University of South Australia
Former name
    • Antecedent institutions[1]
    • South Australian Institute of Technology[2]
    • South Australian College of Advanced Education[3]
Australia's University of Enterprise[4]
TypePublic research university
  • 1856 (earliest college)[5]
  • 1991 (university status)[6]
Academic affiliations
BudgetA$674.77 million (2022)[7]
ChancellorJohn Hill[8]
Vice-ChancellorDavid Lloyd[9]
Academic staff
1,186 (FTE, 2022)[10]
Administrative staff
1,464 (FTE, 2022)[10]
Total staff
2,910 regular (2022)[7]
1,369 casual (2022)[7]
Students36,375 (2022)[10]
Undergraduates19,678 (EFTSL, 2022)[10]
Postgraduates3,533 (EFTSL, 2022)[10]
Location, ,
34°55′29.41″S 138°35′44.35″E / 34.9248361°S 138.5956528°E / -34.9248361; 138.5956528
CampusMetropolitan and regional with multiple sites
ColoursUniSA Blue [12]
Sporting affiliations
MascotKoala and Parchie[13]

The University of South Australia (UniSA) is a public research university in the Australian state of South Australia. It is a founding member of the Australian Technology Network of universities, and is the largest university in South Australia with approximately 37,000 students.

The university was founded in its current form in 1991 with the merger of the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT, established in 1889 as the South Australian School of Mines and Industries) and the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE, established 1856).[14] The legislation to establish and name the new University of South Australia was introduced by the Hon Mike Rann MP, then Minister of Employment and Further Education.[15] Under the University's Act, its original mission was "to preserve, extend and disseminate knowledge through teaching, research, scholarship and consultancy, and to provide educational programs that will enhance the diverse cultural life of the wider community".[16]

UniSA is among the world's top newer universities, ranked in the World's Top 50 Under 50 (universities which are under 50 years old) by both the Quacarelli Symonds (QS) World University Ranking (#29) and Times Higher Education (THE) (#46). It has two Adelaide city centre campuses, two Adelaide metropolitan campuses, and two South Australian regional campuses.


The South Australian School of Mines and Industries on the top right corner of the North Terrace circa 1940

UniSA was formed in 1991 by the merger of the South Australian Institute of Technology with three South Australian College of Advanced Education campuses.[17] To the former SACAE campuses of Magill, Salisbury, and Underdale, SAIT added its three campuses at City East, The Levels (now called Mawson Lakes) and Whyalla. The two other SACAE campuses, City (adjacent to University of Adelaide), and Sturt (in Bedford Park, adjacent to Flinders University), were later merged into their nearby universities.[18]

School of Arts

The South Australian School of Arts can trace its history back to 1856[19] and the work of Charles Hill and H. P. Gill, and connected to the South Australian School of Design. As such, it can claim to be one of the oldest art schools in Australia, and the oldest public art school.[20] The school, now within UniSA's Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, is also known for providing a visual arts scholarship, the Ann & Gordon Samstag Scholarship.[21]


The South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE) was formed in 1982 with the merger of five Colleges of Advanced Education (CAE). Adelaide, Hartley, Salisbury, Sturt, and Torrens CAEs became the Adelaide, Magill, Salisbury, Sturt, and Underdale campuses of the SACAE.[22]

The CAE themselves were formed from various teachers' colleges in 1973.[17]

In 1979, Hartley CAE was formed from the merger of Murray Park CAE and Kingston CAE.


North Terrace institutions in 1926. School of Mines building is at far right.

