Cardiff University


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Overall ranking: Came 31st out of 126 in the Complete University Guide for 2016.

History: Cardiff University dates from the establishment of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire in 1883. In 2004, Cardiff University and the University Wales College of Medicine merged to form a single institution, thereby putting the institution into the Russell Group of leading research-intensive universities.

Address: The Cathays Park Campus is situated in the heart of Cardiff city centre. The nearby Heath Park Campus is located near the University Hospital of Wales and is home to the academic schools offering healthcare-related subjects.

Ambience: From its outstanding central location amidst the parks, Portland-stone buildings and tree-lined avenues, Cardiff draws students and staff from all over the world.

Who's the boss? Professor Colin Riordan is vice-chancellor and a board member of Universities UK.

Prospectus: 029 2087 4839 or read it online here.

UCAS code: C15

What you need to know

Easy to get into? No. It regularly receives up to seven times more applicants than it has places, but requirements vary depending on the course choice. See here for more details.

Vital statistics: The biggest university in Wales and one of the biggest universities in the UK, with a students' union to match. There are almost 29,000 students, with over 21,000 undergraduates and just under 7,600 postgrads.

Added value: The university was one of the first in the country to have its own student employment agency, which now employs 700 students a year. Cardiff School of Optometry and Vision Sciences has moved into purpose-built headquarters, which provides teaching and research facilities comparable with the best in the UK.  Recent developments include a £14 million Learning and Teaching centre adjacent to Cardiff Business School and a £6m student residence. The majority of Academic Schools have benefited from major refurbishment including the provision of new and well-equipped laboratories, lecture theatres, libraries and computing facilities in an ongoing programme.

Teaching: 67th out of 126 for student satisfaction in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: Came 8th with 81.5 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Yes, all undergraduates who enter through the normal admissions cycle are guaranteed a place in university halls for their first year, with more than 5,500 places available. Typically, a study bedroom in catered residences will set you back around £119, while a self-catered residence costs between £82-£115 per week.

Cheap to live there? Yes. The cost of living for a student in Cardiff is generally lower than elsewhere in the UK. A privately rented student house will set you back around £65-£75 per week.

Transport links: Good for road and rail. London is two hours by train, Manchester three hours, Bristol 45 minutes. Cardiff also benefits from an international airport.

Fees: Set at £9,000 per year for full-time home and EU undergrads. Costs for overseas students vary but are considerably more.

Bursaries: The university offers a range of scholarships and bursaries based on both income and academic excellence. For more details, see their website.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: The students' union has seven bars, a 1,600-capacity nightclub and 3,000-capacity concert venue.

Price of a pint: £3.23 on average, so not very cheap.

Sporting reputation: Ranked 15th in the current BUCS league.

Notable societies: A great Live Music Society for those looking for that; a Tea Party Society; and multiple dance groups from breakdance to hip hop.

Glittering alumni: Neil and Glenys Kinnock, former Labour leader and his wife; Sian Phillips, actress; Sian Lloyd, weather presenter; Huw Edwards, BBC news presenter.

Alternative prospectus: Read reviews from current and former students on What Uni? here for an insight into the real Cardiff experience.