University of South Australia

"UniSA" redirects here. UniSA may also refer to University of South Africa.
University of South Australia
Latin: Universitas Australia Australis
Motto Educating professionals. Creating and applying knowledge. Engaging our communities.
Type Public

1856 SA School of Arts, 1889 SA School of Mines & Industries,

1991 University of South Australia
Chancellor Jim McDowell
Vice-Chancellor David Lloyd
Students 32,000+
Location Adelaide, Whyalla and Mount Gambier, South Australia, Australia
Organisations Member of Australian Technology Network Open Universities Australia

The University of South Australia (UniSA) is a public research university in the Australian state of South Australia. It was formed in 1991 with the merger of the South Australian Institute of Technology (1889) and College of Advanced Education (1856), combining more than 150 years of teaching and research history.[1] The legislation to establish and name the new University of South Australia was introduced in 1990 by the Hon Mike Rann MP, Minister of Employment and Further Education.[2] With more than 32,000 students, the university is South Australia's largest; more than 6,000 students are international, with almost half studying in Adelaide and the remainder offshore.[3]

Under the University's Act,[4] 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."

The University of South Australia is among the world's top universities, ranked within the top 300 universities worldwide by the QS World University Ranking.[5] In 2015 UniSA was named as one of the world’s best young universities ranked in the world’s top 50 under 50 at #25 by Quacarelli Symonds and #38 by Times Higher Education.

The University is a founding member of the Australian Technology Network of universities. It has two Adelaide city centre campuses, two Adelaide metropolitan campuses, and two South Australian regional campuses.


The University of South Australia was formed in 1991 with the merger of the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) with three of the campuses (Magill, Salisbury and Underdale) of the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE).[6] The two other SACAE campuses, City and Sturt, were merged with the University of Adelaide and Flinders University respectively.[7] To the former SACAE campuses of Magill, Salisbury and Underdale, SAIT added to the merger its three campuses at City East, The Levels (now known as Mawson Lakes) and Whyalla.

Salisbury campus was vacated in 1996, but its sale was held up for many years by litigation. In 1997, a new campus was opened at City West. In 2005, the campus at Underdale was closed as part of the Blueprint 2005 project, and its programmes were moved to other campuses. Some services still reside at Underdale such as Document Services. Blueprint 2005 also involved a number of new buildings, in particular at City West and Mawson Lakes.[8][9]

School of Arts

The South Australian School of Arts can trace its history back to 1856[10] and the pioneering work of Charles Hill and H. P. Gill, through an unbroken succession of titles and changes in emphasis. It can claim to be one of the oldest art schools in Australia, and the oldest public art school.[11] See South Australian School of Design for more detail.

The South Australian School of Arts, an established school within the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, provides the most prestigious and valuable visual arts scholarship in Australia, the Gordon Samstag Scholarship.[12]

History of SACAE

The South Australian College of Advanced Education was formed in 1982 with the merger of five Colleges of Advanced Education. Adelaide CAE, Hartley CAE, Salisbury CAE, Sturt CAE and Torrens CAE respectively became the Adelaide (adjacent to Adelaide University), Magill, Salisbury, Sturt (actually in Bedford Park, adjacent to Flinders University) and Underdale CAE.[13]

Hartley CAE was in turn formed from the 1979 merger of Murray Park CAE and Kingston CAE.

Origins of the Colleges of Advanced Education[14]

1973 saw the formation of the Colleges of Advanced Education which would make up the SACAE.

History of SAIT

The South Australian Institute of Technology was an educational institution with 3 campuses in Adelaide, SA. Under a government reform to education in 1991 it was given the option of merging with the newly formed TAFE SA or the South Australian College of Advanced Education to form the University of South Australia. It had a broad range of topics making it a clear fit with neither institution.

South Australian School of Mines and Industries


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). A state-of-the-art Learning Centre, located in the western half of Hindley Street (in the city) is now complete.[18] The University of South Australia delivers its 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, Brookman Building

Located on the corner of North Terrace and Frome Road, (opposite the Royal Adelaide Hospital and 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 City East campus is home to UniSA's Division of Health Sciences. It provides undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees for over 7,000 students.

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.[19] There was a major reconstruction to the historic Brookman Building in 2008-09[20] to include a new outdoor plaza, a new exercise physiology clinic, outdoor walkways, student lounges and other upgrades.

