Northumbria University

Northumbria University (legally the University of Northumbria at Newcastle) is a university located in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England, gaining university status in 1992.

Northumbria University
MottoLatin: Aetas Discendi [1]
Motto in English
The age of learning
Established1894 - Rutherford College of Technology
1969 - Newcastle Polytechnic
1992 - gained university status
Budget£10,000,000 (2017)
ChancellorTanni Grey-Thompson
Vice-ChancellorAndrew Wathey [2]
Students26,675 (2016/17)[3]
Undergraduates21,445 (2016/17)[3]
Postgraduates5,230 (2016/17)[3]
Other students
220 FE[4]
Location, ,
England, UK

54.9764°N 1.6080°W / 54.9764; -1.6080
CampusUrban and suburban
AthleticsTeam Northumbria
AffiliationsWallace Group


Northumbria University has its origins in three Newcastle colleges: Rutherford College of Technology, which was established by John Hunter Rutherford in 1880 and opened formally in 1894 by the Duke of York (later King George V), the College of Art & Industrial Design and the Municipal College of Commerce.

Newcastle Polytechnic

In 1969, the three colleges were amalgamated to form Newcastle Polytechnic. The Polytechnic became the major regional centre for the training of teachers with the creation of the City College of Education in 1974 and the Northern Counties College of Education in 1976.[5]

University status

In 1992, Newcastle Polytechnic was reconstituted as the new University of Northumbria,[6] as part of a nationwide process in which polytechnics became new universities. It was originally styled, and its official name still is, the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (see the Articles of Government[7]) but the trading name was simplified to Northumbria University in 2002. In 1995, it was awarded responsibility for the education of healthcare professionals, which was transferred from the National Health Service.


The university has two large campuses situated in Newcastle and one in London. City Campus, located in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, is divided into City Campus East and City Campus West by the city's central motorway and linked by a £4 million bridge which in 2008 was officially opened by the former Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Digby Jones.[8]

City Campus

City Campus East is home to the Schools of Law, Design and the Newcastle Business School (NBS). NBS and Law are housed in one building, and the School of Design is across a courtyard.

City Campus East, designed by Atkins, opened in September 2007, winning awards from The Journal newspaper and the Low Carbon New Build Project of the Year accolade.

City Campus West is home to the Schools of Arts & Social Sciences, Built & Natural Environment, Computing, Engineering & Information Sciences and Life Sciences. Also located on this campus is the University Library, Students' Union building and Sport Central, a £31m sports facility for students, staff and the community which opened in 2010.[5]

The Sutherland Building, formerly the Medical School of Durham University,[9] which was a naval warehouse during World War II, and the Dental School of Durham University (1945–78) is the home of Administrative Departments including Finance & Planning and Human Resources, using the space vacated when the School of Law moved to City Campus East.

The Students' Union building, at City Campus West, underwent a multimillion-pound makeover with new lobby and recreational facilities, and a refurbished bar and cafe space, in summer 2010.

In September 2016 the Sandyford Building was acquired from Newcastle College.[10]

In 2018 a £7m building for Computer and Information sciences was opened in City Campus West[11] in place of the demolished Rutherford Hall.[12]

Coach Lane

A second campus[13] is located 2.6 miles (4 km) outside of Newcastle, on Coach Lane, and is known as the Coach Lane Campus at Cochrane Park near the A188 (Benton Road). It is in the Dene ward near Longbenton and round the corner from Tyneview Park; a large Department for Work and Pensions office, accessible via the Four Lane Ends Interchange.

The Coach Lane Campus is home to School of Health, Community and Education Studies. Coach Lane Campus has computing and library services; its own Students' Union, and sports facilities, including indoor courts, a fitness suite, outdoor rugby and football pitches, and an all-weather floodlit pitch.[14] A free shuttle bus scheme runs between the two campuses.

London Campus

The London Campus offers full-time or part-time programmes, from a range of Business, Computing, Cyber, Project Management and Technology focused programmes.

Organisation and structure

Northumbria describes itself as a comprehensive university, offering 30 of Britain's 32 most frequently chosen academic disciplines. It specialises in law and business, arts and design, computing, environmental science, built environment, applied healthcare, sports science and psychology, and teacher education.

Northumbria also offers 'clinical' courses in law accredited by the Law Society and Bar Council. These allow graduates direct entry to the profession. The institution's Student Law Office is a clinical legal education enterprise,[15] where law students participate in a legal advice and representation scheme on behalf of real clients, under the supervision of practising lawyers .

Northumbria University employs more than 3,200 people and offers approximately 500 study programmes[16] through four Faculties:

  • Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Business and Law
  • Faculty of Engineering and Environment
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Northumbria University Press is the university press, established in 2002. It is based in Newcastle upon Tyne and publishes a diverse range of books, including publications on language, photography, biography, travel and music.

