Curtin University, formerly known as Curtin University of Technology and Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT), is an Australian public research university based in Bentley, Perth, Western Australia. It is named after John Curtin, Prime Minister of Australia from 1941 to 1945, and is the largest university in Western Australia, with 59,939 students in 2021.
Curtin was conferred university status after legislation was passed by the Parliament of Western Australia in 1986. Since then, the university has expanded its presence and has campuses in Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai and Mauritius, and has ties with 90 exchange universities in 20 countries. The university comprises five main faculties with over 95 specialists centres. It had a campus in Sydney from 2005 to 2016.
Curtin University is a member of the Australian Technology Network. Curtin University is active in research in a range of academic and practical fields. Curtin is the only Western Australian university whose students have won the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering's Postgraduate Student Gold Medal as at 2020.
Curtin University was founded in 1966 as the Western Australian Institute of Technology. Its nucleus comprised the tertiary programs of the Perth Technical College, which opened in 1900. The university's Bentley campus was selected in 1962, and officially opened in 1966. The first students enrolled the following year.
In December 1986 WAIT was made a university, under provisions of the WA Institute of Technology Amendment Act 1986. Curtin University took its name from the former Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin. In 1987, Curtin University of Technology became Western Australia's third university and Australia's first university of technology.
In 2005, Curtin and Murdoch University were engaged in a feasibility study into the possibility of a merger. However, on 7 November 2005, both institutions announced that a merger would not be undertaken. In 2008, Curtin opened a campus in Singapore, its second offshore presence. In 2009, Curtin became the first university in the Australian Technology Network to be listed on the Academic Ranking of World Universities of research universities.
In 2010, Curtin dropped the "of Technology" suffix, from then operating as "Curtin University".
The main Curtin University campus is located in Bentley, Western Australia, about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) south-east of the Perth central business district. Curtin has three smaller off-site campuses within the Perth metropolitan area. The Graduate School of Business building is located in the Perth central business district in the renovated former Government Printing Office and the law school is located on Murray Street in the old Public Health Department and Chief Secretary's building, a listed building on the State Register of Heritage Places.
Exploration Geophysics and Petroleum Engineering are located at the co-location research facilities of the Australian Resources Research Centre (ARRC) which also houses offices of CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering and National Measurement Institute. The ARRC is located in the Technology Park Bentley, adjacent to the main Bentley campus.
Some university staff, researchers and students on practicum work in other locations such as the Oral Health Centre of WA (OHCWA) in Nedlands and at Royal Perth Hospital, amongst other organisations.
In April 2017 Curtin University established its newest campus in Dubai at Dubai International Academic City. Australian Ambassador to the UAE HE Arthur Spyrou officially opened the campus on 10 September 2017. Curtin University Dubai courses use the same structure and unit curriculum as those offered at the Bentley campus. Curtin University Dubai is accredited by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). The academic qualifications granted by Curtin University is certified by KHDA and is recognised in the Emirate of Dubai by all public and private entities.
The campus in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia is Curtin's largest international campus. Curtin's operations in Miri began in February 1999. In 2002, a purpose-built campus was opened as Curtin's first offshore campus and the first foreign university campus in East Malaysia. It has around 4,000 students from over 45 countries, and academics from more than 15 countries. Curtin Malaysia is the only approved CISCO Networking University in Miri and Brunei.
Curtin University Sydney (Curtin Sydney) was established on 20 June 2005. The first campus was located in The Rocks area. It was later relocated to the suburb of Chippendale where it occupied the historical Berlei Building. The operation of Curtin Sydney was contracted out to private tertiary education provider Navitas Group. It offered diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate courses to international students. In 2014 Curtin Sydney was involved in a cash-for-results scandal where students since 2012 had paid MyMaster, a Sydney company, up to $1,000 each to write essays and assignments for them, as well as sit online tests. In 2015, Curtin announced the closure of Curtin Sydney from early 2017.
From 2007, the university's teaching and research is divided into five faculties (previously known as divisions), which each include a number of schools. These schools were consolidated in 2020 during a period of staff cuts. These are:
Centre for Aboriginal Studies
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
School of Management and Marketing
Curtin Law School
Faculty of Health Sciences
Curtin Medical School
Curtin School of Allied Health
Curtin School of Nursing
Curtin School of Population Health
Faculty of Humanities
School of Design and the Built Environment
School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry
School of Education
Faculty of Science and Engineering
School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering
School of Earth and Planetary Sciences
School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences
School of Molecular and Life Sciences
Western Australian School of Mines: Minerals and Energy Engineering
Curtin was ranked 194th in the 2022 annual QS World University Rankings. It was ranked 2nd in the world for Engineering - Mineral & Mining, and ranked 5th in Australia for Architecture in the 2021 QS World University Rankings by Subject.
Curtin University offers on campus accommodation at four separate precincts which is managed by UniLodge. These accommodation options include Kurrajong Village, Erica Underwood House, Guild House and Vickery House.
The Curtin Student Guild is the student union at Curtin University. The guild was founded as the WAIT Student Guild in January 1969.
The guild provides student representation services through the provision of faculty, international, postgraduate and equity representatives and the professional support service Student Assist.
The guild operates most of the food and beverage outlets on campus, including Guild Cafés (Central, Engineering, Library), Angazi, Concept Coffee Co, Mallokup and Beakers food outlets. Other commercial services include G-Mart, Curtin University's general store, printing, stationery and news outlet and The Tav.
The guild operates and funds all Curtin student clubs and societies. The guild also runs a number of events throughout the year, most notably the Toga Party held in semester one and the previous notable event Grasslands Music Festival held in semester two. The guild publishes Grok magazine.
The Student Guild is governed by students through the Guild Council which consists of executive members: president, vice-presidents, secretary and chair of the Representation Board and councillors. All other representatives sit on the Representation Board. Student representatives are elected to their positions by students in annual elections held in September. Major Groups that contest elections include Illuminate, Progress, Left Action and the Joke Ticket. The Guild is currently operated by an Illuminate majority.
Curtin has become active in research and partnerships overseas, particularly in mainland China, and has received funding from major Chinese companies such as Tencent. It is involved in a number of business, management, and research projects, particularly in supercomputing, where the university participates in a tri-continental array with nodes in Perth, Beijing, and Edinburgh. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Woodside-funded hydrocarbon research facility during his visit to Australia in 2005. Funding from major Chinese companies connected to the state have led to concerns that Curtin University has limited academic freedom on certain topics.
In 2020, a roof at Curtin University collapsed, killing a 23-year-old construction worker after he fell more than 20 metres (66 ft), and leaving two other construction workers injured.