Richmond, The American International University in London

Richmond, The American International University in London, is a private liberal arts university in London, United Kingdom. Richmond was founded in 1972, by British educator Sir Cyril Taylor. The university maintains two campuses in Greater London, in Richmond Hill and Kensington.

Richmond, The American International University in London
MottoUnity in Diversity
TypePrivate university
Endowment£8.4 million (2018)[2]
Budget£25 million (2017)[3]
ChairmanNicholas Tate
PresidentLawrence Abeln
ProvostPhil Deans
Academic staff
83 (2017)[3]
Students1,600 (2016)[4]
ColorsNavy blue & gold          
AffiliationsIndependent Universities Group
Association of American International Colleges and Universities[5]

The university awards US degrees from the American state of Delaware, where Richmond is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.[6][7] Until 2018, Richmond's UK degrees were awarded by the Open University; but from the 2018/2019 academic year, Richmond is able to grant its own UK degrees, after receiving Taught Degree Awarding Powers from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.[8]


Richmond was founded in 1972 by the social entrepreneur and politician Sir Cyril Taylor, chairman of the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS), as Richmond College, The American College in London. It began teaching on the site of the former Richmond Theological College, part of the University of London, founded in 1843 as a Methodist theological college. AIFS had been previously using the college site for a number of years for their London study abroad programmes. AIFS purchased half of the college's 10 acre site for £300,000 (equivalent to £3.82 million in 2015), including the majority of its buildings and front lawns, to form a new American liberal arts college.[9] A second campus was opened on St Albans Grove and Ansdell Street in Kensington in 1978 for third and fourth year students as well as the college's US Study Abroad Programme.

In its early years Richmond served mainly to house study abroad programmes to US students, however this changed in 1981 when Richmond obtained a licence to award US undergraduate degrees from the Washington DC Board of Education and formal accreditation from the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (now the Middle States Commission on Higher Education).[9] With this it became a fully accredited independent liberal arts university. Following the closure of the Washington DC Board of Education, Richmond gained a licence to award degrees in Delaware, which continues to be used for its US degrees.

An expansion of the university's Kensington campus on Young Street was officially opened in March 1988 by Diana, Princess of Wales.[1]

In 1995 AIFS spun-off the university as a non-profit educational institution. Richmond inaugurated its first postgraduate degree in 1998 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

From 1996 to 2018 Richmond issued British degrees validated by the Open University.[9] In May 2018, the University was granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers in the UK, enabling students to receive two degree certificates, from the US and UK.



The board of trustees is responsible for the stewardship of the university's assets, strategic decision-making and ensuring compliance with its objectives. The board is chaired by Dr E. Nicholas Tate CBE, a former chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.[10]

The current president of Richmond, since August 2018, has been Professor Lawrence Stephen Abeln.[11]

Richmond had an average of 163 staff, including 83 academic staff, 68 management and administrative staff and 12 technical staff, during the year ending 30 June 2017.[3]

In the financial year ending 30 June 2017, Richmond (including the UK charity the Richmond Foundation, which is controlled by the university) had a total income of £35.7 million (including a one-off donation of £10 million from Sir Cyril Taylor) and total expenditure of £25.2 million


Constituent schools

Richmond, The American International University in London is composed of three constituent schools:

  • Richmond Business School
  • Richmond School of Communications, Arts & Social Sciences (CASS)
  • Richmond School of Liberal Arts


Richmond offers a range of majors and minors at undergraduate level in business, economics, political science, international relations, media, the arts and humanities.[12]

Standard degrees are four-years long though may be completed earlier through transfer credits from US Advanced Placement classes, UK A and AS Levels, the International Baccalaureate and other similar qualifications.[13]

In addition it offers postgraduate degrees in business (MBA), Journalism, International Relations, Art History, Visual Arts Management and Public Relations & Advertising.[14]

Richmond's Business School is an accredited higher education partner of the Chartered Management Institute. Its psychology degree is accredited in partnership with the British Psychological Society.


Richmond is a "recognised body" that can award UK degrees,[15] subject to regular inspection by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and regulation by the Office for Students. The last QAA inspection was in May 2016, which led to the award of taught degree awarding powers (following Richmond's addressing of concerns raised in the report) for a six year period from 17 May 2017 to 16 May 2024.[16] Prior to this, Richmond's UK degrees were validated by the Open University.[17]

Richmond is accredited in the US State of Delaware by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education,[7] an accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. Richmond is licensed to award US Associate in Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees by the Department of Education in the State of Delaware.[6]


The university is split between two main campuses in the Greater London area: the Richmond campus, located near the crest of Richmond Hill and approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from Richmond station, and the Kensington campus, located between Kensington High Street and Cromwell Road.

