Past, present and future

Since its establishment in 1853, the University of Melbourne has led the pursuit of a brighter tomorrow.

Today, the University of Melbourne is ranked as Australia’s best and one of the world’s leading universities. Its reputation emanates from world-renowned research, undergraduate and graduate professional learning, and a strong sense of connection to community.

Past: From a tradition of excellence to growing international esteem

Since its establishment in 1853, the University of Melbourne has led the pursuit of a brighter tomorrow.

Foundation years

The University of Melbourne was proclaimed by the newly formed Parliament of Victoria in 1853 and its foundation stone laid in July 1854. We have been synonymous with Melbourne’s intellectual growth and global reputation ever since.


Crest design

One of the first responsibilities of our University Council was selecting a design for the seal to authenticate documents, a choice still evident in the University of Melbourne brand today. The design featured the figure of Victory.

The Angel, as she soon became affectionately known, stands to this day above the motto ‘Postera Crescam Laude’. Taken from a poem by Horace written around 23 BCE, our motto encapsulates our aspiration to ‘grow in the esteem of future generations’. Since 1861 it has evoked the University of Melbourne’s confidence and eye to the future.


Emerging disciplines

When teaching began in 1855, the University of Melbourne had four professors and just 16students. In 1857, the University introduced law, with medicine and engineering established in the early 1860s. The new Medical School, Biology School and Old Chemistry buildings were built between the 1880s and 1900.


Welcoming women

In 1879, the University of Melbourne admitted women for the first time. Australia’s first female graduate, Bella Guerin, graduated from Arts in 1883. Australia’s first registered female medical students also graduated from the University of Melbourne.


Breadth, depth

In the early 1900s the University of Melbourne broadened its offerings to include more utilitarian courses such as agriculture, dentistry and education, and then commerce. During this period the University also became a significant site for research, emerging as a leader and becoming, today, one of the largest and most productive research organisations in Australia.


Increasing accessibility

After World War II demand for higher education grew rapidly. During this transformative period, the University of Melbourne evolved from a small institution to a higher education beacon, drawing the best and brightest students and an increasing and evolving range of courses.


New colleges

During the 1980s and 1990s, the University of Melbourne’s amalgamation with a number of tertiary colleges – including the Melbourne College of Advanced Education and Victorian College of the Arts – enhanced our reputation as a broad-based teaching and research institution.


Growing reputation

By the late 20th century, the University of Melbourne had maintained its preeminent position among Australian universities, becoming increasingly international in outlook and reputation.

Present: Recognised as Australia’s best

Today, the University of Melbourne is ranked as Australia’s best and one of the world’s leading universities. Its reputation emanates from world-renowned research, undergraduate and graduate professional learning, and a strong sense of connection to community.

Introducing a unique curriculum

In 2008, introduction of the Melbourne Model marked another historic transformation of the University of Melbourne. This innovative approach drew on the Bologna Model and US practices to deliver broad undergraduate programs, smaller class sizes, team-based learning and a unique university experience.

Future: Emerging world leader

Now and into the future, the University of Melbourne is committed to providing education and research equal to the best in the world.

Shared vision

The University of Melbourne is united by a clear, shared vision for the future and bound by a dedication to strategic development in learning, research and engagement.


Excellence in teaching and learning

By providing innovative, student-centred learning, the University of Melbourne is able to fulfil the potential of students from around the world, and support them in making profound contributions to society.


Research with impact

Fostering encounters between ideas, people and disciplines that lead to important and fascinating discoveries, the University of Melbourne is committed to under taking research that is innovative and inspiring, and addresses the world’s major social, economic and environmental challenges.


Engagement outcomes

By extending its public, industry and international engagement, the University of Melbourne connects learning and research work with communities, helping to achieve our academic aspirations and create economic, social and cultural value.

If you have any questions or queries about using the brand during this transition period, please contact the Brand team.