Free uni courses reach all walks of life

Free uni courses reach all walks of life

02 Jun 2011

The Melbourne Free University (MFU) is an unaffiliated learning platform founded by three La Trobe University researchers and PhD candidates.  After celebrating its first birthday in May, the MFU community is growing with diversified courses on offer for anyone interested in attending.

Melbourne Free UniversityLa Trobe University scholars Aurélien Mondon, who recently completed a Doctorate in Politics along with Gerhard Hoffstaedter, Research Fellow at the Institute for Human Security and Jasmine-Kim Westendorf, a PhD candidate in International Relations, started developing the MFU two years ago.  

‘The Melbourne Free University took a year to get started before courses began running,’ Aurélien explains.  ‘The founders all got together and agreed that the space was something that needed to be created.’

The University now runs six-week courses in north Melbourne on a range of subjects and themes, all of which are free to anybody interested in attending, with no enrolment or registration necessary. The MFU goal fits seamlessly with La Trobe University’s long standing ethos of increasing education access to all walks of life.

‘The MFU has achieved its main goal already, by providing a space for the community to share knowledge and ideas, with the only thing needed for success is the motivation of the attendees,’ Aurélien says.  ‘We started off slowly with smaller numbers in courses, but there has since been a really good pick up.  People come because they want to be there.’

The MFU has managed to extend its reach to all parts of the community, allowing people often disconnected from university life to participate in the sharing and production of knowledge.

‘The long term goal for the Melbourne Free University is to be completely self-sustainable, that it is run by the community for the community.  We are also aiming to create a guide on how to start a free university as we have been asked to recreate the model in other parts of Melbourne and Australia,’ Aurélien says.

Topics of future courses include law, indigenous studies, astrophysics and sustainability – visit to find out more and find details of current courses.

The Melbourne Free University is always on the lookout for volunteer coordinators to assist, contact


For media enquiries, contact:
Mark Pearce, Media and Communications Unit
T: 9479 5246 M: 0423 783 756 E:




La Trobe Media Release RSS