The South Australian Institute of Technology traced its origins back to 1889 when the South Australian School of Mines and Industries established on the corner of North Terrace and Frome Road between the University of Adelaide and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.[22]

The building, towards which Sir George Brookman was a significant contributor,[24] and now known as the Brookman Building, was officially opened by Sir Samuel Way (lieutenant-governor) on 24 February 1903, after three years of construction. It was located on the site formerly the eastern annexe of the Jubilee Exhibition Building. When opened, only the main hall was named after George Brookman, and a plaque commemorating his contribution is still located in the hall. The Brookman Building in Grenfell Street, Adelaide city centre (now the site of the Grenfell Centre), was his business headquarters.[25]

The building was from 1918 to 1960 the home of Adelaide Technical High School. In 1960 it became the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT), while Adelaide Technical High School moved to Glenunga to become Glenunga High. The SAIT was made up of three campuses, all of which remain a part of the University of South Australia.[17][22] In 1965 SAIT was designated a college of advanced education resulting in a broadening in the range of courses offered, particularly at the professional level.[22]

Under a government reform to education in 1991, it was given the option of merging with the newly-formed TAFE SA or the SACAE to form the University of South Australia. SAIT was an educational institution with three campuses in suburban Adelaide, and had a broad range of topics that did not really fit neatly into either institution, but SACAE was chosen in the end.[citation needed]

The building became known as the Brookman Building.[26]

21st century

Shortly after the merger, Salisbury campus was vacated in 1996, given its proximity of the nearby Levels campus, but its sale was held up for many years by litigation. In 1997, a new campus was opened at City West with schools from Underdale being relocated there. In 2005, the campus at Underdale was closed as part of the Blueprint 2005 project, and its remaining programs were moved to other campuses.[citation needed]

In 2013, the university released the 2013–2018 Strategic Plan named "Crossing The Horizon", shaping the future actions of the university nationally and internationally.[27] As part of the plan, the university committed to differentiate itself as Australia's University of Enterprise and to focus its activities on end-user needs. In 2014 the first building in a major new infrastructure plan to support those goals was opened. Named in recognition of the great Australian artist and UniSA alumnus, the Jeffrey Smart Building houses the UniSA Library and a host of student services. In 2018 two new buildings were opened; the new Great Hall, named Pridham Hall after a generous benefaction from a UniSA alumnus Andrew Pridham, and the University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute which houses the Centre for Cancer Biology (an alliance between UniSA and SA Health), the research-rich School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, UniSA's technology-based business incubation hub, the Innovation and Collaboration Centre and a new and unique future-focused public museum, #MOD.[citation needed]

In June 2018, the university, along with University of Adelaide, launched official talks of a possible merger. The proposition was endorsed by Steven Marshall and Simon Birmingham,[28] but the merger was called off in October 2018.[29] In 2022, the topic of a merger was raised again by the new government led by Peter Malinauskas, which proposed setting up a commission to investigate the possibility of a merger of UniSA, Adelaide and Flinders University. Staff's opinions were evenly divided on the idea of a commission.[30] In 2021, the university celebrated its 30th birthday.


There are two campuses in the Adelaide city centre (both on North Terrace), two metropolitan campuses (at Mawson Lakes, formerly The Levels, and Magill), and two campuses in regional South Australia, (Whyalla and Mount Gambier). The University of South Australia also runs offshore degree programs in collaboration with private institutions in Hong Kong Baptist University and other higher education institutions throughout Asia.

City East

UniSA City East Campus, which incorporates Brookman Hall

Located on the corner of North Terrace and Frome Road, adjacent to the University of Adelaide, on the site of the former South Australian Institute of Technology, and before that, the School of Mines. The campus has undergone several building upgrades and expansions in recent years. The Basil Hetzel Building was opened in 2005 and includes 2,000 square metres of multipurpose biomechanical, pharmaceutical and microbiological laboratory space.[31] There was a major reconstruction to the historic School of Mines building in 2008–09[32] to include a new outdoor plaza, a new exercise physiology clinic, outdoor walkways, student lounges and other upgrades.