UniSA's health and biomedical research concentration is focused on education and research concerning the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of health problems. It encompasses the schools of

The City East campus places a strong emphasis on practice-based learning, with significant investment in teaching facilities. Students learn within modern purpose-built laboratories and on-campus clinics, (including physiotherapy and podiatry clinics), that service the community while providing students with hands-on experience.

A small selection of non health related programs are run from the City East campus, including construction management, geographic information systems, planning and geoinformatics, and surveying. City East is also home to the Centre for English Language in the University of South Australia (CELUSA) and the South Australian Institute of Business and Technology (SAIBT).

City West

Located on the corner of North Terrace and Morphett Street (in the city), the City West Campus is home to business, law, commerce and management, architecture and creative arts. It is located between North Terrace and Hindley Street in buildings constructed in the 1990s for the new campus.

New building was also undertaken as part of a $167 million six-year asset plan known as Blueprint, including the $35 million Hawke building, named in honour of former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke and opened in 2007.[21] 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.

The Blueprint project included the construction of six major buildings, extensions and upgrades across UniSA's five 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.[22]

In 2014 the University opened an $85 million cutting-edge learning centre on the City West campus. Named for alumnus, artist Jeffrey Smart, the building houses teaching and learning spaces, access to ibrary resources and an integrated range of student support services. Also being built on the City West campus are the new Great Hall featuring a sports complex, swimming pool and facilities for graduations, exams, corporate and cultural events which opens in 2017 and a new Health Innovation Building, part of the biomedical and health precinct being developed on North Terrace. The Health Innovation Building, due to open in 2018, is a $230m health and research facility to support a collaborative and holistic approach to health research. It will also house the university’s new Science|Creativity|Education Studio (Sci|C|Ed) which will bring science and technology out of the lab and into the public realm, creating new opportunities for scientists, students and industry to innovate, create and collaborate.

The City West campus is also home to the Business School comprising the Schools of Commerce, Management, Marketing, and Law.


Murray House and landscaped grounds, UniSA Magill Campus

Magill Campus is located on St. Bernard's Road at Magill. It focuses on a range of education, humanities and social science disciplines, including Psychology, Communication and Media, Public Relations, Journalism, and the Study of International Relations.

It will also house the university’s new education precinct. In partnership with the Government of South Australia and representatives from the entire schools sector, UniSA will consolidate its education offerings at the Magill campus but will also support the foundation of birth to year 12 education on campus opening up unique opportunities for best practice teaching and learning.

Mawson Lakes

Mawson Lakes (formerly The Levels) is well known for its computing and information technology, engineering, science, civil aviation, applied science, sports science, e-commerce and environmental studies programs.

The campus also houses many internationally and nationally-recognised research institutes and centres, the newest of which is the new multi-million Future Industries Institute (FII) which focuses on building knowledge and capacity in core future industries. Through national and global research partnerships in new technologies, such as our academic partnership with University College London (UCL), the Institute undertakes global research inspired by real-world issues. It combines and builds from the established research capability and reputation of the former Ian Wark Research Institute, Mawson Institute and Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation, and extends into other complementary research capabilities within the University's Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment and across the university.

The Mawson Lakes campus is also home to Adelaide's only planetarium. Located on the second floor of the P building the planetarium operates all year round.[23]


Programs offered at Whyalla reflect the needs and priorities of rural and regional Australia. Whyalla campus has developed programs and expertise that reflect rural and regional Australia. The campus provides expertise in the fields of nursing, social work, early childhood and primary teaching, engineering and community wellbeing as well as offering a pathway to tertiary learning through its Foundation Studies program.[24]

Mount Gambier

Based in the Limestone Coast region of southeast South Australia, UniSA’s Mount Gambier Campus provides learning opportunities to country-based students and researchers.

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.

Organisation and governance

Learning Centre, city west campus

A faculty structure was adopted in 1992, and in 1993 UniSA established the Australian Technology Network (ATN) with the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Curtin University of Technology in Perth, RMIT University in Melbourne and the University of Technology, Sydney.

In 1994, the first two research institutes, the Ian Wark Research Institute and the Institute for Telecommunications Research were established, followed in 1996 by the Flexible Learning Centre, which played a major role in facilitating strategic directions for improving teaching and learning.

In 1997, UniSA became one of the first universities to identify seven Graduate Qualities, which remain central to teaching and learning framework, and adopted a Statement of Commitment to Aboriginal Reconciliation. A Statement of Strategic Intent was formalised in 1998 to clearly define the University's character and objectives, and the current divisional structure replaced the faculty structure.

