The Australian National University plans to build an "intimate student community" with a view of Lake Burley Griffin and Black Mountain to accommodate nearly 900 students.
The university hopes to open the development, named SA8, in time for the 2021 academic year, giving it until late February that year to open the doors.
If plans are approved, the project will be delivered as a whole and will include 670 beds across three buildings for undergraduate students and 195 beds across two buildings for postgraduates. There will also be 32 self-contained units, each with two bedrooms, for families.
Works have already begun on clearing about seven hectares of vegetation to make way for SA8, after the National Capital Authority granted approval for site preparation and establishment works on May 17.
A spokeswoman for the authority said it was considering an application for the construction of the student accommodation buildings and associated facilities.
The spokeswoman said the proposed development would not impact on any listed ecological community or potentially important habitat for threatened species.
Australian National University chief operating officer Chris Grange said SA8 was a different type of student accommodation to what the university had developed in the past.
"SA8 will be an intimate student community built around a village green, other common spaces, a gym and cafes," Mr Grange said.
"The new accommodation will front Sullivans Creek and overlook iconic Canberra vistas like Lake Burley Griffin and Black Mountain.
"The buildings will be smaller and more communal, and rooms will cater for the academic and personal needs of all students.
"There will be rooms stylised for undergraduates, other rooms that cater to postgraduates, including couples, and larger ones to accommodate families."
Mr Grange said the project would also include the construction of a new boat shed for the ANU Rowing Club and a new pedestrian footbridge across Sullivans Creek to connect SA8 with the rest of the university campus.
Architectural firm Bates Smart is designing SA8.
"It will be a lively, modern and exciting village that gives students a high-quality and deeply satisfying lifestyle, as well as place to thrive socially, personally and academically while studying at one of the world's leading universities," Mr Grange said.
The university did not answer a question about the budget for the SA8 project, but a listing on the construction tender website Estimate One says it has an approximate budget of between $100 million and $200 million.
The new development will help the university uphold its guarantee to provide some form of approved accommodation to a variety of undergraduate students commencing in their first semester at the university.
All domestic undergraduate students qualify for the guarantee, as do a range of others including students transferring from another institution, incoming exchange students and students with a disability.