University of Bradford

The University of Bradford is a public, plate glass university located in the city of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The university received its royal charter in 1966, making it the 40th university to be created in Britain, but its origins date back to the early 19th century. There are two campuses: the main campus located on Richmond Road and the School of Management, at Emm Lane.

University of Bradford
Former names
Bradford Institute of Technology
MottoGive invention light (from Shakespeare's Sonnet 38)
Established1832 - Mechanics Institute
1882 - Bradford Technical College
1957 - Bradford Institute of Technology
1966 - gained university status by royal charter
Endowment£ 2.3 m (2014)[1]
ChancellorKate Swann[2]
Vice-ChancellorProfessor Shirley Congdon[3]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students10,960 (2016/17)[5]
Undergraduates8,045 (2016/17)[5]
Postgraduates2,915 (2016/17)[5]
53°47′30″N 1°45′44″W

The student population includes 8,045 undergraduate and 2,915 postgraduate students.[4] Mature students make up around a third of the undergraduate community. 22% of students are foreign, and come from over 110 different countries. There were 14,406 applications to the university through UCAS in 2010, of which 3,421 were accepted.[6]

It was the first British university to establish a Department of Peace Studies in 1973, which is currently the world's largest university centre for the study of peace and conflict.[7]


Early history and founding

The university's origins date back to the Mechanics Institute, founded in 1832, formed in response to the need in the city for workers with skills relevant to the workplace. In 1882, the institute became the Bradford Technical College. In 1957, the Bradford Institute of Technology, was formed as a College of Advanced Technology to take on the running of higher education courses. Construction of the Richmond Building, the largest building on campus, began in 1963. The Horton Building and Chesham building were subsequently added, on the opposite side of Richmond Road.

The Charter of Incorporation was granted in 1966, to create the University of Bradford; the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson became the university's first chancellor.

1980s and 1990s

Expansion of the main campus continued in the 1970s and onwards, with the addition of the Library and Computer Centre, Communal Building, Pemberton Building and Ashfield Building. An extension to the Library and Computer Centre was completed in the mid-1990s. In 1996, the university joined with the former Bradford and Airedale College of Health, which then became the School of Health Studies within the university. The Department of Physics was closed in the 1980s. The Department of Mathematics was closed to new undergraduates in 1997, with the remaining postgraduate activities and lecture support being integrated into the Department of Computing as the Mathematics Unit. The Department of Mathematics has since been reopened within the School of Computing, Informatics and Media.[8]

In 1987, the university became one of the twelve founding members of the Northern Consortium.

21st century

In September 2009, it was announced that the University was to merge with Leeds College of Music. The college had originally announced a merger with Leeds Metropolitan University in April 2009,[9] however, discussions broke down due to issues with the provision of further education courses at the college.[10] It was later announced that this merger would not go ahead due to financial constraints. LCM's degrees are now validated by the University of Hull.[11]



In 2005, a project to become an 'Ecoversity' was initiated, along with a £84 million redevelopment of the campus.[12][13] The university aimed to reduce its environmental footprint by reducing waste and using sustainable materials. As part of this, Bradford became a Fairtrade University in December 2006.

As of 2008, several of the redevelopment projects have been completed. The Richmond Building has been partially re-clad with extra insulation and a new atrium; designed by local Saltaire-based architects Rance Booth & Smith; opened in December 2006, the roof of which uses ETFE – the same material used in the Eden Project.[14] The university's cancer therapeutics research centre was moved from a separate site on All Saint's Road onto the main campus, into a new building which also provides conference facilities; the buildings on the old site were demolished in February 2008.

Redevelopment of the sports facilities was completed in summer 2009,[15] and a new student village called "The Green" was constructed[16] which opened in September 2011. The Green has the highest ever BREEAM rating for any building.[17] Of the existing halls owned by the university, those on the Laisteridge Lane site were sold to Corporate Residential Management in 2005, and Shearbridge Green Halls were demolished in December 2006. Longside Lane halls and Kirkstone Halls were demolished during the first half of 2009.

The university has a "leading-edge 100-seat PC cluster" for teaching, learning and computer-based assessment, and there is an art gallery, theatre and music centre. The £84m investment in the campus included a major refurbishment of the laboratories in the school of life sciences, creation of a new MBA suite and library at the school of management, refurbishment of the student union building, Student Central.

The university has won its campus the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’ in The Times Higher Education Awards two years running.


The J B Priestley library is open 24 hours, 360 days a year,[18] it has 530,000 volumes, more than 1,100 printed periodical titles and approximately 60,000 electronic journals. In addition to the university library, there is a Blackwell bookshop located on campus.