Central to the University's evolution as a modern and diverse institution was Blueprint 2005, a $140 million project that saw the closure of the Underdale campus, the construction of major buildings at City West, City East and Mawson Lakes campuses, and the extension of others. Phase one was completed in early 2005 and phase two which included the construction of the Hawke Building at City West was completed in October 2007.

Division of Health Sciences

Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences

UniSA Business School

Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment

Research Institutes



Name Position Commenced Concluded
Denise Bradley[25] Vice Chancellor 1997 2007
David Klingberg[25] Chancellor 1998 2008
Alice McCleary[26] Deputy Chancellor 2002 2009
Peter Høj Vice Chancellor 2007 2012
Ian Gould Chancellor 2008 2015
Wendy Craik Deputy Chancellor 2010 current
David Lloyd Vice Chancellor 2013 current
Jim McDowell Chancellor 2016 current

Academic profile

Rankings and achievements

University rankings
University of South Australia
QS World[27] 288
THE-WUR World[28] 251-300
USNWR World[29] 479=
Australian rankings
QS National[30] 15
ERA National[31] 14

The university is ranked among the world's top universities with 97% of the university research outcomes in 2015 were classified as world class or above.[32] UniSA is ranked in the top 50 world universities under 50 years old by both Times Higher Education (#35) and QS (#25) world university rankings. THE also ranked the University of South Australia amongst the world’s best international universities[33]

UniSA Ventures

UniSA Ventures Pty Ltd (formerly ITEK) is the technology commercialisation arm of the university. It was formed in 1999 to provide a framework for the management of intellectual property. UniSA Ventures provides a way to address industry requirements using the expertise and capabilities within the university.


Student life


University of South Australia Students Association (USASA, formerly UniLife) is a democratic organisation run by students, which is responsive to student needs. USASA improves the quality of student life by providing administrative support to over 100 sporting and social clubs, a diverse 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.


UniSA Sport is the gateway to all sport and recreation at the University of South Australia. Established in 2013, UniSA Sport is part of the University of South Australia and therefore operates within the University's governance and management framework. UniSA Sport provides support for student sport and recreational clubs and activities at the University of South Australia. UniSA Sport works closely with all stakeholders and external strategic partners to deliver the best possible sport and physical recreation opportunities and experience for the University community.

On 24 November 2016 it was announced that University of South Australia's soccer team UniSA FC would be entered in the State League 2 2017 season[34]

Notable alumni


Business and commerce

Human Rights

Journalism and media



See also


  2. News Release, University of South Australia, 17 August 2006
  3. "Universities Australia - University of South Australia".
  4. "University legislation". University of South Australia. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  6. "genealogy". University of South Australia. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  7. "Australian Higher Education Institutions: Mergers and Amalgamations 1987-2004" (PDF). Universities Australia website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  8. "SA's campus makeover". The Advertiser. 27 November 2002.
  9. "BLUEPRINT UniSA - ADVERTISING FEATURE - Ambitious plan a reality". The Advertiser. 26 April 2005.
  11. McCulloch, Alan Encyclopedia of Australian Art Hutchinson of London 1968 ISBN 0-09-081420-7
  12. "The Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships". University of South Australia. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  13. "UniSA Milestones". University of South Australia. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  14. 1 2 "UniSA genealogy". University of South Australia. Retrieved 29 July 2008.
  15. "School of Art History Project". University of South Australia. 26 August 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  16. 1 2 3 "UniSA Milestones". University of South Australia. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  17. "The Late Sir George Brookman". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 21 June 1927. p. 12. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  18. "New $80m Learning Centre". University of South Australia. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  19. "Basil Hetzel Building". University of South Australia. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  20. "UniSA Facilities Management Unit Announcement". University of South Australia. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  21. "Hawke Building opens – a hallmark of character, innovation and leadership" (Press release). University of South Australia. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  22. "From Blueprint to Landmark – UniSA City West buildings launched" (Press release). University of South Australia. 26 April 2005. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  23. The Adelaide Planetarium University of South Australia. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  24. "Whyalla Campus". University of South Australia. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  25. 1 2 "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). University of South Australia. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  26. "Annual Report 2009" (PDF). University of South Australia. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  27. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  28. "World University Rankings 2016-2017". TSL Education Limited.
  29. "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities Rankings 2016". U.S. News and World Report.
  30. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  31. "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network.
  34. "FFSA welcomes UniSA FC to State League 2".
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