University of Nottingham

"Nottingham University" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Nottingham Trent University.
University of Nottingham

Coat of Arms of the University of Nottingham
Motto Sapientia urbs conditur (Latin)
Motto in English
"A city is built on wisdom"
Type Public
Established 1798 as teacher training college, 1881 as University College Nottingham
1948, university status awarded
Endowment £43.8 m (as of 31 July 2015)[1]
Chancellor Sir Andrew Witty[2]
Vice-Chancellor Sir David Greenaway[3]
Visitor The Lord President of the Council ex officio[4]
Students 31,910 domestic (2014/15)[5]
43,893 worldwide[6]
Undergraduates 23,815 domestic (2014/15)[5]
Postgraduates 8,095 domestic (2014/15)[5]
Location Nottingham, England, UK
52°56′20″N 1°11′49″W / 52.939°N 1.197°W / 52.939; -1.197Coordinates: 52°56′20″N 1°11′49″W / 52.939°N 1.197°W / 52.939; -1.197
Colours Blue and white                    
Affiliations ACU
Association of MBAs
Russell Group
Sutton 13
Universitas 21
Universities UK
Virgo Consortium
M5 Universities
Logo for the University of Nottingham: United Kingdom, China, Malaysia

The University of Nottingham is a public research university based in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, United Kingdom. It was founded as University College Nottingham in 1881 and was granted a Royal Charter in 1948.

Nottingham's main campus (University Park) and teaching hospital (Queen's Medical Centre) are situated on the outskirts of the City of Nottingham, with a number of smaller campuses and sites located elsewhere in Nottinghamshire, Derby, Derbyshire, and Lincoln. Outside the United Kingdom, Nottingham has campuses in Semenyih, Malaysia and Ningbo, China. Nottingham is organised into five constituent faculties, within which there are more than 50 schools, departments, institutes and research centres. Nottingham has about 44,000 students and 9,000 staff and had a total income of £593.0 million in 2014/15, of which £119.4 million was from research grants and contracts.[1]

Several of its subjects have been consistently ranked in the top ten, including economics, law and pharmacy.[7] It is ranked 5th in the UK in terms of the number of students and 15th for the proportion of students who achieved AAB+ at A-level.[8] The university is one of 12 "elite" institutions that accommodates the top achieving students in England.[9] The 2014 High Fliers survey stated that Nottingham was the most targeted university by the UK's top employers between 2013-14.[10] In 2012, Nottingham was ranked 13th in the world in terms of the number of alumni listed among CEOs of the Fortune Global 500.[11] It is also ranked 2nd (joint with Oxford) in the 2012 Summer Olympics table of British medal winners.[12] Moreover, Nottingham is the 9th largest European producer of entrepreneurs.[13] In the 2011, and 2014 GreenMetric World University Rankings, Nottingham was the world's most sustainable campus.[14][15] The institution's alumni have been awarded a variety of prestigious accolades, including 3 Nobel Prizes, a Turner Prize, and a Gabor Medal and Prize.

It is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Virgo Consortium, the European University Association, the Russell Group, Universities UK, Universitas 21 and participates in the Sutton Trust Summer School programme as a member of the Sutton 13.



Photograph of the University College Nottingham (Arkwright Building), from the Illustrated Guide to the Church Congress 1897
University College Nottingham in 1897; the building is now known as the Arkwright Building and is part of Nottingham Trent University

The University of Nottingham traces its origins to the founding of an adult education school in 1798, and the University Extension Lectures inaugurated by the University of Cambridge in 1873—the first of their kind in the country.[16] However, the foundation of the university is generally regarded as being the establishment of University College Nottingham, in 1881 as a college preparing students for examinations of the University of London.

