Greenwich

A-Z OF UNIVERSITIES
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The Independent Online
Age: Five, as a university.

How many lives? Three. Founded 117 years ago as Woolwich Poly, the UK's second polytechnic. Degree-level work began in 1907. Became Thames Poly in 1970. Gobbled up Dartford, Avery Hill and Garnett colleges. Emerged from its chrysalis as Greenwich University in 1992.

Address: Seven campuses in London - all south of the Thames - and in north and west Kent. Each site is home to different types of courses: teacher training, social sciences and law, Avery Hill; architecture and landscape, land and construction management, Dartford; environmental sciences, Deptford; earth sciences, Medway; business studies and accounting, Roehampton. Woolwich is the largest campus. And King's Hill is on a business park at West Malling in Kent and is where researchers are investigating the idea of the "virtual classroom".

Ambience: Depends on the campus. In Kent, you'll see more grass and even the odd oasthouse. Avery Hill is surrounded by beautiful parkland; Dartford is a greenfield site; Medway is in the Victorian Grenville building (named after the admiral); Roehampton is in a villa designed in the early 1760s; and Woolwich is urban reality - where it all happens.

Vital statistics: Takes more than 17,000 students on courses ranging from part-time foundation in technology to PhDs. Students come from all over the UK, but the majority from London and the South-east. Part-time day courses and sandwich courses were pioneered here. University offers students a lot of flexibility in what and how they study.

Added value: This is the place to be in the year 2000. It's where our very wonderful millennium celebrations are to happen. Last year Greenwich University, in conjunction with other universities, won its bid to take over the Natural Resources Institute, the scientific arm of the Overseas Development Agency. The NRI is now a fully integrated research and consultancy institute of the university. The university is also the single preferred bidder for the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Great place for another campus.

Easy to get into? Yes. Prides itself on its access courses. But competition is stiffer in a popular subject such as law, where A-level grades of a B and two Cs are required.

Glittering alumni: Television comedians Hale and Pace; Olympic judo medallist Brian Jacks; Olympic athletics medallist Ann Packer; cricketer Rachel Heyhoe-Flint; Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Transport links: Not brilliant. Depends on the campus. From Avery Hill and Woolwich there are trains to London, or you can take the bus. From Deptford and Dartford take the train. Roehampton is the only campus anywhere near a Tube and you have to catch a bus as well.

Who's the boss? Engineer Dr David Fussey.

Teaching rating: Sociology awarded 23 points out of a maximum of 24; land and construction 21 out of 24.

Research: Came 63rd out of 101 in the research assessment exercise, one of the highest of the new universities. Achieved a high score (a four) in agriculture and subjects allied to medicine.

Financial health: Happily in the black.

Night life: Entertainment includes comedy, live bands, disco and opera. Bars and coffee bars range from the intimate Dive Bar to the 1,000-capacity venue The Deep End.

Cheap to live in? Cheaper the farther you go into Kent. Halls of residence charge pounds 45-pounds 60 without food; private landlords pounds 45 on average.

Buzzphrase: The May balls-up (reference to the disastrous May ball, when half the students didn't get any food despite paying pounds 42 a head for the privilege)n

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