City West

Located on the corner of North Terrace and Morphett Street (in the city), the City West Campus is located between North Terrace and Hindley Street in buildings constructed in the 1990s for the new campus.[33]

New building was also undertaken as part of a $167 million six-year asset plan known as Blueprint 2005, including the A$35 million Hawke building, named in honour of former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke and opened in 2007.[34] The Hawke Building houses the second largest public art gallery in the state of South Australia, the Anne and Gordon Samstag Museum of Art. It also includes the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery, (purpose-built for exhibitions relating to culture, history and social debate), the Allan Scott Auditorium, the Hawke Prime Ministerial Library, and Australia's only architecture museum.[citation needed] Officially named The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, the building is known as the Hawke Centre, and is hosts many events, both within the building and at other venues.[35]

The Blueprint project included the construction of six major buildings, extensions and upgrades across UniSA's six campuses and featured the Dorrit Black and Kaurna buildings completed in 2005 at City West, the South Australian School of Art, and the Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design.[36]

In 2014 the University opened a new learning centre, the Jeffrey Smart Building, on the City West campus. Also on the City West campus are the new Pridham Hall featuring a sports complex, swimming pool and facilities for graduations, exams, corporate and cultural events which opened in 2018 and the new UniSA Cancer Research Institute, part of the biomedical and health precinct being developed on North Terrace. The building, also opened in 2018, houses the university's Museum of Discovery (MOD).[citation needed]


UniSA Magill Campus

Magill Campus is located on St. Bernard's Road at Magill. It currently focuses on a range of education, humanities and social science disciplines, including psychology, social work, communication and media, public relations, journalism, and the study of creative industries.[37] It includes the de Lissa Institute of Early Childhood and Family Studies, named after Montessori education pioneer Lillian Daphne de Lissa.[38]

Mawson Lakes

Mawson Lakes (formerly The Levels) currently houses computing and information technology, engineering, science, civil aviation, applied science, sports science, e-commerce and environmental studies programs. The campus also houses many research institutes and centres, including the Future Industries Institute (FII) which conducts industry-connected research in engineering and the physical sciences. The campus also houses a number of industry collaborations within the space and defence industries.[39]


Programs offered at Whyalla include nursing, social work, early childhood and primary teaching, engineering and community wellbeing as well as a Foundation Studies program.[40]

Mount Gambier

Based in the Limestone Coast region of southeast South Australia, UniSA's Mount Gambier Campus opened in 2005, and provides for country-based students and researchers.[41] Mount Gambier offers students undergraduate programs in nursing, social work, primary and early childhood education, and UniSA Foundation Studies, which prepares students for tertiary education. In 2016 the Mount Gambier Learning Centre was officially opened.

Organisation and governance

Hawke Building, UniSA City West
Jeffrey Smart Building, UniSA City West



Name Position Commenced Concluded
John McDonald Chancellor 1991 1992
Basil Hetzel Chancellor 1992 1998
David Klingberg[42] Chancellor 1998 2008
Ian Gould Chancellor 2008 2015
Jim McDowell Chancellor 2016 2018
Pauline Carr Chancellor 2018 current


Name Position Commenced Concluded
Alan Mead Vice-Chancellor 1991 1992
David Robinson Vice-Chancellor 1992 1997
Denise Bradley[42] Vice Chancellor 1997 2007
Peter Høj Vice Chancellor 2007 2012
David Lloyd Vice Chancellor 2013 current

Deputy Chancellors

Name Position Commenced Concluded
Dagmar Egen Deputy Chancellor 1992 2002
Alice McCleary[43] Deputy Chancellor 2002 2009
Wendy Craik Deputy Chancellor 2010 2018
John Hill[44] Deputy Chancellor 2018 current

Rankings and achievements

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (June 2023)
University rankings
Global rankings
U.S. News & World Report[48]372
CWTS Leiden[49]250
Australian rankings
U.S. News & World Report[53]22
CWTS Leiden[49]16

As of 2017 the University of South Australia was ranked within the top 400 universities worldwide by the QS World University Rankings.[56] It fell in the 251–300th ranking bracket in the 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[57]

In 2015 in the Excellence in Research for Australia rankings, 97% of UniSA's research was rated at world class or above.[58] In 2018, this was upgraded to 100% of UniSA's research at or above world class.[59]

UniSA Business School is fully accredited by EQUIS, which accredited fewer than 200 universities worldwide.[60]


Academic units

The University of South Australia's academic structure consists of seven academic units:[citation needed]

Research Institutes

The University of South Australia is home to three institutes:


Student life


Main article: University of South Australia Students Association

University of South Australia Students Association (USASA, formerly UniLife) is a democratic organisation run by students. USASA provides administrative support to over 100 sporting and social clubs, a range of events throughout the year and free advocacy and advice services, and also produces the UniSA student magazine Verse Magazine.

