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The Independent Online
University of Wales, Bangor

Age: 112.

How many lives has it had? Only two. Began as University College of North Wales, Bangor.

Address: North Wales coast, gateway to Anglesey. Do not confuse with 18 other Bangors worldwide.

Ambience: Rural, in strong Welsh-speaking area. Boasts the best university setting in UK, within 6ft of the sea and a few miles of Snowdonia national park. Wet, blowy weather, but virtually no snow.

Sounds awfully remote: Not half as out-of-the-way as Aberystwyth.

Vital statistics: Part of the University of Wales. Of the students, 17 per cent are Welsh speaking; free Welsh lessons for anyone wishing to learn. Mature students, 30 per cent. Has doubled in size in last 10 years. Since August gobbled up Bangor Normal teacher training college.

Easy to get into? Relatively. For popular subjects such as psychology and sports science requirement is BCC or equivalent.

Added value: Sport and more sport. Everything on offer, from hockey and rugby to ki aikido and Gaelic football. Wild and wacky subjects: you can do a degree in criminology.

Glittering alumni: Dr Robert Edwards, pioneer of test-tube babies, Ann Clwyd, Labour MP, John Sessions, poet and impressionist, Frances Barber, actress, star of recent TV blockbuster Rhodes.

Transport links: Good, 90 minutes from Manchester via the A55, direct trains from London Euston take three-and-a-half hours.

Buzzphrase: "What do you expect? This is North Wales." (as in the number of hills, and weather).

Who's the boss? Welsh-speaking Prof Roy Evans, former head of engineering at Cardiff, specialist in bridges.

Teaching rating: Claims the highest number of excellent ratings in Wales. Excellent in chemistry, ocean science, psychology, Welsh, music, theology, Russian.

Research strengths: ocean science, electronic engineering, environmental science, psychology.

Financial health: No reserves; claims to be solvent. Noble's Financial Yearbook says it was pounds 62,000 in the red in 1994-95.

Night life: Only one night club. Students' union is major venue: big gigs, dance nights, loadsa pubs.

Cheap to live in? One of the cheapest places in Britain.

Next week: University of Bath.