Abertay University, Dundee
Tuesday 26 June 2012
Abertay University, Dundee
Age: 124 or 18
History: It's been a centre of learning since being founded in 1888. But described by the Scottish Office as "an industrial university" in 1902, it wasn't allowed to call itself a university until April 1994. It's also had three previous incarnations: Dundee Institute of Technology; Dundee College of Technology; and Dundee Technical Institute.
Address: Centre of Dundee.
Ambience: One of the UK's smallest universities, with many local students, however, non-UK students make up almost 20 per cent of the student body with over 60 nationalities represented. Mix of Edwardian, 1960s and award-winning 1990s/2000s buildings including a modern library, student centre and refurbished teaching and research buildings. Great beaches with hill-walking and ski slopes close by. Dundee is the centre of Scotland's biotechnology and digital industries.
Vital statistics: The university has just over 5,000 students, almost a third of whom are mature. The focus is still firmly on technical and career-relevant courses, with five schools covering (i) arts, media and computer games (ii) business, (iii) engineering, computing and applied mathematics, (iv) social and health sciences, and (v) contemporary sciences.
Added value: Was accredited as the first UK Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education in 2009. Also boasts some of the most modern sports performance labs in the country, an elite athletes programme, a hi-tech library which has won awards all over the place, a £5m environmental science research centre and pioneering design of research and learning space mysteriously named 'White Space'. There is a swanky £6m student centre which includes an art gallery and cinema. Popular degrees are computer games technology, computer arts, forensic science, bioinformatics, and business. Very strong on getting graduates into business, with Scotland's first graduate business incubator unit. Also running a £5 million Prototype Fund that has so far helped start 35 new digital creative companies.
Easy to get into? The minimum requirements are three passes at Scottish Highers (two A-levels) while more sought-after courses set the bar higher at 264 points (AABB in Highers; BBC in A-levels) for computer games technology or computer arts. Five applications per place.
Glittering alumni: Brian Souter, chairman of the transport giant Stagecoach; David Jones, who designed Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto II and founded Realtime Worlds; sporty types Maurice Malpas of Dundee United, rugby internationals Andy Nicol, Craig Redpath and Tom Smith.
Transport links: Takes six hours by train from King's Cross. One hour by road from Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Airport for the well-heeled with flights direct to London City airport, Birmingham and Belfast.
Who's the boss? Professor Nigel Seaton, internationally recognised chemical engineer formerly at Surrey, Edinburgh and Cambridge, takes over as Principal of Abertay in August.
Teaching: In 2011, ranked 53rd out of 117 universities for teaching.
Research: In 2011, came 99th out of 115 in the Research Assessment Exercise. A leader in bioinformatics and biotechnology and in areas not covered by the RAE such as computer games technology and computer arts.
Overall ranking: 112th out of 117 in the Complete University Guide.
Nightlife: The main students' union bar is open seven nights a week. Dundee has everything from ballet to beer.
How green is it? Not very, if you listen to the people at People and Planet - the university came 117th out of 145 universities in its Green League 2012, winning an 'upper second class' award. However, it scored well on waste reduction and recycling.
Any accommodation: Yes. There are five options for halls offered by the university. Rents start at £57.36 a week and go up to £109 a week for a deluxe en-suite in the recently opened £25m complex five minutes from the university.
Cheap to live there? Not too pricey. Private rents can be anywhere between £40 and £80 per week, with plenty of student-friendly bars to grab a cheap pint.
Sports ranking: 95th in the BUCS league.
Fees: Scottish and EU students do not have to pay fees, but other UK students pay £7,000 per year for three years. Fourth year of a Scottish honours degree is free to rest of UK students.
Bursaries: There are various means-tested grants available from the university, as well as a number of trust funds and bursaries. For details see www.abertay.ac.uk/applying/ukeu/fees/financing
Prospectus: 01382 308 000 / www.abertay.ac.uk/studying/find/prospectus
UCAS code: A30
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