Melbourne's RMIT University will soon start construction of a $31.5 million (£22 million) campus on 140 acres in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City.
RMIT, which claims to be the first foreign educational institution to receive permission to establish a private offshoot in Vietnam, last week received approval from the Victoria government to take out $14.5 million in loans from the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank to begin the building project.
The Asian Development Bank's vice-president, Myong-Hu Shin, said it was the first investment made in the tertiary education sector by its private sector group.
RMIT University Vietnam began operating in temporary facilities 12 months ago and now has 58 staff and 369 students. Programmes range from English language courses to bachelor and masters degrees, education and training, and research and development activities.
Vice-chancellor Ruth Dunkin said the campus would provide a "cutting-edge learning environment" for up to 3,000 students. Graduates will have the education and training to advance Vietnam's business, social and economic development and the skills and knowledge needed by Vietnam's emerging market economy.
Additional courses on campus will include systems and software engineering, business, computing, professional accounting, computer science and information technology. All courses will be conducted in English and learning materials will be accessible online.
The new university is to offer courses developed by RMIT in Melbourne, with the same academic standards as in Australia, but it will be able to act independently in setting curricula, fees and student targets. Standards will be reviewed in partnership with the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training.
Australian students will also be able to complete degrees at the Vietnam university or undertake exchange programmes in Vietnam and complete part of their degrees on the new campus. "This will provide them with a greater understanding of the challenge of working in a global economy," Professor Dunkin said.
She said the project would open up opportunities for communities in the two countries to develop culturally, socially, economically and environmentally.