Bedfordshire, University of
Tuesday 26 June 2012
University of Bedfordshire
Age: 130, if you start counting from the foundation of the training college. 56 if you don't.
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.
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. The Bedford site has benefited from big spending on facilities, with a new £4.5m 280-seat theatre and student accommodation costing £20m, which provides more than 500 en-suite residences.
Vital statistics: The university formerly known as Luton has just taken off, with applications doubling over the last two years. The newly merged institution has around 23,000 students from more than 100 countries, with 46 per cent of these being over 25. New courses being offered this year include fashion design, computer systems engineering and multi-platform journalism.
Added value: Expanding. £60m has been invested in the Luton and Bedford campuses, with a further £74m yet to come. A £34m campus centre opened in Luton in 2010, which contains a 240-seat lecture theatre and exhition space. The university has a state-of-the-art multi-million pound 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. The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Postgraduate Medical School was launched in 2005, in partnership with Hertfordshire and Cranfield Universities. At the Bedford campus, £8m has been invested in a new PE and Sport Science Centre, which is set to train athletes for the 2012 Olympics. The sports centre contains a cutting-edge laboratory, and two fully equipped gyms. In addition, the University has also built a new £6m Campus Centre, which hosts a £4.5m 280-seat theatre, dance studios, fair-trade cafe and a social space.
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 over 300 UCAS points. Other courses ask for a minimum of 200 UCAS points (or equivalent), but Bedfordshire welcomes students with a range of qualifications and past experience.
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.
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.
Who's the boss? Environmental and analytical chemist, Prof. Les Ebdon CBE.
Teaching: 99th out of 116 for student satisfaction in the Complete University Guide in 2011.
Research: 78th out of 115 in the Research Assessment Exercise in 2011.
Overall ranking: Came 83rd out of 117 in the Complete University Guide.
Nightlife: The main haunts in Luton are the students' union nightclub, the 'Sub Club', and the modern bar. Legends, Edge, and Liquid and Envy are popular local clubs, 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.
How green is it? Not bad, and improving! It came 36th out of 145 universities graded by People & Planet for their ‘Green League 2012’, after coming 98th in 2010 and 53rd in 2011.
Any accommodation? Yes - a new £40m block of en suite flats opened in Luton in September 2011, but it doesn't come cheap, with rents starting at £126 per week. 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 per week in both areas.
Sports ranking: 75th in the BUCS league table.
Fees: £9,00 per year for full-time undergrads starting in September 2012.
Bursaries: There are various scholarships and bursaries available, based on a wide range of criteria. For more details, visit the website.
Prospectus: 01234 400 400 / www.beds.ac.uk
UCAS code: B22
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