University of Greenwich

The University of Greenwich is a public university located in London, United Kingdom. Previous names include Woolwich Polytechnic and Thames Polytechnic. It has three campuses in London and Kent, England. These are located at Greenwich, in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, and in Avery Hill and Medway.[3]

University of Greenwich
Former name
Woolwich Polytechnic
Thames Polytechnic
MottoChange Starts Here.
TypePublic university
Endowment£1.3 million (2013)[1]
ChancellorBaroness Scotland of Asthal
Vice-ChancellorDavid Maguire
Students19,915 (2016/17)[2]
Undergraduates15,545 (2016/17)[2]
Postgraduates4,370 (2016/17)[2]
Location, ,
51.483372°N 0.006075°W / 51.483372; -0.006075
CampusGreenwich Campus (London)
Avery Hill Campus (London)
Medway Campus
ColoursBlue Colour-     
AffiliationsUniversity Alliance

The university's range of subjects includes architecture, business, computing, mathematics, education, engineering, humanities, maritime studies, natural sciences, pharmacy and social sciences.[4]

In 2012, the University of Greenwich was rated as the greenest in the UK by People & Planet Green League Table.[5] The university is ranked in the top 750 by QS World University Rankings.[6] It received a Silver rating in the UK government's Teaching Excellence Framework.


The university dates back to 1891, when Woolwich Polytechnic, the second-oldest polytechnic in the United Kingdom,[7] opened in Woolwich. It was founded by Frank Didden, supported by and following the principles of Quintin Hogg, and opened to students in October 1891. Like Hogg's pioneering venture in London's Regent Street, it initially combined education with social and religious functions. In 1894 it focused on an educational role, concentrating on higher technical education appropriate to its location close to Woolwich Dockyard and the Royal Arsenal,[8] with its premises also used for day schools - the first Woolwich Polytechnic School was established in 1897.

In 1970, Woolwich Polytechnic merged with part of Hammersmith College of Art and Building to form Thames Polytechnic. In the following years, Dartford College (1976), Avery Hill College (1985), Garnett College (1987) and parts of Goldsmiths College and the City of London College (1988) were incorporated.

In 1992, Thames Polytechnic was granted university status by the Major government (together with various other polytechnics) and renamed University of Greenwich in 1993. In 2001, the university gave up its historic main campus in the Bathway Quarter in Woolwich, relocating to its current main campus in Greenwich.[9]

Campuses and schools

Avery Hill Campus

Avery Hill Campus comprises two sites, Mansion Site and Southwood Site. Both are situated in the 86-acre Avery Hill Park in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, south-east London. The campus is home to the Faculty of Education & Health.

Facilities include computer laboratories, a library and a TV studio, as well as a sports and teaching centre with a sports hall and 220-seat lecture theatre. Southwood Site also has a number of clinical skills laboratories. These replicate NHS wards, enabling trainee health professionals to gain hands-on experience.

The Village complex provides student accommodation, a general shop and a launderette. The Dome, in the centre of the complex, houses a food outlet and gym. Rugby, football, indoor pitches, netball and tennis courts, a dance studio and soon to be built astroturfs are on Avery Hill campus. The facility, which was built by Wimpey Construction under a PFI contract, was completed in 1996.[10]

The magnificent Winter Garden, the centrepiece of the Mansion site, has been allowed to fall into neglect and is on Historic England's 'At Risk' Register.[11] A campaign to restore the Winter Garden is putting pressure on the University and Royal Greenwich Council to ensure its future.[12]

Greenwich Campus

Greenwich Campus is located mainly in the Old Royal Naval College, into which it moved in the 1990s when the premises were sold by the Royal Navy.

The campus is home to the Business School and the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The campus also includes university's Greenwich Maritime Institute, a specialist maritime management, policy and history teaching and research institute.[13]

The campus has a large library at Stockwell Street which houses an extensive collection of books and journals, language labs and a 300-PC computing facility. Other facilities include specialist computer laboratories including one at Dreadnought centre, a TV studio and editing suites. The Stephen Lawrence Gallery at the Stockwell Street building, showcases the work of contemporary artists and is linked to the Department for Creative Professions & Digital Arts.

Medway Campus

Medway Campus is located on a former Royal Navy shorebase (called HMS Pembroke) opened in 1903 at Chatham Maritime, Kent.

The Faculty of Engineering and Science is based here, as is the Natural Resources Institute, a centre for research, consultancy and education in natural and human resources. It is also the home of Medway School of Pharmacy, a joint school operated by the Universities of Greenwich and Kent. The Faculty of Education & Health offers a number of its programmes at Medway.

Facilities include laboratories, workshops, a computer-aided design studio and a training dispensary. The Drill Hall Library is a learning resource centre with a library, computers, study areas and teaching rooms. Social facilities include a sports hall, bar, gym and outdoor tennis courts.

