Founded in 1887 by Francis Ormond, RMIT began as a night school offering classes in art, science, and technology, in response to the industrial revolution in Australia. It was a private college for more than a hundred years before merging with the Phillip Institute of Technology to become a public university in 1992. It has an enrolment of around 95,000 higher and vocational education students, making it the largest dual-sector education institution in Australia. With an annual revenue of around A$1.5 billion, it is also one of the wealthiest universities in Australia. It is rated a five star university by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and is ranked 15th in the World for art and design subjects in the QS World University Rankings, making it the top art and design university in Australia and Oceania.
The main campus of RMIT is situated on the northern edge of the historic Hoddle Grid in the city centre of Melbourne. It has two satellite campuses in the city’s northern suburbs of Brunswick and Bundoora and a training site situated on the RAAF Williams base in the western suburb of Point Cook. It also has a training site at Bendigo Airport in the Victorian city of Bendigo and a research site in Hamilton near the Grampians National Park. In Asia, it has two branch campuses in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and a training centre in Da Nang in Vietnam as well as teaching partnerships in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. In Europe, it has a research and collaboration centre in the Spanish city of Barcelona.
According to the QS World University Rankings, RMIT is ranked as a five star university in the areas of: research, employability, teaching, facilities, internationalisation, innovation, engagement, specialisation.
According to the 2021 QS World University Rankings, RMIT was ranked 15th in the world for art and design subjects, making it the top art and design school in Australia and Oceania. RMIT is ranked 16th in the world and 3rd in Australia among universities less than 50 years old in the 2016–17 QS Top 50 Under 50 index. Times Higher Education rankings placed RMIT in the 93rd position of 100 universities under 50 years old.
RMIT is ranked 28th in the world for Architecture and the Built Environment (4th highest in Australia) in the 2017 QS World University Rankings by Subject.
RMIT focuses on applied research as well as outcome-related research and consultancy services, and has extensive partnerships with government and industry. It mainly focuses its research in the areas of design, technology, health, globalisation and sustainability.
Its Portfolio of Research and Innovation operates on a similar scale to its colleges, and also contains a specialist research school in order to foster excellence in research methodology and pedagogy. In addition to the Portfolio of Research and Innovation, over 50 research centres operate independently within RMIT’s colleges and schools as well as a large number of smaller research groups.