Organisation and governance


The current chancellor is the business woman and University of Bradford graduate Kate Swann.[2]


The first Vice-Chancellor was Dr E.G. Edwards, who as Principal of the Bradford Institute of Technology took over the new institution.[19]

The current Vice-Chancellor (from 1 October 2013) is Brian Cantor CBE, who was previously the VC at the University of York.[21]


The Green, which opened September 2011, is a new £40 million purpose built student accommodation village. Designed for eco-friendly living, The Green has the highest ever BREEAM rating for any building (95.05%), awarded for sustainable building development and operation. It is also the first BREEAM 'Outstanding' student accommodation in the country.


There are five academic faculties. These have previously been called "schools" but changed their name to avoid confusion with the sub-units also sometimes called schools, in 2014. Four faculties are based at the city campus, whilst the Faculty of Management, Law, and Social Sciences is split over two sites, Management being at Emm Lane for 2018/19, but due to follow Law (which moved in 2018) to the main city campus after that. Many buildings and facilities, such as lecture theatres, are shared and used by all faculties.

Engineering & Informatics

On 1 October 2013, the School of Engineering, Design and Technology and the School of Computing, Informatics and Media were merged to form the Faculty of Engineering and Informatics. Three schools make up this new overarching Faculty: the School of Engineering (Mechanical, Medical, Civil & Chemical Engineering programmes), the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Computing & Maths programmes) and the School of Media, Design & Technology (Media & Design programmes)

The following describes the former schools of EDT & SCIM:

Computing, Informatics and Media

The second-largest school in the university consists of the departments of Computing, Bradford Media School (BMS), Creative Technology (CT) and Mathematics.

SCIM offers over 40 undergraduate degrees and postgraduate study in various areas including computing, ICT, robotics, mathematics, media and television. The School has a very lively research culture with over 100 students registered for MPhil/PhD.

The Department of Computing was one of the first in the UK to run an MSc course in Computing back in 1967. Undergraduate courses began in 1970.

The EIMC department was founded in 1991 and developed its courses in conjunction with the School of Art, Design & Textiles at Bradford and Ilkley Community College (now known as Bradford College) and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (now the National Media Museum). It was one of the first departments to offer BSc courses in media technology, going on to introduce some of the first animation and computer games degrees, and more recently expanding to offer a new range of similar BA courses.[22] Today, SCIM no longer works in association with the college, but has strengthened its relationship with the nearby National Media Museum. In association with the Department of Computing, it obtained a research grade 4 at RAE 2001.

A non-linear video editing / training suite is named in honour of the Shipley born film director Tony Richardson, and was opened by his daughter, the film actress Natasha Richardson in 1996.

In 2007 the School launched a partnership with East Coast Media at the Grimsby Institute and the National Media Museum to bid for Skillset Media Academy status, which was granted in 2008. Accreditation mainly covers courses in the Bradford Media School.

A core part of the school is the Innovations Unit, which offers the expertise of specialists within SCIM to commercial and social enterprises. This collaboration is part of a government initiative called Knowledge Transfer, which also includes partnerships with national and international companies. The IIU is also home to "Simula", which using knowledge transfer and resources for commercial projects including the school's motion capture suite for video games including Driver Parallel Lines, World Snooker Championships and GTR.

Engineering, Design and Technology

The university inherited several engineering courses from the Bradford Institute of Technology and some of these courses, such as Civil Engineering are still taught today. All of the engineering courses are accredited by their relevant institute. The school also has a large number of both undergraduate and postgraduate design and technology courses. Its research areas include automotive engineering, polymers, telecommunications and advanced materials engineering.

From the establishment of the university in 1966, the individual branches of engineering were taught in separate departments. When reorganisation of the three faculties of the university took place, a single School of Engineering, Design and Technology was created and incorporated the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Civil & Structural Engineering, the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and the Department of Industrial Studies. The Department of Chemical Engineering was closed shortly before the creation of the new school. However, in 2010, an undergraduate programme in Chemical Engineering was re-launched in 2010 with support from the Institute of Chemical Engineers – the first graduates from the 3 year BEng version of this course graduated in June 2013. In 2012 a postgraduate course was also launched.[23]

Health Studies

Faculty of Health Studies was formerly the School of Nursing and Bradford and Airedale University of Health, this became part of the university in 1996; previously it was an associate college with the university validating its degrees.[24] The School has moved to the main city campus, into the Horton A building which underwent major refurbishment in 2011. The Horton building was extended and another floor added to accommodate the School of Nursing. The School of Nursing was previously located on a separate site on Trinity Road, about 10 minutes walk from the main campus and near to St. Luke's Hospital.[25]

It specialises in degrees in nursing, physiotherapy, midwifery, occupational therapy and radiography. A specialist drug therapy course is run by the department and there are also part-time courses in dementia care. The department's student demographics are largely female, with a higher proportion of mature students.