After the passing of the voluntary student unionism legislation the activities and collective voice of students was significantly diminished. However this has spurred the student association to work hard to offer students better value for money.[citation needed]


UniSA Sport, which manages the sporting life of students at the university, organises and facilitates the development of sport clubs and activities on campuses. UniSA sport teams participate annually in both national and regional intercollegiate competitions such as the Australian University Games as well as the Southern University Games between Victorian, Tasmanian and South Australian universities.

Indigenous education and employment

Early courses and programs

In 1968, Aboriginal Studies was first taught at the Teacher Education Centre at the Western Teachers' College), which became a model for other states. In 1973, the Aboriginal Task Force provided social work and community development training for Aboriginal students from all over Australia. This was the first tertiary program for Indigenous students in the nation.[61]

In 1984, the Anangu Tertiary Education Program (AnTEP) was established at Ernabella in the APY lands, providing formal teaching qualifications for Anangu, and in 1988 the School of Aboriginal and Islander Administration was established at SAIT.[61]

In 1991 the Aboriginal Language School was established.[61]

Unaipon School

In 1996, the Unaipon School, named after Ngarrindjeri inventor, author, and advocate for Aboriginal education David Unaipon (1872–1967) was established. In 2005 the school was consolidated with the Indigenous Support Unit and Nunga Research, and renamed David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education And Research (DUCIER), and at the same time the Aboriginal Content in Undergraduate Programs (ACUP), adopting a two-way learning method.[61]

Following the recommendations of a 2012 government-commissioned review, DUCIER closed in 2015. Earlier models of separate education were deemed no longer suitable, so a different structure for catering for Indigenous students was adopted.[62][63] The review was carried out by a team which included Marcia Langton. Programs previously conducted at DUCIER were moved into the university's other campuses across South Australia, and it a position of Indigenous pro vice chancellor was in the planning stages.[64]

In 2016 the inaugural Pro Vice Chancellor for Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy and Unaipon Chair was appointed, and the Aboriginal Pathways Program was launched to help provide a culturally safe environment for students.[61]


In 1992, Aboriginal Advancement League Grants were established, later renamed Yangadlitya Aboriginal Postgraduate Scholarships.[61]

In 1996, the Gavin Wanganeen Aboriginal Scholarship (GWIS), named for former footballer Gavin Wanganeen, was established,[65] with the goal of supporting disadvantaged Aboriginal students undertaking a degree, in particular those with the aim of giving back to their communities.[61]

In 2016 a partnership with the GO Foundation saw the launch of the Goodes O'Loughlin UniSA GO Scholarship. Aboriginal students enrolled in a health or fitness-related undergraduate degree program are eligible.[61]


In 2002 UniSA introduced their Indigenous Employment Strategy, one of the first in Australia. In 2010, a scheme for Aboriginal graduates began to help employ UniSA graduates at the university, and in 2012, the first Dean, Indigenous Scholarship, Engagement and Research was appointed.[61]

The Aboriginal Research Strategy 2019-2025 helps to grow Aboriginal research. In 2020, seven elders with honorary degrees from UniSA, chosen for their "community connections and leadership, and cultural knowledge", were appointed to the Purkarninthi in Residence program.[61]

In 2021 the Law Building was renamed the Lewis O'Brien/Yarlupurka Building, in honour of Kaurna thinker and leader Lewis O'Brien. The building houses the Aboriginal Knowledges Centre.[61]


