Equity and diversity at the University

We aim to provide an environment for learning and working where our students, staff and visitors feel comfortable and included. The brightest minds and most promising ideas can come from anywhere, but they need dedicated support and space to fully develop, and that is what the University provides.

Equal opportunity has many paths at the University. We are working across the following broad areas:

Social inclusion

We want to attract promising students from all social and cultural backgrounds. We believe this is our social responsibility as a leading Australian university, and also that it will enrich the educational experience of our students.

In particular, we are working in the following areas to increase the participation of students from currently underrepresented groups.

  • We use community engagement programs and primary and high school visits to provide information about tertiary study and the different paths into the University, including admissions schemes, grants and scholarships.
  • Primary and high school students are invited to take part in summer programs and experience days on campus.
  • We promote the support services available to current students, and work to retain students by helping them through temporary or ongoing difficulties.
  • We support religious diversity on campus, providing spaces for religious practice and chaplains from a range of faiths.
  • We run targeted training and bridging courses to prepare students from language backgrounds other than English, international students, students from regional and remote areas, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Find out more about social inclusion at the University.

Diversity in employment

We aim to develop a diverse and skilled workforce that more closely reflects the make-up of the communities we serve. We are working towards a more equal representation and distribution within our staff of women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, racial, ethnic and ethno-religious minority groups, and people with disabilities.

  • In 2012 the University of Sydney was named an Employer of Choice for Women for 2012-13 by the Australian Government’s Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (now known as the Workplace Gender Equality Agency).
  • We encourage and support women staff to aspire to senior leadership roles through the Women and Leadership Program Suite.
  • We provide a flexible working environment for all staff, including options to work part-time, change start and finish times, and job share.
  • We recognise that factors such as part-time work, parenting and other caring responsibilities can affect a staff member’s career progression, so we have provided Equity Fellowships for support and revised the Academic Promotions policy to assess applicants relative to opportunity.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have improved access to high quality employment and career development opportunities at all levels of the University; and numbers have increased in both academic and general staff.
  • By the end of 2015, all staff at the University will have undertaken cross-cultural training, encouraging respectful and comfortable conversations and debate.
  • Our Equity and Diversity Strategy Centre, working closely with Human Resources staff, provides advice on equity and diversity, and on equal opportunity in employment.

Find out more about working at the University

Current staff members, find out more about equal opportunity


The University launched its third Disability Action Plan (DAP) in August 2013. The first DAP was lodged in 1999 and since that time we have continuously worked to improve and increase access and inclusion for people with disabilities. This includes building facilities, committing to accessibility in our web-based communications and encouraging people with disabilities to join the University as students and staff.

Our current DAP outlines the steps we will take to become a leading educator and employer of choice to all students and staff with disabilities.

Read the Disability Action Plan

Read about our Disability services for students