and research projects, particularly in supercomputing, where the university participates in a tri-continental array with nodes in Perth, Beijing, and Edinburgh.[7] Western Australia has become an important exporter of minerals, petroleum and natural gas.[8] The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Woodside-funded hydrocarbon research facility during his visit to Australia in 2005.[9]


Curtin University was founded in 1966 as the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT). Its nucleus comprised the tertiary programs of the Perth Technical College, which opened in 1900.

Curtin University's current site in Bentley was selected in 1962, and officially opened in 1966. The first students enrolled the following year.

In 1969, three more institutions were merged with WAIT: the Western Australian School of Mines (opened in 1902), the Muresk Agricultural College (opened in 1926), and the Schools of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy (in operation since the 1950s at Shenton Park).[10] Between 1966 and 1976 WAIT experienced an expansion from 2,000 to 10,000 students.[11]

In December 1986 the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT) was made a university, under provisions of the WA Institute of Technology Amendment Act 1986.[12] Curtin University took its name from the former Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin. Curtin accepted its first students as a university 1987.

In 2005, Curtin and Murdoch University were engaged in a feasibility study into the possibility of a merger.[13] However, on 7 November 2005, both institutions issued a press release that such a merger would not be undertaken.[14]

In 2009, Curtin became the first university in the Australian Technology Network to be listed on the Academic Ranking of World Universities of research universities.[15]

In 2010, Curtin dropped the "of Technology" suffix, from then operating as "Curtin University". The legal name remains Curtin University of Technology until the Act under which it operates is amended by the Western Australian government.[16]


Curtin has three smaller off-site campuses within the Perth metropolitan area. The Graduate School of Business is located in the Perth Central Business District in the renovated former Government Printing Office and the law school is located across the road (opened in 2016), a listed building on the State Register of Heritage Places. The university's Health Research Campus is located in Shenton Park and accommodates the National Drug Research Institute.

The University Departments of Exploration Geophysics and Petroleum Engineering are located at the co-location research facilities of the Australian Resources Research Centre (ARRC[17]) which also houses offices of CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering[18] and National Measurement Institute.[19] The ARRC is located in the Technology Park Belmont, adjacent to the main Bentley campus. Some University staff, researchers and students on practicum work in other locations such as the Oral Health Centre of WA (OHCWA) in Nedlands[20] and at Royal Perth Hospital, amongst other organisations.

Curtin has campuses outside Perth, the largest being the Western Australian School of Mines at Kalgoorlie, and a number of micro-campuses in locations such as Esperance, Margaret River and Geraldton. Nursing is the only course offered in Geraldton. The Muresk Institute at Northam left Curtin in 2012.

Sarawak campus

The campus in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia, is a significant development for the university and is Curtin's largest international campus. Curtin's operations in Miri began in February 1999. In 2002, a purpose-built campus was opened as Curtin's first offshore campus and the first foreign university campus in East Malaysia. It has over 3,000 students from over 40 countries, and academics from more than 15 countries.[21] Curtin Sarawak is the only approved CISCO Networking University in Miri and Brunei.[22]

Singapore campus

Curtin University opened a Singapore-based campus on 23 November 2008.[23][24] Curtin University Singapore courses use the same structure and unit curriculum as those offered at the Bentley campus.


The Charles Telfair Institute, a private education institution, is affiliated with Curtin University and offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Mauritius.[25]

Former Sydney campus (2005 - 2016)

Curtin University Sydney (Curtin Sydney) was established on 20 June 2005. The first campus was located in The Rocks area. It was later relocated to the suburb of Chippendale where it occupies the historical Berlei Building. Curtin Sydney offers diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate courses to students from all over the world.

In 2015 the Curtin University Council concluded that Curtin's presence in Sydney was not in line with the university's research and marketing objectives, and scheduled its closure for early 2017.[26]


Curtin has its own bus station, which is connected to the Transperth public transport network. The station is also linked to the Mandurah railway line's Canning Bridge Station by a shuttle bus service.



Grounds of Curtin University

From 2007, the university's teaching and research is divided into five faculties (previously known as divisions).[27] These are:

Academic profile

Rankings and reputation

University rankings
Curtin University
QS World[28] 306
THE-WUR World[29] 401-500
ARWU World[30] 201+
USNWR World[31] 346
CWTS Leiden World[32] 370
Australian rankings
ARWU National[33] 10-18
USNWR National[34] 13
CWTS Leiden National[32] 11
ERA National[35] 26

Curtin University is ranked in the top two per cent of universities worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. In 2015, its position increased by more than 100 places to equal 303rd in the world, which was the biggest increase of any Australian university.

Curtin was awarded five-stars overall in the annual QS Stars university ratings for 2014.[36] Curtin is ranked 306 by QS World University Rankings 2016.[37] As of 2013, the University is also ranked in The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) as one of the top 500 world universities.[38]

The following subject areas at Curtin University are strongly ranked and have received a five-star rating in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015:

Curtin Creative Writing staff and alumni have won the Miles Franklin Award seven times.[39]

Student life

Student Guild

The Curtin Student Guild is the guild representing students at Curtin University. The guild was founded as the WAIT Student Guild in November 1968.

