Education: A-Z of universities Leicester

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Age: 75

Address: 10 minutes walk from city centre - across a pedestrian walkway.

Ambience: Flanked by 20 acres of parkland, main campus is the usual mix of elegant old buildings e.g. Fielding Johnson Building (1837) and modern horrors. But the university is proud of its engineering building designed by Sir James Stirling which viewed from the side appears to have a rocket sticking out of the top and is listed Grade II. Bustling, friendly city. University very green and reasonably intimate.

Vital Statistics: This is the place where Prof Sir Alec Jeffreys discovered DNA genetic fingerprinting. Also known for cutting-edge research in physics and astronomy. Has one of the biggest postgraduate distance learning programmes of any university.

Added value: Physics and astronomy dept. has close links with NASA. Students can study astrophysics and space science. Some graduates have gone on to work for NASA. Chemistry and physics offer a year-long placement in the USA; many other courses offer a year in Europe. Research centres concentrating on football hooliganism, youth employment, public order and federalism.

Easy to get into? You need three Bs or equivalent at A level for English; two Bs and a C for law; three Bs for psychology; languages BCC or BCD; physics two Cs and a D; geology three Cs; archaeology a B and two Cs.

Glittering alumni: MPs Michael Jack and Bruce Grocott; CP Snow; Malcolm Bradbury; ITN correspndent Mike Nicholson; TV presenters Sue Cook, Pete McCarthy and comic Bob Mortimer; astronomer Heather Couper; businesswomen Carol Galley; Mhairi Mcewan, vice president, marketing, for Walkers Snack Foods, known in the marketing media as the woman who turned Pepsi blue; Chris Moon, campaigner against landmines; Gulf War hero John Peters who was captured by the Iraqis.

Transport links: Good for trains - direct services all over the Midlands and the rest of the country, including London (just over an hour away), Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh. Also good road links via M1 and M69 and coach networks.

Who's the boss? Geneticist Dr Kenneth Edwards, media-friendly former chairman of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals and lover of rugby. Leicester 2

Teaching rating: 19 out of a maximum of 24 for sociology; 20 for engineering; 19 for French; 21 for German; and 20 for Italian.

Research: Ranked 41st out of 101 in the research assessment exercise (or 30th if you calculate the rankings per academic). Received a tip-top 5* for pharmacology and a 5 for biochemistry, biological sciences (genetics), physics, archaeology and history, including English local history and economic and social history.

Financial health: Claims to be in the black.

Night life: Leicester is not the glitziest of night spots. But the university has The Venue, holding 1,600 people, which is alive four nights a week. Also next door is De Montfort Hall (not to be confused with De Montfort University), the city's biggest concert venue. Student drama is very strong - 9 productions a year. Leicester is hot for Indian food.

Cheap to live in: Good value. Room in hall with washbasin pounds 68.67 a week, including breakfast and evening meal; self-catering pounds 34.79 a week. Private rent around pounds 30 to pounds 35 excluding bills.

Buzz-phrase: The final frontier! (ref. the space research programme and Leicester generally)

Next week: University of Lincolnshire and Humberside.