Royal Agricultural University
Wednesday 10 July 2013
Overall ranking: 51st out of 124 in the Complete University Guide for 2014.
History: The first agricultural college in the English-speaking world. Gained the Royal Charter from Queen Victoria in 1845 and received state funding in 2001. Awarded full university status by the Privy Council in 2013 and formally changed its name to Royal Agricultural University.
Address: On the outskirts of Cirencester in the heart of the Cotswolds. The university farms are based in two locations close to the campus.
Ambience: Beautiful countryside with buildings that mirror the quadrangle and tower Oxford style. Often referred to as 'the Oxbridge of the Countryside'.
Who's the boss? Professor Chris Gaskell, a veterinary scientist and the former pro vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool, became principal in 2007.
Prospectus: 01285 889 912 or request one here.
UCAS code: R54
What you need to know
Easy to get into? 120 UCAS entry points for foundation degrees. 240 - 300 UCAS entry points for honours degrees depending on the course. Relevant work experience or advanced GNVQ at merit level will also be considered. All applicants are interviewed and the most academically able are taken from a wide range of backgrounds.
Vital statistics: Takes 650 undergraduates and 250 postgraduates from 40 countries.
Added value: University farms provide a first-class field laboratory for students. There is the opportunity to take part in countryside sports, such as clay pigeon shooting.
Teaching: 86th out of 124 for student satisfaction with teaching.
Research: 114th out of 124 in the Research Assessment Exercise. Recognised as a top research establishment, particularly in soil chemistry, plant nutrition, and crop development and protection.
Graduate prospects: 54th out of 124 with 67.3 per cent finding graduate level employment.
Any accommodation? Yes but only at a price. Eight areas of residence for undergrads and three for postgrads. A single room in catered halls costs between £129 and £210 per week and there are a limited number of rooms in a self-catered hall for £125 per week. Utility bills are not included.
Cheap to live there? Not too bad, with local rents starting at around £75 per week.
Transport links: Cirencester is a mile and a half from campus and, during term-time, a free shuttle bus runs between the town and the University. Direct trains from London (90 minutes) and Bristol.
Fees: Set at £9,000 per year for all new home, EU and international undergrads starting in 2013.
Bursaries: A wide range of funding opportunities from scholarships to hardship awards are on offer. See the website for further details to check whether you are eligible for financial support.
The fun stuff
Nightlife: Regular Students' Union nights throughout the week, many of which take place in the Tithe Barn. Wednesdays are the main nights out, along with the Friday 'Tithe Do' featuring a DJ or live band Rag Week activities and countryside pursuits also take place. It is in the depths of the Cotswolds however, so don't expect too many wild nights out clubbing. Four fabulous balls yearly, renowned as some of the best in the country.
Price of a pint: About £3 on average in Cirencester.
Sporting reputation: The RAU's students' hearts lie elsewhere- ranked 131st out of 135 in the current BUCS league.
Notable societies: There aren't many, but the Food and Wine Appreciation society is well worth a join, for visits to local producers, cookery demonstrations and talks from expert guest speakers.
Glittering alumni: Sir David Naish, recent president of the National Farmers Union; Jonathan Dimbleby, broadcaster; Simon Pott, once president of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors; Marcus Armitage, winner of the Grand National.
Alternative prospectus: Read all about how current students rate various aspects of their Royal Agricultural University experience on What Uni? here.
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