Graduating with a university honours degree is not something the average 17 year old normally gets to do.

But that is precisely what’s in store for student Michael Kelly this Friday, December 16, when he receives a Class 2A honours Bachelor of Photonics and Nanoscience from Griffith University.

A Gold Coast resident, Michael started studying at Griffith’s Nathan campus when he was just 12 years old and is believed to be the youngest Australian accepted into university.

His father Joseph said he was extremely proud of his son’s Einstein-like brilliance and that he is the first in the family to gain a university degree.

“His mother and I never studied at university, so we’re very happy that he’s achieved so much at such a young age,he said.

Michael said he now plans to skip doing a Masters degree and go straight onto a

PhD program which he plans to complete when he is 20.

“I am really pleased that I now have the right credentials to enrol in a PhD program. It has been a humbling experience and a lot of hard work but it has paid off as now I can continue my long-term goal of becoming a world famous


“Hopefully this will enable me to use my skills to help make the world a better place.

“I would like to thank Griffith University for accepting a 12 year old into university

and all the lecturers in the Photonics and Nanoscience department for having the

faith in me which has allowed me to achieve my goal. I hope that other young people will choose science degrees by realising that if I can get a Bachelor of Photonics and Nanoscience with Honours after just turning 17, so can they. The last four years at Griffith have truly been the best of my life.

“At least when I graduate now, there will not be such a height difference. When I

commenced uni back then, even the shortest girl was taller than me and everyone

thought I was someone’s little brother!”