King’s College London (informally King’s or KCL) is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, and a founding constituent college of the federal University of London. King’s was established in 1829 by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington, when it received its first royal charter (as a university college), and claims to be the fourth oldest university institution in England. In 1836, King’s became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London. In the late 20th century, King’s grew through a series of mergers, including with Queen Elizabeth College and Chelsea College of Science and Technology (in 1985), the Institute of Psychiatry (in 1997), the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals and the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery (in 1998).
King’s has five campuses: its historic Strand Campus in central London, three other Thames-side campuses (Guy’s, St Thomas’ and Waterloo) and one in Denmark Hill in south London. In 2016/17, King’s had a total income of £778.2 million, of which £192.6 million was from research grants and contracts. It is the 12th largest university in the United Kingdom by total enrolment. It has the fifth largest endowment of any university in the United Kingdom, and the largest of any in London. Its academic activities are organised into nine faculties which are subdivided into numerous departments, centres and research divisions.
King’s alumni and staff include 12 Nobel laureates; contributors to the discovery of DNA structure, Hepatitis C and the Higgs boson; pioneers of in-vitro fertilisation, stem cell/mammal cloning and the modern hospice movement; and key researchers advancing radar, radio, television and mobile phones. Alumni also include heads of states, governments and intergovernmental organisations; nineteen members of the current House of Commons and seventeen members of the current House of Lords; and the recipients of two Oscars, three Grammys and an Emmy.
King’s College, so named to indicate the patronage of King George IV, was founded in 1829 in response to the theological controversy surrounding the founding of “London University” (which later became University College, London) in 1826. London University was founded, with the backing of Utilitarians, Jews and non-Anglican Christians, as a secular institution, intended to educate “the youth of our middling rich people between the ages of 15 or 16 and 20 or later” giving its nickname, “the godless college in Gower Street”.
The Strand Campus is the founding campus of King’s and is located on the Strand in the City of Westminster, sharing its frontage along the River Thames. The original campus comprises the Grade I listed King’s Building of 1831 designed by Sir Robert Smirke, and the King’s College London Chapel redesigned in 1864 by Sir George Gilbert Scott, with the subsequent purchase of much of adjacent Surrey Street (including the Norfolk and Chesham Buildings) since the Second World War and the 1972 Strand Building. The Macadam Building of 1975 houses the Strand Campus Students’ Union and is named after King’s alumnus Sir Ivison Macadam, first President of the National Union of Students.
The Strand Campus houses the arts and science faculties of King’s, including the faculties of Arts & Humanities, Law, Social Science & Public Policy and Natural & Mathematical Sciences (formerly Physical Sciences & Engineering).
Since 2010, the campus has expanded rapidly to incorporate the East Wing of Somerset House and the Virginia Woolf Building next to LSEon Kingsway. On 10 March 2015, King’s acquired a 50-year lease for the Aldwych Quarter site incorporating the historic grand Bush Housebuilding. It began occupation of the Bush House Building in September 2016 and will occupy the adjacent King House and Strand House from 2017 and Melbourne House from 2025. In October 2016, King’s announced it had also taken a separate 50-year lease on the North-West Block which it will incorporate from 2018.
Guy’s Campus is situated close to London Bridge and the Shard on the South Bank of the Thames and is home to the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine and the Dental Institute.
The campus is named for Thomas Guy, the founder and benefactor of Guy’s Hospital established in 1726 in the London Borough of Southwark. Building include; the Henriette Raphael building, constructed in 1902, the Gordon Museum of Pathology, the Hodgkin building, Shepherd’s House and Guy’s Chapel. The Students’ Union centre at Guy’s is situated in Boland House. Guy’s Campus is located opposite the Old Operating Theatre Museum, which was part of old St Thomas Hospital in Southwark.
The nearest Underground stations are London Bridge and Borough.
The head of King’s College London is formally the principal and president, currently held by Ed Byrne. The office is established by the charter of King’s as “the chief academic and administrative officer of the College” and King’s statutes require the principal to have the general responsibility to the council for “ensuring that the objects of the College are fulfilled and for maintaining and promoting the efficiency, discipline and good order of the College.
The Dental Institute is the dental school of King’s and focuses on understanding disease, enhancing health and restoring function. The institute is the successor of Guy’s Hospital Dental School, King’s College Hospital Dental School, Royal Dental Hospital of London School of Dental Surgery, and the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals. It was a part of King’s School of Medicine and Dentistry until 2005, when the dental school became the Dental Institute.
The establishment of King’s College Hospital Dental School was proposed by Viscount Hambleden at a Hospital Management Committee meeting on 12 April 1923. The dental school was opened on 12 November 1923 in King’s College Hospital. Under the 1948 National Health Act, King’s Medical and Dental School split from King’s and became an independent school, but the school remerged with King’s in 1983. The school further merged with the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in 1998.
There are two schools of education in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine: the GKT School of Medical Education is responsible for the medical education and training of students on the MBBS programme, and the School of Bioscience Education is responsible for the biomedical and health professions education and training. The faculty is divided into 7 schools, including Basic & Medical Biosciences, Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, Cancer & Pharmaceutical Science, Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences, Immunology & Microbial Sciences, Life Course Sciences and Population Health Sciences.
King’s College London is a constituent college and was one of the two founding members of the federal University of London. King’s is a member of Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), European University Association (EUA) and Universities UK. In 1998, King’s joined the Russell Group, an association of 24 public research universities established in 1994. King’s is currently the only British member of the Institutional Network of the Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA), a network of major higher education institutions in the European capital cities.
King’s is a founding member of Global Medical Excellence Cluster (GMEC), the largest life science bio-cluster in the world established with the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, University College London and Imperial College London. King’s is also the founding partner of FutureLearn, a massive open online course learning platform founded in December 2012. Launched in 2014, MedCity is the collaboration between King’s and the other two main science universities in London, Imperial College and University College London. In 2016, King’s College London, together with Arizona State University and University of New South Wales, forms the PLuS Alliance, an international university alliance to address global challenges. King’s is also often regarded as part of the “golden triangle”, a group of elite universities located in the English cities of Cambridge, Oxford and London, including the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, Imperial College London, London School of Economics and University College London.