University of Brighton

The University of Brighton is a public university based on four campuses in Brighton and Eastbourne on the south coast of England. Its roots can be traced back to 1858 when the Brighton School of Art was opened in the Royal Pavilion[4]. It achieved university status in 1992.

University of Brighton
Established1858 (as Brighton College of Art)
1992 (university status)
Endowment£0.06 million (2015)[1]
Vice-ChancellorDebra Humphris
Administrative staff
Students21,655 (2016/17)[3]
Undergraduates17,615 (2016/17)[3]
Postgraduates4,035 (2016/17)[3]
AffiliationsUniversity Alliance

The University focuses on professional education, with the majority of degrees awarded also recognised by professional organisations or leading to professional qualifications[5]. Subjects include pharmacy, engineering, ecology, computing, mathematics, architecture, geology, nursing, teaching, sport science, journalism, criminology and business.[6] It has 21,655 students and 2,700 staff.


In 1858 the Brighton School of Art opened its doors to its first 110 students, in rooms by the kitchens of the Royal Pavilion. It moved in 1876 to its own building in Grand Parade, with the Prime Minister, William Gladstone, witnessing the laying of the new building's foundation stone. The Municipal School of Science and Technology opened in Brighton in 1897 with 600 enrolled students. In the 1960s new buildings were constructed in Moulsecoomb for what had become the Brighton College of Technology. In 1970 the School of Art and Brighton College of Technology merged to form Brighton Polytechnic.

In 1976 the Brighton College of Education (the teacher training college) merged with Brighton Polytechnic, giving the Polytechnic a campus at Falmer. It had opened in 1909 as the Municipal Day Training College in Richmond Terrace, Brighton. There was a further merger in 1979, when the East Sussex College of Higher Education merged with the polytechnic, creating a campus in Eastbourne. That institution had opened in London in 1898 as an institution training women and girls in physical education and moved to Eastbourne in 1949.

The polytechnics were granted university status in 1992 and the Polytechnic became the University of Brighton under the provisions of the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992.

In 1994 the Sussex and Kent Institute of Nursing and Midwifery became part of the University, increasing the number of students based in Eastbourne. In 2003 the Brighton and Sussex Medical School opened as a partnership between the University of Brighton, the University of Sussex and the Universities Hospitals Trust, the first medical school in South East England outside London. University Centre Hastings is opened in 2004, managed by the University of Brighton.[7]

In 2011 the Brighton International College, part of Kaplan International Colleges, opened on the Brighton campus, to provide international students with English language courses and preparatory academic tuition for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Campuses and facilities

The University has four campuses: three in Brighton, Falmer, City and Moulsecoomb and one in Eastbourne.[8]

In 2018, the University of Brighton gained a first class award in the People & Planet's University League table – UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance.[9]

Falmer, Brighton

The Falmer campus is approximately three miles from Brighton city centre. The School of Humanities (literature, language and linguistics), School of Health Sciences, School of Applied Social Science, Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Research, International Health Development and Research Centre, Social Science Policy and Research Centre, School of Education, Education Research Centre, the Centre for Learning and Teaching and the Brighton and Sussex Medical School are all based on this campus.

Falmer railway station is immediately adjacent, as is the Falmer Stadium, home to Brighton & Hove Albion FC, which opened in 2011.

Facilities on the Falmer campus include a library, computer pool rooms, restaurant and cafe/bar, and the Students' Union[10] cafe, aka The Hive, and shop. Sports facilities on the campus include floodlit 3G AstroTurf pitch, netball and tennis courts, a sports centre with fitness suite, two activity studios and a sports hall with six badminton courts, and a new sports pavilion which opened in 2015.[11]

City, Brighton

City campus in Brighton city centre is home to the University's College of Arts and Humanities, (formerly the Faculty of Arts), the University of Brighton gallery and Sallis Benney Theatre. The University's archives[12] include the University of Brighton Design Archives, which houses collections from the Design Council and other British and global design organisations, and the moving image archive Screen Archive South East.[13] Facilities include the specialist humanities, art and design library at St Peter's House, computer pool rooms, a media centre, a restaurant and cafe.[14] The School of Art, School of Media and School of Humanities are based at City campus.[14]

Moulsecoomb, Brighton

The Moulsecoomb campus is to the north of Brighton city centre. Moulsecoomb railway station is nearby.

It is the largest of the five campuses with over 8,000 students. Brighton Business School, School of Architecture and Design, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, School of Environment and Technology, and School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences are based on the Moulsecoomb campus.

Teaching and learning resources include rapid prototyping and design equipment including 3D scanners, CNS lathes and laser cutters, clinical skills and molecular biology laboratories, specialist labs for structural dynamics, geotechnics, thermal dynamics, hydraulics and avionics, a flight simulator, real-time trading room, and architecture and interior architecture studios. Facilities include Aldrich library, computer pool rooms, two restaurants and five cafes[15]. The new advanced engineering building opened in September 2017.[16]

The University of Brighton and Ricardo UK jointly opened the Sir Harry Ricardo Laboratories on 14 November 2006. The laboratories are one of the largest UK research teams dedicated to internal combustion engines, the development of laser-based measurement techniques, fundamental modelling and computational simulation.[17]

The University of Brighton Students Union has its main offices in Cockcroft Building.


