University of Newcastle (Australia)

The University of Newcastle
Latin: Universitas Novocastrium
Former name
I look ahead (English)
TypePublic research university
  • 1951 (university college)
  • 1965 (university status)
Academic affiliations
EndowmentA$1.6 billion (2022)
BudgetA$844.35 million (2022)
VisitorGovernor of New South Wales (ex officio)
ChancellorPaul Jeans FRSN FAICD
Vice-ChancellorProf Alex Zelinsky AO FAA FTSE FRSN
Academic staff
1,077 (FTE, 2022)
Administrative staff
1,568 (FTE, 2022)
Total staff
2,644 regular (2022)
424 casual (2022)
Students37,045 (2022)
Undergraduates24,316 (2022)
Postgraduates6,691 (2022)
1,607 (2022)
Other students
4,431 (2022)
University Drive
, , ,
32°53′34″S 151°42′16″E / 32.89278°S 151.70444°E / -32.89278; 151.70444
CampusUrban and regional with multiple sites
ColoursMaroon and white
Sporting affiliations
MascotHunter the Hippocampus

The University of Newcastle is a public university in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Established in 1965, it has a primary campus in the Newcastle suburb of Callaghan. The university also operates campuses in Central Coast, Singapore, Newcastle City in the Hunter as well as Sydney.

Historically, the University of Newcastle Medical School has implemented the problem-based learning system for its undergraduate Bachelor of Medicine program – a system later mandated for use by the Australian Medical Council throughout Australia. It pioneered use of the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) in the early 1990s. UMAT has since been accepted widely by different medical schools across Australia as an additional selection criteria.

The University of Newcastle is a member of the Australian Technology Network, Universities Australia and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.



The earliest origins of the present-day University of Newcastle can be traced to the Newcastle Teachers College (established 1949) and Newcastle University College (NUC, established 1951). NUC was created as an offshoot of the New South Wales University of Technology (now known as the University of New South Wales) and was co-located with the Newcastle Technical College at Tighes Hill. At the time of its establishment, NUC had just five full-time students and study was restricted to engineering, mathematics and science.


Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Newcastle residents campaigned for NUC to be re-constituted as a university in its own right. The campaign was ultimately successful, with the University of Newcastle being established as an autonomous institution on 1 January 1965 by gubernatorial proclamation under the University of Newcastle Act 1964 (NSW). The new university was granted a heraldic coat of arms by the College of Arms in London, an event seen by many in the community as signifying the new institution's independence. In 1966, the university relocated from Tighes Hill to a largely undeveloped bushland site in Shortland.

As enrolments grew, the university embarked on a major building program and redeveloped the Shortland site into the Callaghan campus, named for Sir Bede Callaghan, foundation member of the university council and chancellor from 1977 to 1988.

Students at the university celebrate Autonomy Day on 1 July of each year. According to unverified sources, official autonomy was marked on 1 January 1965 with a "symbolic ceremonial bonfire held at the site of the Great Hall". This celebration is said to have been officiated by Professor Godfrey Tanner who is said to have poured wine libations onto the ground as to "sanctify the land upon which the University rests". Since the university technically became autonomous on 1 January 1965 autonomy day should be held on 1 January. 1 July actually coincided with the New South Wales University of Technology’s autonomy from the Public Service Board’s authority on 1 July 1954. According to Don Wright, students interpreted Autonomy Day as celebrating the autonomy of the University of Newcastle from the University of New South Wales. The students were entitled to give the celebration whatever meaning they chose. The fact that they called it ‘autonomy day’ heightened the students’ sense of the importance of autonomy and their need to defend it against outside interference.


In 1989, the Dawkins reforms amalgamated the Hunter Institute of Higher Education with the University of Newcastle. Newcastle Teachers College had been established in 1949 and was later renamed the Newcastle College of Advanced Education and finally the Hunter Institute of Higher Education as it had expanded its educational offerings beyond teacher education to nursing, other allied health professions, business, and fine arts. The Hunter Institute was located in a series of buildings on land immediately adjacent to the University at Callaghan and amalgamation expanded the campus to some 140 hectares. Under the reforms, the university also gained the Newcastle branch of the NSW Conservatorium of Music located in the city's central business district.

In 1998, the university established a partnership with the Institut Wira, a Malaysian private business school. In 2002, Ian Firms, a lecturer, failed a large number of student papers from Wira for academic dishonesty, but his actions were reversed by the Newcastle administration and he was discharged. He then appealed to the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption, which made a finding of corruption against Dr. Paul Ryder, a failure by Vice Chancellor Roger Holmes in the execution of his duty and recommended disciplining the deputy vice chancellor, Professor Brian English.

