The university was established by an Act of the Australian Parliament in 1958 and was the second university to be established in the state of Victoria. The original campus was in the south-eastern suburb of Melbourne, Clayton. In 1992, a series of mergers were made between Monash University, the Caulfield Institute of Technology and the Victorian College of Pharmacy, making Monash the largest and the most diverse university in Australia. Courses are offered from diploma to doctoral level in the faculties of art and design, arts, business and economics, education, engineering, information technology, law, medicine, pharmacy and science. The university is also home to a number of specialist research centres.
The Monash Clayton campus covers an area over 100 hectares, making it the largest university campus on the continent. In 2001, the Australian Federal Government decided to build the first Australian synchrotron on Monash's Clayton Campus. The synchrotron, when built, is expected to be one of the most powerful electronic microscopes in the world, capable of viewing matter at the molecular level. The project is expected to cost up to 700 million dollars.
The university motto is Ancora imparo, meaning 'I am still learning', a favourite saying of Michelangelo.
There are approximately 48,000 students at the university.