The Eastbourne campus is at the foot of the South Downs National Park. Almost 3,000 students are based here studying at the School of Sport and Service Management and the School of Health Sciences.[18]

Teaching and learning facilities at Eastbourne campus include exercise physiology laboratories, an environmental chamber, a human movement laboratory, culinary arts studio and the Leaf Hospital[19] podiatry and physiotherapy clinic. Study facilities in Eastbourne include Queenwood library, computer pool rooms, a learning technologies suite, restaurants, and a Students' Union shop. Sports facilities include a 25-metre swimming pool, sports hall, artificial outdoor pitch and dance studio.


The University has five libraries spread around its campuses.

  • Aldrich Library (Moulsecoomb campus)
  • Falmer Library
  • Queenwood Library (Eastbourne campus)
  • St. Peter's House Library (City campus)

Each library is typically open between 55 and 68 hours per week, including evenings and weekends.[20]

Organisation and administration

The University has 13 academic schools.

  • School of Applied Social Science
  • School of Architecture and Design
  • School of Art
  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School – joint with University of Sussex
  • Brighton Business School
  • School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics
  • School of Education
  • School of Environment and Technology
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Humanities
  • School of Media
  • School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
  • School of Sport and Service Management

Medical school

The Brighton and Sussex Medical School is one of four medical schools to have been created as part of the UK government's strategy of increasing the number of qualified doctors from the UK working in the NHS.[21] The school is a joint school of the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex.[22] The University of Brighton provides professional aspects of the course through its faculties of health, sciences and engineering, while the University of Sussex provides biological science teaching.

Brighton Business School

Brighton Business School delivers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, part-time courses for professionals, and programmes for commercial organisations. Formerly part of Brighton Technical College, the school has been teaching business and management courses since the 1960s. It took its current name in 1986. The school is in Mithras House on the Moulsecoomb campus.

Academic profile

The University of Brighton offers over 400 courses in a wide range of subjects.

University of Brighton's International College provides academic preparatory programmes for students outside the EU. On successful completion of their programme and achievement of the required grades, students can progress to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees offered at the university.

University of Brighton Doctoral College provides academic, administrative and practical support for the University's community of postgraduate research students. There are Doctoral College campus centres on the Eastbourne and each of the Brighton campuses.[23]


The University is known for its contributions in automotive engineering, for example developing the 2/4 SIGHT Engine.[24][25] The automotive engineering course is offered jointly with the University of Sussex.[26] In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, the Automotive Engineering research group had 70% of its research rated internationally excellent or world leading and 95% deemed to be internationally recognised.[27]


The University validates degree-level courses taught at a number of partner colleges in Sussex and Surrey.

The University of Brighton also validates higher education courses taught at the KLC School of Design, London and the Brighton Film School.[28]

Reputation and rankings

National rankings
Complete (2020)[29]114
Guardian (2020)[30]107
Times / Sunday Times (2020)[31]112
Global rankings
QS (2020)[32]
THE (2020)[33]601-800
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[34]Silver

The University's Community University Partnership Programme received an honourable mention at the 2010 Community-Campus Partnerships for Health awards[35] and was highly commended in the Social Responsibility category at the 2009 Green Gown Awards.[36]

The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise confirmed that 79% of the University of Brighton's research output is of international standing. Taking the top three grades, the results show that 15 per cent of the research is 'world-leading' (the highest grade), 29 per cent is internationally excellent (the second highest grade) and 35 per cent is internationally recognised (the third highest grade).[37] The University's RAE ranking rose from 80th place in 2001 to 59th in 2008, leading it to be described as one of the "rising stars" in the UK.[38] Sixty-five per cent of research in art and design at the Faculty of Arts was classified as either "world-leading" or "internationally excellent". This places Brighton amongst the leading research centres in the country for art and design and Research Fortnight ranked the submission second in terms of the volume and quality of research.[39] Brighton is also ranked as one of the leading modern universities in terms of the quality of its research by the Research Fortnight newsletter.

Student life

Students on each campus have access to services including a careers service, counselling service, student advice service, disability and dyslexia service, and chaplaincy.

Brighton Students' Union is the representative body for students. The SU is a charity and is headed up by 4 full-time elected student officers. There are five areas that encompass what the SU does.[40]

Student Voice: Brighton SU represent the student voice at the University, ensuring that they're using student feedback to make positive changes that make student life better.

Activities: All students can get involved with a variety of activities throughout the year; including societies, sports, student media and more.

Events: BSU host events throughout the year for all students at the University of Brighton. Attending these events is a great way to meet like-minded students and build a community at university.

Support: The Union Support Team are around to help any student that is struggling at the University. They support students with appeals, mitigating circumstances and other academic issues that may occur.