In 1875, an anonymous donor provided £10,000 to establish the work of the Adult Education School and Cambridge Extension Lectures on a permanent basis, and the Corporation of Nottingham agreed to erect and maintain a building for this purpose and to provide funds to supply the instruction.[16]

The foundation stone of the college was duly laid in 1877 by the former Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone,[17] and the college's neo-gothic building on Shakespeare Street was formally opened in 1881 by Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany.[17] In 1881, there were four professors – of Literature, Physics, Chemistry and Natural Science. New departments and chairs quickly followed: Engineering in 1884, Classics combined with Philosophy in 1893, French in 1897 and Education in 1905; in 1905 the combined Department of Physics and Mathematics became two separate entities; in 1911 Departments of English and Mining were created, in 1912, Economics, and Geology combined with Geography; History in 1914, Adult Education in 1923 and Pharmacy in 1925.[16]


Photograph of a class of ex-servicemen training to be teachers at Goldsmiths College, 1944
Art students from Goldsmith's College at University College Nottingham in 1944

The university college underwent significant expansion in the 1920s when it moved from the centre of Nottingham to a large campus on the city's outskirts. The new campus, called University Park, was completed in 1928, and financed by an endowment fund, public contributions, and the generosity of Sir Jesse Boot (later Lord Trent) who presented 35 acres (14 ha) to the City of Nottingham in 1921.[18] Boot and his fellow benefactors sought to establish an "elite seat of learning" committed to widening participation,[19] and hoped that the move would solve the problems facing University College Nottingham, in its restricted building on Shakespeare Street. Boot stipulated that whilst part of the Highfields site, lying southwest of the city, should be devoted to the University College, the rest should provide a place of recreation for the residents of the city, and by the end of the decade the landscaping of the lake and public park adjoining University Boulevard was completed. The original University College building on Shakespeare Street in central Nottingham (known as the Arkwright Building), now forms part of Nottingham Trent University's 'City campus'.[20]

D. H. Lawrence commented on the endowment and the architecture in the words

In Nottingham, that dismal town where I went to school and college,
they've built a new university for a new dispensation of knowledge.
Built it most grand and cakeily out of the noble loot
derived from shrewd cash-chemistry by good Sir Jesse Boot.[21]
Photograph of the University of Nottingham's Trent Building on University Park, in the January 2013 snow
Trent Building – Originally housed the entire university when it moved to University Park in 1928
Jubilee Campus in 2012. On the left is the Sir Harry and Lady Djanogly Learning Resource Centre, a library which has the form of an inverted cone.

University College Nottingham was initially accommodated within the Trent Building, an imposing white limestone structure with a distinctive clock tower designed by Morley Horder and formally opened by King George V on 10 July 1928. During this period of development, Nottingham attracted high-profile lecturers including Albert Einstein, H. G. Wells and Mahatma Gandhi,[22] and the blackboard used by Einstein during his time at Nottingham is still on display in the Physics department.[23]

Apart from its physical transfer to surroundings that could not be more different from its original home, the College made few developments between the wars. The Department of Slavonic Languages (later Slavonic Studies) was established in 1933, the teaching of Russian having been introduced in 1916. In 1933–34, the Departments of Electrical Engineering, Zoology and Geography, which had been combined with other subjects, were made independent; and in 1938 a supplemental Charter provided for a much wider representation on the Governing Body. However, further advances were delayed by the outbreak of war in 1939.[16]

University status

University College Nottingham students received their degrees from the University of London,[24] however in 1948 the university was granted its Royal Charter, which endowed it with university status and gave it the power to confer degrees in its own name as The University of Nottingham.[25]

In the 1940s, the Midlands Agricultural and Dairy College at Sutton Bonington merged with the university as the School of Agriculture, and in 1956 the Portland Building was completed to complement the Trent Building. In 1970, the university established the UK's first new medical school of the 20th century.[17]

In 1999, Jubilee Campus was opened on the former site of the Raleigh Bicycle Company, one mile (1.6 km) away from the University Park Campus. Nottingham then began to expand overseas, opening campuses in Malaysia and in China in 1999 and 2004 respectively. In 2005, the King's Meadow Campus opened near the University Park Campus.

The logo the University used until 2001.

The university has used several logos throughout its history, beginning with its coat of arms. Later Nottingham adopted a simpler logo, in which a stylised version of Nottingham Castle was surrounded by the text "The University of Nottingham". In 2001 Nottingham undertook a major re-branding exercise, which included replacing the logo with the current one.

