Tuesday 26 June 2012
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 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.
Vital statistics: Small and tightly knit with just over 10,000 students, 8,500 of which are undergraduates. Many of the seafront residences are university residences. 35 per cent of students come from Wales; and 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.
Added value: Outdoor activities include hang-gliding, parachuting, riding and rambling; and the university is 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 which all 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. £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. Courses received the highest ranking in Wales and was eighth in the UK for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey. Best student experience in Times Educational Supplement Student Experience Survery 2009.
Easy to get into? Between 240 and 340 UCAS entry points, depending on the course.
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.
Transport links: No motorway; take the train. Two-and-a-half hours to the West Midlands, 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.
Who's the boss? Professor April McMahon, whose academic background is in linguistics. She joined Aberystwyth University as Vice Chancellor in August 2011.
Research: Came 42nd out of 115 in the Research Assessment Exercise in 2011.
Overall ranking: Ranked 59th out of 116 in the Complete University Guide.
Nightlife: Club nights, busy bars, an arts centre and cinema on campus. Annual May ball.
How green is it? Not great - finished 133rd out of 145 universities graded by People and Planet for their Green League 2012, which means they failed. However, the university sources up to 90% of its food from its own farms and other local suppliers, reducing its carbon footprint. Shortlisted in the category for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’ by the Times Higher Education Awards 2010. Awarded Fairtrade University status in 2009.
Cheap to live there? Very. Rents in the private sector average around £57 per week.
Any accommodation? Yes. All first years guaranteed university accommodation. Pay £70.00 for a 'budget single' in self-catering accommodation per week, or splash out in catered accommodation for up to £110.60.
Sports ranking: 60th in the BUCS league.
Fees: £9,000 for UK/EU students for 2012/2013. £9,500-10,500 for overseas undergraduate students, depending on course.
Bursaries: Aberystwyth came out top for the best range of scholarships, bursaries and awards in the UK in the 2011/12 YouthSight Higher Expectations Report offering excellence bursaries as well as subject-specific and sports-based awards. For information visit www.aber.ac.uk/en/scholarships/.
Prospectus: 01970 622 021 / www.aber.ac.uk
UCAS code: A40
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