Kingston University

Kingston University
Motto Per Scientiam Progredimur (Latin)
Type Public
Established 1899 Kingston Technical Institute
1992 gained University Status
Endowment £2.3 m[1]
Chancellor Bonnie Greer[2]
Vice-Chancellor Julius Weinberg[3]
Students 21,915 (2014/15)[4]
Undergraduates 16,975 (2014/15)[4]
Postgraduates 4,935 (2014/15)[4]
Location Kingston upon Thames, London, United Kingdom
51°24′13″N 0°18′14″W / 51.4035°N 0.3039°W / 51.4035; -0.3039Coordinates: 51°24′13″N 0°18′14″W / 51.4035°N 0.3039°W / 51.4035; -0.3039
Campus Urban
Colours Blue and White          
Nickname The Kingston Cougars
Affiliations Million+
University Alliance

Kingston University (formally Kingston University London) is a public research university located in Kingston upon Thames, London, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1899, and became a university in 1992 after being Kingston Polytechnic. The four campuses are located in Kingston and Roehampton. There is a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate work spread across five faculties, and some further education provisions.


Kingston was founded as Kingston Technical Institute in 1899. In 1930 the Kingston School of Art separated, later to become Kingston College of Art. Kingston was recognised as a Regional College of Technology by Ministry of Education in 1957. In 1970 it merged with the College of Art to become Kingston Polytechnic, offering 34 major courses, of which 17 were at degree level.[5]

Kingston University was granted university status under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. In 1993, Kingston opened the Roehampton Vale campus building and in 1995, Kingston acquired Dorich House.


Penrhyn Road

Main building, Penrhyn Road campus

This is the main university campus located close to Kingston town centre. In addition to teaching facilities, it has a library, health centre and canteen. Students based here study: Arts and Social Sciences, Civil Engineering, Surveying and Planning, Computing and Information Systems and Mathematics, Earth Sciences and Geography, Statistics, Biosciences, Pharmacy, Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science, and Radiography. Development at this site has extended it to the Learning Resources Centre. Massive construction projects took place and a new modern building in memory of John Galsworthy was finished. Across the road is the Reg Bailey Theatre with a stage area used by drama and dance students.

The site hosts the Union of Kingston Students, which is now part of the main building. It used to be next door to Penrhyn Road's Student Union bar, The Space Bar. This building however is under negotiation of demolition. Penrhyn Road also houses the refurbished Fitness Centre. A short walk from the campus is Cooper House, also known as the Student Information and Advice Centre, which houses a number of student services and administration departments. Fairhill Medical Practice which is an National Health Service-run clinic providing general practitioners services and a wellbeing mental health service.

Kingston Hill

Kingston Hill campus, Kingston University

This campus underwent a major redevelopment in 1997. With its own halls and numerous car parks (including the main seven-storey car park) Kingston Hill mainly caters to Nursing, Law, Education, Business, Music, Health and Social Sciences. Located near the top of Kingston Hill, it connects to the other campus sites by use of a free university bus service. Before 1989, this campus was known as Gipsy Hill.

The music department is situated in Coombehurst House, which was once owned by Florence Nightingale's aunt and uncle. Nightingale was a frequent visitor to the house and the new Learning Resource Centre on Kingston Hill was named the Nightingale Centre after her.[6]

The Business School moved to a new building on the Kingston Hill Campus in 2012,[7] the year Ed McKeever, one of its alumni, won a gold medal at the London Olympics.

