History: Origins go back to 1845. It was born from a merger of Norwich School of Art and Great Yarmouth College of Art and Design.
Address: Located in six buildings within yards of one another in the cathedral town of Norwich.
Ambience: Great location in city centre overlooking the River Wensum. Mix of architecture including the medieval, Edwardian and Victorian. Library is in a 19th-century warehouse off Elm Hill, a cobbled lane of timber- framed houses.
Vital statistics: Small college of higher education with only 900 full- time students, 200 of whom are on foundation or GNVQ courses. Five degrees offered: graphic design, fine art, visual studies (one of two in the country), cultural studies and textiles. Male/female ratio is 52:48. Degrees are validated by Anglia Polytechnic University. Virtually no sport and very limited college accommodation. Most students live in plentiful privately rented rooms within 15 minutes walk of college. Good opportunities for second years to study abroad for a term. Has links with Kansas State University for graphic design.
Added value: You get the Norwich Gallery thrown in. It shows contemporary art, and arts and crafts from the region. Largest show is East International, a major international open exhibition held every summer. Gallery attracts 40,000 visitors a year. Students are encouraged to take part.
Easy to get into? You need to have completed a foundation course in art and design or equivalent, or BTEC national diploma, two A-levels or Advanced GNVQ. Mature students welcome.
Glittering alumni: Daren Mason, freelance designer who has designed watches for Swatch; Fionn Rawnsley, tutor at the college who used to design models for Spitting Image; Jamie Durrant who works for Lionhead Studios, the computer games company. Watch out for Tom Gloesener, a student who redesigned the weekly Luxembourg newspaper, "d'Letzeburger Land".
Transport links: Better than they were. Train to Norwich takes under two hours from London. Journey by car - just over 100 miles - is mostly motorway and dual carriageway. Or fly. Norwich Airport has direct flights daily to Amsterdam.
Who's the boss? Prof Bruce Black, colourful Scotsman, originally a fine artist from Edinburgh who wears tartan trousers.
Teaching: Scored 21 out of 24 in art and design.
Research: Achieved a 3b (top grade is 5) in art and design in the research assessment exercise. Beat 26 new universities in the league table.
Financial health: In the black.
Nightlife: Student union bar is a stunning rectangular room with a stage at one end, huge timber beams and a leopardskin bar. You can see live bands here and watch movies. Otherwise students frequent one of Norwich's 365 pubs, particularly The Woolpack. Popular wine bar is The Alibi.
Cheap to live in? Not bad. pounds 35-45 for privately rented room; pounds 42 for self-catering study bedroom in hall.
Buzz-phrase: "Are you alroyt, boy?" (Said with Norwich accent)
Next week: Queen Margaret University College.
In the Independent on Sunday this week, don't miss: The A to Z of Universities, a full and updated collection of this popular series of columns, which first appeared in EDUCATION.Reuse content