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A-Z Unis & Colleges

Leeds, University of



Overall ranking: Came 19th out of 126 in the Complete University Guide for 2016.

History: The University of Leeds traces its roots back to the foundation of the Leeds School of Medicine in 1831 and the Yorkshire College of Science in 1874. In 1904 it was awarded a charter by Edward VII and is now one of the UK's largest universities.

Address: The leafy campus is a ten minute walk from the city centre.

Ambience: The university buildings are an eclectic mixture of Victorian and modern, with state-of-the-art learning and teaching facilities next to the impressive landmark buildings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rich in history with a diverse economy, thriving cultural scene and cosmopolitan atmosphere, Leeds is the UK's second financial and legal centre.

Who's the boss? Professor Michael Arthur, vice-chancellor, a world renowned liver specialist. He joined Leeds six years ago and until the end of August 2012 was Chair of the Russell Group of Universities.

Prospectus: 0113 343 2336 or order one here.

UCAS code: L23

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Anything from A*AA to ABB at A-level or equivalent, but requirements vary depending on course. Some- such as natural sciences- are more competitive than others and ask for A*AA at A-level.

Vital statistics: A top civic redbrick and one of the giants of the higher education system. Home to 31,324 students from 141 countries with staff of 103 different nationalities. It calls itself an international university. One of 24 Russell Group universities dedicated to the highest levels of academic excellence in research and teaching.

Added value: The sheer size of the place means there are entertainment, sports and academic opportunities aplenty. By 2015/16 the university will have spent £180m on new buildings and refurbishment. State-of-the-art fitness, sport and well-being facility The Edge includes a 25m eight lane pool and the largest fitness suite of any UK university. A new 525 bed student accommodation has recently opened, and the state-of-the-the-art Laidlaw Library will open its doors in spring 2015. Leeds has won a number of environmental awards including a Green Gown Award in 2012 for promoting positive behaviour.

Teaching: Placed 49th out of 126 for student satisfaction in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: Ranked 34th with 74.5 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? The university has an impressive range of accommodation from modern purpose-built apartments to converted mansion houses. Rooms range from between £138 to £187 for catered or £81 to £158 per week for self-catering.

Cheap to live there? Very affordable with private rents at around £65 per week, excluding bills.

Transport links: London is just over two hours away by train while Edinburgh is three. Leeds Bradford Airport offers frequent flights to major international destinations and Leeds is well connected to the rest of the UK by affordable coach services.

Fees: Leeds will charge £9,000 for full-time UK and EU undergraduates in 2014. Overseas students pay more with fees varying with the programme of study.

Bursaries: Means-tested financial support is available under the National Scholarship Programme and various scholarships (including excellence-based awards). See here to see what's on offer.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Thriving and cultural, Leeds is the clubbing capital of the north and a must stop for top bands- The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys, Editors and Klaxons have all played at the Refectory. Stylus, Pulse and Mine are the leading venues in the Students' Union for club nights while the Old Bar provides a traditional pub atmosphere. Huge outdoor Terrace is a vibrant and widely-stocked bar popular for pre-clubbing drinks.

Price of a pint: Varies, but the average is £2.50.

Sporting reputation: Good- in 13th place in the BUCS league.

Notable societies: Tea Party aims to provide a fun and enjoyable day for older members of the community while Bombay Vibes teaches anybody willing to learn some Bollywood dance moves. Stitch 'n' Bitch is a sociable group of crafters who get together to share skills- be it jewellery making or dress tailoring.

Glittering alumni: Jack Straw, former cabinet minister; Alistair Brownlee, Olympic gold medallist triathlete; Nicholas Witchell, BBC reporter; Alistair McGowan, impressionist; Alan Yentob and Mark Byford, BBC honchos; Steve Bell and Kipper Williams, cartoonists; Wole Soyinka, the first African writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature; Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail; Piers Sellers, NASA astronaut; Claire Cashmore, paralympic swimming medallist; Mercury Prize-winning rock band Alt-J.; Liz Kershaw, BBC 6 Music presenter; and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. 

Alternative prospectus: Interested in what current students think of the Leeds university experience? Have a read of their thoughts on What Uni? here.