Following an introduction through the Board of Governors, Kingston University rescued Dorich House (a Grade II listed building[8]) and its art collections from dereliction in 1993 and the newly restored building was opened in 1996. Once the home to internationally acclaimed Estonian Sculptor Dora Gordine and the Hon. Richard Hare, the house became a museum in 2004.[9]

Knights Park

Knights Park campus

This campus, located on Grange Road, close to Penrhyn Road, is the home of the university's Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, and provides undergraduate courses in Architecture, Art & Design History, Interior Design, Product & Furniture, Graphic Design, Filmmaking, Photography, Illustration & Animation, Fine Art and Fashion amongst others. The facility also has a student bar, café and arts library. The building is on the River Hogsmill (the banks of which were immortalised in the Pre-Raphaelite painting of Ophelia (painting) by John Everett Millais). The 'Middle Mill' hall of residence is situated across from the campus, close to the university's Stanley Picker Gallery.[10]

Roehampton Vale

The Roehampton Vale campus is based on Friars Avenue, on the outskirts of Kingston. Students studying all Engineering courses (except for Civil Engineering) are based here. Facilities on site include a wind tunnel, engineering workshops, flight simulator, a flying condition Learjet-200 plus automotive and aeronautical learning resources.

Development at this site opened the Hawker Wing, providing further teaching space.

Other locations

In addition to the four main campuses are three administration buildings: Cooper House near the Penrhyn Road Campus and River House in Kingston town centre the latter is so named as it is overlooks the River Thames and includes the office of the Vice-Chancellor.



Teaching and research are organised in five faculties.

Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

Based at the Knights Park campus, the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture can be traced back to the original School of Art in Kingston which was founded in the 1890s. It separated from the Technical College, moved to Knights Park in 1939, and became Kingston College of Art in 1945. The College of Art merged back with the Technical College to form Kingston Polytechnic in 1970.[11]

The faculty delivers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study across the following schools Architecture & Landscape, Art & Design History, Fine Art, Surveying & Planning, 3D Design and Communication Design. The faculty also has a school of Foundation Studies which delivers the BTEC Foundation in Art and Design which prepares undergraduate students for entry into honours degree Art and Design programmes.

The Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture collaborates with several other design colleges across the globe:[12]

  1. The Building Crafts College: The collaboration allows the university to offer a portfolio of courses from FdSc, to BSc. (Hons) and MSc. in Historic Building Conservation.
  2. The Indian Institute of Art and Design (IIAD)] in New Delhi, India offers three BA (Hons) degree programmes (in Fashion Design, Communication Design and Interior Architecture) in collaboration with FADA. The degrees are awarded by Kingston University.
  3. Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts: Two courses offered at the school, namely, Fashion Design and Graphics & Illustration have been designed in collaboration with and approved by Kingston University.
  4. Design Museum: Kingston University, in collaboration with the Design Museum, jointly teaches a two-year part-time and one year full-time Masters course in Curating Contemporary Design.
  5. Weymouth College: Students pursuing the FdSc. Applied Architectural Stonework and Conservation hone their skills in the building conservation sector. Those willing to progress into a third year of study, can join the final year of the BSc. Historic Building Conservation at Kingston University.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Primarily based at the Penrhyn Road campus, although as part of a restructuring in 2005, the faculty incorporates the former School of Music and the School of Education which are based at the Kingston Hill Campus.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Masters by Research (MA) degrees can be undertaken in: Drama, Dance, Creative Writing, Criminology, Economics, Education, English Literature, European Studies, Film Studies, History, Human Rights, Journalism, Linguistics and Languages, Media, Music, Politics, Psychology, Sociology. Kingston's MFA in Creative Writing was the first of its kind in the UK. The faculty offers a Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing and a Low Residency MA CW.

The faculty is home to the London Graduate School, the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, the Practice Research Unit, the Institute of Social Science, Cultural Histories @ Kingston, and the Kingston Writing School.

The faculty operates Kingston University Press.

Faculty of Business and Law

Based at the Kingston Hill campus and incorporating the Kingston University Business School and Kingston Law School. The faculty has enrollment of almost 5,000 students.

