Our history

The Faculty of Science was established in 1903 at the University of Melbourne, under the first Dean, Professor Henry Laurie. Initially the disciplines taught within the Faculty included Chemistry, Physiology, Biology (including elementary Botany), Geology and Minerology, as well as subjects from the Schools of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy (Physics).


  • 1903: Faculty of Science established;
  • 1930s: Science had 35 staff in 6 departments - only 25 of them lecturer or above. Natural Philosophy the largest department in the university with ten staff;
  • 1935: Australian Vice Chancellors Committee (AVCC) requested the Commonwealth Government give financial assistance for post-graduate students;
  • 1936: First federal government grant to universities - money for research CSIR had a special interest in;
  • 1936: Vice Chancellor Priestly leads a deputation to Premier Dunstan regarding a new Chemistry School and restoration of 20% cut;
  • 1937: Sub-deans appointed and a member of staff made available half-time to assist students;
  • 1938: August conference of optometrists recommended a new course in optometry to be run by university - this was approved but needed changes to Registration Act before it could go ahead;
  • 1942: Council agrees to 'social biology' being included as an Intermediate subject now to be called General Science. Previously only Chemistry and Physics had been available;
  • 1946: A 'General Science' course becomes available (later known as History and Philosophy of Science);
  • 1946: Bachelor Course in Science for prospective teachers is introduced;
  • 1948: Electronics is introduced as a subject within the Science course;
  • 1968: A Bachelor of Science in Education course is conducted in both first and second years for the first time;
  • 1970s Devolution of administrative and academic responsibilties to faculties and departments. Under the Departmental Statute, the new Chairman/Heads of department are nominated by departments & appointed for a fixed term by Council as a dept's senior executive.