Studying in Wales
WALES welcomes students from all over the world, attracted by a culture of academic excellence, supportive learning communities and beautiful surroundings.
Welsh universities offer qualifications that are respected around the world, and employability is at the heart of their mission.
The universities of Wales are: Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff Metropolitan, Swansea, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity St David and Wrexham Glyndwr.
Further education institutions in Wales have active connections to industry. They are located in vibrant towns and cities that are no more than a short journey away from the mountains and coast, granting students an inspiring quality of life.
Aberystwyth University, located in a stunning natural environment as well as a bustling seaside market town, has a proud history rooted in and supported by the community. They are a research-led university with an international reputation committed to providing an excellent educational experience for their students.
10 Facts About Aberystwyth University (from the Aber University website at www.aber.ac.uk)
- We were established in 1872 after community and national fundraising efforts to establish the first Welsh university. We offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the Arts, Biological and Environmental Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.
- We are home to 22 Academic departments and 19 Professional Services departments .
- We are community of 6,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students and 2,379 academic and professional services staff. We are also home to 1500 sheep, 400 dairy cows, 20 horses, 16 goats and 10 alpacas.
- We have over 1,709 hectares of land which makes us the biggest university in the United Kingdom (Higher Education Statistics Agency 2018).
- Aberystwyth University Penglais Campus and Accommodation is 1,448m from the promenade and sea. A walk down-hill from Penglais Campus may take up to 10 minutes to reach the seafront, we’ll let you time the journey back up hill.
- We were the first university in the world to establish a Department of International Politics. The Department was founded in 1919 as a response to the extreme violence of the First World War in which millions of people around the world lost their lives. The founding constituted an intellectual response to a global event with a normative end: understanding the diverse facets of world politics (politics, law, economics, ethics) in order to mitigate organised violence.
- Aberystwyth University has been home to royalty from all parts of the world, including His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, who studied Welsh in 1969. His tutor was Professor Edward Millward who taught Welsh to Prince Charles ahead of his investiture as Prince of Wales. His time at Aber was recently portrayed in the Netflix series The Crown. The episode entitled Tywysog Cymru [Prince of Wales] was praised for using the Welsh language in much of its dialogue.
- Aberystwyth University has been home to international students for over a century. In fact, we welcomed the first international student in 1875, Nellie Owen from Utica, New York. Other prominent international students include, Iris De Freitas who studied here Law in 1918 and became the first female lawyer in the Caribbean.
- 65% of all oats used in the UK have been developed at our Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS).
- Since 1872, our research has had an impact nationally and internationally. 95% of the University’s research is of an internationally recognised standard or higher in the latest Research Excellence Framework. From combating climate change, improving food quality and food production, promoting human and animal health, to developing artificial intelligence and helping to advance space exploration, our researchers are at the forefront of innovation and the impact of our research has far-reaching international benefits.
Aberystwyth University website: www.aber.ac.uk
Established in 1884, Bangor University has a long tradition of excellence and exceeds expectations, both for academic standards and student experience.
It is a strong, confident institution recognised regionally, nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence for its varied portfolio of teaching and research, and for the unique, multicultural, inclusive experience it provides for its staff and students.
Around 10,000 students currently study at the University, with teaching staff based within 14 Academic Schools. Over 2,500 international students from 120 countries choose to study at Bangor University.
It is ranked in the top 40 in the UK for research, according to the Research Excellence Framework, which recognised that more than three-quarters of Bangor’s research is either world-leading or internationally excellent, ahead of the average for UK universities.
The Quality Assurance Agency’s (QAA) Institutional Review has commended the way the university manages academic quality. Bangor received a number of commendations which highlighted particular areas of strength, including the way in which a data-driven approach is used to inform and enhance the student experience.
Other areas which received commendations were the University’s partnership with students, and the fact that bilingualism is embedded within all aspects of the student experience.
The University is made up of three Colleges housing nine academic Schools, as well as over 50 specialist research centres, enabling the provision of courses spanning the Arts, Humanities and Sciences.
Bangor University is committed to sustainable development and global citizenship, aiming to promote sustainability in research, business and enterprise activities.