The Faculty of Business and Law offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses and executive education in the five following groupings: Law, Accounting Finance and Banking, Informatics and Operations Management/Business, Information Technology, Leadership, Human Resources and Organisation and Strategy, Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

The faculty offers PhD and DBA research degrees in addition to its MBA programme. The Business School was the first in the world to receive AMBA accreditation for its MBA, DBA and Masters in Business Management. Other accreditations include the Law Society, the Bar Council, CIMA, CIPD.

Faculty of Health and Social Care and Education

A collaboration with St George's, University of London (SGUL), the faculty is based at St George's Hospital in Tooting, and Kingston Hill (KH) and Penrhyn Road (PR) at Kingston University. Subjects offered include all branches of Nursing (KH), Midwifery (KH), Paramedic Sciences (SGUL), Physiotherapy (SGUL), Diagnostic Radiography (PR), Therapeutic Radiography (PR) and Social Work (KH), along with postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development courses for those already employed in the healthcare profession. The School of Education joined the Faculty in 2012.[13]

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing

The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing was formed in summer 2011. The faculty is composed of eight schools: Aerospace and Aircraft Engineering; Civil Engineering and Construction; Computing and Information Systems; Geography, Geology and Environment; Life Sciences; Mathematics; Mechanical and Automotive Engineering; and Pharmacy and Chemistry.

The School of Geography, Geology and the Environment hosts Geographical Information Systems (GIS), which was the very first degree of its kind.

The faculty's teaching is split between undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Facilities at the Roehampton Vale campus including a Learjet 25, flight simulator, wind tunnel and automotive workshops including a range of vehicles and testing facilities.


The Stanley Picker Gallery[10] is the Faculty's exhibition space which is now used to present a variety of research-based projects, fellowships and exhibitions.

In 2003, the Stanley Picker Gallery gave birth to Transitstation,[14] which was created/curated by Stanley Picker Fellow Dagmar Glausnitzer-Smith,[15][16] and the then gallery curator Charles Ryder.

In 2003, the Director of Foundation Studies in Art and Design, Paul Stafford, converted a run-down public convenience in Kingston town centre into the Toilet Gallery.[17]

Kingston University runs Dorich House[18] which houses a huge collection of sculptor Dora Gordine's work, and fine examples of Russian Imperial art and furniture. Dorich House is also used as meeting and conference venue.

Rankings and reputation

(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2017, national)
The Guardian[24]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[25]
(2017, national)

Kingston University came 109th out of 127 UK universities in the Complete University Guide (2017). The Times/The Sunday Times Guide placed it at no. 117 (Good University Guide, 2016). The Guardian places Kingston at 88th of 119 surveyed universities in 2017.

Subjects ranked in the top 10 include Fashion & Textiles, Design & Crafts and Nursing.


The Faculty of Arts & Design runs a number of research centres:

The Faculty of Business & Law has a number of specialist research units which cover the principal business disciplines. These research units include: Asia Business Research Centre, Business-to-Business Marketing Research Centre, Centre for Insolvency Law and Policy, Centre for Working Life Research, Consumer Research Unit, Marketing in New Contexts Group, Small Business Research Centre, Centre for Research in Employment, Skills & Society, Institute of Leadership & Management in Health.

The School of Computing and Information Systems research interests are spread across a wide range of topics, from emerging wireless and network technologies for healthcare, computationally intensive computer vision to computer-based learning technologies and networking. Research activities are organised into smaller research groups and larger research centres. The three current research centres are:

The schools within Engineering place emphasis on commercially useful research with significant funding from external bodies. The faculty has three research centres

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has a number of successful, active research areas, most notably English Literature and Language, including Creative Writing; History, Politics, Philosophy, Drama and Psychology.

Student life

Union of Kingston Students

The Union of Kingston Students, formerly Kingston University Students' Union (KUSU), is a charitable organisation representing the student body and aiming to provide services and activities beneficial to the student experience. It is a student union in the meaning of the term given in the Education Act 1994, and whilst independent of the university is funded by a block grant from it.

