A-Z OF UNIVERSITIES: Keele

Age: 48

How many lives? Two. It began as the University College of North Staffordshire in 1949, and received full chartered status in 1962.

Address: Square mile of parkland, two minutes from Keele services on the M6. Situated between Stoke and Newcastle under Lyme, in the heart of the Staffordshire potteries. Check out the slide show on website at http://www.keele.ac.uk.

Ambience: Green campus, miles away from it all. Mostly modern blocks but one 19th-century building, Keele Hall, lends grace to the Sixties effect. Has retained its communal atmosphere - small, friendly, busy campus with 70 per cent of students and most staff living on site.

Vital statistics: Set up to counteract the narrow focus of English and Welsh higher education, it pioneered the dual honours course whereby students take a principal and a subsidiary subject. Ninety per cent of all students do dual honours, which means that they also study arts and science to degree level. Twenty per cent of students take a foundation year: they spend the first year studying subjects from various faculties, and end up with a four-year degree.

Added value: 38 acres of playing fields, eight tennis courts, six squash courts, two sports halls, a gym and a state-of-the-art fitness centre with 16 cardiovascular machines for jogging, exercise and more. So you have no excuse for being out of shape. Heritage trail and sculpture park are on the way. So is 350-place postgraduate residential centre.

Easy to get into? Not particularly. For social sciences, eg criminology and psychology, BBB or BBC; for sciences, BCC or CCC.

Glittering alumni: Clare Short, who said her foundation year at Keele was "probably the best single part" of her education; Jem Finer, of the Pogues; Phil Soar, chief executive of Nottingham Forest FC; Michael Mansfield QC; Jack Straw, Home Secretary; Alun Michael, Home Office minister; Don Foster, Lib Dem education spokesman; Adelaide Tambo, ANC official.

Transport links: No train or coach station at Keele. So you have to catch trains and coaches at Stoke. Local buses run between campus and surrounding towns every 15 minutes. Good for cars because of M6. Alternatively, try cycling.

Who's the boss? Janet Finch, 51, a sociologist and vegetarian.

Teaching rating: In quality assessments by the higher education funding council, it achieved 19 (out of a maximum of 24) in German, 20 in French and Russian, and 22 in sociology.

Research: Came 50th out of 101 in last year's research assessment exercise. Two departments - American studies and the centre for science and technology in medicine - achieved top grades of 5 and 5*.

Financial health: Suffered heavy government cuts in the Eighties. But fought back by diversifying income stream (into conferences) and now claims to be in the black.

Night-life: Students' union and five restaurants and bars on site, as well as three club nights a week. Two cinemas in Stoke, one in Newcastle. Five theatres locally. Plus numerous clubs around the towns.

Cheap to live in? Cheaper than average. Campus en suite study bedrooms cost pounds 53 a week. On-campus rooms with shared facilities are pounds 30 a week. Private sector pounds 30-35. All university accommodation is self-catering.

Buzz-word: oatcakes (a Staffordshire delicacy).

Next week: Kent

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...

Guru Careers: Product Training Specialist / Software Trainer

£25 - 32,500K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Produ...

Recruitment Genius: Unqualified NVQ Assessors - Health, Social Care & Management

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions