Overall ranking: 123rd out of 124 in the Complete University Guide for 2014.
History: Archives record the establishment of a cookery room in 1916, which was the seed for the university’s future growth. In 1957, it became the College of Bakery, Catering, Domestic Science and Associated Studies. In the late eighties it changed its name to Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies and officially became a higher education institution in 2002, though further education courses are still on the menu. In 2008 it was given the power to award degrees and changed its name to University College Birmingham (UCB). In 2012 UCB was awarded full university status by the Privy Council.
Address: Birmingham city centre. The main site is in Summer Row, close to the International Convention Centre and the National Indoor Arena. The other site, Richmond House, is round the corner in Newhall Street.
Ambience: A specialised university right in the bustle of England's second biggest city. Main areas of teaching are: culinary arts, bakery and hospitality; childcare and education; hair and beauty and spa management, specialist hair & media make-up, sport, marketing, events and tourism.
Who's the boss? Professor Ray Linforth is vice-chancellor and principal.
Prospectus: 0121 232 4300 or order one online here.
UCAS code: B35
What you need to know
Easy to get into? Usually 140 UCAS points are needed for foundation degrees and 240 for honours courses. Exceptions are BSc sports therapy, BA events management and BSc tourism management, which asks for 260 points. All applicants for any degree or foundation programme need to have GCSE (or equivalent qualification) English Grade A- C.
Vital statistics: 7,500 students on further and higher education programmes, 15 per cent of whom are international students. Great links with industry: 2,000 students engage in work experience, usually an industrial placement. 86% students rated satisfied with overall UCB experience in the National Student Survey.
Added value: Catering and hospitality, and hairdressing and beauty therapy are centres of vocational excellence - gold star recognition from the Hospitality Guild. Many opportunities for European Exchange study. All marketing programmes accredited by Chartered Institute of Marketing, plus many others recognised and accredited by professional bodies e.g. the Society of Sports Therapists, the Teaching Agency and the Tourism Management Institute. An additional new campus will be opened in early 2014 on the edge of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. Postgraduate and undergraduate students will use the new site which features lecture theatres, a flexible auditorium, a 24 hour study hub and 200 seat café.
Teaching: 41st out of 124 for student satisfaction with teaching quality in the Complete University Guide.
Research: Not a research-based institution, so no part in the Research Assessment Exercise.
Graduate prospects: 120th out of 124 with 45.2 per cent finding graduate level employment.
Any accommodation? The Maltings student village, ten minutes from the university, has more than 800 en suite bedrooms, a bar, shop and a large sports hall. Additional 247 rooms with shared bathrooms available in Cambrian Hall, close to the main site. Room prices range between £76 and £95 per week. Some twin rooms are available at the Maltings for £151 per week. Free wireless in the Maltings and Cambrian halls.
Cheap to live there? Private places were between £50 and £80 per week excluding bills last year.
Transport links: Plentiful. The university is on major bus routes or it's a ten-minute walk to New Street and Snow Hill stations. The major motorway networks are a five-minute drive, it's less than two hours by rail from London, Bristol, Sheffield, Liverpool or Manchester and Birmingham has an international airport.
Fees: Fees for those starting in 2014 will be £8,282 per year, although fee waivers will be available to some students.
Bursaries: Approximately 222 National Scholarship Programme awards are available for the first year of study only, which cover £3,000 of the cost of full-time undergraduate tuition fees. Around 300 UCB Standard Tuition Fee Waiver awards offering £1,000 off the cost of full-time undergraduate or PGCE tuition fees are available for each year of study. Eligibility criteria applies in all cases.
The fun stuff
Nightlife: No shortage of opportunities in a place of Birmingham's size. Close to the city's entire hub of bars and clubs, many offering student nights.
Price of a pint: £2.58 on average across Birmingham but look out for student nights and drinks deals at the union bar.
Sporting reputation: Not the sportiest- 116th out of 148 universities and colleges in the 2012/13 BUCS league.
Notable societies: Not a big choice, but tons of scope to create your own providing you can find like-minded souls to join you. Adventure Society organises events throughout the year to encourage outdoor exploration and leadership, while the Ski and Board Society is behind the biggest trips. Football, hockey, rugby, netball, cheerleading and more sports-wise.
Glittering alumni: Ones to watch- April Bloomfield, former chef student, now one of only 10 female Michelin star chefs in the US. Ben Ebbrell, former culinary arts management student who has written popular national selling cookbooks and is part of the successful sortedfood.com enterprise.
Alternative prospectus: Check into The Student Room to chat with current, former and prospective students about what the university experience at UCB is really like.