Australian National University, Canberra

EducationWorld January 06 | Australia Institution Profile

Established by an act of parliament in 1946, Australian National University (ANU) is widely acknowledged as the sixth continent’s premier research and teaching institution of Higher Education, writes Summiya Yasmeen

Australian National University, Canberra

Strategically located in Canberra, the national capital, the Australian National University (ANU) is widely acknowledged as the sixth continent’s premier research and teaching institution of higher education. The Australian Good Universities Guide 2005 awarded it a five-star rating for six categories including prestige, staff qualifications, graduate starting salaries and placements. Moreover, the China-based Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Higher Education’s Academic Ranking of World Universitieshas ranked ANU ahead of every other university in the southern hemisphere two years (2004 and 05) in a row. 

Promoted by an act of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1946, ANU was established as the country’s first full-time research university without any teaching responsibilities. Its mandate was to undertake “postgraduate research and study both generally and in relation to subjects of national importance”. However, subsequently in 1960 following its amalgamation with the Canberra University College, it incorporated the latter institution’s undergraduate study programmes. Following another amalgamation in 1992 with the Canberra Institute of the Arts (comprising the Canberra School of Art and the Canberra School of Music), music and art study programmes were incorporated into its syllabus. Throughout these mergers and acquisitions, the research institutions of the parent ANU of 1946 vintage maintained their distinct identities under the umbrella of the Institute of Advanced Studies. Currently ANU’s seven faculties offer a wide range of undergrad, postgrad and doctoral programmes.

Sited on a leafy campus ANU has an aggregate enrollment of 13,500, of whom 8,700 are undergrad and 4,600 postgraduate students. Moreover it boasts more faculty with higher degrees, more ARC Discovery grants per staff member and more research expenditure per faculty member than any other Australian university.

“ANU continues to be a unique institution within the Australian university system. It is well placed to continue and build upon its role as a major centre of research in the natural, physical and social sciences and the humanities. It values its reputation as an innovative research and teaching university,” says Prof. Ian Chubb, vice chancellor and president of ANU.

Canberra. The capital of Australia, Canberra (pop.3.12 million) is an exquisitely designed city nestling in a picturesque bushland setting. With a history spanning just 80 years, Canberra combines the infrastructure and facilities of a modern city with the culture and vibrancy of a national capital. Designed by Chicago architect, Walter Burley Griffin, it is centred around a scenic lake bearing his name. Numerous parks and reserves dot the capital and careful integration of urban and natural environments has earned Canberra the sobriquet of “the bush capital”.

In addition to being the political hub of the nation, the capital’s intellectual and cultural life is enhanced by the activities of the diplomatic corps, with representatives from over 120 countries located in the city. Inevitably ANU is a neighbour to several national institutions including the high court of Australia, the National Gallery, the War Memorial, and the National Science and Technology Centre. The city is also blessed with an excellent public transport system and a network of bike paths. The average winter temperature is 12.1oC while in summer its 27oC.

Campus facilities. The ANU campus is self-contained with low-rise buildings set in 145 hectares of parkland, covered with exotic trees, attractive gardens, open spaces and soft lawns. Its state-of-the-art facilities include well-equipped lecture theatres, laboratories and first class computer labs. Three main libraries are supplemented by the law library and five science libraries. Together they house over two million volumes and provide access to CD-ROMs.

Indoor and outdoor sports facilities include two squash and 12 tennis courts, a sports recreation centre, and a rowing and sailing clubhouse. The university union is the focal point of student life. It includes the union shop, meeting places, cafes, union bar, post office, activities rooms, games room, bakery, supermarket, dental clinic, unisex hairdressers and a pharmacy.

Admission. The minimum eligibility requirement for admission into ANU’s undergrad programmes is successful completion of Plus Two while for postgrad it’s a first class bachelor’s degree. Additionally students must submit proof of proficiency in English language. An IELTS score of 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 570 is acceptable. Completed application forms should be accompanied with certified copies of academic transcripts, English language test results and an application fee of AUS $100 (Rs.2,400).

Applicants who don’t meet the university’s entry requirements may upgrade their skills through one of the following programmes offered by ANU: the Foundation Studies Program or the English Language course. The application deadline for 2006 entry is May 1. For further information contact Admissions Office, the Australian National University, Pauline Griffin Building, Ellery Crescent, Acton Canberra ACT 0200, Australia. Ph: 612 6125 5594; Fax: 612 6125 0751; e-mail: [email protected]; website:

Accommodation. On-campus accommodation comprises a diverse range of self-catered and catered halls of residence and colleges. All halls and colleges offer single fully furnished, centrally heated and carpeted study bedrooms to men and women students. Other common facilities include computer labs, libraries, television and fully equipped laundries. Students who wish to live off campus have the option of renting flats and houses. For further details visit

Degree programmes. ANU boasts seven faculties, which offer an extensive range of undergrad and postgrad degree programmes. Postgraduate study programmes are offered by the university’s prestigious Institute of Advanced Studies, which spans the biological, chemical, physical, medical and earth sciences, engineering, astronomy, environment, and maths.

Scholastic options at ANU

The Australian National University offers a wide range of undergrad and postgrad programmes across seven faculties. They include:

Arts. Archaeological practice, development studies, European studies, international relations, policy studies, digital arts, music, jazz, philosophy, new media arts, art history and curatorship

Asian studies. Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Hindi, Japanese, Vietnamese, Asian studies, security analysis, study of religions

Economics and commerce. Actuarial studies, commerce, economics, finance, international business

Engineering and information technology. Telecommunication, mechanotric, photonic, manufacturing and management, materials and mechanical, sustainable energy, electronics, digital, environmental, information technology, software engineering

Law. Bachelor of law

Medicine. Bachelor of medicine and surgery

Science. Biotechnology, computational science, medical science, photonics, philosophy, psychology, forestry, computational science, global and ocean studies, resource and environmental management, science communication

For a complete list of programmes log on to

Tuition fee (annual): Undergrad: AUS$ 14,700-20,400; Postgrad: 16,800-21,600

Living expenses (per month): AUS$ 673-1,185


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