The university is a member of Universities at Medway, a partnership of educational establishments at Chatham Maritime that is developing the area as a major higher education centre in the Medway region.


Greenwich has four faculties:

  • Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Business School
  • Faculty of Education and Health
  • Faculty of Engineering and Science

Many of the university's programmes include placement opportunities. The university plays a regional role in training teachers, nurses, social care professionals and further education lecturers.


Significant areas of research and consultancy include landscape architecture, employment relations, fire safety, natural resources, social network analysis, education, training, educational leadership and public services.

Examples of research

  • The university's Natural Resources Institute has developed an artificial cow that attracts and kills the tsetse fly. This was recognised by a Universities UK survey in 2009 as one of the ten most important discoveries to be made in a UK university over the past 60 years.
  • The Fire Safety Engineering Group, part of the School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences, is a world leader in computational fire engineering, including expertise in aircraft, building, ship and rail evacuation and fire modelling. It has developed airEXODUS, a leading evacuation model in the aviation industry.
  • A University of Greenwich research team helped restore the Cutty Sark after it was badly damaged by fire.
  • Researchers working on 19 sustainable development and agriculture projects in India helped the university to win the 2010 Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding International Strategy.
  • Two University of Greenwich scientists have developed a technology which converts contaminated land and industrial waste into harmless pebbles, capturing large amounts of carbon dioxide at the same time.
  • The Greenwich Maritime Institute makes internationally recognised contributions to research in maritime history and economics, such as its exploration of the governance of the River Thames since the 1960s and the effects this has had on the economic development of adjacent communities.


National rankings
Complete (2020)[14]83
Guardian (2020)[15]90
Times / Sunday Times (2020)[16]109
Global rankings
QS (2020)[17]
THE (2020)[18]601–800
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[19]Silver

In 2013, University of Greenwich was ranked 701 by QS World University Rankings[6] The university is ranked 87 out of 116 institutions[20] according to the Guardian University Guide 2015 University League Table.

In 2012, the university was rated as the greenest in the UK by People & Planet Green League Table.[5]


In 2019, University of Greenwich awarded the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize. Pioneering and innovative research in pest management and control to combat human and animal diseases in the UK and internationally.[21]

Notable alumni

Prominent alumni of the university and its predecessor organisations include Nobel Laureate Charles Kao, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009 for his work on transmission of light in fibre optics, and Abiy Ahmed, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Two British government ministers, Richard Marsh and Gareth Thomas, are also graduates. A more extensive list is given below.


  1. "Report and Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 July 2013" (PDF). University of Greenwich. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  2. "2016/17 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (CSV). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  3. "The campuses of University of Greenwich". University of Greenwich – Official website. Retrieved 11 December 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  4. Hinde, Thomas (1996). An Illustrated History of the University of Greenwich (First ed.). London: James and James. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  5. "The Green league 2012: which universities are top of the class?". The Guardian. 28 May 2012.
  6. "QS World University Rankings 2013-2014". Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  7. "About Greenwich – University of Greenwich". 29 September 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  9. Saint, A., Guillery, P. (2012). Survey of London, Volume 48: Woolwich. Yale Books, London. ISBN 978-0-300-18722-9. pp. 269–275.
  10. "Wimpey in first DBOO bid - student accommodation partnership". Construction News. 8 September 1994. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  11. "At Risk Register, Historic England, Avery Hill". Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  12. "Save and renovate the Avery Hill Winter Garden". Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  13. "Maritime Programmes". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  14. "University League Table 2020". The Complete University Guide. 1 May 2019.
  15. "University league tables 2020". The Guardian. 7 June 2019.
  16. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2020". Times Newspapers.
  17. "QS World University Rankings 2020". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd.
  18. "World University Rankings 2020". Times Higher Education.
  19. "Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes". Higher Education Funding Council for England.
  20. "University league table". The Guardian. London. 18 August 2014.
  21. "The Queen's Anniversary Prizes". 19 November 2019.
  22. "Helen Bailey, children's writer – obituary". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  23. "Alumni Profiles M-Z". University of Greenwich. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
  24. "Alumni Profiles A-L". University of Greenwich. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
  25. "Rev John Behr". St. Vladimir's. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  26. "In Memory of Siobhan Dowd". English Pen. Retrieved 6 February 2008.
  27. "6 players to follow". The Independent. London. 12 August 1995. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  28. "ZoomInfo Web Profile: Sammy Lee". ZoomInfo. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  29. "In Depth – Klaxons". Celebrity Spy. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
  30. "Dave Rowntree". NNDB. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
  31. assiabi. "Spellbound by words". Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  32. "Britti Joel Willans muutti Suomeen ja hämmästyi uskollista sääntöjen tottelemista – "Ehkä suomalaiset juovat itsensä niin humalaan juuri sääntöjen takia"". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 22 June 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
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