Griffith University

Griffith University is a public research university in South East Queensland on the east coast of Australia. Formally founded in 1971,[1] Griffith opened its doors in 1975, introducing Australia's first degrees in environmental science and Asian studies.

Griffith University
TypePublic university
Established1971 (1971)
ChancellorHenry Smerdon AM
Vice-ChancellorProf. Carolyn Evans
Administrative staff
4,000 FTE
Students45,953 (2015)
UndergraduatesOver 34,000
PostgraduatesOver 9,000
CampusGold Coast
Mount Gravatt
South Bank
AffiliationsAssociation of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning and Innovative Research Universities

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 physical 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.[2][3] In 2018, the University launched its Digital campus, now its sixth campus, which offers a range of online degrees.[4]

Griffith has over 50,000 students[5] 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. It is a verdant university and a member of the IRU.

In the 2019 Student Experience Survey, Griffith University recorded the seventh highest student satisfaction rating out of all Australian universities, and the highest student satisfaction rating out of all public Queensland universities, with an overall satisfaction rating of 82.1.[6][7]



In 1965, 174 hectares (430 acres) of natural bushland at Nathan were set aside for a new campus.[8] Initially the site was to be part of the University of Queensland, which was experiencing strong demand in humanities and social sciences.[8] 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.[9] On 30 September 1971, the Queensland Government officially created and recognised Griffith University with the passing of the Assent to Griffith University Act 1971.[9] On 5 March 1975, Griffith University began teaching 451 students in four schools: Australian Environmental Studies, Humanities, Modern Asian Studies and Science.[2] 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.[9]

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.[3]

Griffith University was an official Partner of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Over 500 university students and staff were closely involved in the planning and delivery of event.[10]


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,[11] 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.

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, education and information technology. The campus has strong connections with the local community, hosting numerous sporting 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.[8] 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.[12]

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

Queensland Conservatorium of Music

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.

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. As of 2020, enrolment for all four units is about 3400 students.[13]

Digital campus

Griffith's Digital campus, officially launched in 2018, offers over 100 degrees that can be studied online. With over 20,000 students,[14] the Digital campus is Griffith's third largest and fastest growing campus.[4] Griffith also offers online degrees in partnership with Open Universities Australia, and free online courses through FutureLearn.


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

Arts, Education and Law

Griffith Business School

  • Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics
  • Department of Employment Relations and Human Resources
  • Department of Business Strategy and Innovation
  • Department of Marketing
  • Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management
  • School of Government and International Relations

Griffith Health

  • School of Allied Health Sciences
  • School of Applied Psychology
  • School of Dentistry and Oral Health
  • School of Human Services and Social Work
  • School of Medical Science
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • School of Pharmacy

Griffith Sciences

  • School of Engineering and Built Environment
  • School of Environment and Science
  • School of Information and Communication Technology

Academic profile


University rankings
Griffith University
QS World[15]303
THE World[16]201-250
ARWU World[17]301-400
US News World[18]242
CWTS Leiden World[19]300
Australian rankings
QS National[15]18
THE National[20]9=
ARWU National[21]16-22
US News National[22]13
CWTS Leiden National[19]15
ERA National[23]21[24]

In Australia, Griffith University ranks 18th out of 37 universities.[25] Griffith is in the top 400 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),[26] University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP).[27]

Griffith also ranks highly as a young university, ranking 33rd in the 2021 QS University Rankings Top 50 Under 50[28] and 30th in the 2020 Times Higher Education Top 100 under 50.[29]


The Griffith MBA is ranked among Australia's leading MBA programs in CEO Magazine and its 2015 MBA Rankings.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

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.[5]


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:

  • Advanced Design and Prototyping Technologies Institute (ADaPT)
  • Australian Rivers Institute
  • Cities Research Institute
  • Environmental Futures Research Institute
  • Griffith Asia Institute
  • Griffith Criminology Institute
  • Griffith Institute for Educational Research
  • Griffith Institute for Tourism
  • Institute for Glycomics
  • Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems
  • Menzies Health Institute Queensland (formerly the Griffith Health Institute)
  • Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD)

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

  • Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention
  • National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility
  • Smart Water Research Centre
  • NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Nursing

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[33] 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[34] supports many clubs including the long running GRUBS[35] (Griffith University Bushwalking Club), the Karate and Kickboxing club and the Griffith University Aikido Club.

