Griffith University

Griffith University
Type Public university
Established 1971
Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM
Vice-Chancellor Ian O'Connor
Executive Ned Pankhurst (Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor)
Debra Henly (Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic)
Martin Betts (Deputy Vice Chancellor, Engagement)
Colin McAndrew (Vice President, Corporate Services)
Administrative staff
4,000 FTE
Students 45,953 (2015)
Undergraduates Over 34,000
Postgraduates Over 9,000
Location Brisbane, Gold Coast, Logan, Queensland, Australia
Campus Gold Coast, Logan, Nathan, Mt Gravatt and South Bank
Affiliations Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning and Innovative Research Universities

Griffith University is a public research university in South East Queensland on the east coast of Australia. Formally founded in 1971, Griffith opened its doors in 1975, introducing Australia’s first degrees in environmental science and Asian studies.

The University is named after Sir Samuel Walker Griffith, who was twice Premier of Queensland and the first Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. Sir Samuel Griffith played a major role in the Federation of Australia and was the principal author of the Australian constitution.

Opening initially with the one campus at Nathan and 451 students, the University now has five campuses spanning three cities, the largest of which are the Gold Coast campus at Southport and the Nathan campus in Brisbane. The Mount Gravatt and South Bank campuses are also located in Brisbane, while the Logan campus is at Meadowbrook.[1][2] It has over 44,000 students[3] and offers a full suite of undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees in the areas of business and government, criminology and law, education, engineering and information technology, environment, planning and architecture, health, humanities and languages, music, science and aviation, and visual and creative arts. Griffith is a verdant university and a member of the IRU.



In 1965 174 hectares (430 acres) of natural bushland at Nathan were set aside for a new campus.[4] Initially the site was to be part of the University of Queensland, which was experiencing strong demand in humanities and social sciences.[4] By 1970 a new institution was being mooted, and Theodor Bray (later Sir Theodor Bray) was asked by the Queensland Government to establish a second for Brisbane and the third for the state. After several months of discussion, the Queensland Government announced on 24 December 1970 that Bray would head a committee charged with establishing Griffith University. The Mount Gravatt site was renamed Nathan and set to become Griffith’s first campus.[5] On 30 September 1971, the Queensland Government officially created and recognised Griffith University with the passing of the Assent to Griffith University Act 1971.[5] On 5 March 1975, Griffith University began teaching 451 students in four schools: Australian Environmental Studies, Humanities, Modern Asian Studies and Science.[1] The university was distinguished by its "problem-based" rather than disciplinary approach to course design and research.


In the 1990s, the Dawkins Revolution saw a number of tertiary education reforms in Australia, resulting in a series of amalgamations of colleges and universities. In 1990, the Mount Gravatt Teacher's College (established in 1969) and Gold Coast College of Advanced Education (established in 1987) became official campuses of Griffith University. The Queensland Conservatorium of Music continued the higher education mergers and became an official part of Griffith University in 1991. Originally established in 1957, the new entity became known as Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. In 1992, the amalgamations were completed for Griffith, with the Queensland College of Art (QCA), established in 1881 and recognised as the oldest continuous operating art training institution in Australia, officially becoming part of the University.[5]

Griffith’s fifth campus, Logan, opened in 1998. Located in the suburb of Meadowbrook, on an area of green fields south of Brisbane, the Logan campus was established to specifically address the interests and needs of the Logan City area.[2]


Griffith University’s campuses are distinctive for their nature-based settings within urban environments.

Griffith University busway station on the South East Busway
Griffith University (Nathan Campus) from Stadium Path

Gold Coast campus

The Gold Coast campus is located in the Gold Coast suburb of Southport. Set in native bushland, on the land of the Aboriginal Yugambeh and Kombumerri peoples,[6] this campus plays host to over 18,200 students from all over Australia and the world. It is Griffith University's largest campus.

The campus has seen significant growth and development over the last few years, with the opening of the $150 million Griffith Health Centre and the neighbouring Gold Coast University Hospital in 2013, and the launch of the $38 million Griffith Business School building in 2014. The campus is serviced by two Gold Coast light rail (G:link) stations, and is a major interchange for bus routes.

On-campus student accommodation is available through the privately operated Griffith University Village.

Logan campus

Logan is Griffith University’s community-focused campus. Hosting almost 2500 students, the campus offers degrees in human services and social work, nursing and midwifery, business and commerce, and education. The campus has strong connections with the local community, hosting numerous sorting and cultural events throughout the year.

