East Anglia

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Age: 34

Address: Main campus is 15 minutes from the centre of Norwich, built on a former golf course.

Ambience: A child of the 1960s, it is still growing today. Bold late- 20th-century architecture boasts award-winning designs by Sir Denys Lasdun, Sir Norman Foster and Rick Mather. Concrete jungle is softened by the setting of 320 acres of parkland complete with its own Norfolk broad. Buildings continue to go up. Norwich surprisingly lively for a small East Anglian city.

Vital statistics: University has a good academic reputation and has spawned experts in fields as different as landscape archaeology and development studies. An emphasis on inter-disciplinary study means students can fashion their degrees to suit their interests. Access courses bring in undergraduates without the traditional three A-levels. Good sports centre. Bad city for swimming pools.

Added value: Creative writing MA taught by poet and biographer Andrew Motion. Good links with other writers: Malcolm Bradbury, Rose Tremain, Doris Lessing, Arthur Miller and Salman Rushdie. On the doorstep is Norwich Research Park, one of Europe's biggest collection of biotechnologists working in plant, food, health and microbial research. University has its own art gallery - the Sainsbury centre for visual arts - free to students and staff. Also climatic research unit. Student union provides for all needs, running shops, bars, sports clubs as well as the award-winning student newspaper Concrete and an award-winning TV station.

Easy to get into? No. A-level entry requirements for maths are typically grades BBC and for history BBB.

Glittering alumni: Writers Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro, actors John Rhys-Davies and Tim Bentinck (David in The Archers), TV presenter Selina Scott, comedians Arthur Smith and Paul Whitehouse, Antiques Roadshow china expert Paul Attlebury, and Jonathan Powell, head of drama at Carlton TV.

Transport links: Not the most accessible spot. Two hours by road and rail to London.

Who's the boss: Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, former director of the V&A, where she annoyed the old fogeys by introducing market principles. She is retiring early from UEA through ill health.

Teaching rating: Top-rated departments are environmental sciences, development studies, social work, law, film and drama.

Research: Came 29th out of 112 in the latest research assessment exercise. Received the top grade, a 5 or a 5*, in eight subjects: environmental sciences, biological sciences, social work, education, history, pure mathematics, Scandinavian studies and film studies.

Financial health: University claims to be in the black.

Nightlife: Union provides the best student venue for bands in the country, according to Live magazine, including Reef, Lightning Seeds, Space, Babybird and Suzanne Vega. Union-run Waterfront also runs a good range of gigs with famous bands. Good town for jazz and art films.

Cheap to live in? Not bad. Rent from pounds 35 a week. Student union committed to selling cheap beer.

Buzz-phrase: Concrete grows on you.

Next week: University of East London