Bangor’s location – close to the mountains and the sea – offers one of the best university settings in the United Kingdom. In 2016, north Wales was named as the fourth best region in the world to visit by the travel guide Lonely Planet due to its stunning location and ‘shiny new adventure sports facilities’.
The University’s recent investments in facilities and services includes the Pontio Arts and Innovation centre, a multi-million pound development which includes teaching facilities, a theatre, cinema, bar, cafes and an innovation space. Other investment includes the redevelopment of the University’s sports facilities at Canolfan Brailsford.
Student life at Bangor University is vibrant and diverse, including more than 200 Students’ Union Clubs and Societies, covering a range of interests, activities and sports, which means there’s something for everyone. Bangor’s Clubs and Societies were named best in the UK at the WhatUni Student Choice Awards 2019.
Students are given help and support from the moment they arrive. The Student Services Centre provides advice and guidance on matters from money and housing to disability support, counselling, dyslexia, study skills and local faith provision. Every year hundreds of second and third year students are trained as Peer Guides to welcome new students to Bangor and provide practical advice to help them settle in.
Accommodation is guaranteed for first year students who select Bangor as their Firm Choice and apply before the given deadline.
Bangor University has close links with business and the National Health Service (NHS) in Wales through the Besti Cadwaladr University Health Board. The University is a major provider of training and education for the NHS.
CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY
Cardiff Met traces its history back to 1865, when the School of Art first opened in the Old Free Library in Cardiff. Since being developed into a university, it has remained rooted in Wales while providing practice-focused and professionally-oriented education to students from around the globe.
Whether seeking undergraduate or postgraduate study, Cardiff Met is an excellent choice for international students choosing to study in the UK. It is home to approximately 11,000 students, with over 1,200 international students from more than 143 countries. Those international students are valued and respected for the unique experiences and perspectives that they contribute to university life.
Cardiff Metropolitan University was awarded the highly prestigious title of UK and Ireland University of the Year 2021 by Times Higher Education.
The award recognises achievements throughout the 2019/20 academic year and the ways in which Cardiff Met has established itself as a progressive values-driven university with an excellent student experience, staff culture and impactful research and innovation. The compassionate leadership and proactive approach to managing the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic were also highlighted as features of Cardiff Met’s outstanding performance.
The University’s recent success is evidenced by a track record and trajectory of growth, diversification and improvement, supported by sustainable finances, with Cardiff Met deemed to be the most financially sustainable university in Wales by the Wales Governance Centre in 2020.
Speaking about this outstanding achievement, President and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University, Professor Cara Aitchison, said: “This award recognises and rewards the values-driven character of our university and the significant improvements across all areas of performance in recent years.
“Winning this national award has put Cardiff Met on the map of high calibre UK universities and builds upon our recent success in major league tables and the award of the title of Welsh University of the Year 2021 by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.
“I wish to thank every single member of staff for the part they have played in creating a resilient, ambitious and high-achieving global university.”
The University, under the leadership of Professor Aitchison, has worked towards seven bold priorities which were set out in a strategic plan in 2016/17 and refreshed in 2019/20 in response to the global pandemic.
These priorities have focused on addressing student demand and industry need by establishing Cardiff School of Technologies in partnership with business to support the growing number of digital and technology companies clustering in the Cardiff Capital Region.
In 2020, the University launched Global Academies for Health and Human Performance; Food Science, Safety and Security; and Human-Centred Design bring together strengths in education, research and innovation to deliver improvements to the economy, environment and individual and societal health and wellbeing.
The award also recognises how overall student satisfaction improved from three per cent below average in the 2015/16 National Student Survey to two per cent above average in 2019/20, with students benefitting from the Cardiff Met EDGE to the curricula, with its focus on Ethical, Digital, Global and Entrepreneurial skills and experiences.
Cardiff Metropolitan University website: www.cardiffmet.ac.uk
An ambitious and innovative university with a bold and strategic vision located in a beautiful and thriving capital city.