Halls of residence

The university has six halls of residence. Chancellors' and Walkden are based at the Kingston Hill campus. Middle Mill is adjacent to Knights Park campus, while Clayhill and Seething Wells are on opposite sides of Surbiton. Finally, there is Kingston Bridge House which is situated on the edge of Bushy Park at the Hampton Wick end of Kingston Bridge, London.

There are also contracted out halls of residence which are not owned by the university but licensed by them. IQ Wave halls were contracted due to Rennie being demolished to make way for a new education building at Kingston Hill.

The university operates a "headed tenancy" scheme in which the university sublets local properties to students from landlords.


National Student Survey exaggeration

In 2008, an audio recording[34][35][36] obtained by student media included two psychology lecturers asking students to inflate their graded opinions given as part of the National Student Survey.[37] One member of staff was recorded as encouraging students to boost specific satisfaction scores, because "if Kingston comes down the bottom [of the league tables], then the bottom line is that nobody is going to want to employ you because they are going to think your degree is shit".[37][38] In response, Vice-Chancellor Peter Scott [39][40] confirmed that the recording was genuine but added that he believed that the incident was an isolated one.[41] In July 2008, the Higher Education Funding Council of England removed the University's Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from the League Tables for the year as its sanction for having fraudulently manipulated the National Student Survey results.[42]

External examiner controversy

In 2008, the BBC obtained e-mails circulated within Kingston's School of Music, relating to the opinions of an external examiner moderating the BMus course.[43] The messages showed that her final report caused considerable concern within the department. The examiner was persuaded to moderate her criticism following contact from a member of the University's staff. The e-mails also detailed a plan to replace her (at the end of her term) with a more experienced and broad-based external examiner, a process which Kingston stressed breaks no rules relating to the appointment of such examiners.[43] In October 2008, Peter Williams, Chief Executive of the UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), presented the agency's findings to a Parliamentary Select Committee charged with investigating standards in British higher education. Following an investigation of the allegations by a former University staff member that undue pressure was applied to the School of Music's External Examiner, QAA upheld all charges of wrongdoing, as alleged.[44][45][46]

Closure of the School of Planning and Surveying protests

On 19 February 2014, the university announced the closure of the School of Planning and Surveying at Kingston University. Under the proposals 14 out of 19 teaching jobs were to be axed and 18 first and second year students would lose their places. Six degree programmes, including planning and historic conservation courses, would cease to exist at the end of that academic year, while surveying and other courses would move to other university departments. The following day, the head of the School of Planning and Surveying, Sarah Sayce, sent an email to students in her department explaining the circumstances and asking them to rally against the closure.[47] She was subsequently suspended by the university. At the "Big Student Meeting" of 27 February following her dismissal, students clashed with the Vice Chancellor over the proposed closure and the suspension of Sayce.[48][49][50][51]

Extremist university

In 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron named and shamed four British universities which gave platforms to allegedly extremist speakers.[52][53][54][55]

Kingston's Vice Chancellor Julius Weinberg defended his decision to allow controversial speakers in the name of free speech.[56]

