University of Tasmania

University of Tasmania Australia

University of Tasmania Details

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The University of Tasmania (UTAS) is a public research university primarily located in Tasmania, Australia. Officially founded in 1890, it was the fourth university to be established in Australia, although Christ College, which became affiliated with the university in 1929, was established in 1846 and remains the oldest form of higher education in the country. The University of Tasmania is a sandstone university and is a member of the international Association of Commonwealth Universities and theAssociation of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning.

The university offers various undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of disciplines, and has links with 20 specialist research institutes, cooperative research centres and faculty based research centres; many of which are regarded as nationally and internationally competitive leaders. The university’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies have strongly contributed to the university’s multiple 5 rating scores (well above world standard) for excellence in research awarded by the Australian Research Council. The University also delivers tertiary education at the Australian Maritime College, the national centre for maritime education, training and research.

The university is highly regarded for its commitment to excellence in learning and teaching. It was ranked in the top 10 research universities in Australia and in the top two per cent of universities worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The university also received more teaching awards than any other Australian university by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching in 2012.

Studying at the University of Tasmania can take you further than you ever expected. Our diverse range of degrees, student exchanges and learning experiences are designed to shape future global leaders.

The University of Tasmania experience unlocks the potential of individuals. Our graduates are equipped and inspired to shape and respond to the opportunities and challenges of the future as accomplished communicators, highly regarded professionals and culturally competent citizens in local, national, and global society.

Your university years are not just about study, let’s be honest. You need a balance between hard work and plenty of play. And Tasmania is the perfect playground. Being an island, we are surrounded by waterways. Think yachts, kayaking, swimming and surfing.

We have more reserved wilderness than any other place on the planet – and it’s right on the doorstep of our cities. Hiking, mountain biking, climbing and camping are an easy afternoon or weekend activity. And we have animals here that simply don’t exist anywhere else in the world. This place is pristine and quite simply, beautiful.

But if the city is more your style, Tasmania has you covered. Our food, art and culture scene is a hot topic in tourism mags across the globe. For good reason. We have award winning festivals year round, stunning streetscapes, and a café culture that never stops.

The best thing is, the close proximity of the Uni to Tasmania’s numerous drawcards allows more time for you to get amongst it. Oh – and we’ve got the cleanest air in the world… perfect for blowing away the cobwebs from a big night (on the text books).

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties

  • Agriculture & Environmental Science
  • Architecture & Design
  • Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Business
  • Computing & IT
  • Education & Teaching
  • Engineering
  • Health Sciences & Community Care
  • Journalism, Media & Communications
  • Law
  • Marine & Antarctic
  • Maritime Studies
  • Medicine
  • Music, Creative & Performing Arts
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Psychology
  • Science


The University of Tasmania was established on 1 January 1890, after the abolition of overseas scholarships freed up funds. It immediately took over the role of the Tasmanian Council for Education. Richard Deodatus Poulett Harris, who had long advocated the establishment of the university, became its first warden of the senate. The first degrees to graduates admitted ad eundem gradum and diplomas were awarded in June 1890. The university was offered an ornate sandstone building on the Queens Domain in Hobart, previously the High School of Hobart, though it was leased by others until mid-1892. This eventually became known as University House. Three lecturers began teaching eleven students from 22 March 1893, once University House had been renovated. Parliamentarians branding it an unnecessary luxury made the university’s early existence precarious. The institution’s encouragement of female students fuelled criticism. James Backhouse Walker, a local lawyer and briefly Vice-Chancellor, mounted a courageous defence. By the First World War there were over one hundred students and several Tasmanian graduates were influential in law and politics.

According to Chancellor Sir John Morris, from 1918 until 1939 the institution still ‘limped along’. Distinguished staff had already been appointed, such as historian William Jethro Brown, physicists and mathematicians Alexander McAulay and his son Alexander Leicester McAulay, classicist RL Dunbabin, and philosopher and polymath Edmund Morris Miller. Housed in the former Hobart High School, facilities were totally outgrown, but the state government was slow to fund a new campus.

In 1914 the university petitioned King George V for Letters Patent, which request he granted. The Letters Patent, sometimes called the Royal Charter, granted the university’s degrees status as equivalent to the established universities of the United Kingdom, where such equivalents existed.

During the Second World War, while the Optical Munitions Annexe assisted the war effort, local graduates, replacing soldier academics, taught a handful of students. New post-war staff, many with overseas experience, pressed for removal to adequate facilities at Sandy Bay on an old rifle range. Chancellor Sir John Morris, also Chief Justice, though a dynamic reformer, antagonised academics by his authoritarianism. Vice-Chancellor Torliev Hytten, an eminent economist, saw contention peak while the move to Sandy Bay was delayed. In a passionate open letter to the premier, Philosophy Professor Sydney Orr goaded the government into establishing the 1955 Royal Commission into the university. The commission’s report demanded extensive reform of both university and governing council. Staff were delighted, while lay administrators fumed.

The 1965 Martin Report established a traditional role for universities, and a more practical role for colleges of advanced education. The Tasmanian Government duly created the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education (TCAE) in 1966 sited on Mount Nelson above the university. It initially incorporated The School of Art, the Conservatorium of Music and the Hobart Teachers College. In 1971, a Launceston campus of the TCAE was announced. These were fateful decisions, as events over the next years showed. It was argued that the TCAE attempted to compete with the university, not complement it.

In 1978 the University of Tasmania took over two of the courses offered by the TCAE in Hobart, Pharmacy and Surveying, following a report by Professor Karmel, and another by H.E. Cosgrove. Some other TCAE courses in Hobart moved to Launceston. The curious situation of three separate courses in teacher education in the State could not last, however, and following two more reports, the university incorporated the remaining courses of the Hobart campus of the College of Advanced Education in 1981, which raised its numbers to 5000. The Launceston campus of the TCAE renamed itself the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology (TSIT).

In 1987, the University Council resolved to approach the TSIT to negotiate a merger to minmise ongoing conflict. The ‘Dawkins Revolution’ and the ‘unified national system’ provided later support for this initiative. The Tasmanian State Institute of Technology became the Newnham Campus of the university on 1 January 1991, exactly 101 years after the university’s founding. A new campus at Burnie on the North-West Coast of Tasmania was opened in 1995, and later became known as the Cradle Coast Campus. Though the amalgamated institution retained the old name of University of Tasmania, like other contemporary institutions a new era dominated by market forces rather than generous public funding controls its future.

The Australian Maritime College (AMC), situated adjacent to the Newnham campus, integrated with the university in 2008. The University of Tasmania and TasTAFE are now the only institutions of tertiary education in Tasmania.

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