In 2003, the University of Newcastle, together with five other Australian universities (Macquarie, La Trobe, Flinders, Griffith and Murdoch) established Innovative Research Universities Australia (IRUA).

Forty years after obtaining autonomy, the University of Newcastle has developed a reputable position in national and international university standings; ranked in the 10–14 range of the 38 universities in Australia by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and 215th in the world by the Times Higher Education Supplement in 2007.

The university unveiled a new logo on 31 March 2007 as part of a brand refresh to align the university's image more closely with its new strategic direction.

On 11 May 2007, the university launched a campus at the PSB Academy's two main campuses in Singapore. On 30 July 2015, Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete was the first head of state to be awarded an honorary degree (Doctor of Laws) by the university.



Order Chancellor Years Notes
1 The Hon. Sir Alister McMullin KCMG 1966–1977
2 Sir Bede Callaghan CBE 1977–1988
3 The Hon. Elizabeth Evatt AC 1988 – 1994
4 Ric Charlton AM 1994–2004
5 Professor Trevor Waring AM 2004–2012
6 Dr Ken Moss AM May–Oct 2012
The Hon. John Price AM JP (Acting) 2012–2013
7 Paul Jeans FAICD 2013–present

Vice-Chancellor and Presidents

Order Vice-Chancellor Years Notes
1 Professor James Auchmuty CBE, FRHistS, FAHA 1965–1974
2 Professor Donald William George AO , FIMechE, FIEE 1975–1986
3 Professor Keith Morgan FRSC 1987–1993
4 Professor Raoul Mortley AO 1993–1996
5 Professor Roger Holmes 1996–2004
6 Professor Nicholas Saunders AO 2004–2011
7 Professor Caroline McMillen AO, FAHMS 2011–2018
8 Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, FAA, FTSE, FRSN 2018–present


The university offers online, face-to-face, or a mix of the two, with campuses at Callaghan, Ourimbah, Port Macquarie, Singapore and Sydney CBD. The university also has three premises within the Newcastle city centre.

Newcastle (Callaghan campus)

The Callaghan campus is the university's main and largest campus. It is located in the Newcastle suburb of Callaghan situated approximately 12 kilometres (7 mi) from Newcastle CBD. The campus is placed on 140 hectares (346 acres) of natural bushland within which the university's numerous buildings are located. The land is traditionally owned by the Pambalong clan of the Awabakal people, a connection which has been developed by the university and is seen as a selling point for academics.

Many of the university's operations are run out of the Callaghan campus, including student administration, course and degree program planning, and the university's Teaching and Learning division. All the major colleges are based on the campus. The campus also has access to the Auchmuty and Huxley libraries. Various other facilities are available on the campus, including several sporting fields, a sports and aquatic centre, and five on-campus residential colleges (Edwards Hall, International House, Evatt House, Barahineban and the recently built New Residences). The business and commerce programs offered by Newcastle Business School via the Callaghan campus are accredited by AACSB International.

Central Coast (Ourimbah and Gosford campuses)

Ourimbah Campus is a cross-institutional campus, with the University of Newcastle, TAFE NSW – Hunter Institute, and the Central Coast Community College each having a presence. It is located in the Central Coast suburb of Ourimbah, on the traditional lands of the Darkinjung people. The Faculties of Business and Law, Education and Arts, Science, and Health each have a presence on the campus. In total, they provide sixteen undergraduate degree programs and one postgraduate program, five of which are exclusive to the campus. The Bachelor of Commerce program offered by Newcastle Business School via the Ourimbah campus is accredited by AACSB International.

Singapore campus

The Singapore campus is the university's first overseas campus, which includes both the Delta campus and the Henderson campus of PSB Academy in the Central Region (Tiong Bahru) of Singapore. This new campus covers an area of 19,000 square metres (204,514 sq ft) behind the Tiong Bahru Plaza. The undergraduate Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Commerce programs, and the Master of Business Administration offered by Newcastle Business School via the UoN Singapore campus are accredited by AACSB International.

Sydney CBD campus

The University of Newcastle Sydney CBD campus provides a number of postgraduate degree programs from the Faculty of Business and Law and the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre. The postgraduate programs offered by Newcastle Business School via the Sydney CBD campus are accredited by AACSB International.

