University of South Australia

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 32,000 students.

University of South Australia
TypePublic research university
  • 1856 SA School of Arts
  • 1889 SA School of Mines & Industries
  • 1991 University of South Australia
EndowmentA$610.8 million
ChancellorPauline Carr
Vice-ChancellorDavid Lloyd
Academic staff
2,816 (Full-time) [1]
Students31,966 (2017) [2]
Undergraduates18,557 (2017 EFTSL Full-time equiv.) [2]
Postgraduates3,585 (2017 EFTSL Full-time equiv.) [2]
South Australia

34°55′29.41″S 138°35′44.35″E
SportsUniSA Sport

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).[3] The legislation to establish and name the new University of South Australia was introduced by the Hon Mike Rann MP, Minister of Employment and Further Education.[4] 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".[5]

UniSA is among the world's top universities, ranked in the World's Top 50 Under 50 by both the Quacarelli Symonds (QS) World University Ranking (#25) and Times Higher Education (THE) (#26). It has two Adelaide city centre campuses, two Adelaide metropolitan campuses, and two South Australian regional campuses.


UniSA was formed in 1991 by the merger of the South Australian Institute of Technology with three South Australian College of Advanced Education campuses.[6] 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.[7]

School of Arts

The South Australian School of Arts can trace its history back to 1856[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]


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.[11]

The CAE themselves were formed from various teachers' colleges in 1973.[6]

  • Adelaide CAE developed from Adelaide Teachers' College (est. 1921), which had its roots in a training school established in 1876.
  • Murray Park CAE originated from Wattle Park Teachers College, which branched off from Adelaide Teachers College in 1957.
  • Torrens CAE had its origins in the South Australian School of Arts, which dates back to 1856,[12] and in Western Teachers College, which branched off from Adelaide Teachers College in 1962.
  • Kingston CAE developed from the Adelaide Kindergarten Teachers College (est. 1967), which had its roots in a kindergarten training centre established in 1907.
  • Sturt CAE was originally Bedford Park Teachers College (est. 1966).
  • Salisbury CAE was originally Salisbury Teachers College (est. 1968).

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


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.[11] The building, the gift of Sir George Brookman,[13] was from 1918 to 1960 the home of Adelaide Technical High School. In 1960 it became the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) and 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.[6][11] 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.[11] 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 3 campuses in suburban Adelaide, and had a broad range of topics making it a clear fit with neither institution, though SACAE was chosen in the end.

Modern Era

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.

In 2013, the university released the 2013–2018 Strategic Plan named "Crossing The Horizon", shaping the future actions of the university nationally and internationally.[14] 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.

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,[15] but the merger was called off in October 2018.[16]


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 delivers its offshore degree programs in collaboration with private institutions in Hong Kong Baptist University and other higher education institutions throughout Asia.

City East

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 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.[17] There was a major reconstruction to the historic School of Mines building in 2008–09[18] 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 encompasses the schools of Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery, Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Population Health and The Sansom Institute for Health Research.

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).

A part of the UNISA city East campus has been converted into a school ( known as the Botanic High School ). Construction on the school was completed in 2019 and the school opened the same year.[19]

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 2005, including the $35 million Hawke building, named in honour of former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke and opened in 2007.[20] 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 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.[21]

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' Museum of Discovery (MOD>)


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 Creative Industries.[22] As home to the largest cohort of teaching students in the State, the purpose-built SamsungSMARTSchool at UniSA, located at the Magill campus, is a key initiative in the development of UniSA's teacher education.

Mawson Lakes

Mawson Lakes (formerly The Levels) 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 and innovation in engineering and the physical sciences. The campus also houses a number of industry collaborations within the space and defence industries.[23]


Programs offered at Whyalla include nursing, social work, early childhood and primary teaching, engineering and community wellbeing as well as a Foundation Studies program.[24]

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.[25] 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

Division of Health Sciences

  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences
  • School of Population Health

Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences

  • School of Art, Architecture and Design
  • School of Creative Industries
  • School of Education
  • School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy

UniSA Business School

  • School of Commerce
  • School of Management
  • School of Marketing
  • School of Law

Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment

  • School of Engineering
  • School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences
  • School of Natural and Built Environments

Research Institutes The University of South Australia is home to three flagship institutes:



Name Position Commenced Concluded
John McDonald Chancellor 1991 1992
Basil Hetzel Chancellor 1992 1998
David Klingberg[26] Chancellor 1998 2008
Ian Gould Chancellor 2008 2015
Jim McDowell Chancellor 2016 2018
Pauline Carr Chancellor 2018 current
Alan Mead Vice-Chancellor 1991 1992
David Robinson Vice-Chancellor 1992 1997
Denise Bradley[26] Vice Chancellor 1997 2007
Peter Høj Vice Chancellor 2007 2012
David Lloyd Vice Chancellor 2013 current
Alice McCleary[27] Deputy Chancellor 2002 2009
Wendy Craik Deputy Chancellor 2010 2018
The Hon John Hill[28] Deputy Chancellor 2018 current

Academic profile

Rankings and achievements

University rankings
University of South Australia
QS World[29]274
THE-WUR World[30]251-300
USNWR World[31]384
CWTS Leiden World[32]250
Australian rankings
QS National[29]17
THE-WUR National[33]13=
CWTS Leiden National[32]16
ERA National[34]8[35]

The University of South Australia is ranked within the top 300 universities worldwide by the QS World University Rankings [36] and 251-300th ranking bracket by the 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[37] UniSA Business School is fully accredited by EQUIS, which accredited fewer than 200 universities worldwide.[38] In 2015 in the Excellence in Research for Australia rankings, 97% of UniSA's research was rated at world class or above.[39] In 2018, this was upgraded to 100% of UniSA's research at or above world class.[40]


Student life


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.


UniSA Sport, which manages the sporting life of students at the university, organizes 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.

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.[43]

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.


2019Terry Evans [44]
2019Adam Goodes [45][46]
2019Jim McDowell [47]
2019The Honourable Dr Brendan Nelson, AO [48]
2018 [49]Deborah Cheetham, AO
2018The Honourable Greg Combet, AM
2018Peter Gago, AC
2018Eric Idle
2018William Muirhead, AM
2018Adjunct Associate Professor Monica Oliphant, AO
2017 [50]Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik, AO
2017The Honourable Julia Gillard, AC
2017Dr Ian Gould, AM
2017Janet Holmes à Court, AC
2017Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston, AK, AC (Mil), AFC
2017Thomas Keneally, AO
2017The Honourable John Mansfield, AM, QC
2017Kevin O'Loughlin, OAM
2017Curtis Wong
2016Mr Jack Manning Bancroft
2016Professor Gary Banks, AO
2016Ms Maggie Beer, AM
2016Mrs Marie Coleman, AO
2016Ms Evonne Goolagong Cawley, AC, MBE
2016Professor Lord Anthony Giddens
2016Mr John Barry Humphries, AO, CBE
2015Professor Gerald Goodhardt
2015Professor Robyn Williams, AM
2014Dr Wolf Blass, AM
2014Major General Charles Bolden Jr.
2014The Honourable Quentin Bryce, AD, CVO
2014Professor Brian Burdekin, AO
2014Mr Vinton G Cerf
2014Mr Peter Gabriel
2014Dr Jane Goodall, DBE
2014Professor Peter Høj, AC
2014Professor Mary McAleese
2014Sir Terence Pratchett, OBE
2014Dr Anne Summers, AO
2013Mr Sydney Ball
2013The Honourable Alexander Downer, AC
2013Mr Michael Heard
2013The Honourable Robyn Layton, AO, QC
2012Ms Fiona Hall, AO
2011Emeritus Professor Maxwell Brennan, AO
2011Ms Alice McCleary
2011Professor Ashis Nandy
2011Mr Jeffrey Smart, AO
2010Adjunct Professor Neil Bryans
2010Professor Brian Vincent
2009Mr Martin Albrecht, AC
2009Mr David Klingberg, AO
2009Professor Jarl Rosenholm
2008Mr Milton Moon, AM
2008Dr Pamela Ryan, OAM
2007Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley, AC
2007Professor Don Bursill, AM
2007Dr Ron Radford, AM
2007Professor Leanna Read
2006Mr Norton Jackson, AM
2006Mr Mike Rann, AC
2006Honourable Susan Ryan, AO
2005Professor Frank Bass
2005Dr Julian Burnside, QC
2005Mr Leon Davis, AO
2005Professor Andrew Ehrenberg
2005Professor R Natarajan
2005Dr Gregor Ramsey, AM
2005Dr Simon Wong
2004Mr Phillip Adams, AO
2004Mr Stephen Page, AM
2003Mr Maurice de Rohan, AO, OBE
2003Dr Alfred Huang, AM
2003Dr Yuan Tseh Lee
2003Professor Zhang Xiaowei
2002Ms Dagmar Egen, AM
2002Professor Eleanor Ramsay
2001The Honourable Justice Michael Kirby, AC, CMG
2000Mr Rick Allert, AO
2000Mr Kym Bonython, AC
2000Adjunct Professor Lyndsay Connors, AM
2000Dr Patricia Crook, AO
2000Dr Malcolm Kinnaird, AC
1999The Honourable Dr Basil Hetzel, AC
1999Dr Colin Thiele, AC
1999Professor Lyndall Ryan
1998Dr Julian Clark
1998Honourable Robert J. L. Hawke, AC
1998Mr Nelson Mandela
1998Dr Alice Rigney, AO
1998Ms Ruth Tuck, AO
1998Mr Bruce Webb
1998Dr Don Williams, AO
1997Honourable Justice Samuel Jacobs, AO
1997Mr John Kundereri Moriarty, AM
1997Dr S (Max) Richards
1997Mr Daniel Thomas, AM
1997Ms Sue Vardon, AO
1996Mr Archie Barton, AM
1996Dr Betty Davis, AM
1996Honourable Dr John Dawkins, AO
1996Ms Wendy McCarthy, AO
1996Sir Eric Neal, AC, CVO
1996Honourable Justice John Von Doussa, AO, QC
1995Ms Doreen Kartinyeri
1995Dr Christobel Mattingley, AM
1995Dr David Pank, AM
1995Dr James CY Soong
1994Ms Anne Deveson, AO
1994Dame Roma Mitchell, AC, DBE
1994Mr John Uhrig, AC
1994Mr Gavin Walkley, AM
1993Dr Jean Blackburn, AO
1993Ms Alison Crook, AO
1993Dr James May
1993Mr John McDonald, AM
1993Professor Lowitja O’Donoghue, AC, CBE, DSJ