Founded in 1883, Cardiff University is established as one of Britain’s leading research universities with an ambition to rank consistently among the top 100 universities in the world and the top 20 in the UK.
It was named Welsh University of the Year in The Times & The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022, retaining its place as the top-ranked university in Wales.
Cardiff University excels in education, research and innovation and is building strong international relationships whilst demonstrating a commitment to Wales.
We have a significant economic and social impact on Wales and the UK as a whole, contributing in areas such as employment, research funding and teaching and learning activities.
The University opened its doors in October 1883 and was formally established by Royal Charter in 1884. Originally named the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, it became one of the founding institutions of the University of Wales and began awarding their degrees.
By 1972, it had taken the name University College, Cardiff. A merger followed with the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST) in 1988. In 1999 the public name of the University changed to Cardiff University and, five years later, a further merger reuinted them with the University of Wales College of Medicine.
With over 7,000 international students from more than 100 countries, the Cardiff University campus offers a diverse and truly international environment attracting the best students and staff from around the world.
A culture is developed and supported which encourages international exchanges and collaborations, with over 17% of undergraduate students spending time abroad. Links with over 200 institutions worldwide highlight Cardiff University’s global reputation and international outlook.
Partnerships span more than 35 countries, including 40 across China, nine in Malaysia and over 20 in the United States of America.
The University attracts high-quality investment from both the public and private sector which helps translate world-leading research into the products, services and processes of the future.
The university is as confident and forward-looking as the city it’s located in, and has an excellent reputation for the quality of its teaching and researchGuardian University Guide 2016
Cardiff University is undertaking its biggest campus upgrade for a generation – a £600million investment – including the creation of a £300m Innovation Campus which will transform a disused railway yard into an innovative research space.
The first stage of the Innovation Campus saw the completion of the Hadyn Ellis building and the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC).
The Centre for Student Life is an iconic student building at the heart of the University, the the fruition of a successful and dynamic partnership that the University is proud to enjoy with its student body.
The new building is home to the University’s Student Life services including support with study, health and wellbeing, preparing for the future, managing money and living in Cardiff. It will also increase links with the Students’ Union and enhance the services already provided there.
Cardiff University website: www.cardiff.ac.uk
Swansea University has been at the cutting edge of research and innovation since 1920. They have a long history of working with business and industry but today the University’s world-class research has a much wider impact across the health, wealth, culture, and well-being of our society.
Swansea University boasts a global reach and reputation and works with partners around the globe to deliver world-class research, enhanced opportunities for learning and teaching, and life-changing opportunities for students.
It has three International Strategic Partnerships in France, the USA and China. These partnerships are distinctive because of the breadth and depth of the collaborations which encompass research, teaching and mobility across a wide range of subject areas.
Campuses are vibrant and diverse with staff and students from over 130 different countries making up Swansea University’s friendly community.
The University’s foundation stone was laid by King George V on July 19, 1920, and 89 students (including eight female students) enrolled that same year. By September 1939, there were 65 staff and 485 students.
In 1947 there were just two permanent buildings on campus: Singleton Abbey and the library. The Principal, J S Fulton, recognised the need to expand the estate and had a vision of a self-contained community, with residential, social and academic facilities on a single site. His vision was to become the first university campus in the UK.
By 1960, a large-scale development programme was underway that would see the construction of new halls of residence, the Maths and Science Tower, and College House (later renamed Fulton House).
The 1960s also saw the development of the ‘finite element method’ by Professor Olek Zienkiewicz. His technique revolutionised the design and engineering of manufactured products, and Swansea was starting to stake its claim as an institution that demanded to be taken seriously.
Work began on the student village at Hendrefoelan in 1971, the South Wales Miners’ Library was established in 1973 and the Taliesin Arts Centre opened on campus in 1984. The Regional Schools of Nursing transferred to Swansea in 1992, and the College of Medicine opened in 2001. Technium Digital was completed in 2005 and, barely two years later, the University opened its Institute of Life Science which commercialises the results of research undertaken in the Swansea University Medical School. Work commenced on a second Institute of Life Science in 2009.
