Newcastle University (officially, the University of Newcastle upon Tyne) is a public research university in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North-East of England. The university can trace its origins to a School of Medicine and Surgery (later the College of Medicine), established in 1834, and to the College of Physical Science (later renamed Armstrong College), founded in 1871. These two colleges came to form one division of the federal University of Durham, with the Durham Colleges forming the other. The Newcastle colleges merged to form King’s College in 1937. In 1963, following an Act of Parliament, King’s College became the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Newcastle University is a red brick university and is a member of the Russell Group, an association of prestigious research-intensive UK universities. The university has one of the largest EU research portfolios in the UK. The annual income of the institution for 2016–17 was £470.7 million of which £107.6 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £457.1 million. Newcastle attracts over 20,000 students from more than 120 different countries.
Teaching and research are delivered in 24 academic schools and 40 research institutes and research centres, spread across three Faculties: the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; the Faculty of Medical Sciences; and the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering. The university offers around 175 full-time undergraduate degree programmes in a wide range of subject areas spanning arts, sciences, engineering and medicine, together with approximately 340 postgraduate taught and research programmes across a range of disciplines.
The university has its origins in the School of Medicine and Surgery, which was established in Newcastle upon Tyne in October 1834, when it provided basic lectures and practical demonstrations to around 26 students. In June 1851, following a dispute among the teaching staff, the School split into two rival institutions. The majority formed the Newcastle College of Medicine, and the others established themselves as the Newcastle upon Tyne College of Medicine and Practical Science. By 1852, the majority college was formally linked to the University of Durham. It awarded its first ‘Licence in Medicine’ (Lic.Med) in 1856, and its teaching certificates were recognised by the University of London for graduation in medicine.
Throughout the early 20th century, the medical and science colleges vastly outpaced the growth of their Durham counterparts and a Royal Commission in 1934 recommended the merger of the two colleges to form King’s College, Durham. Growth of the Newcastle Division of the federal Durham University led to tensions within the structure and on 1 August 1963 an Act of Parliament separated the two, creating the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The university has an enrolment of almost 16,000 undergraduate and 5,600 postgraduate students from more than 120 countries. Teaching and research are delivered in 24 academic schools and 40 research institutes and research centres, spread across three Faculties: the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; the Faculty of Medical Sciences; and the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering. The university offers around 175 full-time undergraduate degree programmes in a wide range of subject areas spanning arts, sciences, engineering and medicine, together with approximately 340 postgraduate taught and research programmes across a range of disciplines.
The university enjoys a friendly sporting rivalry with local universities. The Stan Calvert Cup is contested by major sports teams from Newcastle and Northumbria University. The Northumbrian Water University Boat Race has also taken place between the rowing clubs of Newcastle and Durham University.
It holds a series of public lectures called ‘Insights’ each year in the Curtis Auditorium in the Herschel Building. Many of the university’s partnerships with companies, like Red Hat, are housed in the Herschel Annex.
The university describes itself as a civic university, with a role to play in society by bringing its research to bear on issues faced by communities (local, national or international).
It is focusing a major part of its research into tackling three profound challenges facing global society; namely Ageing, Sustainability and Social Renewal.
In 2012, the university opened the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal to address issues of social and economic change, representing the research-led academic schools across the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Business School.
In 2002, Newcastle University Business School established the Business Accounting and Finance or ‘Flying Start’ degree in association with the ICAEW and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The course offers an accelerated route towards the ACA Chartered Accountancy qualification and is the Business School’s Flagship programme. Its success has since resulted in Lancaster University and Ernst & Young collaborating to establish a competing degree programme in 2005.
The Medical School gained 143 out of a possible 144 points in its six subject areas in the Teaching Quality Assessment, and was also the first institution in Europe, second in the world, to receive permission to pursue stem-cell research in human embryos. According to UCAS, Cambridge, Oxford and Newcastle are the most academically selective universities for entry to study medicine in the United Kingdom.
The School of Modern Languages consists of five sections: East Asian (which includes Japanese and Chinese); French; German; Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies; and Translating & Interpreting Studies. Six languages are taught from beginner’s level to full degree level ‒ Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese ‒ and beginner’s courses in Catalan, Dutch, Italian and Quechua are also available.
The School of Modern Languages at Newcastle is also very active in outreach work. It is the Lead Institution in the North East Routes into Languages Consortium and together with the Durham University, Northumbria University, the University of Sunderland, the Teesside University and a network of schools, undertakes work activities of discovery of languages for the 9 to 13 years pupils.
The university is associated with a number of the region’s museums and galleries, including the Great North Museum project, which is primarily based at the world-renowned Hancock Museum. The Great North Museum: Hancock also contains collections from two of the university’s other museums, the Shefton Museum and the Museum of Antiquities. The university’s Hatton Gallery is also a part of the Great North Museum project, and remains within the Fine Art Building.
In terms of average UCAS points of entrants, Newcastle ranked joint 19th in Britain in 2014. The university gives offers of admission to 92.1% of its applicants, the highest amongst the Russell Group.
Newcastle is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of 24 research-intensive universities. It was ranked joint 23rd in the UK amongst multi-faculty institutions for the quality (GPA) of its research and 16th for its Research Power in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. All 38 of its submitted research areas were identified as “world leading” or “internationally recognised” by the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
The university has many student organisations. Newcastle University Students’ Union (known as the Union Society until a 2012 rebranding) includes student-run sports clubs and societies.
The Students’ Union is run by six sabbatical officers and fifteen part-time unpaid officer positions. The former leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron was President of NUSU in 1991–1992. The Students’ Union also employs around 300 people in ancillary roles including bar staff and entertainment organisers.
The Courier is a weekly student newspaper. Established in 1948, the current weekly readership is around 12,000, most of whom are students at the university. It is published every Monday during term time. The Courier has won The Guardian’s Student Publication of the Yearaward twice in a row, in 2012 and 2013.