James Cook University
Coat of Arms of James Cook University
Former names
University College of Townsville (1961-70)
MottoCrescente Luce
Motto in English
Light ever increasing
ChancellorBill Tweddell
Vice-ChancellorSandra Harding
Undergraduates15,776 (2014)
Postgraduates4,645 (2014)
Location, ,
19°19′40″S 146°45′30″E / 19.32778°S 146.75833°E / -19.32778; 146.75833
CampusSuburban and Regional
File:James Cook University logo.png

James Cook University (JCU) is a public university and is the second oldest university in Queensland, Australia. JCU is a teaching and research institution. The University's main campuses are located in the tropical cities of Cairns, Singapore and Townsville. JCU also has study centres in Mount Isa, Mackay and Thursday Island. A Brisbane campus, operated by Russo Higher Education, delivers undergraduate and postgraduate courses to international students. The University’s main fields of research include marine sciences, biodiversity, sustainable management of tropical ecosystems, genetics and genomics, tropical health care, tourism and engineering.


James Cook University, Cairns

In 1957, Professor J.D Story, Vice Chancellor of the University of Queensland proposed a regional university college be established to cater to the people of North Queensland. At that time, the only higher education providers were located in the state capital Brisbane. On 27 February 1961, the University College of Townsville was opened.

After being proclaimed on 20 April 1970 as an Act of Queensland Parliament, the University College of Townsville became James Cook University of North Queensland on 29 April 1970.[2] The official opening of the university was conducted by Queen Elizabeth II.[3] The namesake is British sea captain James Cook, who is best known for discovering the eastern coast of Australia. A year after JCU's proclamation, Cyclone Althea struck the Townsville region. This, together with the destruction caused by Cyclone Tracy in Darwin 1974, prompted the establishment of a cyclone research facility.[3][4] The Cyclone Testing Station started out as a small project of Professor Hugh Trollope and began its operations on 1 November 1977 as James Cook Cyclone Structural Testing Station.[4] The Cyclone Testing Station operates as a self funded unit of the College of Science, Technology and Engineering, and serves as an advising member to the Australian Standards committee in areas of structural design, specifically wind actions.[5]

On 1 January 1982, JCU amalgamated with The Townsville College of Advanced Education located adjacent to the main campus in Douglas. The university established a presence in Cairns in 1987 and moved to its current location in the suburb of Smithfield in 1995. On 1 January 1991, the School of Art and Design of the Townsville College of TAFE was transferred to JCU.[2] The current name of James Cook University became official on 1 January 1998.[6] In 2003 the University opened an international campus in Singapore. The university further expanded its presence by establishing another campus in Brisbane, Queensland in 2006.

JCU Singapore moved campuses in February 2015. The Hon. Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia officially opened the new JCU Singapore campus at 149 Sims Drive on 28 June 2015.

Coat of Arms explained

As a corporate body, James Cook University bears arms comprising four main elements – shield, crest (Captain James Cook’s ship, HMS Endeavour, in full sail), supporters (a pair of brolgas with open wings), and motto.

The University motto is Cresente Luce, which means light ever increasing. This motto was first proposed by Professor FW Robinson, professor of English at the University of Queensland, in 1962 for the then University College of Townsville. The university college was established as a college of the University of Queensland. Adopted in 1963, the motto remained unchanged after James Cook University of North Queensland was established and incorporated in April 1970, and later became James Cook University.

Campuses and other facilities

James Cook University operates three main campuses, located in the tropical cities of Cairns and Townsville in Australia, and the international city of Singapore. Russo Higher Education delivers JCU courses at its Brisbane centre on behalf of the University. The University also operates study centres in Mackay, Mount Isa and Thursday Island. These study centres provide programs and support for students living in rural and remote areas.

