University of Northampton

The University of Northampton is a public university based in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England. It was formed in 1999 by the amalgamation of a number of training colleges, and gained full university status as the University of Northampton in 2005.

The University of Northampton
Former names
University College Nene College of Higher Education (1975),
Northampton Technical College (1924)
MottoTransforming lives, inspiring change
Established2005 (gained University status)
1975 (Nene College established)
Endowment£0.95 m[1]
ChancellorRev. Richard Coles
Vice-ChancellorNick Petford
Administrative staff
Students12,850 (2016/17)[3]
Undergraduates10,485 (2016/17)[3]
Postgraduates2,365 (2016/17)[3]
Location, ,


Northampton Technical College was opened at St George's Avenue—now the site of the Avenue Campus—in 1924. Eight years later, a new building for the College was formally opened by the Duke and Duchess of York. A School of Art opened later in 1937.[4]

At the beginning of the 1970s, Northamptonshire was one of the few counties in England to lack a teacher-training college. A college in Liverpool lost its home and was transferred to what is now the Park Campus. The College of Education was opened by the Secretary of State for Education and Science, Margaret Thatcher, in 1972. In 1975, this College amalgamated with the Colleges of Technology and Art to become Nene College of Higher Education, taking its name from the River Nene. In 1978, it integrated the Leathersellers College from London.

In 1993, the college incorporated St. Andrew's School of Occupational Therapy and was granted undergraduate degree awarding powers. In 1997, it took in the Sir Gordon Roberts College of Nursing and Midwifery.

It became University College Northampton in 1999 and gained full university status in 2005. To gain university status it had to convince the Privy Council that a Royal Decree banning the establishment of a university in Northampton, signed by King Henry III in 1265 following the Battle of Lewes, should be repealed. In 2005, the university also received the power to validate its own research degrees, which had formerly been validated by the University of Leicester. In the graduation ceremonies in July 2006, seven students received the first doctoral degrees validated by the University of Northampton.

In January 2010, the School of Applied Sciences was renamed the School of Science and Technology and moved into the newly refurbished Newton Building at Avenue Campus. The Newton Building was officially opened in September 2010 by Princess Anne.

Campus under Northampton university

The university has three sites: Avenue Campus, just north of the town centre, opposite a large open park known as the Racecourse; the new Waterside Campus, which opened in September 2018 and is now the main campus for the university; and an Innovation centre opposite Northampton railway station. The former Park Campus in Kingsthorpe to the north of the town is now being wound down following the opening of Waterside.

The university has various types of halls of residence on its two older campuses, with just over 1,600 rooms. Most first-year students live in halls, and few second- or third-years do so. Many of them live in the Abington area, north-east of the town centre. The main halls are now located in the student village of the Waterside Campus, and include Francis Crick; Margaret Bondfield; John Clare; and Charles Bradlaugh. A former ground-floor flat in the latter is a multi-faith Chaplaincy Centre, and another in John Clare houses the Centre for Community Volunteering; Bassett-Lowke.

The university also offers accommodation at Belinda Ferrison House in the Mounts area of the town centre. In April 2012, Northampton Borough Council granted planning permission for a 464-room hall of residence on the site of the St John's Surface Car Park in the town centre. It opened in 2014 and mainly accommodates international and post-graduate students.[5]

New buildings include a Santander Bank, "one-stop" student centre on Park Campus, an innovation centre at Avenue Campus for small and start-up businesses, and a complete re-fit of the editing and sound studios at Avenue Campus.

The university recently took ownership of the Grade II-listed former Kingsley Park Middle School, next door to Avenue Campus. This has undergone an £11m refurbishment and now houses most of the School of Science and Technology, formerly split between Avenue Campus and Park Campus. The building has been renamed the Newton Building, after Sir Isaac Newton.