Newcastle City campus

Civic light rail station with the UoN NewSpace (X) building in the background
Civic light rail station with the UoN NUspace (X) building in the background

The university also has a presence on several sites within the Newcastle CBD. The School of Music and Conservatorium is located in the Civic Theatre precinct, the School of Law, Legal Centre, the School of Creative Industries and Graduate School of Business are located in University House, and the Newcastle Institute of Public Health is located in the David Maddison Building on the site of the Royal Newcastle Hospital. University House is a landmark Art Deco sandstone building directly opposite Civic Park.

In mid-2017 NUspace (X) opened to staff and students on the corner of Auckland and Hunter Streets, accommodating the Faculty of Business and Law and the School of Creative Industries. Designed by Lyons and EJE Architecture, the building was officially opened on 25 May 2018 by the Premier, the Hon Gladys Berejiklian, Minister for Education, the Hon Rob Stokes and the then university vice-chancellor, Caroline McMillen.

In February 2019, the university announced further plans to expand their presence in the CBD with the development of the Hunter Innovation Project (HIP) Innovation Hub for the School of Creative Industries on the site of the former Newcastle heavy rail corridor. The project is expected to be completed by late 2020. The HIP project is the first stage of a 10-year master plan which the university has proposed for the city.

Online learning

Until 2018, GradSchool was the University of Newcastle's dedicated hub for postgraduate coursework students. From 2001 to 2018, GradSchool was responsible for online learning, offering graduate students from around the world convenient access to more than 60 postgraduate qualifications delivered by the University of Newcastle.[citation needed] Online interaction took place via "Blackboard", a web-based learning system which hosted courses entirely online.

Since 2018, postgraduate degrees are now delivered directly by the University of Newcastle through their Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), known as UONline (including Blackboard), as well as through face-to-face teaching.

In 2022, the university switched from using Blackboard to using Canvas for online learning.

Colleges and schools

The Medical Sciences Building
Nursing Lecture Theatre near Hunter Building, Callaghan campus (formally the Richardson Theatre)

The university offers certificates, diplomas and degrees through three colleges and thirteen schools. Prior to 2022, colleges were known as "faculties", with five faculties and twelve schools.

List of colleges and schools
College of Engineering, Science, and Environment
  • School of Architecture and Built Environment
  • School of Engineering
  • School of Environment and Life Sciences
  • School of Information and Physical Sciences
  • School of Psychological Sciences
College of Health, Medicine, and Well Being
  • School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Medicine and Public Health
  • School of Nursing and Midwifery
College of Human and Social Futures
  • Newcastle Business School
  • School of Law and Justice
  • School of Humanities, Creative Industries, and Social Sciences
  • School of Education

The university offers Indigenous studies through the Wollotuka Institute. Additionally, the Pathways and Academic Learning Support Centre provides tertiary preparation programs for recent school leavers, mature-aged students and Indigenous students.

Research centres and institutes

The university is home to a number of research centres. Its major centres are the Central Coast Research Institute (CCRI), Hunter Medical Research Institute, and Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER). It also has a number of centres grouped as priority research centres; Australian Research Council centres and hubs; National Health and Medical Research Council centres and programs; cooperative research centres; multi-institutional research centres; and university centres.

The Purai Global Indigenous History Centre is a university centre whose focus is "integrating global and transnational analytical perspectives and frameworks with research on Indigenous and diaspora histories and other related histories of race". The word Purai is from the Awabakal language, and means "the world", or "earth". It is led by historian John Maynard. The centre was opened in March 2021, with the inaugural John Maynard Aboriginal history lecture given by Larissa Behrendt.

Rankings and reputation

University rankings
Global rankings
U.S. News & World Report230=
CWTS Leiden362
Australian rankings
U.S. News & World Report16=
CWTS Leiden15

Research produced by the Melbourne Institute in 2006 ranked Australian universities across seven main discipline areas: Arts & Humanities, Business & Economics, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Science. For each discipline, University of Newcastle was ranked:

Discipline R 1 No. R 2 No.
Arts & Humanities 15 38 14 38
Business & Economics 20 39 26 38
Education 15 35 17 32
Engineering 8 28 7 28
Law 20 29 22 28
Medicine 10 14 10 13
Science 16 38 14 35
  • R1 refers to Australian and overseas Academics' rankings in tables 3.1 – 3.7 of the report.
  • R2 refers to the Articles and Research rankings in tables 5.1 – 5.7 of the report.
  • No. refers to the total number of institutions in the table against which University of Newcastle is compared.