Cairns Campus

The Cairns Campus of James Cook University is located 15 kilometres north of the Cairns central business district, in the suburb of Smithfield. JCU moved to this location from its original inner-city site in 1995. Also located on the campus grounds are Queensland Tropical Health Alliance (QTHA) facilities, Australian Tropical Herbarium (ATH), the Australian Tropical Forest Institute (ATFI), JCU Dental, and The Cairns Institute. Over 4 000 students study at JCU Cairns, including about 385 international students.

Townsville Campus

JCU's Townsville campus is the University’s largest campus and is located on 386 hectares in the suburb of Douglas, near the army base and the lee of Mt Stuart. Around 12,600 students study at JCU Townsville, including over 1,100 international students. Close to the university is the new Townsville Hospital and Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE.[7] Originally located in the suburb of Pimlico, the University moved to its current site in 1967. The Discovery Rise[8] project was announced in September 2007.[9] The $1 billion project is aimed at redeveloping the University's Townsville campus.[10] Construction is currently under way and the project is estimated to be completed in 2015.[11] There is also a second smaller campus in Townsville's CBD. This campus is near city lane.

Singapore International Campus

Main article: James Cook University Singapore

James Cook University's Singapore campus (JCUS) was opened in 2003. In February 2015, James Cook University Singapore relocated to a new campus at 149 Sims Drive, ceasing operations at its previous campus on Upper Thomson Road, where it had been operating since July 2008. In 2014 there were 3,594 students studying with JCU Singapore. Courses offered include business, education, information technology, psychology, environmental science, and tourism and hospitality, to international and domestic students. All degrees awarded are accredited by JCU Australia.[12] Unlike its parent institution in Australia, James Cook University Singapore is classified as a private institution under the Ministry of Education's Private Education Act and is accredited by both EduTrust and the Council for Private Education. JCUS was given a "Gold Star" rating by EduTrust in 2015, the first private school to attain this benchmark.[13]

Other facilities

JCU Brisbane, operated by Russo Higher Education, delivers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in business and information technology to international students, on behalf of James Cook University.

JCU’s study centre in Mackay is called the Mackay Education and Research Centre (MERC) and is located at the Mackay Base Hospital. It accommodates the teaching of the Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Nursing Science (pre registration) as well as providing facilities for medical and dental placements.

The Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (MICRRH) provides training, development and support of the rural and remote health workforce and the management of key health issues in the rural and remote setting. The Centre offers the Bachelor of Nursing Science with a special emphasis on rural, remote and Indigenous health care.

There is also a study centre is located in the heritage courthouse building on Thursday Island, providing teaching and learning facilities for nursing and education students in the Torres Strait region, including the northern tip of Australia. The Thursday Island study centre opened in 2003.

In 2015, the JCU Townsville City campus was opened in the heart of Townsville City, Flinders Street. The campus provides a unique and progressive blend of teaching and study space, as well as meeting, networking and consultation facilities, where advanced design, technology and ongoing support services on-site all add to the quality of the environment and study experience. Plans are in place for JCU to also have a Cairns City campus providing similar facilities and opportunities as those available at the Townsville City campus.


The university serves as a catchment area for students from this region and beyond. In 2014, JCU's student population was at 22,370, which includes 7,429 international students.[14]

In 2001 the university took in its first medical students in its newly formed School of Medicine. An undergraduate veterinary degree was added to the university for the first time in 2006 and in 2009 the Bachelor of Dental Surgery commenced. Today the university offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in arts, humanities and social work; business, law and governance; creative media; education; engineering and planning; healthcare, rehabilitation and psychology; medicine, dentistry and pharmacy; public health; science, including marine biology and environmental science; and veterinary science. Some courses are available externally.

In 2007 James Cook University became a member of Innovative Research Universities Australia (now called Innovative Research Universities). Innovative Research Universities (IRU) is a network of seven comprehensive universities committed to conducting research of national and international standing.

School of Law

The School of Law is the only regional law school in Queensland. The JCU Law School offers a comprehensive course that provides entry to the legal profession. The first-year experience has four compulsory non-substantive courses and two substantive courses designed for a staggered introduction to the LLB.[citation needed]

Organisational structure

The library at Douglas Campus
University Drive at Douglas Campus

The university is organised into divisions, colleges, directorates, research centres and institutes.

