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University of Wales, Aberystwyth





Old College
King Street
Ceredigion SY23 2AX


The University of Wales, Aberystwyth (Welsh: Prifysgol Cymru, Aberystwyth; sometimes known as "UWA", "Aber" or "the College by the Sea") is a university located in Aberystwyth, Wales. Aberystwyth is a founding Member Institution of the federal University of Wales and was one of the first university institutions to be established in Wales. As of late 2006, the University has over 12,000 students spread across seventeen academic departments.

It was announced on 29 November 2006 that the University of Wales, Aberystwyth had been approved degree awarding powers by the Privy Council and in the future may simply be known as Aberystwyth University, though this is currently under discussion. Continued affiliation to the federal University of Wales is also under discussion. The University's business school is accredited by the Association of MBAs. The University operates a North American Exchange Programme and Socrates Erasmus (European Exchange) Programme. Many students also take advantage of the "Year in Employment Scheme" to go abroad for a year during the period of their studies.

The quality of teaching was recently confirmed in the National Student Survey. This comprehensive survey named Aberystwyth fifth in the UK, and the leader in Wales, for overall student satisfaction. Notable past academics include R. Geraint Gruffydd, Bobi Jones, E. H. Carr and Leopold Kohr.

The university was founded in 1872 as University College Wales. The first principal was Thomas Charles Edwards and initially there were just 26 students. In 1894 the college joined the University of Wales as a founder member (prior to this students had been submitted for examinations of the University of London). One of the newest departments in the University is the Department of Sports and Exercise Science, which was established in 2000. Within the next few years the univeristy has plans to establish a department of Psychology, which will be based upon the Centre for Applied Psychology currently found within the department of International Politics.

The crest was awarded to The University of Wales, Aberystwyth in the late 1880s. Though it has been 'modernised' in the 1980s the crest as it appears in this document retains many of the characteristics of the original. As with all heraldic images there are several meanings interlinked in this crest.

The main features are:

  • Two red dragons which symbolise the optimism of Victorian North and South Wales;
  • An Open Book - symbolising the world of learning;
  • Eagle or Phoenix rising open-winged above a flaming tower - symbolising perhaps the rebirth of the College after the fire of 1885.
  • The legend 'Nid Byd, Byd Heb Wybodaeth' - 'A World Without Knowledge, is No World'.

The University of Wales, Aberystwyth retains a much respected position throughout the academic Community. Since it�s founding, the University has been home to a number of much respected, and outstanding Academic staff and students among which there have been Frederick Soddy, a Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, and Prince Charles (for a more comprehensive list see below). The University prides itself in its long and outstanding academic history, and its Departments some of which lead the league table in a number of Fields. The Department for International Politics is ranked the top in the World, as well as being the first Department of its kind to be established in 1919. The Department of Law and Criminology, was established in 1901 and has an outstanding history of Academic performance. Ranked at the top in Wales, and within the Top Twenty in the United Kingdom.

The Department of History and Welsh History, and the Institute of Mathematics and Physics can trace their beginnings back to the formation of the University in 1872. The Department of Law was established in 1901, and as such is one of the oldest law schools in the UK. The School of Art has a history stretching back to 1917 when it was part of the only British university concerned with the Art and Crafts Movement. In 1936 it became a sub-department within the Education Department where, in 1965 the Joint Honours Art scheme was established. Single Honours Art and Masters degree schemes were introduced in 1974, one year after the subject had once again been given autonomy as a university department. Modern languages has been taught at Aberystwyth since c. 1874, making the current Department of European Languages one of the oldest departments in the UK to teach the subject. The Institute of Biological Sciences was formed in 1993 from the Department of Biological Sciences, the Department of Biochemistry and the Genetics Group of the Department of Agricultural Botany. These former departments in turn can trace their beginnings to the foundation of the University.

School of Management and Business
In 1998 the Department of Economics (founded 1912), the Department of Accounting and Finance (founded 1979) and the Centre for Business Studies merged to create the School of Management and Business. The school is one of only around 100 business schools in the world to have its MBA program accredited by the AMBA, it is also the only AMBA accredited MBA in Wales. Recently the school has been ranked 16th in Europe for accounting research by the Journal Accounting and Business Research and 22nd in Europe for Finance and Financial Economics by the Journal of Business Finance & Accounting. In the most recent subject specific teaching quality reviews the Accounting and Finance degrees schemes and the Economics degree schemes at Aberystwyth were both judged to be excellent, this is the highest category that can be awarded. The research training masters are also ESRC 1+3 recognised.