Organisation and academic structure

The chief officer is the chancellor, elected by the University Court on the recommendation of the University Council.[26] The chief academic and administrative officer is the Vice-Chancellor, who is assisted by six Pro-vice-chancellors.[26] The governing body is the University Council, which has 35 members and is mostly non-academic.[26] The academic authority is the Senate, consisting of senior academics and elected staff and student representatives.[26] The largest forum is the University Court, presided over by the Chancellor.[26]

The current chancellor is Sir Andrew Witty who became incumbent on 1 January 2013, succeeding Yang Fujia who had been installed in July 2001; its current vice-chancellor is David Greenaway who replaced Sir Colin Campbell in 2008, who as the UK's highest paid vice-chancellor, oversaw the university's expansion plans, leading The Times to call him "the Sir Alex Ferguson of Vice-Chancellors".[27]

The university is made up of a number of schools and departments organised into five faculties:[28] The faculty of arts, faculty of engineering, faculty of medicine and health sciences, faculty of science and the faculty of social science. Each faculty encompasses a number of schools and departments.

Academics and admissions

The new Humanities Building in University Park
Trent Building Quadrangle on a rainy day


Nottingham is a research-led institution and two academics connected with the university were awarded Nobel Prizes in 2003. Clive Granger was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.[29] Much of the work on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was carried out at Nottingham, work for which Sir Peter Mansfield received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2003. Nottingham remains a strong centre for research into MRI. Nottingham has contributed to a number of other significant scientific advances. Frederick Kipping, Professor of Chemistry (1897–1936), made the discovery of silicone polymers at Nottingham.[30] Major developments in the in vitro culture of plants and micropropogation techniques were made by plant scientists at Nottingham, along with the first production of transgenic tomatoes by Don Grierson in the 1980s. Other innovations at the university include cochlear implants for deaf children and the brace-for-impact position used in aircraft. In 2015, the Assemble collective, of which the part-time Architecture Department tutor Joseph Halligan is a member, won the Turner Prize, Europe's most prestigious art award. [31] Other facilities at Nottingham include a 46 teraflop supercomputer.[32]

Nottingham had 26 departments rated 5 or 5* (internationally excellent) in the UK Funding Councils' 2001 Research Assessment Exercise,[33] and the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise found 60 per cent of Nottingham's research to be "world-leading" or "internationally excellent",[34] ranking 7th in the UK in terms of 'Research Power'.[35] Nottingham is also in the top four universities in Britain for the amount of research income received, being awarded over £150 million in research contracts for the 2009–2010 academic year.[36] Indeed, league tables compiled by the Times Higher Education based on UK Research Councils grants have revealed that the university came joint second in Britain in 2009 for its success rate for grant applications, ahead of Oxford, University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London.[37]

The university is home to the Leverhume Centre for Research on Globalisation and Economic Policy (GEP). GEP was established in the Nottingham School of Economics in 2001, and conducts research activities structured on the theme of globalisation.


According to the latest statistics (2014/15) compiled by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, Nottingham is the UK's fifth largest university based on total student enrolment with 31,910 students;[5] from more than 130 countries.[38] Privately educated students make up approximately 24% of the student body, making it the 17th highest amongst British universities.[39] This has proven controversial and has led Nottingham, like other leading institutions such as the University of Bristol, Durham University and the University of Edinburgh, to introduce a variety of initiatives to help widen access and participation, culminating in the introduction of a summer school scheme open to applicants from non-traditional backgrounds.[40]

Rankings and reputation

University of Nottingham's Trent Building
(2016, national)
(2016, world)
(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2017, national)
The Guardian[48]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[49]
(2017, national)

