Curtin University is a multi-campus university founded as the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT) in 1967.
Curtin gained university status in 1987. Curtin's teaching and research is grouped into five faculties: Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin Business School, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Science and Engineering. These faculties are further divided into schools, departments and centres, which are the basic operational units of the University. Teaching and research activities are supported by the Vice-Chancellory. Courses are delivered at several campuses and education centres throughout Western Australia, campuses in Sydney and Malaysia, as well as a host of international partner institutions.
The Curtin University of Technology Act 1966, which established the University, provides that the governing authority of the University is the Council. The Chancellor chairs Council while the Vice-Chancellor is responsible for the day-to-day management of the University.
Legislation to change the formal status of the Western Australian Institute of Technology to a University of Technology was passed by the Western Australian State Parliament in 1986. Curtin University of Technology commenced operation on 1 January 1987.
In 1998, an amendment was made to the wording of the Curtin University of Technology Act 1966 to enable the University to establish and maintain branches outside the State of Western Australia. At the time of the original wording of the Act, internationalisation of the University's activities had not been contemplated. Given the University's operations in an increasingly global environment, it was seen as timely to seek an amendment, which would not impede any future operations. The Curtin University of Technology Amendment Act 1998, enabling the University to carry out its functions and enter in business arrangements "within or outside the State" was assented to by the Governor on 5 November 1998.
The functions of the University, as laid down in the Act, include the following:
- to provide courses of study appropriate to a university, and other tertiary courses, and to aid the advancement, development and practical application of knowledge
- to encourage and participate in the development and improvement of tertiary education whether on a full-time or part-time basis
- to provide other such courses as may be approved by the Council
- to encourage and undertake research and to aid directly or indirectly the application of science and technology to industry
- to foster the general welfare and development of its enrolled students
- to make appropriate academic awards to enrolled students who have attained standards approved by the University in examination and to other persons as prescribed
- to provide such facilities relating to the foregoing functions as the Council thinks necessary or conducive for their attainment.