Academic profile


In the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 a small amount of research in nine of twelve areas submitted was described as "world leading".[17] Whereas in the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise, Northumbria was one of the top 50 for research power and the university which has risen fastest up the rankings

Reputation and rankings

Under Vice Chancellor Andrew Wathey, Northumbria University has remained ranked between 48 and 60 for the past ten years in the Guardian University League Tables.[18]

The Times Higher Education Supplement's World University Ranking places Northumbria University in the 401-500 range.[19]

In the 2014 REF, along with Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy, humanities and arts subjects were the best scoring Units of Assessment.[20]

National rankings
Complete (2020)[21]50
Guardian (2020)[22]48
Times / Sunday Times (2020)[23]61
Global rankings
ARWU (2018)[24]901–1000
QS (2020)[25]
THE (2020)[26]351-400
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[27]Silver

2017 testing accident

In 2017, the university was fined £400,000 after a sports science experiment gave volunteers a hundred times the safe dose. Two students volunteering in a study of the effects of caffeine were given a dose of 30g instead of 0.3g, because staff conducting the experiment tried to calculate the dose on a mobile phone calculator and misread the decimal point. Both were hospitalised and one reported loss of short-term memory.[28][29] A court hearing heard that the university had not trained staff in safety and had not carried out a proper risk assessment, and that the dose was above the level known to cause risk of death.[30]

Student life

Northumbria Students' Union is a campaigning and representative organisation. It is a charity currently exempt from registration and is led by five Sabbatical Officers (President and 4 Vice-Presidents) and a 19-member Student Council.

The Students' Union offers a range of student activities such as NSU/Community,[31] NSU/Media (Which encompasses NSU/TV, NSU/Radio, NSU/Life and NSU/Snaps),[32] NSU/Rag (Raise and Give),[33] NSU/Societies,[34] NSU/Employability,[35] Duke of Edinburgh awards[36] and Fast Friends.[36] It represents students in academic and non-academic matters through a nationally recognised School Reps and Postgraduate Research Reps Systems.

The university building contains several venues for students to socialise in a safe environment, chiefly at Habita (formerly Bar One), Domain (formerly The Venue) and Reds.

In 2011, Northumbria Student's Union received the National Union of Students award for best higher education students union.[37]

In 2016, Northumbria Student's Union received the National Union of Students award for Student Opportunities and runner up for the Education Award.[38]

Notable alumni

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Vice-Chancellor's Office". Northumbria University. 13 February 2008. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2008.
  3. "2016/17 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (CSV). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  4. "Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2006/07" (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 11 April 2008.
  5. "History of Northumbria". Northumbria University. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  6. "Northumbria University". The Independent. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  7. "Northumbria University Instrument and Articles of Government" (PDF).
  8. "Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman helps to open key footbridge". Newcastle upon Tyne Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  9. Good Stuff. "Sutherland Building - Newcastle upon Tyne - Newcastle upon Tyne - England - British Listed Buildings". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  10. "Sandyford strengthens City Centre campus". 19 September 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  11. "Computer and Information Sciences". Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  12. "Northumbria University announces £52m investment in its city campus". Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  13. Weston Beggard. "University of Northumbria Campus... (C) Weston Beggard :: Geograph Britain and Ireland". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  14. "Coach Lane Campus". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  15. "Student Law Office". Northumbria University. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  16. "My Courses". Northumbria University.
  17. RAE 2008 quality profile for University of Northumbria at Newcastle, RAE2008
  21. "University League Table 2020". The Complete University Guide. 1 May 2019.
  22. "University league tables 2020". The Guardian. 7 June 2019.
  23. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2020". Times Newspapers.
  24. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  25. "QS World University Rankings 2020". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd.
  26. "World University Rankings 2020". Times Higher Education.
  27. "Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes". Higher Education Funding Council for England.
  28. "Northumbria University 'life-threatening' caffeine test fine - BBC News". 25 January 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  29. 25 January 2017 at 3:02pm (25 January 2017). "Northumbria University fined £400k after students almost die after taking equivalent of 300 coffees | Tyne Tees - ITV News". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  30. Henry Bodkin (25 January 2017). "Students left fighting for lives after taking enough caffeine for 300 cups of coffee in botched university experiment". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  31. "NSU/Community". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  32. "NSU/Media". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  33. "NSU/RAG". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  34. "NSU/Societies". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  35. "NSU/Employability". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  36. "Fast Friends Trips". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  37. "Further Education Student Union of the Year". Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  38. "NUS Awards 2016". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  39. David Buckman (2006). Artists in Britain Since 1945 Vol 1, A to L. Art Dictionaries Ltd. ISBN 0 953260 95 X.
  40. Weatherall, Nicola. "Northumbria University to honour top names". The Journal. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  42. "Officers of the Academy". BAFTA. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  43. "In the news". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  44. Eccles, Tom. "Gavin Brown". ArtReview. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  45. "Leading designer waves farewell". The Chronicle. 9 July 2005. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  46. "Notable Alumni". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  47. "Rick Dickinson". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  48. "BBC - Tyne - Sport - The Toby Flood interview". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  49. Sonia Sharma (15 February 2015). "Election 2015: North Tyneside constituency and candidates - all you need to know". nechronicle. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  50. "Scott Henshall". Northumbria University. Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  51. "Jason Holland". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  52. "Louise Hopkins". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  54. "Emma Lewell-Buck to fight South Shields seat for Labour". BBC News. 11 April 2013.
  55. "Mate's monkey made Maximo!". The Chronicle. 11 December 2005. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  56. "Guy Mankowski". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  57. Smale, Will (14 June 2006). "Business | Profile: Alexey Mordashov". BBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  59. "Notable Alumni". Northumbria University. Retrieved 15 July 2015.

Further reading

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