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The Australian National University, commonly abbreviated to ANU, is a public teaching and research university located in Canberramarker, Australia, the federal capital city. The University was established by an act of the Parliament of Australia on 1 August 1946, with the legislated purpose of conducting and promoting research in Australia.

The University is consistently ranked as the best university in Australia by many worldwide university ranking systems, including the Shanghai Jiao Tong Universitymarker and the annual Times Higher Education Supplement rankings. Its notable staff and alumni include five Nobel laureates.

The University is governed by a 15-member council. ANU is a member of several university alliances and cooperative networks, including the Group of Eight , the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy and the International Alliance of Research Universities.


ANU is the only Australian university to be established by an act of the Federal Parliament.The Australian National University Act 1946-47 was introduced into parliament by the then Prime Minister, Ben Chifley, and the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, J.J. Dedman. The bill was passed on 1 August 1946 with support from the Opposition Leader Robert Menzies. A group of eminent Australian scholars were involved in the infancy of ANU, including a leader in radar development and nuclear physics, Sir Mark Oliphant; the discoverer of the benefits of penicillin, Sir Howard Florey; the eminent historian, Sir Keith Hancock; and the renowned economist and public servant, H. C. Coombs.

After its establishment, the University conducted research and provided only postgraduate education. The former Canberra University Collegemarker was amalgamated into The Australian National University in 1960, as the School of General Studies, to provide for the education of undergraduate students.

Academic structure

ANU comprises seven Colleges and the Institute of Advanced Studies. The Colleges undertake both undergraduate teaching, postgraduate studies and research. The Institute of Advanced Studies comprises nine research schools which focus exclusively on research.

The Colleges

ANU School of Art
The University's seven Colleges combine research with research-led teaching and are responsible for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
  • ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
The ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences aims to set national and international standards in research, education and community engagement across its three platforms: humanities, creative arts and social sciences. The College plays a vital role in enhancing the distinctive profile of ANU and in shaping its future through a commitment to high achieving academic knowledge, information public debate and instilling a life-long love of learning in its students and graduates. Also part of this College are the ANU School of Musicmarker and ANU School of Art.
  • ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific houses a remarkable assembly of scholars and resources devoted to the study of Australia's neighbourhood from Afghanistan to the Pacific. Dedicated to outstanding research and education, the College is a centre for Australia's intellectual engagement and scholarly dialogue with the societies, worlds of thought, economies and cultures of Asia and the Pacific. The College comprises the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy; Crawford School of Economics and Government; Faculty of Asian Studies and the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies.
  • ANU College of Business and Economics
The ANU College of Business and Economics seeks to advance knowledge through high quality teaching and research in the closely related fields of business and economics. It contributes to the associated professions, industry and government by conducting world class research and through the provision of a range of coursework and research degree programs.
  • ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science [36565]
The ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science is commited to world class excellence in teaching and research. The College comprises the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Information Engineering and the Department of Engineering. Some staff and postgraduate students from the schools are also affiliated with the Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering which exists within the College as part of the University's Institute of Advanced Studies.
  • ANU College of Law
The ANU College of Law conducts important and socially useful research; imparts the results of that research to some of the best and brightest students in Australia; and engages with the community in a wide range of outreach activities such as advising government, sitting on tribunals, giving pro bono legal advice. Concern about law reform and social justice is a strong component of the ethos of the ANU College of Law.
ANU School of Medicine
  • ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment
The ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment embraces the Medical Research, Life Sciences, Psychology and Environmental Science undertaken at ANU. The College provides a unique environment to study, research and apply life sciences, and all aspects of medicine from fundamental research to clinical practice and population health.
  • ANU College of Physical Sciences
The ANU College of Physical Sciences' focus is on outstanding science research and teaching. The College comprises Astronomy & Astrophysics; Chemistry; Earth Sciences; Mathematical Sciences; Physics; and Science Communication.

The Institute of Advanced Studies

The Institute is focused on post-graduate education and research and comprises nine research schools and a research centre:
  • Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics [36566]
The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) is based at the Mount Stromlo Observatorymarker. RSAA runs university's telescopes at the Siding Spring Observatorymarker, in NSWmarker. On Thursday 20 April 2006 it was reported that the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics would build the world's most powerful telescope. This project is a collaboration between an elite international group of research institutions which also includes the University of Arizonamarker, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatorymarker and Harvard Universitymarker.
  • Research School of Biological Sciences [36567]
Research is carried out in areas such as agriculture, environment, neuroscience, visual science, neuroethology, health and technology.
  • Research School of Chemistry [36568]
  • Research School of Earth Sciences [36569]
The Research School of Earth Sciences (RSES) is one of the top ten university geoscience programs in the world.
  • Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering [36570]
The Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering (RSISE) exists within the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
  • Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies [36571]
The Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS) is Australia's leading centre for research and postgraduate training on the Asia Pacific region. Priority research areas include East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Southwest Pacific.
The Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering (RSPhysSE). The school's primary research areas are: materials science and engineering; lasers, nonlinear optics and photonics; nanotechnology and mesoscopic physics; physics of atoms, molecules and the nucleus; plasma physics and surface science; physics and the environment.
  • Research School of Social Sciences [36573]
The Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) concentrates on theoretical and empirical research in the social sciences. The following programs exist within the school: Demography & Sociology, Economics, History, Law, Philosophy, Political Science and Social & Political Theory.
The John Curtin School of Medical Research
  • The John Curtin School of Medical Research [36574]
The John Curtin School of Medical Researchmarker (JCSMR) was formed in 1948 as a result of the vision of Nobel Laureate Howard Florey and Prime Minister John Curtin. Two Nobel Prizes (John Carew Eccles in 1963 and Peter C. Doherty and Rolf M. Zinkernagel in 1996) have been won by research performed at John Curtin.
  • The Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies (1973-2007) [36575]
The Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies (CRES) includes economists, hydrologists, historians, ecologists, anthropologists and soil scientists. Research is undertaken into many natural resource and environmental issues. It was combined with the School of Resources, Environment and Society (SRES) to form The Fenner School of Environment and Society in 2007.