The university achieved the Ecocampus Silver award in 2011.[6]

In May 2012, the university announced plans to establish a new riverside campus in the town centre, on the site of the disused Northampton Power Station on the south bank of the River Nene[7] and located within the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone (known simply as Northampton Waterside).[8][9] The Waterside Campus opened to students in September 2018.[10]

Organisation and administration


The Vice-Chancellor is Nick Petford, who was preceded in the post by Ann Tate (who received an honorary degree from the university in 2011) and Martin Gaskell.

On 10 February 2008, the university appointed Baroness Falkner of Margravine as its first Chancellor. In July 2017, she was succeeded by the BBC radio presenter Reverend Richard Coles.[11]

The Board of Governors are the members of the Higher Education Corporation and act both as Governors and charitable trustees. There are 17 members of the Board of Governors. They are drawn from the private, public and voluntary sectors as well as from the staff and students of the University.[12]

Credit union

The Changemaker Credit Union is a joint initiative between the university and Northamptonshire Credit Union, providing financial services to students and staff.[13] Northamptonshire Credit Union is a member of the Association of British Credit Unions Limited.[14]

Academic profile

The university had 12,850 students spread across its two campuses in 2016/17.[3] It is divided into four faculties: the Faculty of Business & Law, the Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology, the Faculty of Health & Society; and the Faculty of Education & Humanities.[15]

The university offers a wide range of undergraduate degrees, foundation degrees, diplomas and a variety of postgraduate opportunities up to PhD level.

Reputation and rankings

National rankings
Complete (2020)[16]110
Guardian (2020)[17]111
Times / Sunday Times (2020)[18]97
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[19]Gold

In the 2012 Guardian University League Table, the university was ranked first for 'value added' in UK.[20]

The university was awarded 'The Outstanding HEI Supporting Social Entrepreneurship Award' at the UnLtd/HEFCE ‘Dare to be Different’ national conference in June 2011.[21] and has also been named the Midlands most 'Enterprising University of the Year' for both 2011 and 2012, in recognition of its work in social enterprise.[22] In February 2013, the university received international recognition for its commitment to social innovation and entrepreneurship by being designated a 'Changemaker Campus' by Ashoka U.[23] Northampton is the first Changemaker Campus in the UK and joins a global network of 21 other Changemaker Campuses.


In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) the university achieved significant ratings in Business and Management; Health; Education; History; Metallurgy and Materials; English; Drama, Dance and Performing Arts; Art and Design; and Asian Studies.[24]

Research, consultancy and knowledge transfer at the university are centred on a number of cognate research groupings. It carries out internationally renowned research into lift engineering and technology, using the Express Lift Tower in the town, reflecting the town's historic role in lift manufacturing.

The university provides numerous other business support schemes and programmes for new companies. These are often run through the university's Sunley Management Centre. Other schemes run by the university include an art loan facility for offices or conferences. The university provided lab facilities for the Channel 4 programme "How Clean Is Your House".

Learning and teaching

The Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, directed by Prof. Alejandro Armellini, is a central point of support and reference for all staff and services across the University of Northampton. It focuses on three areas: intellectual capital, student experience, and learning and teaching enhancement and innovation.[25] The Institute aims to enable transformational learning experiences through inspirational teaching. It works on developing capability in learning design, innovation and excellent teaching practice, underpinned by the latest pedagogic research.[26]

Student life

Students' Union

The Students' Union operates out of the redeveloped Engine Shed location on the Waterside Campus, which also operates as a daytime cafe and food outlet. The Union also operates a venue in the town centre, The Platform. During the day the venue operates as a cafe and conference centre. At night the venue also operates as a nightclub with three floors and staffed by student staff. During the midweek, all events held at the venue are student only while the venue opens up the locals during the weekend with a number of different events held throughout the year.

The Union was awarded a national Gold award,[27] as well as 'Best Club', in the national NUS Best Bar None awards 2011. This award confirms the Union as being a safe venue with effective policies on drink and drugs, crime prevention, fire, security and first aid.

