Harper Adams University


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The Independent Online


Overall ranking: 60th out of 126 in the Complete University Guide for 2016.

History: Harper Adams was opened in 1901 as an agricultural college. Thomas Harper Adams, a local landowner, bequeathed his estate ‘for the purpose of teaching practical and theoretical agriculture’. In 1996 it began to award its own taught degrees and in 1998 was re-named, dropping agricultural and acquiring ‘university’. Harper Adams was granted research degree awarding power in 2006 and in 2012 was awarded full university title and dropped ‘college’ from its name.

Address: Rural Shropshire, two miles from the market town of Newport.

Ambience: Quiet and bucolic, as befits a university with its roots in the land. Has the famous ‘Harper Adams community spirit’. Traditional red-brick Edwardian main building, but is also host to state-of-the-art modern learning facilities including the Bamford Library and Resource Centre, the Regional Food Academy, a dedicated postgraduate centre, teaching rooms, labs and halls of residence. A National Centre for Precision Farming and a new teaching block have recently opened, along with a 260-seat lecture theatre, IT suite, classrooms, and an insect-collection and resource room known as The Entohub.

Who’s the boss? Agri-food sector expert Dr David Llewellyn took over as principal in 2009. He became the first vice-chancellor in December 2012 when Harper Adams was awarded the  full university title.

Prospectus: 01952 820820 or request one here.

UCAS code: H12

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Starting from 120 UCAS points. The university doesn't generally request particular subjects that must be passed prior to entry, but in some areas, such as veterinary nursing and agriculture, a minimum amount of prior practical experience is normally required.

Vital statistics: The leading UK provider of land-based qualifications in the higher education sector, it has just under 2,500 full-time students, with 263 being from overseas.

Added value: A good graduate employment record, perhaps thanks to its excellent links with companies such as John Deere, JCB, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and the National Trust. Good careers support service. Most Harper Adams undergraduate courses include a work placement period of 12 months, to help students put theory into practise. There’s the Aspire Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, as well as a modern resource centre and engineering design centre. The Centre for Rural Innovation is also based at Harper Adams. Large playing fields, sports hall, outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts. High staff to student ratio.

Teaching: 33rd out of 126 for student satisfaction with teaching in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: 58th out of 126 with 67.0 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? High-quality on-campus residences, with the most recent hall opened in 2012. The cheapest on offer is a shared room in a single sex college house for £2,655, based on a 36-week let.

Cheap to live? Yes. Local rented accommodation costs roughly £55 per week excluding utility bills.

Transport links: Car comes in handy. Public transport is available with buses to Newport, Telford or Shrewsbury. Local train stations are Telford, which is 10 miles away, or Stafford.

Fees: UK and EU full-time undergraduates starting courses in 2014 will be charged the maximum cost of £9,000 per year, significantly reduced for the placement year. International students will pay a higher annual fee of £9,650 per year.

Bursaries: There is a long list of competitive scholarships offered by the university. See here for more details.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: The Students’ Union runs live music events and hosts at least four balls per year with a very grand summer ball. Newport, Stafford and Shrewsbury are all within easy reach for nights out. The nearest cinema is in Telford. The Main Bar's the place to be on Wednesdays, with regular themed nights from smurfs to cops and robbers.

Price of a pint: £2.60 on average in Newport but the union's the best bet for drinks deals.

Sporting reputation: Near the bottom of the BUCS league in 106th place out of 145.

Notable societies: Cake and Bake for all you foodies out there, while Ploughing Society harks back to Harper Adams' agricultural roots. Not a huge range mind, but plenty of room to create your own!

Glittering alumni: Representatives in both the agricultural and food industries. Tony Pexton, former Vice-President of the National Farmers’ Union, studied there.

Alternative prospectus: See how current Harper Adams students rate various aspects of their university experience on What Uni?, from lecturers and facilities to the Students' Union and eye candy.