See also


  1. "UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA : ANNUAL REPORT 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  3. "UniSA Business School – 25 years of enterprise".
  4. News Release, University of South Australia, 17 August 2006
  5. "University legislation". University of South Australia. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  6. "UniSA 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. "About the School of Arts".
  9. McCulloch, Alan Encyclopedia of Australian Art Hutchinson of London 1968 ISBN 0-09-081420-7
  10. "The Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships". University of South Australia. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  11. "UniSA Milestones". University of South Australia. 22 November 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  12. "School of Art History Project". University of South Australia. 26 August 2010. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  13. "The Late Sir George Brookman". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 21 June 1927. p. 12. Retrieved 1 December 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  14. UniSA. "The University of South Australia: Home". Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  15. Griffiths, Luke. "South Australian universities in merger talks". The Australian. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  16. University of Adelaide and UniSA decide against merger ABC News, 23 October 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  17. "Basil Hetzel Building". University of South Australia. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  18. "UniSA Facilities Management Unit Announcement". University of South Australia. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  20. "Hawke Building opens – a hallmark of character, innovation and leadership" (Press release). University of South Australia. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  21. "From Blueprint to Landmark – UniSA City West buildings launched" (Press release). University of South Australia. 26 April 2005. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  22. UniSA. "Magill campus". Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  23. The Adelaide Planetarium University of South Australia. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  24. "Whyalla Campus". University of South Australia. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  25. UniSA. "The University of South Australia: Home". Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  26. "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). University of South Australia. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  27. "Annual Report 2009" (PDF). University of South Australia. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  28. "Council Members". University of South Australia. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  29. "QS World University Rankings 2020". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  30. "World University Rankings 2019". TSL Education Limited.
  31. "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News and World Report.
  32. "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017". Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University.
  33. "THE 2019 - Australia". Times Higher Education.
  34. "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network.
  35. "All unis winners in research audit". The Australian. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  36. "QS World University Rankings 2018". 1 February 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  37.!/page/0/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  38. Pergoot, Nick. "EQUIS Accredited Schools". Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  39. 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)
  41. "101 things you might not know about UniSA" (PDF). November 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  42. David Lloyd, Great things come to those who wait… UniSA website, 30 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  43. "Honorary Awards". University of South Australia. University of South Australia. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  44. "Fellow for UniSA's governance guru, Terry Evans". University of South Australia. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  45. "UniSA honours AFL legend, Adam Goodes". University of South Australia. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  46. Sulda, Dixie (24 April 2019). "AFL legend Adam Goodes awarded honorary doctorate by UniSA". The Advertiser. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  47. "Champion of education, Jim McDowell recognised for his service". University of South Australia. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  48. "UniSA honours Australia's War Memorial Chief". University of South Australia. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  49. "2018 award recipients". University of South Australia. University of South Australia. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  50. "2017 award recipients". University of South Australia. University of South Australia. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
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