MOD. (Museum of Discovery[66]) is described as "a futuristic museum of discovery". Its seven gallery spaces spread over two levels showcase science in a series of annually changing exhibits.[67] One major unchanging exhibit is the Universal Gallery, featuring "Science on a Sphere", which shows planetary data on a sphere, with the surrounding walls being touchscreens which can be used to transform the planets, sun or moon. Other galleries include the Lecture Gallery, the Street Gallery, the Arcade Gallery, the Gould Interactive Gallery and the Futures Gallery.[66]

Aimed at inspiring young adults' interest in science, MOD. is free to visit in the Health Innovation Building[68][67] (UniSA Cancer Research Institute[66]) or Bradley Building (Purruna Wardli), on North Terrace.[69] The museum has won a number of awards for its interior design, exhibitions and events since 2018, and has been used as a venue for Adelaide Fringe events.[70]

Selected exhibits

2022: Ngapulara Ngarngarnyi Wirra (Adnyamathanha for "Our Family Tree") is an art installation commissioned by MOD. and created by UNSW technologist Angie Abdilla, artist Baden Pailthorpe and former AFL player Adam Goodes, in a project named the Tracker Data Project. The tree refers to a 500-year-old sacred red river gum, or wirra, that lives on Adnyamathanha land. The installation is based on computerised biometric data gathered by the AFL via a small device worn on Goodes' back when playing football over the years. Sounds were created by an algorithm that mixes recordings of the wind and Goodes' voice speaking in the Adnyamathanha language with his performance data, while a 3D scan of the wirra and Goodes' data were combined in a point cloud, resembling stars in the sky.[71][72]


The UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture series is an annual event presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre. Established in 2008 to honour the South African President Nelson Mandela, who served as the Hawke Centre's first international patron from 2001 to 2013, the address has been given almost every year since its establishment. Past speakers include:[73]

Notable alumni



Human rights

Journalism and media



Honorary awards

Doctor of the University

The university awards the Honorary Doctorate to recognise an individual who has achieved eminence in an area of education or research, or is distinguished by eminent service to the community.[81]

The honorary doctorate is not a recognised qualification and as such the title 'Doctor' is not used by recipients, but the Post-nominal letters "DUniv" is granted.


