Curtin University

Curtin University (formerly known as Curtin University of Technology and Western Australian Institute of Technology) is an Australian public research university based in Bentley and Perth, Western Australia. It is named after John Curtin, Prime Minister of Australia from 1941 to 1945, and is the largest university in Western Australia, with 56,662 students in 2017.[1]

Curtin University
Curtin University logo
Former names
Western Australian Institute of Technology (1966–1986)
Curtin University of Technology (1986–2010)
MottoMake Tomorrow Better
ChancellorAndrew Crane
Vice-ChancellorDeborah Terry
Academic staff
1,866 (2017-FTE)[1]
Undergraduates49,634 (2017)[1]
Postgraduates8,878 (2017)[1]
Location, ,

32°00′22″S 115°53′36″E
CampusUrban; 116 hectares[2]
AffiliationsATN, ASAIHL, OUA

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, Malaysia, Dubai and Mauritius. It has ties with 90 exchange universities in 20 countries.[3] The University comprises five main faculties with over 95 specialists centres. It had a Sydney campus from 2005 to 2016; on 17 September 2015, Curtin University Council made a decision to close its Sydney campus by early 2017.[4]

Curtin University was established as Australia’s first university of technology and is a member of Australian Technology Network (ATN). Curtin University is active in research in a range of academic and practical fields, 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.[5]

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, and has received funding from major Chinese companies such as Tencent.[7] 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.[8] Western Australia has become an important exporter of minerals, petroleum and natural gas.[9] The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Woodside-funded hydrocarbon research facility during his visit to Australia in 2005.[10] Funding from major Chinese companies connected to the state have led to concerns that Curtin University has limited academic freedom on certain topics.[7]


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).[11] Between 1966 and 1976 WAIT experienced an expansion from 2,000 to 10,000 students.[12]

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.[13] Curtin University took its name from the former Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin. Curtin accepted its first students as a university in 1987.

In 2005, Curtin and Murdoch University were engaged in a feasibility study into the possibility of a merger.[14] However, on 7 November 2005, both institutions announced that a merger would not be undertaken.[15]

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.[16]

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 parliament.[17]


Curtin has three smaller off-site campuses within the Perth metropolitan area. The Graduate School of Business building is located in the Perth Central Business District in the renovated former Government Printing Office and the law school is located on Murray Street in the old Public Health Department and Chief Secretary's building, a listed building on the State Register of Heritage Places.

Exploration Geophysics and Petroleum Engineering are located at the co-location research facilities of the Australian Resources Research Centre (ARRC[18]) which also houses offices of CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering[19] and National Measurement Institute.[20] The ARRC is located in the Technology Park Bentley, 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[21] 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.

Dubai Campus

In April 2017 Curtin University established its newest campus in Dubai at Dubai International Academic City. Australian Ambassador to the UAE HE Arthur Spyrou officially opened the campus on 10 September 2017. Curtin University Dubai courses use the same structure and unit curriculum as those offered at the Bentley campus. Curtin University Dubai is accredited by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority-KHDA. The Academic qualifications granted by Curtin University is certified by KHDA and is recognised in the Emirate of Dubai by all public and private entities.

Malaysia 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 around 4,000 students from over 45 countries, and academics from more than 15 countries.[22] Curtin Malaysia is the only approved CISCO Networking University in Miri and Brunei.[23]

Singapore campus

Curtin University opened a Singapore-based campus on 23 November 2008.[24][25] Curtin Singapore courses use the same structure and unit curriculum as those offered at the Bentley campus.

Mauritius Campus

Curtin University opened its fourth international campus in Mauritius on 3 May 2018.

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 occupied the historical Berlei Building. Curtin Sydney previously offered 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.[4]


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. Curtin has its own internal bus network trialling autonomous buses on campus.



From 2007, the university's teaching and research is divided into five faculties (previously known as divisions).[26] These are:

  • Centre for Aboriginal Studies
  • Faculty of Business and Law
    • School of Accounting
    • School of Economics and Finance
    • School of Management
    • School of Marketing
    • Curtin Law School
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Curtin Medical School
    • School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine
    • School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science
    • School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology
    • School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science
    • School of Psychology
    • School of Public Health
  • Faculty of Humanities
    • School of Design and the Built Environment
    • School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry
    • School of Education
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering
    • School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering
    • School of Earth and Planetary Sciences
    • School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences
    • School of Molecular and Life Sciences
    • Western Australian School of Mines: Minerals and Energy Engineering


The main library is Robertson Library, located on the Bentley campus.[27] Curtin University Library includes the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library collection.[28]

Academic profile

The university is one of the partners in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, one of the largest cohorts of pregnancy, childhood, adolescence and early adulthood to be carried out anywhere in the world.[29]

Rankings and reputation

University rankings
Curtin University
QS World[30]250=
THE-WUR World[31]251-300
ARWU World[32]150-201
USNWR World[33]234=
CWTS Leiden World[34]239
Australian rankings
QS National[30]16
THE-WUR National[35]12=
ARWU National[36]9-10
USNWR National[37]9
CWTS Leiden National[34]12
ERA National[38]25[39]

Curtin University is ranked in the top one per cent of universities worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017. 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.[40] Curtin is ranked 250 by QS World University Rankings 2019.[41] As of 2018, the University is also ranked in The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) as one of the top 200 world universities.[42]

Curtin is ranked 2nd in the world for Engineering - Mineral & Mining in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.[43] In 2019 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject Curtin was ranked 5th in Australia for Architecture.