In addition to student representation the guild manages most of the food outlets on campus. The Guild Second Hand Bookshop, Curtin Concept Store (Curtin University Apparel), IT Works - IT Convenience Store, The Spot - Stationary & News outlet, Guild Copy and Design Centre & The Tav. The guild funds many of the student clubs and societies on campus. The guild also runs a number of events throughout the year, most notably the Beach Bash held in semester one and Oktoberfest held in semester two. The guild publishes Grok, the campus magazine which has the largest distribution in the country. The Student Guild is governed by students through the Guild Council, the official spokesperson of which is the Guild President. Student representatives are elected to their positions by students in annual elections held in September and run by the Western Australian Electoral Commission. As of 1 November 2016 the Guild President is Jason Wittey.[40] Postgraduate students are represented by Curtin Student Guild Postgraduate Student Association, a department of the Guild.

Notable people

Faculty and staff

Curtin's current faculty includes prominent scholars such as environmental scientist Peter Newman and writer Kim Scott.

Past prominent faculty members include the post-modernist Niall Lucy, writer Elizabeth Jolley and journalist Robert Duffield.


Among notable people to attend Curtin University are:

See also


  1. "Bentley (main campus)". Curtin University. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  2. "Curtin University Student Statistics 2010-2014". Curtin University. Curtin University. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  3. Curtin Outbound Studies - Destinations
  5. "Research & Development at Curtin". 2 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
  6. "AINSE Gold Medals". Retrieved 2010-09-26.
  7. "China signs WA gas deal". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 May 2005. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  8. Amanda O'Brien (1 September 2007). "China overtakes Japan in WA trade". The Australian. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  9. "Chinese Premier visits Curtin to view innovative technology". Curtin University Media Releases. 3 April 2006. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  10. History: WAIT to Curtin
  11. Gable, Guy (September 2008). "Overview of WA universities". The information systems academic discipline in Australia. ANU E-Press. ISBN 978-1-921313-94-3. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  12. "Western Australian Institute of Technology Amendment Act 1986: Proclamation". Western Australia Government Gazette. 19 December 1986. p. 1986:4861.
  13. "Curtin agrees to discuss merger". Curtin University Media Releases. 23 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  14. "Curtin Murdoch merger proposal not to proceed". Curtin University Media Releases. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  15. Lane, Bernard (4 November 2009). "Dawkins reforms bear fruit at Curtin University". The Australian. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  16. "Our name change - Curtin University". 7 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
  17. "Perth: Australian Resources Research Centre (WA) - Participating Institutions". 18 December 2009. Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
  18. "CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering". Retrieved 2010-09-26.
  19. "Home - National Measurement Institute". 1 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
  20. "Oral Health Centre of Western Australia (OHCWA)". 18 September 2007. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
  21. "Curtin Sarawak Malaysia". Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  22. Academy Connection - search for either Miri or Brunei
  23. Nicol, Julia (26 March 2008). "Curtin announces new Singapore Campus". Curtin News. Curtin University of Technology. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  24. Yeen Nie, Hoe (27 March 2008). "Australia's Curtin University of Technology to open Singapore campus". Singapore News. Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
  25. The Charles Telfair Institute
  27. Curtin University (13 September 2010). "Our study areas". Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  28. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  29. "World University Rankings 2016-2017". TSL Education Limited.
  30. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  31. "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities Rankings 2016". U.S. News and World Report.
  32. 1 2 "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2016". Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University.
  33. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 - Australia". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  34. "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities in Australia/New Zealand". U.S. News and World Report.
  35. "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network.
  36. "QS World University Rankings® 2013/2014".
  37. "QS Top Universities". QS Top Universities. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  38. "Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2013".
  39. "Curtin alumna in running for Miles Franklin Literary Award | News and Events". Retrieved 2014-11-04.
  40. "Student reps". Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  41. "Celebrity Speakers Biography: Natalie Barr". Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  42. "Curtin Faculty of Humanities: Alumni". Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  43. "Curtin Alumni: Priya Cooper". Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  44. Rachel, Donkin (15 January 2008). "WA's catwalk star Gemma shines in her feature film debut". The West Australian. Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  45. "Writing the future: Curtin begins a new story with China".
  46. "Funny girl". Sydney Morning Herald. 12 July 2003. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  47. 1 2 "Communication & Cultural Studies - Graduate Achievements". Archived from the original on 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  48. "Curtin Alumni: Sheila McHale". Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  49. "Ljiljanna Ravlich MLC Biography". Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  50. "Curtin Alumni: John Worsfold". Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
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Coordinates: 32°00′17″S 115°53′39″E / 32.00469°S 115.89405°E / -32.00469; 115.89405

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