Division of Tropical Environments and Societies

Division of Tropical Health and Medicine

Division Global Strategy and Engagement

Division of Research and Innovation

Division of Services and Resources

Research Centres and Institutes

Centres of Excellence


Research Centres

Research Enablers


University rankings
Global rankings
U.S. News & World Report[18]273
CWTS Leiden[19]151
Australian rankings
U.S. News & World Report[23]10
CWTS Leiden[19]6

JCU is ranked 129th (third in Australia) in the CWTS Leiden ranking.[26][27]

As of 2015, JCU has been awarded five stars for job success by the Good Universities Guide. In 2015, JCU Singapore earned the distinction of being the first private education institution to attain the EduTrust Star quality mark from the Singapore Government.

JCU has consistently ranked in the top 400 academic universities worldwide since 2010, as measured by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and within the top 300 in 2016.[28] JCU achieved position 340 in the QS World Rankings in 2016.[29] For 2016, JCU ranked in the top two percent of universities in the world by ARWU.[citation needed] In 2014, JCU was also ranked in the top two Australian universities and top 30 in the world in Environmental Sciences and Ecology by the U.S. News & World Report and NTU Global Rankings.[citation needed] JCU is also the World's leading coral reef research institution by publications and citations in the Scopus Bibliometric data (Elsevier) 2010-2014.[citation needed]

In 2014, JCU was one of the only two universities to receive the maximum number of citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning by the Australian Awards for University Teaching, Office of Learning and Teaching.

In the Commonwealth Government's Excellence in Research for Australia 2012 National Report, JCU research received the highest ranking of 'well above world standard' (rating 5) in the areas of environmental science and management, ecological applications and medical microbiology.[30] The University also received an 'above world standard' ranking for research in the areas of materials engineering, immunology, tourism, biological sciences, agricultural and veterinary sciences, fisheries sciences, veterinary sciences, inorganic chemistry, earth sciences, geochemistry, and geology.

Residential colleges and halls of residence

St Mark's College
St Marks' College
University Hall

JCU's Douglas Campus in Townsville has seven on-campus residential halls and colleges, which can accommodate 1,475 students. Services offered by these facilities vary from self-catered to fully catered, and support to students. They are situated in the tropical gardens of the campus.

Residential colleges

Saints Catholic College was formed in 2011 with the amalgamation of the Catholic Colleges of St Raphael and St Paul and the addition of a third wing, St Mary MacKillop Wing, in honour of Australia’s first Saint. Saint Mark's College is an Affiliated Residential College of JCU and can accommodate 154 male and female students. The College enrols JCU students, primarily from regional and rural Queensland, but also from across Australia and overseas. The John Flynn College was established in 1968. It is a privately run residential college providing accommodation for more than 200 Australian and International JCU students.

Halls of Residence

JCU manages four non-denominational halls for 700 students. George Roberts Hall opened in 2002 with 250 residents in unit style accommodation. Rotary International House was established in 1990, with the assistance of Rotary Clubs. This facility contains 80 beds. University Hall was the first residence to be established at the University in the 1960s, and is at present the largest of the student residences with 291 rooms. University Hall opened for student accommodation in 1967 as a co-educational hall of residence <John Lee - President of University Hall Students Association 1968> and lays claim to being the first coeducational university hall of residence in Australia. Western Courts can accommodate 112 students and was established in early 2008 to offset the closure of Western Hall, a former Residential Hall at JCU. Plans are underway for on-campus accommodation facilities to be built in Cairns.