The Mines ParisTech : Professional Ranking World Universities ranked the University of Nottingham the second best university in the UK and 13th in the world according to the number of alumni holding CEO position in Fortune Global 500 companies. The university was named Times Higher Education "University of the Year" in 2006, Times Higher Education "Entrepreneurial University of the Year" in 2008,[50] and finished runner up in the 2010 Sunday Times "University of the Year".[51][52] Nottingham is described by the Fulbright Commission as "one of the UK's oldest, largest, and most prestigious universities".[53] Nottingham finished 8th in The Sunday Times 10-year average (1998-2007) ranking of British universities based on consistent league table performance over the past decade.[54] Internationally, Nottingham was ranked 74th in the 2011 QS World University Rankings.[55] In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), which assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, Nottingham is ranked 26th by GPA[56] and 8th for research power.[57] The 2016 CWUR University Ranking placed Nottingham University 139th globally and 10th nationally.[58] In 2016/17, Nottingham was named 'University of the Year' for graduate employment by The Sunday Times, with Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, writing "Nottingham graduates are renowned the world over for their intelligence, quality and can-do attitude. This is instilled in them as they progress through the university. It is what makes them so popular with graduate recruiters".[59]

Nottingham is also a member of the 'Sutton 13', a collection of the 13 highest ranking British universities between 2002 and 2006 compiled by the educational charity the Sutton Trust, which aims to challenge educational inequality at top universities.[60][61]

According to The Times and The Sunday Times League table 2015, the university received 7.3 applications for every place available, placing it joint 14th in the UK (tied with Edinburgh Napier University) for the 'Most Competition for Places'.[39] For the 2014/15 admissions cycle, the average successful applicant attained 426 UCAS points (the equivalent of ABB at A Level and BB at AS Level), ranking it as the 22nd highest amongst higher educational institutes.[62]

Nottingham is also ranked as the 8th best international university in the global "Best Places to Work in Academia 2010" survey.[63] The university is also "one of the most employer friendly universities in the world" according to The Virgin Alternative Guide to British Universities, ranking amongst the top 20 universities in the world for 'Employer Review' in 2007 by the THES-QS,[64] and in the 2008 Times High Fliers survey being named in the top 3 most targeted British universities by leading graduate recruiters.[65] Nottingham is also ranked 31st in the world, and 7th in Britain, according to a 2011 New York Times survey of leading CEO's who were asked to assess which universities they most liked to recruit from.[66] Nottingham is ranked 2nd in the UK (after Oxford University) and 13th in the world (tied with Stanford University) in terms of the number of alumni listed among CEOs of the 500 largest companies worldwide.[67] The 2015 Global Employability University Ranking places Nottingham 78th in the world and 11th in the UK.[68]


UK campuses

University Park Campus

University Park pictured, the only university to win the Green Flag Award for Parkland greenery each year consecutively over the past decade
Millenium Park (52°56′19″N 1°11′59″W / 52.9387°N 1.1998°W / 52.9387; -1.1998) at the University Park Campus, ranked the world's greenest university campus 2011 by the Greenmetric of World Universities

University Park Campus, to the west of Nottingham city centre, is the 330-acre (1.3 km2) main base of the University of Nottingham. Set around its lake and clock-tower and with extensive parkland greenery.[69][70] University Park has won numerous awards for its architecture and landscaping, and has been named the greenest campus in the country in a Green Flag Award.[71]

At the south entrance to the main campus, in Highfields Park, lies the Lakeside Arts Centre, the University of Nottingham's public arts facility and performance space. The D.H. Lawrence Pavilion houses a range of cultural facilities, including a 225 capacity theatre space, a series of craft cabinets, the Weston Gallery (which displays the university's manuscript collection), the Wallner gallery which exists as a platform for local and regional artists, and a series of visual arts, performance and hospitality spaces. Other nearby facilities include the Djanogly Art Gallery, recital hall, and theatre, which in the past have hosted recordings and broadcasting by BBC Radio 3, the NOTT Dance and NOW festivals, and a series of contemporary art exhibitions.

Jubilee Campus

Jubilee Campus, designed by Sir Michael Hopkins, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999 and is 1 mile (1.6 km) from University Park. The campus's facilities house the Schools of Education and Computer Science, and The Nottingham University Business School. The site is also the home of The National College for School Leadership. Additional investment of £9.2 million in the Jubilee Campus was completed in 2004 with a second building for Nottingham University Business School opened by Lord Sainsbury.[72] The environmentally friendly nature of the campus and its buildings have been a factor in the awards that it has received, including the Millennium Marque Award for Environmental Excellence, the British Construction Industry Building Project of the Year, the RIBA Journal Sustainability Award and the Civic Trust Award for Sustainability.