In 2012, Swansea began an ambitious campus expansion and development project, including the opening of Bay Campus in 2015; which is home to the College of Engineering and the School of Management. In 2018, the doors were opened to two further projects, The College; Swansea University’s joint venture with Navitas (The International College Wales Swansea, ICWS) and the Computational Foundry; the home of the College of Science’s departments of Computer Science and Mathematics.
Swansea, then, has achieved an extraordinary level of success in recent years and research activity exceeds that of many larger universities, yet this has not compromised the friendly and relaxed atmosphere that has always characterised the ‘Swansea experience’.
Swansea University spans two stunning campuses at each end of Swansea’s waterfront. Singleton Park Campus is set in mature parkland and botanical gardens, overlooking Swansea Bay beach; Bay Campus is located on the beach on the eastern approach into the city.
The £450m Bay Campus, described as a ‘global exemplar’, is expected to deliver an economic impact of more than £3bn over 10 years.
Having celebrated its Centenary in 2020, Swansea University looks forward to continuing to work to improve lives and the bright future that the next century will bring.
Swansea University website: www.swansea.ac.uk
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH WALES
University of South Wales (USW) is located in an exceptional part of the United Kingdom, providing city life, mountains and coast. With campuses in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd, you can enjoy all that south Wales has to offer – big city life and culture, stunning beaches and breathtaking countryside.
USW is home to a community of diverse and welcoming students. Whether you’ve just finished your A levels, you’re returning to education to further your career, or taking on a research project, you’ll find people just like you, who share your interests, beliefs, and motivations.
The University of South Wales was established in 2013 following the merger of the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport.
Both the institutions that came together to create the University of South Wales have a rich and varied history, and can each trace their roots back more than 170 years.
Since its formation, the University has offered over 500 courses, welcoming students from more than 120 countries. Recent investment in USW’s campuses include a £15m extension to the Cardiff Campus in 2016 and a £15m enhancement of the University’s sport park in 2018.
Where you live can be just as important as what you learn. Whether you want to live on campus or in the city, there are many accommodation options. Living in student halls is a great way to make new friends, but private sector accommodation is also available.
USW has three locations, but is one University. The vibrant creativity of Wales’s capital city, Cardiff, the start-up spark of Newport and the rugged nature surrounding Pontypridd, Glyntaff and Treforest offer a wide-ranging experience. Every campus is well connected, everywhere is open to you as a USW student. Whichever campus hosts your course, you get the best of south Wales to explore.
Employability is so important that USW has made it part of all their courses. You’ll work on projects and within facilities based on working practices, and have the opportunity to take on work experience. A careers service is there to help with CVs, interviews, and to link students to global employers.
USW develops and delivers courses in exclusive partnerships with employers, representing the leaders of industry, the public sector and national bodies.
For example, a unique partnership between USW and Screen Alliance Wales is providing valuable experience to the next generation of film-makers. USW graduates and trainees have worked on a variety of leading television productions at Cardiff’s Bad Wolf Studios, including the highly-acclaimed BBC and HBO production of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. More than 40 students were given shadowing placements and 30 students were employed in paid positions in this production.
Each USW degree is 100 per cent focused on what employers need in the future. Most courses also provide additional professional accreditations, giving an additional competitive advantage to graduates. Ninety-five per cent of USW graduates are in full-time work or further study within six months.
Every undergraduate student is assigned a Personal Academic Coach, independent of their course, to help them with their individual needs. They are there to help students get the most out of study and life whilst at USW. Professional support services are available for all aspects of life at university – including wellbeing, careers and employment, entrepreneurship, study support and clubs and societies.
Research and teaching is focused on the global challenges that will affect every community in the future. Over 50 per cent of USW research is recognised as world-leading or internationally significant. Discoveries and collaborations are helping to practically change lives and our world for the better, from green energy, to criminal justice and medical advances.
Students choosing USW will have their horizons broadened and learn new ways of looking at the world around them. Graduates are prepared for tomorrow, ready to build their careers and make a difference.