University Centres

The University Centres are organisational structures that can draw from both the Faculties and the Institute.


The Australian National University is consistently ranked as the best in Australia.

The following publications ranked universities worldwide.
Publications Ave. 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Times Higher Education Supplement 17 16 23 16 16 16 17
Shanghai Jiao Tong Universitymarker 55 50 53 54 57 59 59
Global University Ranking 50 50

The corresponding rankings within Australia are:

Publications Ave. 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Times Higher Education Supplement 1 1 2 1 1 1 1
Shanghai Jiao Tong Universitymarker 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Global University Ranking 1 1

The Times Higher Education Supplement consistently ranks the Australian National University very highly. In 2007, its position 16th in the world and the best in Australasia, one place higher than Stanford University and one place under Cornell University on the overall ranking..

The 2009 Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings place ANU as the 59th university in the world, and 3rd in the Asia Pacific region.

Both ranking systems use research output as a key determinant of quality. ANU ranks highest on research compared to other Australian universities.


Mount Stromlo after the fires: remains of the old administration building with the dome of the Farnham telescope

The university's main campus occupies most of the Canberramarker suburb of Actonmarker. The campus covers adjoining native bushland, Black Mountainmarker, Lake Burley Griffinmarker, the suburb of Turnermarker and the city centremarker. Eight of the university's nine affiliated halls and colleges are located on campus, while Fenner Hall is located on Northbourne Avenue in the nearby suburb of Braddonmarker. The halls and colleges are:

With over 10,000 trees on its campus, the ANU was awarded the Silver Greenhouse Challenge Award at the annual Australian Engineering Excellence Awards in 2003.

The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) is located away from the main campus in Acton, at the Mount Stromlo Observatorymarker, near Weston Creek in south Canberramarker. RSAA also runs the Siding Spring Observatorymarker near Coonabarabranmarker, New South Walesmarker. Since the destruction of Mount Stromlo's telescopes in the Canberra bushfires of 2003, this is university's only telescope site. The university also runs a coastal campus at Kioloamarker on the South Coast of New South Walesmarker dedicated to field work training, and a North Australia Research Unit in Darwinmarker in the Northern Territorymarker.

Students on all campuses are represented by the ANU Students' Association. Representation for postgraduate students is provided by the Postgraduate and Research Students' Association (PARSA), a member of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations. The Australian National University Union provides representation to all students in the provision of catering and retail services as well as functions amenities.


The ANU campus is divided into eight precincts, with three on the west side of Sullivans creek, and five on the east side.
  • The west side precincts are:
    • Dickson Precinct - located in the west, it includes five of the residential colleges - John XXIII, Burgmann, Ursula, Burton & Garran and Bruce.
    • Linnaeus Precinct - located in the centre west, includes the Hancock library
    • Daley Precinct - located in the north west, includes the gym and Willows Oval

Sir Roland Wilson Building at ANU.
  • Located on the east side of Sullivans creek are:
    • Kingsley Precinct - located in the north, includes Union court, the Chifley library, Toad Hall, Drill hall gallery and AD Hope building
    • Baldessin Precinct - located in the north east, includes the Faculty of Asian Studies, Crawford School of Economics and Government [36587], and the School of Art and the School of Music.
    • Ellery Precinct - located in the centre, includes the Law building and HC Coombs building.
    • Liversidge Precinct - located in the south east towards Acton Peninsula, includes University House, Lennox House and Sir Roland Wilson Building
    • Garran Precinct - located in the south, includes everything south of South oval including the John Curtin School of Medical Research.
  • Map of campus - clickable with key to ANU buildings

Notable graduates

Academic leaders have included Professors: Manning Clark (historian); Bart Bok (astronomer) and Hanna Neumann (mathematician). Notable alumni include current Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd.

See also


  1. httt ip://
  2. Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
  3. The Times Higher Education Supplement
  4. ""ANU part of elite group to build world's biggest telescope"" The Canberra Times
  9. - QS World University Rankings 2007 - Top 400 Universities

External links

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