Shops and Cafés: There are a number of shops and cafés across University of Brighton campuses that are ran by the SU. These outlets provide students with affordable food and refreshments as well as stationery, merchandise and more.

Notable alumni, staff and associates

Many prominent figures in the arts have attended the University, or the institutions from which it was formed. These include Turner Prize winners Keith Tyson and Rachel Whiteread (1982–85)[41] studied at the Faculty of Arts, Brighton, as did Keith Coventry, the winner of 2010 John Moores Painting Prize, the photographer Ewen Spencer, the artist Alison Lapper, the designer Julien Macdonald and the writer-illustrator Emily Gravett.

Former students also include the artists Paine Proffitt, Cliff Wright, illustrator of the Harry Potter books, the designer Julien Macdonald OBE, and musicians Natasha Khan, (who performs as Bat for Lashes), The Haxan Cloak and John Lovegrove (guitarist with The Floyd Effect)

The list of students, lecturers and researchers once at Brighton includes Kate Greenaway Medal winners Emily Gravett, Raymond Briggs and Quentin Blake; children's writer-illustrator Lucy Cousins; Magnum photographer Mark Power; fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki; and world champion bridge player Sandra Landy.

Liz Aggiss, the live artist, dance performer, choreographer and film maker, taught visual performance at Brighton from 1982. She is now Emeritus Professor of Visual Performance.

The composer, choreographer, writer and film-maker, Billy Cowie, who taught on the same course as Aggiss, and ran the Divas Dance Theatre company with her, is Adjunct Professor in the School of Arts.[42]

Contributions made to modern visual culture by Brighton Faculty of Arts and Architecture members include Royal Designer for Industry George Hardie's cover designs for Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, and several series of Royal Mail stamps, and John Vernon Lord's sleeve for Deep Purple's Book of Taliesyn.

In 2000 a group of graduates from the BA Illustration course formed the successful Peepshow Collective.[43]

The longer history of the school of art in Brighton includes the artists Conrad Heighton Leigh, curator David Crowley, and poster designers Paula Cox and John Bellany. The artist Helen Chadwick took the sculpture course at Brighton Polytechnic (1973–76) and later returned to the institution to teach.[44] The sculptor/woodcarver Robert Koenig, author of the woodcarving project Odyssey also studied on the sculpture course at the same time as Helen Chadwick. The sculptor Antony Gormley formerly taught at Brighton.[45]

List of Vice-Chancellors

See also


  1. "Financial Statements for the Year to 31 July 2015" (PDF). University of Brighton. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  2. "About us – University of Brighton". University of Brighton. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 January 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  3. "2016/17 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (CSV). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  4. "University of Brighton". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  5. "University of Brighton". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  6. "UCAS Search tool - Search Results". Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  7. University of Brighton Milestones in our history. Archived 11 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 15 September 2011
  8. About us – University of Brighton Archived 19 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 2011-22-09
  9. "People & Planet University League". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  10. "Brighton Students' Union at Falmer". Brighton Students' Union. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  11. Facilities at Brighton – Sport Brighton. Retrieved 2011-22-09.
  12. Collections at the university. Retrieved 18 October 2011
  13. Screen Archive South East
  14. University of Brighton Guide 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011
  15. "The Engineer". The Engineer. September 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  16. "Advanced Engineering Building".
  17. About Us – Sir Harry Ricardo Labs. Retrieved on 22 August 2011.
  18. University of Brighton guide 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  19. "Leaf Hospital, Eastbourne". Leaf Therapy. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  20. Libraries – University of Brighton. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  21. Archived 9 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  22. "BSMS ::". Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  23. "Brighton Doctoral College".
  24. "2/4 SIGHT Engine". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  25. "2/4 SIGHT Engine in". AutoblogGreen. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  26. "Association with the University of Sussex". Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  27. "RAE2008 Automotive". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  28. Educational partnerships – University of Brighton. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  29. "University League Table 2020". The Complete University Guide. 1 May 2019.
  30. "University league tables 2020". The Guardian. 7 June 2019.
  31. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2020". Times Newspapers.
  32. "QS World University Rankings 2020". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd.
  33. "World University Rankings 2020". Times Higher Education.
  34. "Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes". Higher Education Funding Council for England.
  35. CCPH – Past Awards Recipients. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  36. Archived 8 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  37. Facts and figures, RAE 2008 information – University of Brighton Archived 22 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  38. RAE 2008 proves UK research is world class. Times Higher Education. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  39. Research Success – Centre for Research and Development Archived 13 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (18 December 2008). Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  41. "Rachel Whiteread", Alumni and Associates, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton
  42. Profile of Cowie on the University of Brighton website
  43. Lawrence Zeegen (2009), What is Illustration?, Brighton: RotoVision SA, p. 192, ISBN 978-2-88893-033-4
  44. "Helen Chadwick", Alumni and Associates, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton
  45. "Anthony Gormley" (sic), Alumni and Associates, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton
  46. "Vice-Chancellor to step down at the university". University of Brighton. 20 June 2004. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  47. "University of Brighton appoints a new Vice-Chancellor". News. University of Brighton. 10 December 2004. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
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