Cardiff University (Welsh: Prifysgol Caerdydd) is a public research university in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. Founded in 1883 as the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, it became one of the founding colleges of the University of Wales in 1893, and in 1997 received (but held in abeyance) its own degree-awarding powers. It adopted the public name of Cardiff University in 1999, and in 2005 this became its legal name as it left the University of Wales to become an independent University awarding its own degrees. It is the third oldest university institution in Wales. The university is composed of three colleges: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Biomedical and Life Sciences; and Physical Sciences and Engineering.
Cardiff is the only Welsh member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities. The university is consistently recognised as providing high quality research-based university education and is ranked between 100 and 200 in the world by the four major international rankings, and in the top 50 in all three UK tables. The research quality of Cardiff University was ranked 5th overall in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, with some areas ranked top in the country. The impact of Cardiff's research was also ranked 2nd in the UK. For 2015-16, Cardiff had a turnover of £511.8 million, including £112.5 million from research grants and contracts.
The university has an undergraduate enrolment of 21,905 and a total enrolment of 30,675 (according to HESA data for 2015/16) making it one of the ten largest universities in the UK. The Cardiff University Students' Union works to promote the interests of the student body within the University and further afield. The university's sports teams compete in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) leagues.
Discussions regarding the founding of a university college in South Wales began as early as 1879, when a group of Welsh and English MPs urged the government to consider the poor provision of higher and intermediate education in Wales and 'to consider the best means of assisting any local effort which may be made for supplying such deficiency'.
In October 1881, William Gladstone's government appointed a departmental committee to conduct 'an enquiry into the nature and extent of intermediate and higher education in Wales'. The committee was chaired by Lord Aberdare and consisted of Viscount Emlyn, Reverend Prebendary H. G. Robinson, Henry Richard, John Rhys and Lewis Morris. The Aberdare report, as it came to be known, took evidence from a wide range of sources and over 250 witnesses and recommended a college for North and South Wales each, the southern to be located in Glamorgan and the Northern to be the already established University College of Wales in Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University). The committee cited the unique Welsh national identity and that many students in Wales could not afford to travel to University in England or Scotland. Furthermore, it advocated for a national degree-awarding university for Wales, composed of the regional colleges. It also recommended that the colleges should be unsectarian in nature and that they should exclude the teaching of theology.
After this recommendation was published the Cardiff Corporation attempted to secure the location of the college as Cardiff, and on 12 December 1881 formed a University College Committee to aid the matter. A competition arose between Swansea and Cardiff about where the college should be located and on 12 March 1883, after a period of arbitration, the location was set as Cardiff. The case for Cardiff was strengthened by stressing the need to take account of the interests of Monmouthshire, at that time not legally considered part of Wales, as well as the greater sum of money received by Cardiff in support of the college, through a public appeal that raised £37,000, and a number of private donations, notably from the Lord Bute and Lord Windsor. In April Lord Aberdare was appointed as the College's first president. The possible locations considered for the college included Cardiff Arms Park, Cathedral Road or Moria Terrace, Roath, before the site of the Old Royal Infirmary buildings on Newport Road was chosen.
The University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire opened on 24 October 1883, offering studies in Biology, Chemistry, English, French, German, Greek, History, Latin, Mathematics & Astronomy, Music, Welsh, Logic & Philosophy and Physics. The University College was incorporated by Royal Charter the following year, this charter was the first in Wales to allow the enrollment of women, and specifically forbid religious tests for entry. John Viriamu Jones was appointed as the University's first Principal, at age 27. As Cardiff was not an independent university and could not award its own degrees, it prepared its students for the examinations of the University of London or further study at Oxford or Cambridge.
In 1888 the university college at Cardiff and University College of North Wales (now Bangor University) proposed to University College Wales (at Aberystwyth) a joint action to obtain a university charter for Wales, modelled on that of Victoria University, a confederation of new universities in Northern England. This charter was granted to the new University of Wales in 1893, allowing the colleges to award degrees as members of this institution. The chancellor was set ex officio as the Prince of Wales, and the position of operational head would rotate among heads of the colleges.
In 1885, Aberdare Hall opened as the first hall of residence, allowing women access to the university. This moved to its current site in 1895, but remains a single-sex hall. 1904 saw the appointment of the first female associate professor in the UK, Millicent Mackenzie. In 1910 she was appointed the first female professor at a fully chartered university in the UK.
In 1901 principal Jones persuaded the Cardiff Corporation to give the college a five-acre site in Cathays Park (instead of selling it as they would have done otherwise); and soon after in 1905, work commenced under the architect W. D. Caröe on the new building. Money ran short for this project, however, and although the side-wings were completed in the 1960s the planned Great Hall has never been built. Caroe sought to combine the charm and elegance of his former college (Trinity College, Cambridge) with the picturesque balance of many of the University of Oxford colleges. On 14 October 1909 the 'New College' building in Cathays Park (now Main Building) was opened in a grand ceremony involving a procession from the 'Old College' buildings on Newport Road.
