Overall ranking: Came 83rd out of 126 in the Complete University Guide for 2016.

History: In 1924, Northampton Technical College was established on the site of the current Avenue Campus. This was followed by the School of Art in 1937. In 1972, Northampton College of Education was opened on the site of the current Park Campus and the three institutions merged in 1975 to form Nene College. During the 1990s, the College incorporated St Andrews School of Occupational Therapy, the Leathersellers Centre and the Sir Gordon Roberts College of Nursing and Midwifery. The only higher education provider in Northamptonshire, it changed its name and became a university college in February 1999. Gained university status along with the power to award its own research degrees in 2005.

Address: Two main campuses in Northampton. The main Park campus is on the outskirts of town with the Avenue campus closer in.

Ambience: Park Campus (the larger of the two campuses) is set in 30 hectares of open, green parkland. It is the home to the University’s Schools of Education, Business, Education and Social Sciences. Avenue campus is one mile from Northampton town and is the home to the University’s Schools of the Art and Science and Technology. 

Who's the boss? Professor Nick Petford is Vice Chancellor. Formerly of Bournemouth and Kingston Universities, Nick has worked in industry (BP) and on academic and commercial research projects throughout the world and is known internationally for his expertise in magmatic systems and volcanology. 

Prospectus: 0800 358 2232 or order one here.

UCAS code: N38

What you need to know

Easy to get into? You'll need somewhere between 280 and 320 UCAS entry points, but in the spirit of widening participation, non-traditional qualifications are welcomed. No particular A-level grades are expected, but some courses will require specific A-levels. Mature students are considered in their own right. Click here to find out more.

Vital statistics: Over 14,000 students, and over half are over 21 at the start of study. They have a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, certificates and diplomas. There are six schools: Applied sciences, the arts, education, health, Northampton Business School and social sciences. Two year fast-track degrees are on offer too.

Added value: You can study leather technology at postgraduate level, this being the centre of the British shoe industry, and it prides itself on links with business. The BA (Hons) in social welfare is the only course in the UK to combine a degree with a Certificate in Fundraising from the Institute of Fundraising. As part of the university's new strategy, it aims to be the top university in the UK for social enterprise by 2015, and was awarded the international accolade of "Changemaker Campus" from the world's leading network of social entrepreneurs last year in recognition of its commitment to social enterprise. Huge investment in new developments are underway- £11m in the science and technology school, £3.8m in the education school, half a million into the Students' Union, and £25m into the construction of the St John's Halls of Residences, which was completed earlier this year. Outline planning permission has also been granted for a brand new Waterside Campus, which will see all six of the university's schools moved to the site in Northampton's Waterside Enterprise Zone. The astronomical £330m project is hoped to be up and running by Autumn 2018.

Teaching: 13th out of 126 in the Complete University Guide, a huge improvement on last year.

Graduate prospects: 79th out of 126 with 57.2 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? There are 1,700 rooms available across both campuses and in Northampton town centre, with a further 449 rooms made available since earlier this year with the opening of the new halls of residence. Rent ranges from £60 for a twin room to £118.50 for a single room with en-suite. Click here for a price list, and here for a virtual tour of the halls.

Cheap to live there? Not bad. Private rents can go for anything from £75 to £105 per week.

Transport links: Northampton is on the train line from London Euston to the West Midlands and the North West.  A number of trains stop in Northampton and the journey to London or Birmingham takes one hour.  Or you can drive: it's 20 minutes to the M1. Or take the coach from Northampton town centre. There are free buses between the two main campuses and subsidised fares between the campuses and the town centre and railway station. 

Fees: £9,000 a year for full-time EU and home undergraduates.

Bursaries: Means-tested bursaries may be available to eligible undergraduates whose family incomes are less than £40,000. There are also a wide range of scholarships. Visit the website for details.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: The union has recently been refurbished. On Park Campus, check out nightclub NN2 and the laid-back Central Park Bar. The Pavilion is a must with 2-4-1 cocktail pre-drinks before student night Flirt! on Saturdays at NN2. George's Bar on Avenue Campus is always buzzing too.

Price of a pint: £3.15 is the average in Northampton.

Sporting reputation: In 8th place in the current BUCS league out of 145.

Notable societies: Cake Soc and Surf Soc both need a new committee to run them next year, while Cheese Appreciation Society is always popular.

Glittering alumni: Gavin Douglas, Fashion Fringe winner; Phil Manning, BBC Fossil Detective; Phil Drummond, musician/ artist; Andrew Collins, broadcaster.

Alternative prospectus: Check out student ratings for everything from uni facilities and job prospects to the SU and eye candy on Northampton's What Uni? page here.