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)[36] 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.

Griffith College

Located on Griffith University's Mount Gravatt and Gold Coast campuses, Griffith College, formerly 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

Kinaba, KGBC colleges, Griffith University Nathan Campus

Griffith University has four residential colleges, with two located on its Nathan campus and one each on 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:

  • Bellenden Ker College, a.k.a. BK, is a co-educational college located on the Nathan Campus in the Toohey forest reserve.
  • KGBC, also known as "The Flats", consist of four co-educational undergraduate and postgraduate apartments on the Nathan Campus.
  • Mt Gravatt College, a.k.a. MG, is a co-educational college located on the Mt Gravatt Campus which itself sits on the hill for which the surrounding suburbs are named.
  • Griffith University Village is a collection of co-ed apartments on the Gold Coast Campus.

Safe Campuses initiative

Between 2011 and 2016 there were 46 officially reported cases of sexual abuse and harassment on campus released by the university, resulting in no expulsions and one six-month suspension, the highest reported stats in Queensland at the time.[37] This was fewer than the 2017 Australian Human Rights Commission report on sexual assault and harassment, which found reported figures higher than this.[38]

Following the release of the report, Griffith University established the Safe Campuses Taskforce.[39] The Taskforce and its working parties are working to ensure Griffith's campuses provide safe, inclusive and respectful environments for all students and staff.


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

Partner Institution


See also


  1. "Griffith University , Southport, Australia - Listing by Bizpages". Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  2. "2014-16 Mission-based Compact – Griffith University". Australian Government. 11 December 2015. Archived from the original on 12 April 2015.
  3. "Our Campuses". Griffith Archive. Griffith University. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  4. O'Grady, Stephen. "Digital Campus adds to Griffith's growing footprint". Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  5. About Griffith. Griffith University. Archived from the original on 13 February 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  6. "2019 Student Experience Survey" (PDF). Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  7. Baker, Jordan. "UNSW students least satisfied in the country, survey shows". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  8. Hogan, Janet (1982). Living History of Brisbane. Spring Hill, QLD: Boolarang Publications. pp. 130–131. ISBN 0-908175-41-8.
  9. 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  10. "Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games". Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  11. "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: First Peoples - Griffith University". Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  12. "Nathan campus general site map" (PDF). Griffith University. January 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  13. "South Bank campus". Griffith University. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  14. "Digital campus". Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  15. "QS World University Rankings 2021". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  16. "World University Rankings 2021". TSL Education Limited.
  17. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  18. "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News and World Report.
  19. "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2020". Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University.
  20. "THE 2021 - Australia". Times Higher Education.
  21. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020 - Australia". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  22. "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities in Australia". U.S. News and World Report.
  23. "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network.
  24. "All unis winners in research audit". The Australian. 4 December 2015. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  25. "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network. Archived from the original on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  26. Marshall, Deborah (1 October 2015). "Griffith rises in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings". Griffith University. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  27. "Australian Education". Education Statistics. 4 February 2013. Archived from the original on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  28. "QS University Rankings: Top 50 Under 50 2021". QS Top Universities. QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 5 November 2015. Archived from the original on 25 November 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  29. "Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 universities 2020". Times Higher Education World University Rankings. TES Global Ltd. 13 April 2015. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  30. "2015 MBA Rankings" (PDF). CEO Magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 February 2015.
  31. "Beyond Grey Pinstripes: MBA Survey". Aspen Institute. 8 August 2012. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  32. "BOSS MBA rankings: The best MBA courses in the country". Financial Review. 11 September 2015. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  33. "Student Guild Gold Coast Campus". Griffith University Gold Coast Student Guild. Archived from the original on 24 August 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  34. "Campus Life". Griffith University. Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  35. GRUBS
  36. "GUMURRII Student Support Unit (SSU)". Archived from the original on 29 February 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  37. Funnell, Nina (10 October 2016). "Full list of universities exposed by sexual assault investigation". News Limited. Archived from the original on 2 August 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  38. "Unis urged to act as 'shocking' survey reveals half of all students face sexual harassment". ABC News. 1 August 2017. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  39. "Taskforce". Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  40. "University Partners - Division of Community and International Networking". Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman(UTAR). Archived from the original on 19 July 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2019.

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