Aberystwyth University

 

 

Overall ranking: Ranked 87th out of 123 in the Complete University Guide for 2015.

History: First university institution in Wales, founded in 1872. Initially unsupported by government, it survived on the tireless fundraising of its staff and friends, and on the generosity especially of the Welsh Non-Conformist community. Retains an affectionate affinity with the communities of mid-Wales and especially with the town of Aberystwyth itself: no town-gown divide here. Having been part of the University of Wales, it gained its independence in 2007.

Address: At the inmost point of the curve of Cardigan Bay, on the west coast of Wales in Ceredigion.

Ambience: Secluded, with sensational sunsets in summer and dolphins swimming offshore, to be seen from the compact green campus on the hill overlooking the bay. One mile from town- most locations are within walking distance. Two cinemas (one on campus), one arts centre (best in Wales and on campus), plenty of pubs and a weekly market. The town is 50 per cent Welsh speaking. Local police force (Dyfed-Powys) has reported one of the lowest recorded crime rates in the UK. Aberystwyth has been ranked as the safest University in Wales to study, and the second safest in England and Wales according to the Complete University Guide. Mix of classical and modern buildings.

Who's the boss? Professor April McMahon, whose academic background is in linguistics. She joined Aberystwyth University as vice chancellor in August 2011.

Prospectus: 01970 622 021 or order one here.

UCAS code: A40

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Between 240 and 340 UCAS entry points depending on the course. English literature asks for 280 points with at least a B in English literature or English literature and language (combined) at A-level, while geography requests 300 to 320 points with a B in geography at A-level. Aberystwyth is one of the UK's leading university centres for studying Celtic languages, literatures and cultures, offering a single honours degree scheme in Celtic Studies.

Vital statistics: Small and tightly knit with over 10,000 students. 8,300 undergraduates and 20 per cent international. Many of the seafront residences are university residences. 29 per cent of students come from Wales and 51 per cent from England.

Added value: Outdoor activities include hang-gliding, parachuting, riding and rambling; and the university was a designated 2012 Olympic training venue for mountain biking. Sport thrives, as do music and the arts. The university music centre offers vocal and instrumental lessons for staff and students and co-ordinates more than half a dozen ensembles that bring together students and townspeople. Also home of the National Library of Wales, the only copyright library within 150 miles, which has more than six million volumes. Aber Rag has been raising money for charities and organisations for sixty years. Year in Employment scheme for students who want a year out working, plus lots of opportunities to study abroad.

Swanky new film and TV building (home to BBC radio and TV broadcasting facilities). Tin-foil cocoon space-age artists’ studios newly added to the award-winning Arts Centre, the largest and busiest in Wales, in 2009. Over a period of three years, the University is investing over £100m in enhancing and extending residential and teaching facilities. Last year the university began a rolling programme of investment in its learning spaces, starting with a refurbishment of a number of teaching rooms on Penglais Campus.  Each room has been fitted with an improved teaching technology system, an energy efficient lighting system, new writing and projection surfaces, hearing induction loops, wireless coverage, furniture, flooring and window coverings.

£10.4m Centre for Visualisation, featuring the latest in virtual reality technology, opened in 2007 and new £1.5m Student Welcome Centre opened in May 2009. Recently opened new teaching and research facilities at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, with an investment of £12.4m.

Aberystwyth are also investing in new student accommodation. The new £45m Fferm Penglais residences will provide accommodation for 1000 students and include 100 studio flats.

Teaching: 113th out of 123 for student satisfaction with teaching in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: 104th out of 123 with 53.5 per cent entering employment at a graduate level.

Any accommodation? Yes. Costs per week for self-catering residences start from approximately £78 (budget single and standard twin), to £95.20 (standard single).  The university also have standard en-suite accommodation (£109.90) and self-contained studios for £133.

Cheap to live there? Very. Rents in the private sector average around £57 per week.

Transport links: No motorway so take the train. Two-and-a-half hours to the West Midlands and four-and-a-half to London, if you're lucky. If you're not and have to change at Shrewsbury or Birmingham, you get a little train that potters through fields of sheep. All part of the charm, apparently: Aberystwyth students show less inclination to leave their alma mater than any others in the UK.

Fees: £9,000 per year for UK/EU undergrad students. The PGCE in teacher training also costs £9,000. £10,500 to £12,000 for overseas depending on course.

Bursaries: Aberystwyth's bursaries and scholarships have been recognised as the most valuable in the UK.  Some awards are income contingent and support our widening access policies, others are to reward academic excellence, sporting and musical achievements. Around 60% of students receive a scholarship, bursary or award of some kind. Click here for full details of the scholarships, bursaries and awards on offer.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Club nights, busy bars, an arts centre and cinema on campus. Hugely popular annual May ball. Various venues in town despite its small size, but don't go expecting a bit city nightlife. Swansea and Cardiff are several hours away.

Price of a pint: About £3 in a town pub, but much cheaper at the union.

Sporting reputation: 65th out of 145 in the current BUCS league, so could be worse.

Notable societies: Curtain Call is the thriving musical theatre society, while LAG (Live Action Gaming) offers a chance for students to let loose from academia and shoot foam dart blasters at each other.

Glittering alumni: Prince Charles; President Kabbah of Sierra Leone; Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales; David Prosser, former chief executive, Legal and General; Carwyn James, coach of the British Lions; Tom Singh, founder of New Look; Sharon Maguire, director of Bridget Jones's Diary; Belinda Earl, chief executive, Jaeger; Jan Pinkava, Oscar winner and Alex Jones, presenter of the BBC’s The One Show.

Alternative prospectus: Have a read of the alternative prospectus, written by current Aberystwyth students, for an insight into what university life is really like here.

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