In 1931, the School of Medicine, which had been founded as part of the college in 1893 when the Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Pharmacology were founded, was split off to form the Welsh National School of Medicine, which in 1984 was renamed the University of Wales College of Medicine.
In 1972, the institution was renamed University College Cardiff.
In 1988, University College Cardiff underwent extreme financial difficulties, and the threat of bankruptcy was seriously considered. This led to its merger with the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST), forming the University of Wales College of Cardiff. The Principal of the new institution was Sir Aubrey Trotman-Dickenson, who had been principal of UWIST. Following changes to the constitution of the University of Wales in 1996, its name was changed to the University of Wales, Cardiff.
In 1997, the college was granted full independent degree awarding-powers by the Privy Council (though, as a member of the University of Wales it could not begin using them) and in 1999 the public name of the university was changed to Cardiff University.
In 2002, ideas were floated to re-merge Cardiff with the University of Wales College of Medicine following the publication of the Welsh Assembly Government's review of higher education in Wales. This merger became effective on 1 August 2004, on which date Cardiff University ceased to be a constituent institution of the University of Wales and became an independent "link institution" affiliated to the federal University. The process of the merger was completed on 1 December 2004 when the Act of Parliament transferring UWCM's assets to Cardiff University received Royal Assent. On 17 December it was announced that the Privy Council had given approval to the new Supplemental Charter and had granted university status to Cardiff, legally changing the name of the institution to Cardiff University. Cardiff awarded University of Wales degrees to students admitted before 2005, but these have been replaced by Cardiff degrees.
In 2005, The Wales College of Medicine, which is part of the University, launched the North Wales Clinical School in Wrexham in collaboration with the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education in Wrexham and the University of Wales, Bangor and with the National Health Service in Wales. This has been funded with £12.5 million from the Welsh Assembly and will lead to the trebling of the number of trainee doctors in clinical training in Wales over a four-year period.
The university also has a popular Centre for Lifelong Learning which has been teaching a wide range of courses to the public for over 125 years. In July 2009, the University announced it was ending the teaching of over 250 humanities courses at the centre making over 100 staff redundant. The University has since reintroduced a number of humanities courses for a trial period beginning in 2010.
In June 2010, the University launched three new Research Institutes, each of which offers a new approach to a major modern research issue. These are the Neurosciences & Mental Health Research Institute and the Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, housed in the purpose built Hadyn Ellis Building, as well as the Sustainable Places Research Institute. Another part of the Science and Development Campus, the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), opened in June 2016 for neuroimaging research.
The 26 academic schools of the University are divided into three colleges: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Biomedical and Life Sciences; and Physical Sciences.
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
College of Biomedical and Life Sciences
College of Physical Sciences
Cardiff also has a Doctoral Academy, that brings together the work of four previous discipline-based Graduate Schools and the postgraduate research activity of the University's Graduate Centre.
In the financial year ended 31 July 2012, Cardiff University had a total net income of £425.54 million. Key sources of income included £87.65 million from research grants and contracts, £117.36 million from Funding Council grants, £123.84 million from tuition fees and support grants and £3.17 million from endowment and investment income. During the 2011/12 financial year Cardiff had a capital expenditure of £14.29 million.
At 31 July 2012 Cardiff had endowments of £25.58 million and total net assets of £402.86 million.
Cardiff University continues the tradition of all three of its former institutions in providing high quality research-based education in Wales, as shown in its five-year standing as the best centre of excellence in Wales in the Sunday Times League Tables, until 2017, where it was overtaken by Swansea University. Cardiff is also the only university in Wales to be a member of the Russell Group of Research Intensive Universities. Cardiff is by far the strongest research-focused university in Wales. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 33 out of the 34 research areas submitted by the University for assessment were shown to be undertaking research that includes world-leading work.
Cardiff has two Nobel Laureates on its staff, Sir Martin Evans and Robert Huber. A number of Cardiff University staff have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society, these include Graham Hutchings FRS, professor of Physical Chemistry and Director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute, School of Chemistry, Ole Holger Petersen CBE FRS, MRC Professor and Director of Cardiff School of Biosciences. and Professor John M. Pearce, Professor of Psychology.
In 2013, Cardiff University was ranked as one of the best universities in the UK for supporting LGB students by the charity Stonewall in its annual Gay by Degree guide. The University was one of only two universities in the UK and the only university in Wales to achieve top marks in a Stonewall checklist of priorities for LGB students.
The University has also won five Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher & Further Education. The most recent award was won in 2015 by the University's MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics.
Cardiff University was ranked 188th in Best Global Universities internationally and 19th nationally.
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In terms of average UCAS points of entrants, Cardiff ranked 32nd in Britain in 2015. According to the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, approximately 15% of Cardiff's undergraduates come from independent schools.