Year Name Citation
2019 Terry Evans[82]
2019 Adam Goodes[83][84]
2019 Jim McDowell[85]
2019 The Honourable Dr Brendan Nelson, AO[86]
2018[87] Deborah Cheetham, AO [1]
2018 The Honourable Greg Combet, AM [2]
2018 Peter Gago, AC [3]
2018 Eric Idle
2018 William Muirhead, AM [4]
2018 Adjunct Associate Professor Monica Oliphant, AO [5]
2017[88] Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik, AO [6]
2017 The Honourable Julia Gillard, AC [7]
2017 Dr Ian Gould, AM [8]
2017 Janet Holmes à Court, AC [9]
2017 Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston, AK, AC (Mil), AFC [10]
2017 Thomas Keneally, AO [11]
2017 The Honourable John Mansfield, AM, QC [12]
2017 Kevin O'Loughlin, OAM [13]
2017 Curtis Wong [14]
2016 Mr Jack Manning Bancroft
2016 Professor Gary Banks, AO
2016 Ms Maggie Beer, AM
2016 Mrs Marie Coleman, AO
2016 Ms Evonne Goolagong Cawley, AC, MBE
2016 Professor Lord Anthony Giddens
2016 Mr John Barry Humphries, AO, CBE
2015 Professor Gerald Goodhardt
2015 Professor Robyn Williams, AM
2014 Dr Wolf Blass, AM
2014 Major General Charles Bolden Jr.
2014 The Honourable Quentin Bryce, AD, CVO
2014 Professor Brian Burdekin, AO
2014 Mr Vinton G Cerf
2014 Mr Peter Gabriel
2014 Dr Jane Goodall, DBE
2014 Professor Peter Høj, AC
2014 Professor Mary McAleese
2014 Sir Terence Pratchett, OBE
2014 Dr Anne Summers, AO
2013 Mr Sydney Ball
2013 The Honourable Alexander Downer, AC
2013 Mr Michael Heard
2013 The Honourable Robyn Layton, AO, QC
2012 Ms Fiona Hall, AO
2011 Emeritus Professor Maxwell Brennan, AO
2011 Ms Alice McCleary
2011 Professor Ashis Nandy
2011 Mr Jeffrey Smart, AO
2010 Adjunct Professor Neil Bryans
2010 Professor Brian Vincent
2009 Mr Martin Albrecht, AC
2009 Mr David Klingberg, AO
2009 Professor Jarl Rosenholm
2008 Mr Milton Moon, AM
2008 Dr Pamela Ryan, OAM
2007 Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley, AC
2007 Professor Don Bursill, AM
2007 Dr Ron Radford, AM
2007 Professor Leanna Read
2006 Mr Norton Jackson, AM
2006 Mr Mike Rann, AC
2006 Honourable Susan Ryan, AO
2005 Professor Frank Bass
2005 Dr Julian Burnside, QC
2005 Mr Leon Davis, AO
2005 Professor Andrew Ehrenberg
2005 Professor R Natarajan
2005 Dr Gregor Ramsey, AM
2005 Dr Simon Wong
2004 Mr Phillip Adams, AO
2004 Mr Stephen Page, AM
2003 Mr Maurice de Rohan, AO, OBE
2003 Dr Alfred Huang, AM
2003 Dr Yuan Tseh Lee
2003 Professor Zhang Xiaowei
2002 Ms Dagmar Egen, AM
2002 Professor Eleanor Ramsay
2001 The Honourable Justice Michael Kirby, AC, CMG
2000 Mr Rick Allert, AO
2000 Mr Kym Bonython, AC
2000 Adjunct Professor Lyndsay Connors, AM
2000 Dr Patricia Crook, AO
2000 Dr Malcolm Kinnaird, AC
1999 The Honourable Dr Basil Hetzel, AC
1999 Dr Colin Thiele, AC
1999 Professor Lyndall Ryan
1998 Dr Julian Clark
1998 Honourable Robert J. L. Hawke, AC
1998 Mr Nelson Mandela
1998 Dr Alice Rigney, AO
1998 Ms Ruth Tuck, AO
1998 Mr Bruce Webb
1998 Dr Don Williams, AO
1997 Honourable Justice Samuel Jacobs, AO
1997 Mr John Kundereri Moriarty, AM
1997 Dr S (Max) Richards
1997 Mr Daniel Thomas, AM
1997 Ms Sue Vardon, AO
1996 Mr Archie Barton, AM
1996 Dr Betty Davis, AM
1996 Honourable Dr John Dawkins, AO
1996 Ms Wendy McCarthy, AO
1996 Sir Eric Neal, AC, CVO
1996 Honourable Justice John Von Doussa, AO, QC
1995 Ms Doreen Kartinyeri
1995 Dr Christobel Mattingley, AM
1995 Dr David Pank, AM
1995 Dr James CY Soong
1994 Ms Anne Deveson, AO
1994 Dame Roma Mitchell, AC, DBE
1994 Mr John Uhrig, AC
1994 Mr Gavin Walkley, AM
1993 Dr Jean Edna Blackburn, AO
1993 Ms Alison Crook, AO
1993 Dr James May
1993 Mr John McDonald, AM
1993 Professor Lowitja O’Donoghue, AC, CBE, DSJ

Startup incubator

Main article: Innovation Collaboration Centre

The Innovation Collaboration Centre is UniSA's startup incubator.[89] The incubator provides the Venture Catalyst and Venture Catalyst Space program for students and the community to build early-stage startup company. The incubator offers office space, mentoring, access to industry experts, workshops, university resources and funding to companies accepted into the program.[90]

See also


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