Curtin Creative Writing staff and alumni have won the Miles Franklin Award seven times.[44]

Student life


Curtin University offers on campus accommodation at four separate precincts which is managed by UniLodge.[45] These accommodation options include Kurrajong Village,[46] Erica Underwood House,[47] Guild House[48] and Vickery House.[49]

Student Guild

The Curtin Student Guild is the guild representing students at Curtin University. The guild was founded as the WAIT Student Guild in January 1969.

In addition to student representation the guild manages most of the food outlets on campus. The Guild Second Hand Bookshop, G-Mart Store (Curtin University Apparel), G-Mart Books; 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 Toga Party held in semester one and the previous notable event Grasslands Music Festival held in semester two. The Guild publishes Grok Magazine. 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.[50] Postgraduate Students are represented by the Postgraduate Students Committee, a committee of the Guild Council.

Notable people

Faculty and staff

Curtin's faculty includes prominent scholars such as environmental scientist Peter Newman, writer Kim Scott and isotope geochemist Kliti Grice.

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. "Curtin University Overview Statistics 2013-2017". Office of Strategy and Planning. Bentley, WA: Curtin University. 29 June 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  2. "Bentley (main campus)". Curtin University. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  3. "Explore global opportunities". 18 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  4. Cowling, Carole (17 September 2015). "Curtin to wind-up its Sydney operation - News and Events - Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia". Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  5. "Research & Development at Curtin". 2 August 2010. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  6. "AINSE Gold Medals". Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  7. Borrello, Eliza (11 November 2019). "James Jing says his research career is dead and he blames the 'tentacles' of influence from China". ABC News. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  8. "China signs WA gas deal". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 May 2005. Retrieved 25 October 2007.
  9. Amanda O'Brien (1 September 2007). "China overtakes Japan in WA trade". The Australian. Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  10. "Chinese Premier visits Curtin to view innovative technology". Curtin University Media Releases. 3 April 2006. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2007.
  11. "History: WAIT to Curtin". Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  12. 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 16 October 2011.
  13. "Western Australian Institute of Technology Amendment Act 1986: Proclamation". Western Australia Government Gazette. 19 December 1986. p. 1986:4861.
  14. "Curtin agrees to discuss merger". Curtin University Media Releases. 23 June 2007. Archived from the original on 19 August 2006. Retrieved 25 October 2007.
  15. "Curtin Murdoch merger proposal not to proceed". Curtin University Media Releases. 2 November 2007. Archived from the original on 19 August 2006. Retrieved 25 October 2007.
  16. Lane, Bernard (4 November 2009). "Dawkins reforms bear fruit at Curtin University". The Australian. Retrieved 14 November 2009.
  17. "Our name change - Curtin University". 7 July 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  18. "Perth: Australian Resources Research Centre (WA) - Participating Institutions". 18 December 2009. Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  19. "CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering". Archived from the original on 17 June 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  20. "Home - National Measurement Institute". 1 July 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  21. "Oral Health Centre of Western Australia (OHCWA)". 18 September 2007. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  22. "Curtin Sarawak Malaysia". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  23. Academy Connection - search for either Miri or Brunei
  24. Nicol, Julia (26 March 2008). "Curtin announces new Singapore Campus". Curtin News. Curtin University of Technology. Retrieved 30 March 2008.
  25. Yeen Nie, Hoe (27 March 2008). "Australia's Curtin University of Technology to open Singapore campus". Singapore News. Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
  26. Curtin University (13 September 2010). "Our study areas". Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  27. "Robertson Library". Curtin University. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  28. "Our Collections". Curtin University. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  29. "Long may kids' health study Raine | Health+Medicine".
  30. "QS World University Rankings 2020". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  31. "World University Rankings 2019". TSL Education Limited.
  32. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  33. "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News and World Report.
  34. "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017". Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University.
  35. "THE 2019 - Australia". Times Higher Education.
  36. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 - Australia". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  37. "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities in Australia/New Zealand". U.S. News and World Report.
  38. "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network.
  39. "All unis winners in research audit". The Australian. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  40. "QS World University Rankings® 2013/2014".
  41. "QS Top Universities". QS Top Universities. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  42. "Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2013".
  43. "Engineering - Mineral & Mining". QS. QS. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  44. "Curtin alumna in running for Miles Franklin Literary Award | News and Events". Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  45. "Student Accommodation Australia - Housing & Apartments". Unilodge.
  46. "Perth Student Accommodation | Curtin University". Unilodge.
  47. "Curtin Uni Accommodation | UniLodge Erica Underwood House". Unilodge.
  48. "Furnished Apartments Perth Near CU | UniLodge Guild House". Unilodge.
  49. "Curtin University Housing Perth | UniLodge Vickery House". Unilodge.
  50. "Student reps". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  51. "Celebrity Speakers Biography: Natalie Barr". Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  52. "Curtin Faculty of Humanities: Alumni". Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  53. "Curtin Alumni: Priya Cooper". Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  54. 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 15 February 2008.
  55. "Funny girl". Sydney Morning Herald. 12 July 2003. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  56. "Communication & Cultural Studies - Graduate Achievements". Archived from the original on 3 September 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  57. "Curtin Alumni: Sheila McHale". Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  58. "Ljiljanna Ravlich MLC Biography". Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  59. "Curtin Alumni: John Worsfold". Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2008.

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