Bedfordshire, University of
Thursday 25 July 2013
Overall ranking: 107th out of 124 in the Complete University Guide for 2014.
History: The Bedford campus has academic roots that go back to the founding of Bedford Training College for Teachers in 1882. Luton's first incarnation was as the Modern School in 1904, then Luton College of Higher Education in 1976, becoming a university in 1993. In 2006 Luton merged with De Montfort University's Bedford campus to become the University of Bedfordshire.
Address: Main site in Luton, a postgraduate business school in Putteridge Bury, the recently-acquired Bedford campus plus several hospital sites in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. There's now a brand new campus in Milton Keynes called University Campus Milton Keynes, a Buckinghamshire campus and the award-winning Butterfield site (also for healthcare students).
Ambience: Surprisingly upmarket. Luton campus is next to a listed church, where graduation ceremonies are held, and the Mall Arndale shopping centre. Putteridge Bury campus is four miles away in a neo-Elizabethan mansion set in grounds designed and planted by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll.
Who's the boss? Bill Rammell, former minister of state for further and higher education in Labour government, is vice chancellor and chief executive.
Prospectus: 01234 400 400 or order one online here.
UCAS code: B22
What you need to know
Easy to get into? It depends on the course that you want to study. Many of the teaching courses, including the physical education courses, are very competitive and ask for 260 and Midwifery 280 UCAS points. Other courses ask for a minimum of 200 UCAS points with 160 from A levels (or equivalent), but Bedfordshire welcomes students with a range of qualifications and past experience.
Vital statistics: The newly merged institution has around 24,000 students from more than 100 countries, with 36 per cent of these being 25 and over.
Added value: Expanding. Major investment across campuses with further investment on-going and planned. A campus centre opened in Luton in 2010, which contains a 240-seat lecture theatre and exhibition space. The University has a state-of-the-art media arts centre, which boasts a broadcast television studio, an indoor performance studio, three digital radio studios, editing suites and much more. Sophisticated sports therapy labs have also been developed with two blood-testing labs, and a large sports therapy room for carrying out fitness and exercise experiments. New postgraduate and continuing professional centre launched early 2013 with a state-of-the-art library on track for completion in 2015.
At the Bedford campus, £8m has been invested in a new PE and Sport Science Centre, which was used to train 2012 Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The sports centre contains a cutting-edge laboratory, and two fully equipped gyms. In addition, the university has built a new £6m Campus Centre, which hosts a £4.5m 280-seat theatre, dance studios, fair-trade cafe and a social space.
The award-winning Butterfield site for healthcare students is home to simulation labs.
Teaching: 111th out of 124 for student satisfaction with teaching quality in the Complete University Guide .
Research: 80th out of 124 in the Research Assessment Exercise,
Graduate prospects: 80th out of 124 with 57.7 per cent finding graduate level employment.
Any accommodation? Over 1,800 self-catered rooms available for students in Luton but with rents starting at £89 per week for 2013/14, they come at a price. Other Luton halls cost from £94 per week. There is also accommodation at the Bedford campus, with rooms ranging from £93 to £153 per week.
Cheap to live there? Above average. Private rents average £80 to £90 per week in both areas.
Transport links: Located near to the M1, junctions 10 and 11. London Luton International Airport is close by. Trains whisk you into central London every 15 minutes, taking only 30 minutes door-to-door. Bus station and a National Express coach service is five minutes walk from the Luton campus. The Bedford campus is 20 minutes by foot from Bedford town centre. The Milton Keynes campus is situated in the heart of town and well-served by rail and coach services.
Fees: Maximum fee of £9,00 per year for full-time home and EU undergrads starting in September 2013.
Bursaries: Awarded 1,900 scholarships in 2012/13. Sets aside £5m to give financial help to students who need it most. Partakes in the National Scholarship Programme to assist students from households with incomes below £25,000. There are various other scholarships and bursaries available, based on a wide range of criteria including excellence. in academia and sport. See here for more details.
The fun stuff
Nightlife: The main haunts in Luton are the students' union bar and popular local clubs Legends, Edge and Liquid, along with bars The Park, Yates', Exchange, Chicago's and Brookes. In Bedford, students love Bar Soviet, Esquires, New York New York, Time Out and Oxygen. Milton Keynes bars and clubs include The Living Room, Groove and Cookies and Cream. Aylesbury boasts a few popular venues too.
Price of a pint: About £3 in both Luton and Bedford, with plenty of student drinks deals in the union and clubs in town.
Sporting reputation: Could be worse at 70th in the BUCS league, plus a separate entry from Luton campus at 122nd.
Notable societies: Large range of sports clubs. Cocktails and Spirits Society for the drinkers among you, plus the Corner Stone Society that aims to provide a network with professionals, a platform for healthy debate, and host guest lectures.
Glittering alumni: Becky Jago, Anglia News presenter; Sir David Plastow, formerly chairman of the Medical Research Council; Gemma Hunt, CBBC presenter; Maggie Alphonsi, England rugby player; Sue Campbell CBE, chair of UK sport; and Liz Yelling, long distance runner.
Alternative prospectus: Check out how current Bedfordshire students rate various aspects of their university experience on What Uni? here.
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