Facts and History

For 160 years, the Faculty of Arts has adapted to a changing job market and the changing needs of students.

The ceremonial laying of the foundation stone of the University’s first building, the Quadrangle, took place on the same day as that of the Melbourne Public Library (now the State Library), marking a turning point in the intellectual life of Victoria.

Teaching in the Bachelor of Arts – the University’s only degree at the time – began on a small scale on the 13th of April, 1855. Three professors, attracted to Melbourne from England and Ireland by the promise of excellent pay and conditions, faced sixteen students, only four of whom would graduate.

For 160 years, Arts degrees and the Faculty of Arts have adapted to a changing job market and the changing needs of students. The Melbourne Curriculum, introduced in 2008, brought dramatic changes to the Faculty. September 2009 saw the launch of the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, which provides graduates with advanced knowledge and professional skills. The Melbourne School of Government, launched in June 2013, and the redevelopment of the Arts West Building, completed in 2016, demonstrate the dynamism and innovation of the Faculty of Arts in the twenty-first century. The Faculty continues to offer courses in Classical Greek and Latin, even as it develops a world-class Digital Studio dedicated to the digital humanities.

  • Student Enrolments

    6,708 Undergraduate

    2,998 Graduate

    628 Research Higher Degree

  • Academic Workforce

    300+ academic staff

  • Research

    Spans almost 40 disciplines

    Two ARC Centres of Excellence

    20+ Research Centres and Groups

    Innovative new Digital Studio

  • Rankings

    # 1 in Australia and # 23 in the world for Social Sciences

    # 2 in Australia and # 41 in the world for Arts and Humanities

    # 17 in the world for Arts and Humanities

Outstanding facilities

The Faculty occupies a number of iconic buildings across the Parkville campus. These include the beautiful sandstone Old Arts building and the spectacular, new, purpose-built Arts West.

Arts West, winner of the 10th Annual Learning Environments Australasia (LEA) Awards (2017)