Department of Law
The Department of Law is housed in the Hugh Owen Building, which is centrally located on the main campus, was founded in 1901. The Department bases itself on a long, reputable and increasingly varied experience of legal education and academic work. Ranked within the top twenty institutions for Law in the United Kingdom, it is the oldest law school in Wales and one of the oldest in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the Department is home to the specialist research centre, the Centre for Welsh Legal Affairs. All lecturers in the Department are actively engaged in research and as such, the International Journal of Biosciences and the Law, and the Cambrian Law Review are edited in the Department. Over the years a large number of well-known legal academics, practitioners and politicians have taught in the Department have made their mark in a range of subsequent careers. Recently the Department has worked closely with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in testing new processes for teaching quality assessment. The Department is one of only a few universities in the United Kingdom which offers the two-year LL.B scheme to graduates in a discipline other than law.

In 2006, the Department of Law introduced the Legal Practice Course, which run in collaboration with the University of Wales, Swansea. The LPC is a requirement for anyone who wishes to practice as a solicitor in England and Wales.

Department of International Politics
In 1919 the world's first Department of International Politics was founded at Aberystwyth. Today it is the largest department of its kind in Europe, and one of the largest in the world. It also has an international reputation for excellence scoring top marks for both research and teaching placing the department on a par with the London School of Economics. In 2006, a new building for the Department of International Politics was completed and opened on the main Penglais Campus.

Department of Computer Science
The Department of Computer Science at Aberystwyth was founded in 1970. AberMUD, the first popular internet-based MUD, was written in this department of the university by then-student Alan Cox. The Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences was formed in 1989 from the former Departments of Geography (established in 1917) and Geology. This department contains the E.G. Bowen map library, containing 80000 maps and 500 atlases.

Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies
The Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies is one of the largest departments in the University in terms of numbers of undergraduate students and was established in the late 1970s.

Llanbadarn Campus
The Llanbadarn Campus houses two departments: The Institute of Rural Sciences and the Department for Information Studies. The former was formed by the merger of the Welsh Agricultural College, which had hitherto been independent, and the University's Department of Agriculture in 1995. The Department of Information and Library Studies was formed in 1989 from the formerly independent Welsh College of Librarianship, this was later re-named the Department for Information Studies.

In 1993 budgetary considerations caused the University to permanently close its department of philosophy. The efforts of some student philosophy organizations have so far failed to restore any funding for a philosophy department at Aberystwyth.

The main campus of the university is situated on Penglais Hill, overlooking the town of Aberystwyth and Cardigan Bay. The Penglais Campus is the site of 13 of the University's 18 departments, as well as most of the student halls of residence. Just below the Penglais Campus is the National Library of Wales. The original university building, next to the sea, known as "Old College", is the site of most of the University's administration as well as the Departments of Welsh and Education. The Llanbadarn Campus is located approximately one mile to the east of the Penglais Campus, and hosts the Institute of Rural Sciences and the Department of Information Studies. Additionally, the Llanbadarn Campus is the site of the Aberystwyth branch of Coleg Ceredigion, a further education college, and not part of the University. The School of Art is located between the Penglais Campus and the Centre of Aberystwyth, in an area of the town called Buarth Mawr.

Student residences
The various student residences owned, leased or managed by the university offer almost 4,000 bed-spaces in total. The Accommodation office have invested over �24m in residences in recent years and are able to offer accommodation in an attractive, neighbourly environment. Furthermore, all residents enjoy additional benefits including computer network connections in all study-bedrooms and inclusive room contents insurance.

Penglais Campus:

  • Cwrt Mawr (self-catered flats, capacity 485)
  • Pantycelyn (traditional catered Welsh speaking hall, capacity 260)
  • Penbryn (traditional catered hall, capacity 525)
  • Rosser (self-catered flats with en-suite rooms, capacity 333)
  • Trefloyne (self-catered flats, capacity 146)

Llanbadarn Campus:

  • Aeron, Cletwr, Dyfi, Einion and Leri - 5 residences with a total of 298 catered rooms (due to close during 2007)

Pentre Jane Morgan (the Student Village):

  • 178 self-contained houses accommodating typically 5 or 6 students each


  • Brynderw (self-catered flats, capacity 146)
  • Seafront Residences (self-catered flats located on the seafront and Queen's Road, overall capacity 720-800 including the redeveloped Alexandra Hall)


  • Art
  • Biological Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Education & Lifelong Learning
  • English
  • European Languages
  • Geography & Earth Sciences
  • History & Welsh History
  • Information Studies
  • International Politics
  • Law
  • Management & Business
  • Mathematical & Physical Sciences
  • Rural Sciences
  • Sport & Exercise Science
  • Theatre, Film & Television Studies
  • Welsh


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