Charles Darwin University Australia

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Charles Darwin University, Australia

The seed of CDU dates back to Darwin in the 1950s. With no offices or permanent staff, adult education classes in typing, shorthand and French were first conducted in school premises and taught by teachers working outside of normal hours.

Darwin’s Adult Education Centre’s first full-time Principal Harold Garner brought tremendous energy to the role. On enrollment day the Centre resembled an ant’s nest, thriving with activity. It was the first institution to offer post-secondary studies in the Northern Territory.

In March 1974 Darwin’s Adult Education Centre graduated to become the Darwin Community College. Nine months later, on Christmas eve, Cyclone Tracey struck Darwin, the college directly in its path in the maximum destruction zone.

The Darwin Community College was later known as the Darwin Institute of Technology. Talk of a university in the Territory had been brewing as far back as 1950s.The objectives – to stop the brain drain south, conduct research into the Territory’s unique desert and tropical environments, and aid in development towards statehood.

This would take another name change for the Darwin Community College. The Federal Government’s introduction of the Unified National System finally come to fruition in 1989, with the establishment of the Northern Territory University. There was one last merger, this time with the Alice Spring’s Centralian College in 2003, and one last name change to ‘Charles Darwin University’ ( CDU ).

Courses Offered in Charles Darwin University :

Research Focus at CDU, Australia

Charles Darwin University ( CDU ) is known for its expertise in research by specializing in tropical and desert knowledge in the Australian and Asia-Pacific region.

CDU’s core research strengths are in :

  • natural and cultural resource management
  • human health and well-being
  • teaching, learning and living
  • community, development and identity

Staff at CDU provide a wealth of experience for stakeholders and students undertaking collaborative projects.

The Future of Research at CDU

By 2014, the University aims to :

  • attract funding to advance its research strengths in tropical, desert and Indigenous knowledge and focus on the unique and complex needs of regional Australia, and our near neighbours, in a wider global context.
  • respond to the needs of the community for knowledge and information to maximise beneficial social, cultural, economic, environmental and health outcomes.
  • attract and retain high quality and motivated researchers and postgraduate students by establishing a research environment that is stimulating and provides professional support as well as quality infrastructure and equipment.
  • build capacity in research through key partnerships with other agencies, industry and Indigenous organisations as well as major universities, particularly the Australian National University and the Innovative Research Universities Group.
  • expand its international research linkages, particularly with near neighbours such as Timor Leste and Indonesia
  • seek greater engagement with industry to provide the knowledge it requires.

Why study at CDU?

Excellence in Research :

CDU is renowned for its research expertise and leadership in tropical and desert knowledge of the Australian and Asia-Pacific regions. Annual research income is AUD$26 million. Research is interdisciplinary and applied in environment, health, education, engineering, information technology, renewable energy, social and economic policy and indigenous knowledge through our major research institutes :

  • Menzies School of Health Research
  • The Northern Institute
  • The Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods
  • The Research Centre for Health and Wellbeing
  • The Centre for Renewable Energy and Low Emission Technology ( in partnership with the NT Government )
  • Centre for Hydrocarbon Research, Education and Training ( in partnership with the NT Government )
  • The Australian Centre of Indigenous Knowledges and Education

Study Options for International Students at CDU :

  • More than 75 nationally recognised and accredited programs for international students; several Masters and Bachelor programs have industry internships that give students the experience to develop work ready skills in their professions, working with local employers.
  • Our Navitas English College teaches English language courses to prepare students for admission to degree programs.
  • Essington International Senior College teaches Senior High School on campus, with pathways into CDU degrees.

Unique Features of Charles Darwin University

  • More than 680 international students from 55 countries study at CDU; making it one of the most culturally diverse universities in Australia.
  • Low student to staff ratio provides a personalised and supportive teaching and learning environment. Our international students adjust more quickly to studying in a foreign country because the number of students in their classes is much less than in other universities in Australian capital cities; it is easy to approach their teachers and get the support they need to be successful.
  • Well paid part time jobs are easy to find in the retail and hospitality sector. Students are permitted to work 40 hrs per fortnight during semester; full time during university vacations.
  • A safe environment and social activities that help international students develop friendships in the wider University community.
  • High quality on-campus accommodation for approx 300 students with free internet access, and resident tutors.
  • Free bus transport in the city
  • Our international students ranked CDU 1st in Australia for Learning Experience, and Living Experience; 2nd for Arrival Experience and 4th for Support in the 2010 global International Student Barometer survey. 29 Australian universities participated in the ISB.

Graduates Opportunities

CDU Graduates have the best career and employment prospects. Some choose to return home, confident that their CDU degree has prepared them for their future careers. Some choose to pursue their careers in the Northern Territory. They can take advantage of the unique relationship between CDU and the NT Government to develop their career and for migration sponsorship.

Employment and Career Opportunities in CDU

The Northern Territory is the fastest growing economy in Australia due to our rich natural and mineral resources, agriculture and tourism. There is a constant high demand for skilled and qualified workers in business, engineering, IT, tourism and hospitality, health, education, communications and the public services sector.

  • Graduates with good English language skills quickly find employment in their area of professional  training
  • CDU graduates have the best chance for a Skilled Graduate working Visa; if they are good employees, their employer may sponsor them for permanent residency.

CDU Services

On-campus Accommodation

International House Darwin ( IHD )

Part of a network of International Houses in Australia and overseas, IHD, on Casuarina campus offers both local and international students a residential community. For more information, phone +61 8 8946 6591, or visit the IHD website.

  • Two minutes walk to library, university amenities and teaching areas
  • Within easy walking distance of major shopping areas
  • Computer facilities, study rooms, recreational areas, swimming pool
  • Well-equipped standard rooms, some with ensuite option.

Off-campus Accommodation


StudyStays – – The CDU online off-campus accommodation website available to CDU staff and students. A list of rental properties for lease can also be found at, and You may also like to contact real estate agents directly – search the Yellow Pages to find a local real estate agent. For private rental accommodation and classifieds with accommodation opportunities, furniture and househild goods visit or


Alice Springs campus library :

The Alice Springs campus library is a welcoming open-plan space situated at the hub of the campus. Library hours vary during the year, please check the times.

Casuarina campus library :

The Casuarina campus library is a state-of-the-art learning precinct. Library hours vary during the year, please check the times.

Palmerston campus library :

The Palmerston campus library is a up-to-date facility situated in the learning precinct at C block. Library hours vary during the year, please check the times.

Medical Services in CDU, Australia

Casuarina :

The CDU Medical Centre is situated on the Casuarina campus of Charles Darwin University at the corner of Lakeside and Ellengowan Drives.

CDU students ( in possession of a student card ) will be bulk billed at the medical centre and a 10% discount will apply to all CDU staff.

For appointments please call 8901 8800.


  • Royal Darwin Hospital : 08 8922 8888
  • Darwin Private Hospital : 08 8920 6011
  • Katherine Hospital : 08 8973 9211
  • Tennant Creek Hospital : 08 8962 4399
  • Alice Springs Hospital : 08 8951 7777

Contact Charles Darwin University, Australia

  • Casuarina :
    (08) 8946 7766 or 1800 061 963
    Orange 1, Casuarina campus
  • Alice Springs :
    (08) 8959 5311 or 1800 654 865
    Grevillia Drive
  • Email :

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