James Cook University logo
Picture of James Cook University
Picture of James Cook University
Picture of James Cook University
Picture of James Cook University

Sandra Harding-0021thumb

Vice-Chancellor and 


Professor Sandra Harding
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Campus locations

  • Cairns
  • Singapore
  • Townsville


James Cook University is unique among Australian universities, woven into the intellectual, economic and social fabric of our tropical locations.

JCU is Queensland’s second oldest university. It started its journey as the University College of Townsville in 1961, under the stewardship of the University of Queensland, and in 1970, James Cook University was established with its founding legislation providing the mandate for the strategic direction the University has pursued; to seek knowledge-based ways to help the world’s tropical regions prosper.

JCU is defined by the tropics. Its main campuses are in the heart of the tropics – Cairns, Singapore and Townsville. The campuses are complemented and extended by regional and remote study centres and research stations. JCU’s Australian campuses and field stations are located near the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the rainforests of the Wet Tropics region. This unique environment attracts students from around the world.

JCU plays a key role in preparing the professional workforce for northern Australia, and the University offers a comprehensive suite of professionally accredited programs including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, veterinary sciences, psychology, nursing, sport and exercise science, engineering, law, education, and a range of programs in business, science, social science and humanities.

JCU is ranked among the top 2 per cent of the world’s universities (Academic Ranking of World Universities). The University has an international reputation for the quality of its teaching and research, with recognised strengths in environmental science and management; coral reef science, ecology, and fisheries sciences; geology; evolutionary biology; organic and inorganic chemistry; oceanography; physical geography and environmental geoscience; medical microbiology, tropical health and medicine, vector-borne diseases; immunology; archaeology; and linguistics.

JCU is home to more than 20 major research centres and institutes, including the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, The Cairns Institute and the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM).

For the past eight years, The Good Universities Guide has awarded JCU five stars for graduate employment. Employers value JCU graduates for their combination of theoretical and practical experience, as well as their communication and technology skills.