Nathan campus

Nathan, Griffith’s foundation campus, is situated in tranquil, native bushland on the edge of Toohey Forest and less than 10 kilometres from the Brisbane CBD. Nathan hosts over 13,000 students and offers degrees in business and government, engineering and information technology, environment, humanities and languages, law, and science and aviation.

The buildings at the Nathan campus were designed to fit into the environment by Roger Kirk Johnson the founding architectural designer of the campus, following the slope of the land and using architectural means of cooling.[4] The library building was designed by Robin Gibson and won the first national award for library design. The clusters of buildings, sports facilities, bushland reserves and recreational areas are connected by integrated networks of walking paths. On the northern edge of the campus lies the Dunn Memorial, a fitting tribute.[7]

In 2013, the six-star, green-rated Sir Samuel Griffith Centre was opened on the Nathan campus. The building operates off the grid and is powered by a combination of photovoltaics and hydrogen.

The campus has two residential colleges for students and a range of sporting facilities.

Mount Gravatt campus

The Mount Gravatt campus, adjacent to the Nathan campus, hosts 4400 students. It is the University’s social sciences and humanities hub and the base for research into crucial social issues, including education and suicide prevention.

Like Nathan, the campus is situated on the edge of Toohey Forest. The campus features a recently upgraded aquatic and fitness centre, with a heated pool and indoor and outdoor recreation areas, co-located with a 16-court tennis centre, a training oval, and basketball and netball courts. On-campus student accommodation is also available.

Queensland Conservatorium of Music

South Bank campus

Located in Brisbane’s cultural precinct, the South Bank campus is Griffith University’s creative hub. It encompasses Griffith’s Queensland College of Art and Queensland Conservatorium, and the Griffith Film School and Griffith Graduate Centre. Hosting approximately 3400 students, the campus is adjacent to the Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, the Queensland State Library, Queensland Museum, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. It is a short walk from the Brisbane CBD.


Griffith University’s is structured in four academic groups, with teaching offered through a range of schools, colleges and departments.

Arts, Education and Law

Griffith Business School

Griffith Health

Griffith Sciences

Academic profile


University rankings
Griffith University
QS World[8] 329
THE-WUR World[9] 251-300
ARWU World[10] 301-400
CWTS Leiden World[11] 359
Australian rankings
QS National[12] 18
ARWU National[13] 15-21
USNWR National[14] 16
CWTS Leiden National[11] 9
ERA National[15] 16=

Griffith is in the top 450 universities worldwide in five major world rankings; Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), QS World University Rankings (QS), Leiden Ranking, Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE-WUR),[16] University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP).[17]

Griffith also ranks highly as a young university, ranking 37th in the 2015/16 QS University Rankings Top 50 Under 50 [18] and 82nd in the 2015 Times Higher Education Top 100 under 50.[19]

Study area rankings

Griffith results for the 2016 QS World University Rankings by Subject:[20][21]

Top 50

Top 51–100

Top 101–150

Top 151–200

Top 251–300

Top 301–350


The Griffith MBA is ranked among Australia's leading MBA programs in CEO Magazine and its 2015 MBA Rankings.[22] The rankings are compiled by the International Graduate Forum and are designed to present a 360-degree view of the world’s leading business schools. The Griffith MBA is placed sixth in the top tier of Australian programs, and is the only Queensland program to feature in the top 10. It also features in the magazine’s top 20 Global MBA Rankings.

The MBA is also the highest-ranking Australian MBA in the Aspen Institute's Centre for Business Education's most recent Beyond Grey Pinstripes Global Top 100, ranked at number 26.[23] Griffith University was awarded this ranking for its focus on responsible leadership, sustainable business practices and the Asia-Pacific. It was also acknowledged as one of Australia's best, ranking fourth in Australia in the 2015 Financial Review BOSS Magazine MBA Survey.[24]

Teaching awards

Griffith features prominently in Australia’s national teaching awards and citations. Since 2009, Griffith has won seven awards for Teaching Excellence, four awards for Programs that Enhance Learning, 42 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning and seven National Teaching Fellowships. Two Griffith staff have been named the Prime Minister’s Australian Teacher of the Year.[3]


Griffith researchers work in 38 centres and institutes, investigating areas such as water science, climate change adaptation, criminology and crime prevention, sustainable tourism and health and chronic disease.

The University’s major research institutes include the:

Additionally, Griffith hosts several externally supported centres and facilities, including the:

Research commercialisation

Griffith offers research commercialisation and services for business, industry and government through Griffith Enterprise.

Other centres

As well as research centres and institutes, Griffith has a number of cultural and community focused organisations. These include the EcoCentre, which provides a space for environmental education activities, exhibitions, seminars and workshops, and the Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue (formerly the Multi-Faith Centre).

