A - Z of Universities: SALFORD

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The Independent Online
Age: 102, if you count from when it was born as the Royal Salford Technical Institute.

History: Cutting the ribbons at the opening ceremony all those years ago were the Duke and Duchess of York, later George V and Queen Mary - with musical accompaniment from Mr Halle and his band. In the 1950s became a college of advanced technology, in 1967 a university. In 1981 suffered swingeing cut of 40 per cent in government funding which made it leaner and meaner and more industrially relevant. In 1986 merged with University College Salford.

Address: On the western edge of Manchester, closer to the city centre than the University of Manchester.

Ambience: Campus university in buzzy city, reputedly with the biggest student population in Europe. Though not the posh end of Manchester, it's on a green site in leafy Peel Park on the river Irwell. One or two buildings are old eg Peel House (see picture) but the rest are modern. Salford is said to be the birthplace of the industrial revolution. It's also home town to the artist LS Lowry who painted matchstick men pictures. You can see his paintings at the art gallery on campus.

Vital statistics: As a former CAT (college of advanced technology) its emphasis is on the practical and applied. Merger with University College Salford has made it bigger and more spread out. Now has 18,000 students. Strong links with industry mean tailormade courses, industrial placements, consultancy links. Best known for engineering and sciences. But largest faculties are business and consumer studies, and health care. Salford pioneered sandwich degrees in the 1950s and today all courses include some work placement/experience.

Added value: Home of the national centre for education and training in prosthetics and orthotics. Sports rehabilitation centre treats many of the North of England's best known sports teams. New swimming pool.

Easy to get into? Depends on the course. For TV and radio, two Bs and a C at A-level plus experience; for electronic engineering, two A-level passes including maths or science.

Glittering alumni: LS Lowry, painter; Murray Lachlan Young, young poet who won pounds 1.25m to write poems for EMI; Ieuan Evans and Bill Beaumont, rugby players; Paula Dunn Thomas, runner; Norman Whiteside, footballer.

Transport links: Salford Crescent Station is actually on campus though you may have to change at Manchester for some national services. Buses run every few minutes to city centre.

Who's the boss: Bearded prof Michael Harloe, a sociologist from Essex, who arrived last September.

Teaching rating: Awarded 22 out of 24 for housing studies; 21 for media; 20 for sociology and modern languages; 19 for civil engineering.

Research: Ranked 37th out of 101 in the research assessment exercise, tied with Liverpool. Tip-top 5* for built environment and a 5 (top grade) for European studies.

Financial health: In the black.

Nightlife: On campus the Pav is the union's club venue with regular house and indie nights. Otherwise try the city and its amazing party-till-you- die atmosphere.

Cheap to live in? University accommodation costs pounds 35 to pounds 46 a week, minus food; pounds 65 with food; private rents around pounds 35 a week.

Buzzphrase: Sack it. (Forget it).

Next week: University of Sheffield

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