The University of Melbourne was founded by Act of the Victorian Parliament in 1853, two years after the University of Sydney, making Melbourne the second oldest university in Australia. The foundation stone of the first building, the Old Quadrangle, was laid in April 1854.
When the University was founded, 10 hectares (25 acres) of land on the north edge of the City were set aside for its campus. Today the campus has doubled to more than 20 hectares. Major University buildings are located off the campus as well, east of Swanston Street and south of Grattan Street as far as Queensberry Street.
Learning and teaching
- The University has 22 discipline-specific faculties and graduate schools, over 47,000 students and 6,500 staff members
- There are more than 12,000 international students enrolled from 130 countries
- Distinguished scholars who research and teach at Melbourne include:
- Nobel Prize winner Professor Peter Doherty (Physiology and Medicine);
- Professor Peter Singer (Laureate Professor in the Faculty of Arts); and
- Fellows of the Royal Society Professors David Solomon and David Boger.
- Our research expenditure is second only to that of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
- Melbourne is the leading research university in Australia, topping the key indicators in the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2010 National Report
- We have more than 100 research centres and institutes, including Bio21, one of Australia's most sophisticated medical research and biotechnological initiatives.
We have an alumni community of over 280,000 worldwide and counting. 15 per cent of alumni live outside of Australia in more than 150 countries.
We have many notable alumni, with graduates having held the offices of:
- Prime Ministers of Australia,
- Deputy Prime Minister of Australia,
- Governor of Victoria,
- High Court Justices,
- State Premiers,
- Nobel Laureates,
- a First Lady of East Timor,
- ministers of foreign countries,
- Lord Mayors,
- Defence Force generals,
- academics, architects, historians, poets, philosophers, politicians, scientists, physicists, authors, industry leaders, corporate leaders and artists.
Meet some of our prominent alumni.
The University has a rich history of pioneering research and technological development. Our track record in research and development is demonstrated by research achievements such as:
- In the 1970s, ground breaking research at the University of Melbourne led to a successful cochlear implant — or Bionic Ear. Since 1984, over 220,000 people worldwide have received a cochlear implant.
- In 2010, we were awarded $21 million from the Australian Research Council to establish Stem Cells Australia (SCA) an initiative that positions Australia as a major world player in stem cell research.
Researchers and industry leaders
We have renowned researchers and industry leaders who are internationally recognised for their outstanding achievements. Some of our Nobel Prize winners, scholars and high-achieving staff include:
- Laureate Professor Peter Doherty from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996 with Swiss colleague Professor Rolf Zinkernagel for their discovery of how the immune system recognises virus infected cells. The University’s new Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, which will open in 2014, is named in his honour.
- Internationally recognised chemist, Professor Andrew Holmes, received the 2012 Royal Medal for his groundbreaking research in polymer chemistry. The prize is awarded annually by the Royal Society London for the most important contributions in the physical, biological and applied sciences.
- Dr Georgina Such from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering received a L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowship in 2011 for her research into smarter drug delivery.
- Foundation Professor of Otolaryngology, Laureate Professor Graeme Clark AC, was awarded the 2011 Zotterman Medal by the Swedish Physiological Society for his work developing the multi-channel cochlear implant, which underpins ongoing work in the $42 million Bionic Eye project.
- Paediatric neurologist, Professor Ingrid Scheffer, received the 2012 Asia-Pacific L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science award for her pioneering research into the causes of epilepsy.
Many Nobel Laureates have taught, studied and researched at the University of Melbourne. Graduates include:
- Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2009
- Professor Sir James Mirrlees, Nobel Prize in Economic Science, 1996
- Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1963
- Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1960
- Professor Joshua Lederberg, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1958
- Lord Howard Florey, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1945
- Sir James Mirrlees, Nobel Prize in Economic Science, 1996
- Professor Bert Sakmann, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1991