Student life

Student organisations

Griffith University has a wide array of cultural, intellectual, sporting and social groups. Its Student Guild[25] is an organisation within the university which takes care of these clubs on the Gold Coast campus, as well as student issues, accommodation, employment, publication, events, sport and recreation. On the Nathan campus, Campus Life[26] supports many clubs including the long running GRUBS (Griffith University Bushwalking Club), The Karate and Kickboxing club and the Griffith University Aikido Club, recently incorporated and became independent of the University.

Uniquely, Griffith University students are represented by two statutory embedded student organisations. The Griffith University Student Representative Council (GUSRC) represents undergraduate students and the Griffith University Postgraduate Students Association (GUPSA) represents post-graduate students in all campuses apart from the Gold Coast. GUPSA is a constituent member of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations. Unique to the Gold Coast is the Student Guild (GUSG), which represents all students from this campus and has an administrative structure that is apparently independent to the university.

Griffith Honours College

The Griffith Honours College offers high achieving students potential opportunities to enrich their university experience through mentoring, international experiences, leadership roles and community engagement activities.

Griffith Sports College

Students who are elite athletes are eligible to join the Griffith Sports College, which provides support by helping them balance sporting and university commitments.

GUMURRII Student Support Unit

The GUMURRII Student Support Unit (SSU) is the heart of Griffith’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and is located on each of Griffith’s five campuses. GUMURRII is a dedicated Student Support Unit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff assist students from recruitment, to orientation providing undergraduate and postgraduate support through to graduation to afar.

Queensland Institute of Business and Technology

Located on Griffith University’s Mount Gravatt and Gold Coast campuses, the Queensland Institute of Business and Technology offers undergraduate diplomas in a range of areas, which provide a pathway into many of Griffith’s degree programs.

Griffith English Language Institute

Students from non-English-speaking backgrounds can study English at the Griffith English Language Institute (GELI). A wide range of English language courses are available to help students improve their English for work, travel, study or everyday purposes.

Residential colleges

Griffith University has four residential colleges with two of these located on its Nathan campus and one on both its Mt Gravatt and Gold Coast campuses. The three colleges located in Brisbane compete in the sporting Inter-College Cup, also known as the ICC. The premier event of the ICC is the Phar Cup, where both female and male teams compete in rugby league matches against each other. The colleges are as follows:


Notable graduates have been journalists, musicians, actors, artists, filmmakers, photographers, athletes, activists and politicians in the Parliament of Australia and the Parliament of Queensland.

See also


  1. 1 2 "2014-16 Mission-based Compact – Griffith University". Australian Government.
  2. 1 2 "Our Campuses". Griffith Archive. Griffith University. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  3. 1 2 Annual Report 2014 (PDF). Griffith University.
  4. 1 2 3 Hogan, Janet (1982). Living History of Brisbane. Spring Hill, QLD: Boolarang Publications. pp. 130–131. ISBN 0-908175-41-8.
  5. 1 2 3 Quirke, Noel (1996). Preparing for the Future: A History of Griffith University, 1971-1996 (PDF). Nathan, Griffith University: Boolarong Press. ISBN 0 86857 864 9.
  6. "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: First Peoples - Griffith University".
  7. "Nathan campus general site map" (PDF). Griffith University. January 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  8. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  9. "World University Rankings 2016-2017". TSL Education Limited.
  10. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  11. 1 2 "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2016". Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University.
  12. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  13. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 - Australia". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  14. "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities in Australia/New Zealand". U.S. News and World Report.
  15. "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network.
  16. Marshall, Deborah. "Griffith rises in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings". Griffith University. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  17. "Australian Education". Education Statistics. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  18. "QS University Rankings: Top 50 Under 50 2015". QS Top Universities. QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  19. "Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 universities 2014". Times Higher Education World University Rankings. TES Global Ltd. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  20. "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015". QS Top Universities. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  21. Rogers, Melinda. "Griffith scores best ever QS Subject rankings across the board". Griffith University. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  22. "2015 MBA Rankings" (PDF). CEO Magazine.
  23. "Beyond Grey Pinstripes: MBA Survey". Aspen Institute. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  24. "BOSS MBA rankings: The best MBA courses in the country". Financial Review. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  25. "Student Guild Gold Coast Campus". Griffith University Gold Coast Student Guild. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  26. "Campus Life". Griffith University. Retrieved 14 August 2011.

External links

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Coordinates: 27°33′09″S 153°03′14″E / 27.5526°S 153.0539°E / -27.5526; 153.0539

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