Portland Building: Where student services and the Students' Union offices are located.

The Jubilee Campus won the commendation of the Energy Globe Award judges in 2005.[72] The campus is distinct for its modern and unique architecture, culminating in Aspire, a 60-metre tall artistic structure is the tallest freestanding structure in the UK. The university plans to invest £200 million in a new scheme designed by Ken Shuttleworth, designer of the iconic and award-winning London 'Gherkin' and founder of MAKE Architects, and at the heart of the new scheme will be the Nottingham 'Volcano'. However, the architecture of the Jubilee Campus is not admired by all, and the newly completed Amenities buildings have been labelled the second worst new architectural design in Britain in a recent survey.[73]

A fire in September 2014 destroyed the GlaxoSmithKline building which was under construction.[74][75]

Other campuses

The City Hospital Campus is near Bestwood and houses staff and postgraduate students specialising in respiratory medicine, stroke medicine, oncology, physiotherapy, and public health. The campus will be expanded in 2009 to house a new institute of public health and a specialist centre for tobacco research.

Sutton Bonington Campus houses Nottingham's School of Biosciences and the new School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and is about 12 miles (19.3 km) to the south of the City of Nottingham, between the M1 motorway, Ratcliffe Power Station, and the Midland Main Line railway. The campus is centred on the historic manor of Sutton Bonington and, like University Park campus, retains many of its own private botanic gardens and lakes open only to its students. The University Farm including the Dairy Centre is at the Sutton Bonington Campus.

King's Meadow Campus was established in 2005 on the former Central Independent Television Studios site on Lenton Lane. It mainly accommodates administrative functions but also the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections. A functioning television studio remains at the site that continues to be rented to the film and television industry.

International campuses

University of Nottingham Malaysia campus

Nottingham has introduced overseas campuses as part of a growth strategy. The first stage in this strategy was the establishment in 1999 of a campus in Semenyih, Selangor, Malaysia, a short distance from Kuala Lumpur. This was followed in 2004 by a campus in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China.

The Malaysia campus was the first campus of a British university in Malaysia and one of the first anywhere in the world, earning the Queen's Award for Enterprise 2001 and the Queen's Award for Industry (International Trade) 2006.[76] In September 2005, the Malaysia campus moved to a purpose-built campus at Semenyih, 18 miles (29.0 km) south of Kuala Lumpur city centre.

The £40 million Ningbo campus was completed in 2005 and was officially opened by John Prescott, the UK's Deputy Prime Minister, in February 2006. Like the Malaysia Campus, Ningbo Campus builds on the University Park in the UK and includes a lake, its own version of Nottingham's famous Trent Building and the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET), China's first zero-carbon building.

In November 2012, the university launched a new joint venture in collaboration with the East China University of Science and Technology: the Shanghai Nottingham Advanced Academy (SNAA). The SNAA will deliver joint courses in Shanghai including periods of study in Nottingham UK, with teaching and research at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels(including Split-site PhDs).[77]

Student life

Florence Boot Hall (pictured) is the oldest hall of residence at the university. It is named after Florence Boot, the wife of Jesse Boot who was a major benefactor to the university.[78]

Students' Union

The University of Nottingham Students' Union's highest decision making body is Union Council, where elected representatives debate issues.

The University of Nottingham Students' Union is heavily involved with providing student activities at the university and has more than 190 student societies affiliated to it. A further 76 clubs are affiliated to the Students' Union's Athletic Union. Nottingham participates yearly in the Varsity Series, a number of sporting events between the students and staff of the university and traditional rivals Nottingham Trent University.

The student newspaper Impact is published regularly during term time. A range of student theatre takes place at The New Theatre. The Students' Union also operates a student run, professional sound and lighting company, TEC PA & Lighting, who provide services for many events such as graduation, balls and many other events, both within the university and to external clients.