Reports of on-campus sexual harassment and assault

The 2017 Australian Human Rights Commission's national survey on campus abuse surveyed 833 JCU students, and showed that the university had the 2nd highest reported proportion of students sexually harassed by a staff member (4.6%), and the 6th highest reported campus sexual harassment overall (25%).[31] Under a 2016 FOI request, JCU had previously said that between 2011 and 2016 there were 9 officially reported cases of sexual abuse and harassment on campus, resulting in no expulsions, no suspensions and 1 person removed from a college. This included a report in 2015 where three males attempted to gang-rape a female student.[32]

In 2015 the university promoted a staff member from research officer to academic adviser after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a student. The acting vice-chancellor claimed "there has been a failure of our internal processes"[33] and “if senior management had been aware that (the staff member had) pleaded guilty he would have been immediately dismissed”. News Limited published findings contradicting the university's claims alleging that senior management, including the Vice-Chancellor and the University Secretary, were made aware of the guilty plea at the time and prior to the perpetrator's promotion.[34]

Notable alumni and staff

This is a list of alumni and former faculty and staff of James Cook University, including preceding institutions such as Townsville University College and Townsville College of Advanced Education.

Notable alumni

Recipients of honorary degrees include:

Notable faculty and staff

See also


  1. ^ "Brief history of JCU - JCU". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b On reverse side of all JCU official Statement of Academic Record sheets printed after January 1998.
  3. ^ a b "Townsville History (City Council)". Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Cyclone Testing Station". Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  5. ^ Structural design actions, Part 2: Wind actions. Sydney & Wellington: Standards Australia & Standards New Zealand. 2005. ISBN 978-0-7337-4473-0.
  6. ^ "Higher Education Legislation 1998". Archived from the original on 11 September 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2007. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  7. ^ "TAFE Queensland North - TAFE Queensland North". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Discovery Rise". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Discovery Rise Media Release". Archived from the original on 2 September 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
  10. ^ "ABC News: James Cook Uni plans Townsville campus facelift". Abc.net.au. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Discovery Rise Timeline". Archived from the original on 8 September 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  12. ^ "James Cook University (JCU)". sguni.
  13. ^ "Australian university campus in Singapore gets EduTrust Star ranking". The Straits Times. 15 April 2015.
  14. ^ "2012 Student Statistics". Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  15. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2024". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  16. ^ "World University Rankings 2024". Times Higher Education.
  17. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2022". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  18. ^ "U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report.
  19. ^ a b "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2020". Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University.
  20. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2024 - Australia". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  21. ^ "World University Rankings 2024 - Australia". Times Higher Education.
  22. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2022 - Australia". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  23. ^ "U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities in Australia". U.S. News & World Report.
  24. ^ "All unis winners in research audit". The Australian. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  25. ^ "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network.
  26. ^ Hare, J. (2 May 2014). "UTS kicks Harvard's butt in ranking". The Australian. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  27. ^ "JCU surprise package in Leiden ranking". The Australian. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  28. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities". Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  29. ^ "QS World University Rankings®". Top Universities. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  30. ^ "Excellence in Research for Australia 2012 National Report". Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  31. ^ Bagshaw, Eryk (2 August 2017). "'We should all be shocked' leader of university with worst results comforts students". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  32. ^ Funnell, Nina (10 October 2016). "Full list of universities exposed by sexual assault investigation". News Limited. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  33. ^ Chen, David (24 January 2017). "Uni staffer promoted after student rape charge". ABC News. Retrieved 1 August 2017. ((cite news)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |dead-url= (help)
  34. ^ Funnell, Nina (25 January 2017). "Exclusive: James Cook University knew Douglas Steele was guilty of rape". NewsComAu. Retrieved 1 August 2017. ((cite news)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |dead-url= (help)
  35. ^ "Paul R. Amato". Penn State. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  36. ^ "Dr Rose Evaster-Aderolili".
  37. ^ "Dr Colin Grant" (PDF).
  38. ^ "Philippines typhoon: UK doctors speak from storm-hit country". 17 November 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  39. ^ "Joanne Mather". Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  40. ^ Browne, Sally (11 May 2009). "Women in Docs". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  41. ^ "Professor Ian Young". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  42. ^ "Edward Koiki Mabo 1936 - 1992". www.racismnoway.com.au. Retrieved 6 March 2016.