A-Z of Higher Education Colleges; Roehampton Institute, South-West London

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The Independent Online
Age: 158 from first incarnation.

History: Institute created in 1975 out of merger between four teacher training colleges - Whitelands (Church of England), Southlands (Methodist), Digby Stuart (Catholic) and Froebel (non-denominational). Oldest college is Whitelands, once in Chelsea and has historic links with the Victorian art critic, John Ruskin.

Address: Two south-west London campuses, two miles apart: Whitelands in West Hill, Putney; the rest in Roehampton.

Ambience: Main Roehampton Lane campus's purpose-built buildings and beautiful Georgian house set in landscaped grounds with rose garden, ornamental lakes and follies. Separate Whitelands is a Grade 2* listed building designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, responsible also for Battersea power station and Liverpool's Anglican cathedral. Students belong to a college - as at Oxbridge. It's cosy, intimate. Plenty of religion if you want it.

Vital statistics: A large college of higher education with more than 6,000 students. Wide range of degrees: most popular, drama and theatre studies, film and TV, psychology and teacher training. One of few colleges to have own taught and research degree-awarding powers. In 2000, it'll become part of University of Surrey.

Male-female ratio: 1:3. 40 per cent mature students.

Added value: New MA in the subject of women, gender and writing begins this autumn.

Easy to get into? You need 12 to 20 points in at least two A-levels (two Bs to CCD). Mature students without traditional qualifications encouraged.

Glittering alumni: Alice Beer, presenter of BBC's Watchdog; Toby Anstis, children's BBC presenter; Princess Alexandra of Greece; the late Vivien Leigh, star of Gone With the Wind; the late Mrs Gandhi; Enid Blyton; Dr Barbara MacGilchrist, Dean of initial teacher education, Institute of Education.

Transport links: In striking distance of central London: take train and bus for Roehampton campus: train or Tube and bus to Whitelands: relatively easy (30 mins) if a bus comes quickly - otherwise it's a schlepp.

Who's the boss? Bungee-jumping nun, Dr Bernadette Porter, known as Sister Bernie.

Teaching: Scored 19 out of 24 in modern languages; 20 in sociology; 21 dance, drama, cinematics; 22 psychology and lin- guistics; 23 biological science.

Research: Beat 29 new universities in research assessment exercise: grade 4 (top is 5) in dance and theology.

Financial health: In the black.

Nightlife: Much student bopping at union: twice yearly student ball features the likes of Republica, Dodgy, Space, and DJ Danny Rampling.

Cheap to live in? In college, ranges from pounds 59-81 a week. Private rents are pounds 60-65 a week.

Buzz-phrase: The Ministry: Roehampton rents Ministry of Sound, famous Elephant & Castle nightclub, for freshers' bash.

Lucy Hodges

Next week: Rose Bruford College

Correction: The College of Ripon & York St John's highest score in the research assessment exercise was a 3b for linguistics (top is 5) not a 2, as given in last week's column.