Bath Spa University


Click to follow
The Independent Online


Overall ranking: Came 70th out of 126 in the Complete University Guide for 2016.

History: It began over 160 years ago with the Bath School of Art. The two Bath-based campuses of the University, Newton Park and Sion Hill, began as teacher-training colleges in the 1940s. In 1975 the colleges merged to form Bath College of Higher Education. In 1992, it won degree awarding powers and in 1999 became Bath Spa University College. In 2005 it was granted university status and received research degree awarding power in 2008.

Address: The University has three main sites: Newton Park next to the hamlet of Newton St Loe, four miles outside Bath, Sion Hill, which houses the Bath School of Art and Design, in Lansdown, 15 minutes walk from Bath town centre, and Corsham Court in Wiltshire which is the home of postgraduate teaching and research.

Ambience: Bath is beautiful- England's only World Heritage city. Newton Park is on Duchy of Cornwall land, with lake, gardens, woods, farmland and a mixture of historic medieval buildings and modern state-of-the-art facilities. One of the safest cities in the UK according to the Complete University Guide.

Who's the boss? Professor Christina Slade took the helm as vice-chancellor in 2012. She is trained as a philosopher of logic and language.

Prospectus: 01225 875 875 or order one here.

UCAS code: B20

What you need to know

Easy to get into? You'll need between 260 and 340 UCAS points (or equivalent). There's been a big rise in applications in recent years. Mature students and those from non-traditional backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The university runs some foundation degrees in partnership arrangements with local further education colleges - for these its usually around 180 - 220 UCAS points. Some courses have additional criteria, for example creative portfolio's for arts and design subjects or auditions for music and performing arts subjects.

Vital statistics: Close to 7,000 undergrads (four in 10 are mature) plus around 1,300 postgrads and 700 on non-degree programmes. 800 members of staff. Courses in arts, music, education, performing arts, humanities, business and management, social sciences, human sciences and applied sciences. 70 per cent female, 30 per cent male.

Added value: A strong focus on creativity, culture and enterprise. Highly rated for teaching and student satisfaction. Ofsted 'outstanding' for teacher education. Good at helping those who missed out on higher education at a younger age. Boasts the Michael Tippett Centre, Bath's only purpose-built concert hall. Home to the school of music which provides a music honours degree and degrees in creative music technology and commercial music. Performing arts is a strong area- the university theatre has a full programme of performances courtesy of drama and dance students. Exceptional record of success in Fashion Design course (two Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award winners in the past three years). Very strong for Creative Writing – excellent record of students getting published. Strong links to the cultural and creative life of Bath, a city of festivals. Strong environmental ethos and awarded 'first class' in the People and Planet Green League.

The Sion Hill campus was recently refurbished with new specialist workshops, studios, a library and a refectory.  New academic building "The Commons" opened in 2014, a large and ultra-modern building with open-access technology enabled study spaces, group working rooms and an outdoor ampitheatre. Also offers the best specialist digital studio resources in the South West, equal to anything found in the best commercial organisations and broadcast companies. Last year the university also finished work on a new student residential village, with an additional 560 en-suite rooms on offer.

Teaching: 35th out of 126 for student satisfaction with teaching in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: 106th out of 126 with 55.4 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? A wide range of university-offered accommodation ranges from £99 a week at Newton Park for a shared room to £175 a week for a private bathroom and kitchen.

Cheap to live there? Not particularly. Privately rented rooms go for around £90 to £95 a week plus bills.

Transport links: This is hilly country but buses go to and from Newton Park and Bath every 15 minutes till the early hours of the morning. Nine miles from Bristol and 90 minutes from London.

Fees: £9,000 per year BA and BSc degree courses for home and EU full-time undergraduates. International students are looking at between £11,300 to £12,015 depending on the course.

Bursaries: In 2015 there are 320 awards worth £3,500 each for first year students new to Higher education. There are a number of other scholarships based on course and hobbies available.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Ravers head for Bath and Bristol but there are regular dance nights in the Students' Union at Newton Park. No need to fear having nothing to do here!

Price of a pint: Averages £3.20 throughout Bath but the Students' Union can offer much better deals.

Sporting reputation: Not great- 110th out of 145 in the BUCS league table.

Notable societies: All sorts from Dungeons and Dragons (yes, really) to Rock Music and Hip Hop Dance.

Glittering alumni: Anita Roddick, Body Shop founder; Peter Flannery, TV scriptwriter and author of Our Friends in the North; Sir Howard Hodgkin, Turner Prize winning artist; Jason Gardner, gold medal-winning Olympic athlete.

Alternative prospectus: See how current Bath Spa students rate their university experience on What Uni? here.