A-Z OF UNIVERSITIES; Kent

Age: 32.

Address: Built in the midst of rolling Kent countryside on a hill above Canterbury and one-and-a-half miles from that city.

Ambience: Pastoral in summer, grey and atmospheric in winter, it is surrounded by hop fields and oast-houses. Canterbury, ancient seat of the C of E, now containing trendy cafes and chain stores can be glimpsed in the distance. Boring modern buildings made human by landscaping. Collegiate university based on four colleges named after Keynes, Eliot, Rutherford and Darwin.

Vital statistics: A Sixties university, it was founded on an interdisciplinary philosophy typical of the time. Still offers wacky range of joint honours degrees. You can combine film studies with religion, or computing with the history and theory of art. Regards itself, with some justification, as the European university. You can enjoy a year abroad, studying a European language, as part of most degree courses.

Added value: The centre for the study of cartoon and caricature is unique. The department of space studies has been involved with most of the significant exploratory space projects this decade, including the trip to Saturn this autumn.

Easy to get into? Depends on the subject. For popular subjects such as psychology, students need three Bs at A-level (15 students chasing each place); for politics, two Bs and a C; for chemistry, a C in that subject plus one other pass at A-level; and for physics three passes, with a C in physics.

Glittering alumni: Paul Ackford, rugby commentator; Gavin Esler, TV presenter; the late Martyn Harris, journalist and author of the campus novel Do It Again!, loosely based on his time at Kent; David Lister, arts news editor of The Independent; Rosie Boycott, editor of the Independent on Sunday; Dr Barbara Brockway, Bodyshop's head of applied research; Charles Wigoder, mobile phone entrepreneur.

Transport links: Good coach and rail links. Canterbury East is the most convenient station, with mainline connections to London and Dover, and all points north. The A2 and M2 connect to London. Ferries from Dover and Folkestone go to France and Belgium. So, you can always hop over to the Continent for lunch.

Who's the boss? Professor Robin Sibson, statistician and keen horticulturalist.

Teaching rating: Received 21 out of a maximum of 24 in sociology and social policy and administration. Received 19 out of 24 in German, French, Italian and linguistics.

Research: Came 51 out of 101 in the research assessment exercise. Received the top grade 5 in one subject - social policy and administration.

Night-life: Not the raviest place for clubs or student entertainment. But will be when the new students' union building comes on stream next year. Gigs and club nights are in JCRs and dining halls at present. On campus there are several popular student bars. Plus plenty of pubs around and about. Gulbenkian Theatre on campus is very well equipped, and ran Caryl Churchill's latest play.

Cheap to live in? Not bad for the South-east. Weekly rate for room on campus with food is pounds 54.64; self-catering, pounds 42.42. If you take a room with a computer, it costs 40p extra a day. Private rents average pounds 55 a week, but are cheaper on the coast - pounds 35 to pounds 45 a week.

Buzz-word: Completely (a term of approval), also completement, ganz, totalmente, del tutto ...

Next week: King's College London.

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