University of South Wales website: www.southwales.ac.uk
UNIVERSITY OF WALES TRINITY SAINT DAVID
University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) offers award-winning creative courses, innovative teaching and inspiring learning locations across three main campuses in south-west Wales – Carmarthen, Lampeter and Swansea – as well as campuses in Birmingham and London and learning centres in Cardiff.
UWTSD has achieved recognition as No 1 in the UK for Course and Lecturers (Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019 and 2020).
The University was formed in November 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College Carmarthen, under Lampeter’s Royal Charter of 1828. In August 2013, Swansea Metropolitan University became part of UWTSD. The group will be further strengthened with the merger of the University of Wales into UWTSD in due course.
The University’s Royal Charter is the oldest in Wales and England after the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. In 2011 HRH the Prince of Wales became its Royal Patron.
The University’s main campuses are situated in various locations in and around Swansea’s city centre as well as in the rural towns of Lampeter and Carmarthen in south-west Wales.
The Wales International Academy of Voice, under the Directorship of Dennis O’Neill with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as its patron, is located in Cardiff and, in addition, the University has a Business School in London for international students.
This connected university is driving through structural and strategic change which is closely associated with industry, business and enterprise. The University has a clear national profile – delivering for Wales and celebrating its distinctiveness on the UK and international stage.
Developed through an award-winning Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation, Research and Enterprise (INSPIRE), UWTSD has embedded sustainable development through its learning, teaching, curricula, campus, community and culture.
University of Wales Trinity Saint David website: www.uwtsd.ac.uk
WREXHAM GLYNDŴR UNIVERSITY
From a rich history to a bright future for education in north Wales – Wrexham Glyndŵr University gives each student’s learning and future personal attention.
The name comes from Welsh scholar and hero Owain Glyndŵr and the University aspires to champion some of his philosophies.
Wrexham Glyndŵr University has been delivering education at its main Wrexham campus since 1887, when it was known as the Wrexham School of Science and Art.
It became Denbighsire Technical Institute in 1927, moving to Regent Street, now home to creative arts courses. As the Institute and demand for courses grew, the development of what is now the main Plas Coch campus began and the Denbighshire Technical College was born in 1939.
It soon became necessary to merge the three main colleges of the County of Clwyd: Denbighshire Technical College, Cartrefle Teacher Training College (situated at the other end of Wrexham) and Kelsterton College in Connah’s Quay, near Chester.
The resulting North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI) became one of the largest colleges of its kind in Britain with over 9,000 students and an annual budget in 1975 of £5million.
The College grew both in the number of students and in reputation as its expertise became sought after throughout the world. In 2008, NEWI gained university status and Glyndŵr University was born.
Looking ahead to the future, Campus 2025 is Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s £60m strategy to enhance all campuses to ensure students have the best facilities and learning environment.
Two modern and welcoming social learning spaces have already been completed: The Study and The Gallery. The longer-term plans include creating a gateway building at the heart of the Plas Coch campus which will become the main entrance to the university and also house the new student union.
The Regent Street campus will undergo a careful refurbishment programme and improvements to the Northop campus include the refurbishment of the sports hall to provide a brand new teaching and observation space for the veterinary nursing course.
Students choosing to study at Wrexham Glyndŵr University will have the best of both worlds – city life and the great outdoors.
The University is conveniently situated on the Wales-England border, perfectly placed for easy access to the nearby cities of Chester, Liverpool and Manchester to the east, the rugged beauty of Snowdonia to the west, and great beaches along the stunning coastline to the north.
Wrexham itself is steeped in heritage, with beautiful scenery and numerous historical sites, as well as a bustling town centre with great shopping, a thriving culture and entertainment scene, and buzzing nightlife. Not bad for a small market town.
Wrexham Glyndŵr University website: glyndwr.ac.uk
FURTHER EDUCATION COLLEGES IN WALES
CAMBRIA (DEESIDE & YALE)
CARDIFF AND VALE
GOWER COLLEGE, SWANSEA
LLANDRILLO MENAI (LLANDRILLO, MENAI & MEIRION-DWYFOR)
CONSERVATOIRE IN WALES
ROYAL WELSH COLLEGE OF MUSIC & DRAMA