Royal Holloway, University of London


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The Independent Online


Overall ranking: Came 34th out of 126 in the Complete University Guide for 2016.

History: Royal Holloway was founded by the Victorian entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Holloway in 1886 and affiliated to the University of London in 1900. It merged with Bedford College in 1985 and has recently celebrated its 125th anniversary year.

Address: The 135-acre landscaped campus is close to Windsor in Surrey and seven miles from London Heathrow. There is also a central London base at Bedford Square.

Ambience: Friendly and cosmopolitan, near London but green. Famous for its spectacular Grade I Founder's Building which contains 500 much sought-after student bedrooms and is modelled on the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley.  Renowned for its friendly and supportive environment - reflected in excellent student retention and successful completion levels.

Who's the boss? Distinguished software engineering researcher and Chair of AQA Professor Paul Layzell took up the role of principal in August 2010.

Prospectus: 01784 414 944 or download one here.

UCAS code: R72

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Not really although requirements vary broadly. The typical student granted a place has 405 UCAS points. The average offer is ABB to AAB at A-level, or 320 to 340 UCAS points.

Vital statistics: Nearly 9,000 students from over 100 countries, with over one-third of students being from abroad. High staff count- with over 2,500 members.

Added value: The Founder's Building houses a Picture Gallery with over 70 paintings from the High Victorian period collected by Thomas Holloway. The plate glass Windsor Building was completed in 2007 with a state-of-the-art 400-seat auditorium and lecture rooms. A major new student amenity called the Hub has created a student village environment in the residential part of the campus. There is a range of sporting facilities and a good careers service dedicated to supporting students and graduates. A brand new Caryl Churchill Theatre for the drama department opened in 2013, while development of a multi-purpose cultural space in the old Victorian Boiler House has recently been re-developed, with further plans to extend this in place.

Teaching: Placed 29th out of 126 in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: Ranked 78th out of 126 with 62.2% finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Something to suit all tastes and budgets as halls vary in size, appearance, age and atmosphere. A room in the halls of residence ranges from £3,165 to £5,822; with twin-shared rooms towards the lower end of the range, and ensuites towards the upper end. There are a limited number of postgrad rooms also available at varied rates.

Cheap to live there? Not particularly- the average monthly rent for most private sector properties in the area is roughly £400 per person.

Transport links: Good road, rail and air links. London is 19 miles away and about 35 minutes by rail, while a college bus covers local areas and Egham station.

Fees: Fixed at £9,000 per year for home and EU full-time undergrads. Overseas students pay more, with prices varying from £12,900 to £14,600 depending on the course. Students spending a year abroad pay 15 per cent, and for a year in industry it is 20 per cent of the fee for that year.

Bursaries: The National Scholarship is worth £2,500 for the first year of study and converts to a Royal Holloway Bursary in each year thereafter. To be eligible you must be a home full-time undergrad with a household income of below £25,000 and a Government Maintenance Grant. A bursary of £750 per year is available for eligible students with a household income of less than £42,600 per year, with the amount offered increasing depending on your financial situation. There are various scholarships on offer, see here for more information.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: A major refurbishment of the Students' Union took place in 2011. Several bars and cafes on site, a new games area, and entertainments run seven days a week. It has a reputation as one of the best unions in the London area, attracting big-name acts such as Trevor Nelson, Tim Westwood, Girls Aloud, Lemar, Karl Kennedy and the Vengaboys, plus an impressive array of DJs, comedians and cabaret. Egham itself is a small town but Windsor and London are both fairly close.

Price of a pint: About £3.65- drinks on the whole can be expensive here.

Sporting reputation: Not bad- ranked 52nd in the current BUCS league.

Notable societies: The student media has a great reputation- particularly its own TV station Rhubarb. Love To Make Noise is an alternative music and arts collective that puts on gigs, house shows and club nights, prints photograph and art zines, presses CDs and makes posters and t-shirts. Aimed at those "bound by cheap wine, loud music, bad dance moves and sheer boredom".

Glittering alumni: George Eliot, author; Professor David Bellamy, botanist and environmental activist; Jeremy Northam and Mark Strong, film actors; Lenny Henry, comedian; Simon Nye, screenwriter on Men Behaving Badly; Janice Hadlow, Head of BBC4; Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage; KT Tunstall, singer; Francis Wheen, award-winning journalist; and Elliot Gleave, the rapper known as Example.

Alternative prospectus: Read what current and recent students have to say about Royal Holloway on What Uni? here.