A-Z of universities: Leeds

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The Independent Online
Age: 93

Address: Five minutes' walk from the city centre.

Ambience: Leeds is jumping these days: hot club scene, shopping centre, the UK's second financial and legal centre and the region's sporting and cultural centre. There's even a branch of Harvey Nick's.The university looks down on the city and beyond to the edge of the Yorkshire moors to the north. Its architecture is a hotch-potch of Victorian and awful concrete modern. Opera, theatre, cricket and rugby on the doorstep. Yorkshire Dales, the Pennines and north Yorkshire coast within easy reach. Proximity to city centre means it avoids the isolation of some campus universities.

Vital statistics: One of the big civic universities, it claims to be the biggest single campus in the United Kingdom, with more than 22,000 students. Also one of the three most popular universities in terms of UCAS applications. Famous for its joint degree programmes and for science - but with good art, history, music, English and law departments too.

Added value: Popular politics and parliamentary studies course includes year-long placement in parliament in Westminster and Canada, or in the US Congress. Department of colour chemistry and dyeing is the only one of its kind in the world. Unique course in broadcasting, run with the BBC. A crater on Venus is named after a former professor.

Easy to get into? A-level grades required for English, law and psychology, ABB; Spanish, BCC; physics, CCC.

Glittering alumni: Government ministers Jack Straw, Clare Short and John Battle; Nicholas Witchell, BBC newscaster; Alan Yentob, BBC honcho; Gavin Esler and Nick Owen, BBC journalists; Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre; Mystic Meg, astrologer; Mark Knopfler, singer with Dire Straits; cartoonists Steve Bell and Kipper Williams; Nigerian writer and Nobel prize-winner Wole Soyinka; Richard Hoggart, author of The Uses of Literacy.

Transport links: You can get to London in 2 hours 20 minutes by train. Good services to Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and Newcastle. M1 gives direct links by road. Extensive coach services.

Who's the boss: Urban and regional geography professor, Alan Wilson.

Teaching rating: 17 out of a maximum of 24 for linguistics; 19 out of 24 for chemical engineering and Italian; 20 for Russian; 22 for German and French.

Research: Came 26th out of 101 in the research league table (or 19th, if you calculate the rankings per academic). Tip-top 5* awarded to food sciences, Italian, mechanical engineering and transport studies. Grade 5 awarded to biochemistry and molecular biology, chemistry, earth sciences, education, English, fine art, geography, history, applied maths, pure maths, music and physics.

Financial health: Claims to be in the black.

Night-life: Leeds is the club capital of the north, an all-night city, a must stop for big-name touring bands. Plus thriving live local music scene. On campus, the Harvey Milk Bar has three club nights a week.

Cheap to live in? Definitely, compared to other civics. Private rent around pounds 35 a week; in hall pounds 70 for room with all meals provided.

Buzz-phrase: The Knightsbridge of the north (used to describe the city).

Next week: Leeds Met

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