The University's academic facilities are centred around Cathays Park in central Cardiff, which contains the University's grade II* listed main building, housing administrative facilities and the science library; the grade II listed Bute building, which contains the Welsh School of Architecture and the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies; the grade I listed Glamorgan building, which houses the Cardiff Schools of Planning and Geography and Social Sciences, the Redwood Building (named in 1979 after the Redwood Family of Boverton near Llantwit Major by a 1978 suggestion by J D R Thomas), which houses the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; the law building which houses the Cardiff Law School; and the biosciences building, which provides facilities for both biosciences and medical teaching. The School of Engineering, School of Computer Science & Informatics and School of Physics and Astronomy are located in the Queen's Buildings, off Newport Road.
A number of the University's academic facilities are also located at the Heath Park campus which is based at the University Hospital of Wales, this contains the Cardiff University School of Medicine, the School of Dentistry, the School of Healthcare Sciences and the School of Optometry & Vision Sciences.
The majority of the University's sports facilities are located at the sports training village in the Talybont Halls complex. This includes facilities for football, badminton, basketball, tennis, hockey and gym facilities. Additional gym facilities and squash courts are located at the university fitness and squash centre, near the city centre campus at Cathays Park. Extensive playing fields for Rugby, football and lacrosse are located at the University playing fields near Llanrumney. The University also utilises the nearby Millennium Stadium for rugby fixtures such as the annual varsity tournament.
The University maintains fourteen student halls and a number of student houses throughout the city of Cardiff; providing a total of 5,362 student places in accommodation. They are in a variety of architectural styles and ages, from the Gothic Aberdare Hall, built in 1895, to the modern Talybont Halls, built in 1995. All first-year students are guaranteed a place in Halls. The Cardiff University Halls are:
The Cardiff University Students' Union is a student-run organisation that aims to promote student interests both within the University and further afield. The Cardiff University Students' Union building is near Cathays Park, next to Cathays railway station. It has shops, a nightclub and the studios of Xpress Radio and Gair Rhydd, the student newspaper. It is democratically controlled by the student body through the election of eight full-time officers who manage the running of the Union. The Union provides a range of services, including a number of cafes, bars and shops, as well as advice, training and representation. The Union is an affiliated member of the National Union of Students.
The Union also supports over 260 other clubs and societies across a wide range of interests, including: Cardiff University Debating Society, and Act One, the student dramatic society. All clubs offer opportunities for beginners and the more experienced students.
The Union provides facilities and support for several student media groups, including: gair rhydd, an award-winning, free student newspaper that is released every Monday of term; Quench, a monthly arts and lifestyle magazine that specialises in the local music scene as well as original investigative feature articles; Xpress Radio, the student radio station; and CUTV, the student television channel.
The Cardiff University Athletic Union is the body that supports student sport at Cardiff, it oversees more than 60 competitive and non-competitive sports clubs, many of which compete in the British Universities and Colleges Sport league. The University's Ice Hockey team, the Cardiff Redhawks (which also recruits players from other Welsh universities) competes in the British Universities Ice Hockey Association leagues.
The university's sports teams also take part in the annual Welsh Varsity against Swansea University, which includes the Welsh Boat Race, and several other sporting competitions. The Welsh Varsity is the second biggest University Varsity event in the UK after the "Oxbridge Varsity" between Oxford and Cambridge.
Cardiff participates in British Universities and Colleges Sport which manages a sporting framework of competitive fixtures and events for over 150 institutions around the UK. Cardiff registers nearly 100 teams in the various leagues and competitions each year and sees students travelling around the country to represent Cardiff University. In 2013 Cardiff team achieved 15th position overall across the 50 different sports hosting events.
Cardiff University's motto is Gwirionedd, Undod a Chytgord. The Welsh motto is translated as Truth, Unity and Concord or Truth, Unity and Harmony and is taken from the prayer for the Church militant as it appears in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
Cardiff University's current coat of arms was granted by the College of Arms in 1988 following the merger of University College Cardiff and the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology. The coat of arms incorporates features from the heralds of both of the former institutions. The three silver chevrons on a red background are derived from the arms of Iestyn ap Gwrgant, an 11th-century ruler of the Welsh Kingdom of Morgannwg that encompassed Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. The open book signifies learning; on it are the crescent and annulet, marks of cadence that indicate that University College Cardiff was the second of the University of Wales' institutions, and that the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology was the fifth.
A notable feature of the arms are the supporters, which in heraldry are rarely granted to universities. The supporters are an angel from University College Cardiff and a Welsh Dragon from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology. The crest is a Welsh dragon in the stance of a lion; it stands on the helmet. Both the dragon and the helmet are distinguished by being front-facing rather than in profile as is more usually found in Welsh heraldry.
List of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of Cardiff University and its predecessors (shown in brackets):