The University of the Sunshine Coast is a public university based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Having opened in 1996 as the Sunshine Coast University College with 524 students, it was renamed the ''University of the Sunshine Coast'' in 1999. As at Semester 1 2015 the student body was 12,000. About north of Brisbane, the campus is a flora and fauna reserve, adjoining the Mooloolah River National Park.
Undergraduate and postgraduate (coursework and higher degree by research) programs are offered in both faculties (Arts and Business; Science, Health, Education and Engineering), with the majority of the university's research focussed in two main areas, sustainability and regional engagement. The university also offers dual degree programs in conjunction with the Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE. Study areas are divided into seven disciplines: Business and Information Technology, Communication and Design, Education, Health, Humanities and Social Sciences, Law and Science and Engineering. The Law discipline area is under development, with the first intake to be Semester 1, 2014
The university is listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.
The first discussions about a university for the Sunshine Coast region began in 1973. In 1989, the Australian federal government approved its establishment. On 1 July 1994 the Queensland Parliament passed the ''Sunshine Coast University College Act 1994''.〔(Establishment of the University of the Sunshine Coast )〕
The university was established in 1994 and opened in 1996, as the ''Sunshine Coast University College''. ''The University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998'' was passed in Queensland Parliament on 19 November of that year, legislating the independent status of the university. The university changed to its current name of the ''University of the Sunshine Coast'' in 1999. It was created by the Australian government to serve the growing population of the Sunshine Coast region, north of Brisbane, in Queensland. The University of the Sunshine Coast is the first greenfields university established in Australia since 1971.
The inaugural Vice-Chancellor was Professor Paul Thomas, , who took office with effect from 1 January 1996, having spent an earlier period as Planning President. Ian Kennedy, , a pastoralist, was an early Chancellor.
The student body has grown consistently since the university opened in 1996 with an intake of 524 students. At the 2012 semester 1 census, the university had 8,139 students (an increase of 4.8% on 2011).
The university introduced paid parking at its Sippy Downs campus from February 2013, a move that garnered a negative response from some students and staff. Of the university's 2,400 parking spaces, approximately 450 (located from the centre of campus) remain as free parking.
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