Student body and organisations

In 2019, the university had a total enrolment of 37,946 students, including over 7,000 international students from more than 113 countries.

The university is recognised for its commitment to equity in education, and consistently enrols more students of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background than any other Australian university. It has graduated more than 60% of the nation's indigenous doctors. In addition to a high enrollment rate, the university's retention rate for Indigenous students is also high at almost 80%. This is attributed to the work of the Wollotuka Institute.

From 2016 to 2020 students of the university were represented by three entities: The Newcastle University Students' Association (NUSA), Yourimbah, and Newcastle University Postgraduate Students' Association (NUPSA); In 2020 these entities ceased operations and combined to form a single student association known as University of Newcastle Student's Association (UNSA).

UoN Services is responsible for the social life of the university, as well as most of the commercial facilities on campus. It organises all the main entertainment events, usually performed at the university's two licensed venues, the Bar on the Hill and the Godfrey Tanner (GT) Bar. Apart from student contributions (which have dropped significantly since the abolition of universal student unionism), the UoN Services generates income from the stores, restaurants and bars on the Callaghan and city campuses. UoN Services also funds the production of Yak Media. Yak Media includes Yak Magazine and Yak TV (formerly UTV). Yak Magazine is a monthly publication run by an editorially independent student team. Yak TV is produced by a student media production team and reports on upcoming university events, gigs and services.

UNSA is primarily an advocacy organisation, representing undergraduate, postgraduate, and research students at all campuses on a variety of issues from political activism to the internal organisation of the university. UNSA also runs events and workshops, facilitates a portion of the student clubs, and produces Opus, the university's magazine written by and for students.

Campus Central (Central Coast Campus Union Limited trading as Campus Central) is a single organisation looking after all the interests (commercial, sporting and advocacy) of students at the Ourimbah campus.

Facilities and services


The University of Newcastle library is made up of three libraries across three campuses. They include the Auchmuty, Ourimbah, and Newcastle City campus libraries. The largest of these is the Auchmuty library on the Callaghan campus, which holds a significant traditional collection, including rare books and archives. Auchmuty holds a broad collection supporting a number of schools, including education, nursing, and fine arts. The Ourimbah library on the Central Coast campus holds a collection of both university and TAFE texts to facilitate the needs of the joint campus. An information common, similar to the one located in the Auchmuty library, is also available. The Newcastle City campus library is also part of The University of Newcastle library. In recent years the library has created interdisciplinary learning environments such as a Micro Studio for multimedia production and a Maker Space to engage students in creative problem solving.

The whole catalogue of the university library is available across any of its constituent libraries. The library is a member of the Council of Australian University Librarians. It also keeps New South Wales state archives that have been held by the university since 1975. The state archives reside within the University Archives, and consist of a collection of approximately 600 linear shelf metres.

Auchmuty Library entrance and courtyard, Callaghan campus

Sporting facilities

The university offers access to a number of sporting facilities across its campuses. The Callaghan campus has the majority of these facilities; this includes six sporting ovals, squash & tennis courts, and a sports and aquatic centre. NUsport manages these facilities through an organisation known as "The Forum". "The Forum Sports & Aquatic Centre, University" boasts an olympic-sized swimming pool, the second highest climbing wall in the southern hemisphere and various other sporting facilities. It is also the site of training for sport teams including the Newcastle Knights from National Rugby League (NRL), the Newcastle Jets from the A-League and the Hunter Hurricanes National League Water Polo team. The Forum also has a centre near the Newcastle CBD known as "The Forum, Health and Wellness centre, Harbourside".

Internship services

The university works with partners including CRCC Asia and The Intern Group to arrange internship placements outside of Australia for its students.

Notable alumni

Coat of arms

Coat of arms of University of Newcastle
University of Newcastle arms, granted on 1 June 1965 by Garter King-at-Arms, comprise:
Azure, a Sea Horse naiant, in dexter chief a representation of the Constellation of the Southern Cross of five Mullets all Argent.
I look Ahead
Seahorse and other heraldic elements taken from the arms of Newcastle's founder Commander John Shortland RN, with the Southern Cross in addition.


Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies
Publication details
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4J. Interdiscip. Gend. Stud.

The School of Humanities and Social Science, within the faculty of Education and Arts published the Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies (JIGS) from 1996 to 2007.

Aboriginal massacres database

See also

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