Buckingham, University of
Sunday 01 July 2012
University of Buckingham
History: Formally opened in February 1976 by Margaret Thatcher, as former secretary of state for education, the college originally had just 65 students. It was granted university status in March 1983. Today Buckingham has just under 2,000 students studying a range of subjects from law through to business, international studies, economics and English. As of 2009 they have offered three new masters courses based in London - in biography, decorative arts and historic interiors, and military history. A postgraduate medical course is also based in London.
Address: Two sites near Buckingham town centre, a historic market town named after the Teutonic chieftain Bucca.
Ambience: A very unusual place. Britain's only private university, it receives no government funding and charges full tuition. It pioneered the two-year degree, which runs over eight terms so students study for the same number of weeks as in traditional universities.
Vital statistics: Just under 800 full-time undergrads and 45 part-timers. 55 per cent are international students; 41 per cent are mature students. 290 postgrads and 37 students on non-degree courses.
Added value: Offers a staff-student ratio close to those of Oxbridge and small tutorial groups not seen in many universities. Cosmopolitan student body and unique multicultural atmosphere. Graduate employability is high. The two-year degree means students get through university more quickly and incur less in living costs. Many courses offer an option to begin in January or July, as well as September.
Easy to get into? Not very. Courses ask for between 220 and 300 UCAS entry points. The university relies heavily on interview and says it 'values outstanding candidates as much as outstanding grades'.
Glittering alumni: Chris de Lapuente, head of global hair care, Procter and Gamble; various members of the Churchill family; Marc Gene, winner of the Le Mans 2009 race; Bob Tavener, CEO of Twinings and Ovaltine.
Transport links: Good. Close to major motorway routes and within easy reach of mainline railway stations serving London and the Midlands.
Who's the boss? Vice-chancellor is biochemist Professor Terence Kealey.
Teaching: Top in the QAA National Student Survey for the past 5 years, and top in the Complete University Guide for student satisfaction.
Research: Again, the university isn't assessed by HEFCE, so it had no score in the research assessment exercise. However, it claims to be home to some of the most reknowned academics in their fields and an enthusiastic research student body. Areas of ongoing research include molecular research into diabetes, the psychological importance of music and the effects of government proposals on state and independent education.
Overall ranking: 55th out of 116 in the Complete University Guide.
Nightlife: Sedate. Students use the union or pubs in town, or visit nightclubs in London, Oxford or Milton Keynes. There's a graduation ball in February and a local cinema showing films twice a week.
Any accommodation? Yes. Different options available, costing between £88 and £151 per week.
Cheap to live there? No. Accommodation outside the university walls started at £100 a week last year.
Fees: Because of the two-year degree scheme and the university's independence, it is not obliged to charge the standard tuition fee. With different term and year options available, you're looking at around £22,500 for a full degree starting in 2012/2013.
Bursaries: Students that get the government maintenance grant get an automatic bursary of £1,000. There are also a range of other bursaries and scholarships on offer based on specific factors. See the website for details.
Prospectus: 01280 820 313; www.buckingham.ac.uk
UCAS code: B90
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