The physiotherapy course is ranked 9th and 3rd in the 2014 and 2017 UK complete university guide.

Life Sciences

The Faculty of Life Sciences has the highest number of students of all of the schools, with more than 2,000 students admitted to a variety of undergraduate courses in the areas of Biomedical Sciences, Chemical and Forensic Science, Clinical Sciences, Optometry, Pharmacy and Archaeological, Geographical and Environmental Sciences.

The Bradford School of Optometry and Vision Science (BSOVS)[26] has its own Eye Clinic, situated on the nearby Science Park, providing Primary Care for the local community in conjunction with a student training facility. BSOVS also provides a variety of other clinical services (e.g. an Electro-diagnostic Unit opened October 2010) that people may be referred to by practitioners.

The Division of Chemical and Forensic Science runs a number of forensic science courses in conjunction with the Division of Biomedical Sciences and further undergraduate and postgraduate courses are being developed in the area of Biotechnology. The Division of Biomedical Sciences is also a contributor the Clinical Sciences degree, which commenced in 2002. Although the Division of Clinical Sciences provides a degree in its own right, as importantly there is provision for students to transfer to Leeds Medical School's MBChB programme.

The Centre for Skin Sciences is one of the largest academic centres in Britain for fundamental and translational skin and hair follicle research.

The Institute of Cancer Therapeutics has an excellent reputation for research and there is very close collaboration with staff from other divisions within the School.

The Division of Archaeological, Geographical and Environmental Sciences is located in refurbished, late 19th century mill buildings, housing extensive specialist facilities. Formerly a separate school, it was merged with Life Sciences in 2006.

Management, Law, and Social Science

The Faculty of Management, Law, and Social Science is a recent merger. Until 2018 Social Science was separate. Management and Law, consisting of Bradford School of Management and the Law School was previously located 3 miles (5 kilometres) away from the main campus on a 13-acre (5-hectare) parkland campus, Emm Lane. It teaches courses in business, finance, accountancy, management and marketing. As of 2005 the department commenced teaching an accredited LLB law degree. It has a number of master's degrees, MBA programmes and doctoral programmes running alongside undergraduate programmes.

Its research is both international and interdisciplinary and has five main research groups covering all the main areas of management, and co-operative links and exchange agreements with 20 universities in America, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Holland, Spain and Sweden.

School of Management has full Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) accreditation for DBA and PhD programmes, portfolio Association of MBAs accreditation for MBA programmes and EQUIS accreditation.

Social and International Studies

The School of Social and International Studies covers the areas of development, economics, humanities (including English and history), politics, international relations, peace studies, psychology, criminology and social work. The school offers a range of taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses and has a number of active research areas, especially in conflict resolution. The school is actively engaged in the Programme for a Peaceful City initiative.

It contains six division (some of which were previously called Departments or Schools) Divisions of Economics, Peace Studies, International Development (BCID), Sociology and Criminology, Psychology and finally Social Care and Social Work.

The Centre for Psychology Studies offers a psychology course for undergraduates, accredited by the British Psychological Society. In 2008, Lord Winston officially opened new state of the art psychology laboratories, for teaching and research. One of the university's most popular courses, The National Student Survey ranked Psychology at Bradford as being within the Top 5 in the UK with 94% Student Satisfaction.[27]

Academic profile


The motto which appears on most current University of Bradford publications is Making Knowledge Work, which relates to the institution's focus on courses that lead to employment. The university announced in June 2007 it was to use this phrase as a trademark.[28]

However, the motto inscribed beneath the official coat of arms is Give Invention Light, which is taken from Shakespeare's Sonnet 38.[29][30] It has also used the slogans Be Inspired and Confronting Inequality, Celebrating Diversity in recent promotional material.