The Union has the largest student-run RAG organisation outside of the US, "Karnival" (abbreviated to "Karni"), which raised £1.61 million in 2012.[79] The university radio station is the URN/Student Radio for Nottingham.

The Students' Union also organises a number of activities and events involving students and staff with the local community. The Student Volunteer Centre sees more than 5 students each year volunteering in local schools and community organisations, as well as a range of other projects throughout the city of Nottingham. The Students' Union also runs an international volunteering project, InterVol, which sends student volunteers to work in rural African communities.[80] Nottingham's Active Communities initiative cooperated with the Students' Union to set up the costa starbucks Cafe in nearby Lenton.

Students in Free Enterprise

The Students in Free Enterprise ("SIFE") team from the University of Nottingham have won the SIFE United Kingdom National Competition for four consecutive years, making them the most successful UK SIFE team to date. Based at the Nottingham University Business School, SIFE Nottingham are the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 national champions. They have competed at SIFE World Cups in Toronto, Paris, New York and Singapore,[81] ranking them as one of the leading SIFE teams in the world.

AIESEC Nottingham

The AIESEC team from the University of Nottingham, based at the Nottingham University Business School, have won a range of National AIESEC UK awards for excellence over recent years, making them one of the most successful AIESEC committees in the UK. Awards won include; Unliever Award for Excellence in Business Development (ICX) 1999, Best Local Committee 2000, Best Local Committee 2001, National Service and Learning Excellence 2003, Best Careers Fair 2005 and Most Improved Local Committee 2012. More recently AIESEC Nottingham has returned to its winning streak achieving the National Business Development Excellence Award in February 2013, in recognition of the teams outstanding sales skills, with the then Head of Business Development getting recognised as a 'Global Top Seller' in March 2013.

Cripps Hall, one of the university's undergraduate halls of residence
University Park, Cripps Hall
Hugh Stewart Hall


"Nottingham Two"

Main article: Nottingham Two

On 14 May 2008, Hicham Yezza, a member of staff, and Rizwaan Sabir, a postgraduate student, were arrested at the University of Nottingham and were detained for six days under the Terrorism Act 2000. The University of Nottingham informed the police after finding an edited version of the al-Qaeda training manual the student was using for his research. Both were released without charge from terrorism offences.[82][83] In September 2011, Rizwaan Sabir was awarded £20,000 compensation for false imprisonment by Nottinghamshire Police.

The University of Nottingham came under criticism after the only professor involved in terrorism studies at the institution, Rod Thornton, decided that because of the university's lack of guidance to him regarding their position over possession of terrorist publications, he was no longer willing to risk possible arrest by teaching terrorism studies at the university, although he would continue in his other responsibilities.[84] As a result, terrorism studies are no longer being taught at the University of Nottingham.[84]

For an 2011 conference of the British International Studies Association, Thornton prepared a paper which alleged the university had engaged in systematic persecution against Yezza, Sabir and junior academics in the department.[85] One of Thornton's colleagues at Nottingham complained to BISA about alleged defamatory content of Thornton's paper, and a spokesman for the university called it "highly defamatory of a number of his colleagues". The paper was removed from BISA's website.[86]

In early May 2011, Thornton was suspended by the university for the "breakdown in working relationships" caused by the paper. In an open letter published in The Guardian, 67 international researchers including Noam Chomsky asked for Thornton's reinstatement and an independent examination of the university's actions, saying that Thornton's paper "carefully details what appear to be examples of serious misconduct from senior university management over the arrest of two university members".[87] In 2011, a campaign was launched calling for the reinstatement of Rod Thornton and for a public inquiry into the University of Nottingham's actions.[88]

Notable people

The university has been associated with a range of notable alumni and staff including:

See also

Notes and references

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  • Fawcett, Peter and Neil Jackson (1998). Campus critique: the architecture of the University of Nottingham. Nottingham: University of Nottingham.
  • Tolley, B. H. (2001). The history of the University of Nottingham. Nottingham: Nottingham University Press.
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