Notable people

Notable faculty and staff

Notable alumni


  1. "Kingston University, London : Financial Statements 2014-15" (PDF). Kingston University. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  2. "Kingston University's new chancellor sets out her aims". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  3. "Vice-Chancellor's Team - How the University works - Kingston University London". Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 "2014/15 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  5. Kingston University Website Retrieved 12 October 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. Kieran Long (11 April 2012). "Look and learn: intelligent design for education - Architecture - Arts". Evening Standard. London. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  8. "Dorich House, Kingston upon Thames". Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  9. "Dorich House Museum". Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  10. 1 2 "The Stanley Picker Gallery at Kingston University is a public venue dedicated to the research, development, production and presentation of interdisciplinary contemporary arts practice". Stanley Picker Gallery. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  11. "Our History". Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  13. Kingston University. Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education
  14. "transitstation - Exhibition as Event". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  15. "Dagmar I. Glausnitzer". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  16. "kunstwirkstoff". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  17. "育毛剤の人気ランキング情報". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  18. "Dorich House Museum". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  19. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17 - United Kingdom". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  20. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  21. "World University Rankings 2016-17 - United Kingdom". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  22. "World University Rankings 2016-17". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  23. "University League Table 2017". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  24. "University league tables 2017". The Guardian. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  25. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2017". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  26. "Kingston University - Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture - Modern Interiors Research Centre". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  27. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 24 April 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. "Digital Imaging Research Centre - The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing - Kingston University London". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  29. "Medical Information and Network Technologies - The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing - Kingston University London". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  30. "Mobile Information Engineering and E-Med Systems (MOMED)". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  31. "ARG, Aerospace Research Group". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  32. "Centre for Fire & Explosion Studies - The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing - Kingston University London". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  33. "Sustainable Technologies Research Centre - The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing - Kingston University London". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  34. "Kingston University governers grievance appeal recording part 1". Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  35. "Kingston University governers grievance appeal recording part 2". Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  36. "Kingston University National Student Survey fraud recording". Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  37. 1 2 Coughlin, Sean (2008-05-13). "University staff faking survey". BBC. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  38. Mostrous, Alexi (2008-05-14). "Kingston University students told to lie to boost college's rank in government poll". The Times. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  39. "Kingston University witness intimidation". Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  40. "Kingston University - Sir Peter Scott, EX-Vice Chancellor". Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  41. "Statement in response to National Student Survey complaint". Kingston University Press Office. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  42. Coughlin, Sean (2008-07-26). "Faculty in league table expulsion". BBC. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
  43. 1 2 Coughlan, Sean (2008-06-24). "Examiner dropped course criticism". BBC. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  44. The Committee Office, House of Commons. "House of Commons - Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills - Minutes of Evidence". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  45. Archived from the original on 19 July 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  46. Newman, Melanie (2009-03-26). "Kingston Showed Lack of Regard for External Examiner's Role, Says QAA". TSL Education Ltd. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
  47. Philippidis, Eliza (27 February 2014). "Prof Kicked Off Campus". The River (Kingston University student newspaper)
  48. Sharman, Jon (21 February 2014). "Students 'could lose places' in proposed planning and surveying department closure". Surrey Comet
  49. Sharman, Jon (21 February 2014). "Poor recruitment figures could cost 18 Kingston University students their places if School of Surveying and Planning closed, vice-chancellor says". Surrey Comet
  50. Sharman, Jon (25 February 2014). "Kingston University academic suspended after 'trying to rally students against plans to close' School of Planning and Surveying". Surrey Comet
  51. Medem, Ines (27 February 2014). Big Student Meeting "Anarchy in the KU: Vice Chancellor clashes with students over axed department". The River (Kingston University student newspaper)
  52. British universities that give the floor to extremist speakers are named and shamed, The Telegraph
  53. 100 extremists a year lecture at universities: Fanatics given a platform to spread hatred of the West despite ministers demanding crackdown on radicalism , Daily Mail
  54. Universities 'fail to ban radicals': 27 lectures featuring guests with extremist views take place in London in just five months, Daily Mail
  55. "'Show us the evidence David Cameron': Supporters rally after Kingston University listed for extremism". Surrey Comet.
  56. I won't stop offering a platform to so-called 'hate speakers', The Guardian
  57. "Paul Andrew Williams joins Film Team - Activities - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - Kingston University London". Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  58. 1 2 "Kingston University AZ Unis & Colleges, Getting Into University". The Independent. Independent News and Media. 2007-07-27. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
  59. Unattributed, "Anya Gallaccio," British Council - online biography, retrieved, 22 August 2011
  60. Ian MacDonald, "Preface to the First Revised Edition." In MacDonald, Revolution in the Head (London: Vintage, 2005), p. xix.
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