Reputation and rankings

National rankings
Complete (2020)[31]63
Guardian (2020)[32]72
Times / Sunday Times (2020)[33]75=
Global rankings
QS (2020)[34]
THE (2020)[35]601–800
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[36]Silver

The Times Good University Guide ranked Bradford 7th in UK for graduate employment in 2005[37] and 2nd in 2006.[38]

The university has a strong reputation for research and knowledge transfer. It is ranked in the Top 50 English Universities based on research funding (HEFCE 2009–10).[39]

Staff-student ratios are amongst the best in the UK (The University of Bradford is in the 2nd quartile for staff-student ratios in The Independent, The Times and The Guardian League Tables). The 2008 RAE reported that 80 per cent of academics at the university who submitted research to the panel are doing international or world-leading research.[40]

Student life

Students' Union

Membership at the University of Bradford’s Students’ Union, (UBU), is automatic upon confirmation of enrolment. UBU has advice services, a radio station, and runs many societies and sports clubs. The union is run by an annually elected Council, which includes an executive committee of six full-time sabbatical officers and nine non-sabbatical officers. The sabbaticals are slightly unusual within the sector, in having a ‘flat structure’, lacking a Union President: the post was abolished by then President Shumon Rahman in 2001.

The Union is located in the Student Central building on campus, alongside the University bars, a cafe and shop, and the library.


Students get to make use of the ‘Unique’ centre which is located on campus. Facilities include a fitness suite, an indoor 25-metre swimming pool and a climbing wall.

The largest student involvement in their Union comes in the forms of the sports clubs (through the Athletics Union, commonly known as the AU),[41] and the societies (through the Societies Federation).[42] There is a wide variety of both, including many course related societies such as the Bradford Ophthalmic Optics Student Association. Students are also free to start their own societies.

The Student Union also has Ramair, one of the UK's longest running student radio stations, as well as a student newspaper and the long-established Bradford Student Cinema that now regularly screens recent releases to students and staff for free. RamAir was also able to host the Student Radio Conference in 2012 with student Ian Thursfield winning a national award for Radio in 2011.

University Challenge

The University were champions of University Challenge in 1979 on 28 January 1979, when Bradford defeated Lancaster University in the third leg by 215 points to 160.[43] It was less successful in 2004, achieving only 35 points: the joint 3rd lowest score ever recorded on the show.[44]

Notable former students

See also


  1. University of Bradford Financial Statements 2013–14
  2. Telegraph and Argus 24 April 2015 Top businesswoman appointed as new chancellor of University of Bradford
  3. "Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor – University of Bradford". University of Bradford. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  4. "Bradford 2010/11". Higher Education Statistics Agency. Archived from the original (webpage) on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  5. "2016/17 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (CSV). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  6. Merry, Louise (20 June 2011). "University of Bradford guide". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  7. "Peace Studies – University of Bradford". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  8. "Mathematics Department". Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  9. Rosser, Ian (27 April 2009). "Leeds music college in merger discussion". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  10. McTaggart, Suzanne (10 September 2009). "Leeds Met and College of Music talks break down". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  11. "Leeds College of Music Governance". Leeds College of Music. Archived from the original on 23 August 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  12. Stephen R. Sterling; Larch Maxey; Heather Luna, eds. (2013). The Sustainable University: Progress and Prospects. Routledge. p. 235. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  13. "University of Bradford Horton Building". Senior Architectural Systems. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  14. "University achieves Fairtrade Status". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  15. "News & Views" (PDF). University of Bradford. February 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2008.
  16. "Accommodation". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  17. "BREEAM: The Green, Bradford University, UK". Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  18. "Opening Hours - University of Bradford". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  19. University of Bradford archive,
  20. "University of Bradford appoints new Vice-Chancellor - 2019 - News". University of Bradford. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  21. University of Bradford Media Centre Press release 24 April 2013
  22. "EIMC Alumni". University of Bradford. Retrieved 15 August 2007.
  23. "Chemical Engineering". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  24. "College of health merger: the benefits outlined". University of Bradford. October 1995.
  25. "School of Health Studies New Build". University of Bradford. Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  26. "Optometry and Vision Science". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  27. Archived 4 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  28. "News and Views June 2007" (PDF). University of Bradford. 1 June 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  29. "Sonnet 38". University of Bradford. 25 May 2006. Archived from the original on 7 August 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2007.
  30. "Give Invention Light: the University of Bradford Coat of Arms". 100objectsbradford. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  31. "University League Table 2020". The Complete University Guide. 1 May 2019.
  32. "University league tables 2020". The Guardian. 7 June 2019.
  33. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2020". Times Newspapers.
  34. "QS World University Rankings 2020". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd.
  35. "World University Rankings 2020". Times Higher Education.
  36. "Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes". Higher Education Funding Council for England.
  37. "University of Bradford in Global Ranking – World Ranking Guide". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  38. "Student Life". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  39. "University of Bradford". Complete University Guide. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  40. "Research Reputation". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  41. "UBU – List of Sports Teams". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  42. "UBU – List of Societies". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  43. "Search for University Challenge Winners:Press Release Bradford University". Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  44. "University Challenge – Statistics". Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  47. "Professor Jeannette Littlemore - Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics - University of Birmingham". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
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