Richmond's library facilities across both the Hill and Kensington Campuses include over 60,000 books and DVDs, 39,000 e-journal titles and 36,000 newspapers and newswires.

Richmond Hill

The Richmond campus is the primary residence of undergraduate students in their first two years of study and its façade is a major symbol of the school promotional literature. The school's headquarters and admissions department are also located here. The main building and surrounding subsidiary buildings occupy the site of the former Richmond (Theological) College, University of London, purchased by Sir Cyril Taylor. It features a multi-purpose sports court, spacious front lawns and a variety of historic forest land. It sits close to one of the main gates of Richmond Park.


The Kensington campus is a closely grouped set of buildings located between Kensington High Street and Gloucester Road, with further buildings in Earls Court. It is where many of the upper-level undergraduate students reside during their last two year along with all postgraduate programmes. Asa Briggs Hall features a psychology lab with several interview rooms for various experiments. Kensington is the housing location for many study abroad students at the university.

Other facilities

In addition to its London Campuses Richmond also maintains three specialist study centres in Leeds, Florence and Rome. The Leeds centre, located on the campus of Leeds Beckett University focuses on a combination of soccer training and sports management[18] while Florence and Rome specializes in the study of history along with the studio and fine arts.[19] Richmond offers first year students studying business, communications, politics, international relations and art history the chance to study full-time at the Florence Study Centre for their freshmen year before transferring back to the London campuses to complete their degree.[20]

Student life

Student Government

The RAIUL Student Government is the university's official students' union under the Education Act 1994. It organises a range of social activities on both campuses throughout the year and orientation weeks. It also lobbies senior faculty, management staff and the Board of Trustees on behalf of students in relation to issues of welfare, discrimination and academic appeals. The Student Government also manages the university's Raising and Giving society.[21]

Student organizations

Richmond's Student Affairs Department offer a variety of clubs and societies for students to get involved in including Model United Nations, Gaming, Film production, journalism, Art Appreciation, Theatre, Finance and Investment, Cheer-leading, Debating, Fashion, Environmentalism, History, Politics, International Affairs, Journalism, Psychology, Community Service, Great British Bake Off and LGBTQ+.


Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy (RIASA) is the school's sports academy.

Sports facilities at the Richmond Hill campus include a gym and fitness studio and multi-purpose soccer, basketball, tennis and volleyball court. Student sports teams currently include male and female soccer teams, a men's basketball team and the Mixed Martial Arts society open to both.[22] The men's soccer team 'The Richmond Stags' competes in the British Universities and Colleges Sport London soccer league.

Notable alumni


  1. "About Richmond". Richmond, The American International University in London. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  2. "The Richmond Foundation – Accounts and trustees' annual report" (PDF). p. 12. Retrieved 19 January 2019 via The Charity Commission.
  3. "Full accounts made up to 30 June 2017". Companies House. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  4. "Richmond in Numbers". Richmond, The American International University in London. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  5. "Richmond, The American International University in London". AAICU. 2016-02-29. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  6. "U.S. & U.K. Accreditation". Richmond, The American International University in London. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  7. "Richmond, The American International University in London". Middle States. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  8. ECE Connection - UK degree-awarding powers granted to Richmond, The American International University in London (United Kingdom)
  9. Cyril Taylor. 2013. Sir Cyril: My Life as a Social Entrepreneur. Stroud: Amberley.
  10. "Board of Trustees". Richmond, the American International University in London. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  11. "President's Executive Team - Richmond University".
  12. "BA Degree Undergraduate courses in London - Richmond University".
  13. "About our Undergraduate Programmes". Richmond, The American International University in London. Advanced Credit and Transfer Students. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  14. "Postgraduate Programmes - Richmond University".
  15. "Check if a university or college is officially recognised". UK Government. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  16. "Application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers: Richmond, The American International University in London" (PDF). QAA. 5 September 2018.
  17. "Student Right to Know". Richmond, the American International University in London. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  18. "Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy".
  19. "Study Abroad in London, Try Richmond Summer School - Richmond University".
  20. "Freshman Year in Florence, Italy - Richmond University".
  21. "Student Government - Richmond University".
  22. "Sports - Richmond University".
  23. "Bill Paxton".
  24. "Bobby Chinn - The chef with a difference".
  25. Desk, Entertainment (2015-04-03). "In memoriam: Nazia Hassan was born 50 years ago today". Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  26. "Richmond American International University: Prince Louis & Princess Tessy celebrate graduation in London". 16 May 2014.
  27. "Richmond, the American International University in London". 28 July 2014.
  28. Eden, Richard (2012-02-12). "Sting to become a grandfather after his son's 'secret' wedding".
  29. "ADYP".
  30. "Yönetim Kurulu".

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