The Students' Union is led by five full-time Sabbatical Officers, backed by hundreds of volunteers including an extended Elected Officer Team of Part Time Officers and supported by almost 200 staff – both student and career staff.[28]


The Students' Union has 35 sports clubs[29] and enters 24 teams in Wednesday BUCS Leagues each week, with the SU currently ranked 99th in the BUCS ranking[30]. The Students' Union operate on a policy of free sports membership, meaning all teams are free to join with no membership fee and offers a wide variety of sports including Rugby Union and League, Football, Netball, Basketball, Hockey and Lacrosse. They are also one of a select SU's to offer equestrian as a sports club for their students. Sports is overseen by the Sports Coordinator with a elected Sports Part-Time Officer acting as a representative for the voice of student sports.

Since the start of the 2018-19 academic year, the Students' Union has contested a Varsity event against the University of Bedfordshire, with each institute taking it in turns to host the event each year. The SU also hosts a end of year Sports Awards event to recognise the achievement of all clubs, with awards including both performance based awards as well as charity and individual awards.


Approximately 60 student societies are affiliated to The University of Northampton Students’ Union.[31] These range from special interest societies such as Doctor Who and Anime to faith-based societies such as the Christian Union and Hindu Society.

NUMedia, the student-led, run and managed media society, was launched in September 2011 and is responsible for the NUNews newspaper, NURadio broadcasts and NUTube video productions.

University technical colleges

The university is an academic sponsor of two university technical colleges which opened in September 2013. Daventry University Technical College specialises in engineering, construction and environmental sustainability, Silverstone University Technical College in motorsports engineering, event management and hospitality.its beauty.

Notable people


  • Henry Bird, taught drawing at the art school; his students included the architect Will Alsop[32]
  • Dave Hill, political and educational activist, professor of education (2007–12)
  • Robert Kirk, professor emeritus in the department of philosophy


See also


  2. "University of Northampton accounts-2011.pdf" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 September 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  3. "2016/17 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (CSV). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  4. "History of the University of Northampton – The University of Northampton". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  5. "University granted planning permission". Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  6. "Ecocampus register". Archived from the original on 26 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  7. "University plans £300m new campus". 25 May 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  8. Council, Northampton Borough. "Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone". Northampton Alive with Enterprise. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  9. "Waterside Restoration Master Plan 2004 Appendix" (PDF). Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  10. "Waterside Campus". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  11. "The Chancellor – Reverend Richard Coles – The University of Northampton". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  12. "Board of Governors | The University of Northampton". The University of Northampton. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  13. Changemaker Credit Union Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine The University of Northampton (retrieved 7 March 2015)
  14. Credit unions in membership of ABCUL Association of British Credit Unions (retrieved 1 November 2014)
  15. . University of Northampton Retrieved 20 December 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. "University League Table 2020". The Complete University Guide. 1 May 2019.
  17. "University league tables 2020". The Guardian. 7 June 2019.
  18. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2020". Times Newspapers.
  19. "Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes". Higher Education Funding Council for England.
  20. "Guardian University League Tables". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  21. "The University of Northampton wins top Social Entrepreneurship Award". Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  22. "Midlands Enterprising University of the Year for the second year running – The University of Northampton". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  23. "University recognised internationally as the UK's number one for social enterprise – The University of Northampton". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  24. "RAE 2008 results". Archived from the original on 19 July 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  25. "About ILT – ILT – The University of Northampton". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  27. "NUS Best Bar None assessments 2010/11" (PDF). Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  28. "Who We Are @ University of Northampton Students' Union". Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  29. Northampton Students' Union. Northampton Students' Union Retrieved 20 December 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. "BUCS Points - BUCScore". Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  31. University of Northampton Students' Union Retrieved 20 December 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. Alsop W. (28 June 2001). Drawing on the experiences of life help create better work. Architects' Journal
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