Our History

The University of Wollongong traces its origins to 1951 when a Division of the then New South Wales University of Technology was established in Wollongong.

Ten years later the Division became the Wollongong College of the University of New South Wales and, in 1975, the University of Wollongong was incorporated by the New South Wales Parliament as an independent institution of higher learning. In 1982, the University amalgamated with the Wollongong Institute of Higher Education, which had begun life in 1962 as the Wollongong Teachers' College. The merger formed the basis for a period of rapid growth in the 1980s and the emergence of the University of Wollongong's distinctive identity as an enterprising institution with a personalised style and a growing reputation for excellence in teaching and research.

Thus, in over 50 years, the University has grown from a provincial feeder college with 300 students to an international university with over 26,000 students spread across three campuses and five access centres. Originally established as a provider of technical education for engineers and metallurgists required for the region's steel industry, the University now offers a wide range of courses across five faculties - Law, Humanities and the Arts, Social Sciences, Science, Medicine and Health, Engineering and Information Sciences, and Business. 

Since its foundation, the University has conferred more than 52,000 degrees, diplomas and certificates. Its student population, originally drawn predominantly from the local Illawarra region, is now comprised of students from over 70 countries with international students accounting for more than 30 percent of total enrolments.

The University of Wollongong has developed into a multi-campus institution. The Wollongong campus is on the original site five kilometres north-west of the city centre and now covers an area of 82.4 hectares with 94 permanent buildings including six student residences. The Dubai Campus in the United Arab Emirates was established in 1993 and the Shoalhaven Campus was opened in 2000 at Nowra on the New South Wales South Coast. In addition, there are UOW campuses in Bega, Batemans Bay, the Southern Highlands and Southern Sydney, as well as the Sydney Business School. The University also offers courses in conjunction with partner institutions in a number of offshore locations including Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

The University has always had a strong research focus and has developed an international reputation for its applied research (often in partnership with industry or government) in areas relevant to national economic, technological and social goals. It is home to eight Research Institutes and three ARC Key Centres for Teaching and Research - in Smart Foods, Bulk Solids and Particulate Technologies and Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies. In addition, the University is a partner in four Co-operative Research Centres (CRC) - in Intelligent Manufacturing Systems, Railway & Engineering Technologies, Welded Structures and Smart Internet Technology.

The University has developed as a State "Centre of Excellence" in telecommunications. It is one of the largest sites of information technology, multimedia and telecommunications research in the Southern Hemisphere. Other areas of expertise include superconductors, intelligent polymers, steel processing and products, microwave technology, biomedical research, medical radiation physics and environmental research.

The University's strength in collaborative research was acknowledged when in 1999 the University was announced joint winner of the Good Universities Guide 'University of Year' Award for 1999-2000 for its "Outstanding Research and Development Partnerships". In an unprecedented achievement, the University won the award a second time in 2000-2001 for its efforts in "Preparing Graduates for an E-world". It thus conclusively reaffirmed its standing as an innovative university with the highest rating in the country for the employment of its graduates.

The teaching, research and cultural life of the University is supported by state-of-the-art facilities, including an extensive library collection, an interactive Science Centre, and a Recreation & Aquatic Centre. In late 2002, the University announced the establishment of a Wollongong Innovation Campus. The Innovation Campus (iC) is a 33 hectare research and commercial precinct in North Wollongong. It was established by the University of Wollongong to drive partnerships and collaboration between the research and business communities by co-locating commercial and research organisations in state-of-the-art facilities. It offers international organisations the unique opportunity to work with world-class research teams with communications infrastructure designed to meet the needs of leading edge businesses requiring global connectivity. Planning and construction of Innovation Campus has been driven by UOW with the support of Wollongong City Council, NSW State Government and the commonwealth Government of Australia.

Thus, the University of Wollongong looks to the future as a dynamic and outward-looking institution with a growing reputation for providing quality education and research.

Last reviewed: 2 October, 2013

Awards & Rankings

  • Rank in the Top 2% of universities in the world.
  • Globally ranked as one of Australia's best modern universities
  • 5 Star Rating
  • Top 100 in the world for global graduates

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UOW at a Glance

  • 30,038 students enrolled
  • 11,631 international students
  • 2,091 full time staff
  • 9 campuses
  • 19 research strengths
  • 476 degrees

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