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University of Cardiff

Cardiff University
Prifysgol Caerdydd
Coat of arms of Cardiff University
Motto Welsh: Gwirionedd Undod A Chytgord
Motto in English Truth Unity and Harmony
Established 1883
Type Public
Endowment £25.58 million[1]
Chancellor Sir Martin Evans
President Professor Colin Riordan
Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan
Admin. staff 5,230
Students 27,774[2]
Undergraduates 20,611[2]
Postgraduates 7,133[2]

Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
51°29′16″N 3°10′44″W / 51.4877°N 3.1790°W / 51.4877; -3.1790Coordinates: 51°29′16″N 3°10′44″W / 51.4877°N 3.1790°W / 51.4877; -3.1790

Campus Urban
Affiliations Russell Group
Universities UK

Cardiff University (Welsh: Prifysgol Caerdydd) is a public research university located in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. The University is composed of three colleges: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Biomedical and Life Sciences; and Physical Sciences and Engineering.

Founded in 1883 as the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, it is the second oldest university in Wales. It is a member of the Russell Group of leading British research universities.[3] The university is consistently recognised as providing high quality research-based university education and is ranked 143 of the world's top universities by the QS World University Rankings, as well as achieving the highest student satisfaction rating in the 2013 National Student Survey for universities in Wales.[4]

The University has an undergraduate enrollment of 20,611 and a total enrollment of 27,774, making it one of the largest universities in Wales. The Cardiff University Students' Union works to promote the interests of the student body within the University and further afield. The University's sports teams compete in the BUCS league and the British Universities American Football League.

The University has produced a number of notable alumni including President of the European Commission Roy Jenkins, Prime Minister of Jordan Faisal al-Fayez and Nobel laureate Martin Evans.



The Aberdare Report of 1881 recommended the foundation of university colleges in North Wales and South Wales to complement the already established University College, Wales (now Aberystwyth University), in Aberystwyth. There was considerable debate about whether the southern college should be located in Cardiff or Swansea. The case for Cardiff was strengthened by stressing the need to take account of the interests of Monmouthshire, at that time not legally considered part of Wales. This influenced the name of the new body. Following a public appeal that raised £37,000, the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire opened on 24 October 1883, offering studies in Biology, Chemistry, English, French, German, Greek, History, Latin, Mathematics & Astronomy, Music, Welsh, Logic & Philosophy and Physics. The University College was incorporated by Royal Charter the following year. John Viriamu Jones was appointed as the University’s first Principal, at age 27. The only college in Wales with its own degree awarding powers at this time was St David's University College. As such, Cardiff entered students for the examinations of the University of London[5] until, in 1893, it became one of the founding institutions of the University of Wales and began awarding their degrees.

In 1885, Aberdare Hall opened as the first hall of residence, allowing women access to the university. This moved to its current site in 1895, but remains a single-sex hall. 1904 saw the appointment of the first female professor in the UK, Millicent McKenzie.

Architect W.D. Caroe sought to combine the charm and elegance of his former college (Trinity College, Cambridge) with the picturesque balance of many of the University of Oxford colleges. Building work on the Main Building commenced in 1905 and was completed in many stages, the first in 1909. Money ran short for this project, however, and although the side-wings were completed in the 1960s the planned Great Hall has never been built. Prior to then, from its founding in 1883, the university was based in the Old Infirmary on Newport Road, Cardiff which is now part of the university’s Queen’s Buildings.


In 1931, the School of Medicine, which had been founded as part of the college in 1893 when the Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Pharmacology were founded, was split off to form the University of Wales College of Medicine. In 1972, the college lost the name it had retained for ninety years and was renamed University College, Cardiff.[6]

In 1988, financial considerations led to the merger of University College, Cardiff with the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, UWIST, forming the University of Wales College, Cardiff. The Principal of the new institution was Sir Aubrey Trotman-Dickenson, who had been principal of UWIST. Following changes to the constitution of the University of Wales in 1996, this became the University of Wales, Cardiff.

In the early 1990s, the university's computer systems served as the home for The Internet Movie Database.[7] In 1997, the college was granted full independent degree awarding-powers by the Privy Council (though, as a member of the University of Wales it could not begin using them) and in 1999 the public name of the university was changed to Cardiff University.

2000 to present

In 2002, ideas were floated to re-merge Cardiff with the University of Wales College of Medicine following the publication of the Welsh Assembly Government's review of higher education in Wales. This merger became effective on 1 August 2004, on which date Cardiff University ceased to be a constituent institution of the University of Wales and became an independent "link institution" affiliated to the federal University. The process of the merger was completed on 1 December 2004 when the Act of Parliament transferring UWCM's assets to Cardiff University received Royal Assent. On 17 December it was announced that the Privy Council had given approval to the new Supplemental Charter and had granted university status to Cardiff, legally changing the name of the institution to Cardiff University. Cardiff awarded University of Wales degrees to students admitted before 2005, but these have been replaced by Cardiff degrees.

In 2005, The Wales College of Medicine, which is part of the University, launched the North Wales Clinical School in Wrexham in collaboration with the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education in Wrexham and the University of Wales, Bangor and with the National Health Service in Wales. This has been funded with £12.5 million from the Welsh Assembly[8] and will lead to the trebling of the number of trainee doctors in clinical training in Wales over a four-year period.

The university also has a popular Centre for Lifelong Learning which has been teaching a wide range of courses to the public for over 125 years.[9] In July 2009, the University announced it was ending the teaching of over 250 humanities courses at the centre making over 100 staff redundant. The University has since reintroduced a number of humanities courses for a trial period beginning in 2010.[10]

In June 2010, the University launched three new Research Institutes,[11] each of which offers a new approach to a major modern research issue. They are the Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, the Sustainable Places Research Institute, and the Neurosciences & Mental Health Research Institute.

Academics, administration and ranking

Schools and colleges

The twenty seven academic schools of the University are divided into three colleges: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Biomedical and Life Sciences; and Physical Sciences.

Cardiff also has a University Graduate College which brings together the work of four previous, discipline- based Graduate Schools and the postgraduate research activity of the University's Graduate Centre.


In the financial year ended 31 July 2012, Cardiff University had a total net income of £425.54 million.[12] Key sources of income included £87.65 million from research grants and contracts, £117.36 million from Funding Council grants, £123.84 million from tuition fees and support grants and £3.17 million from endowment and investment income.[12] During the 2011/12 financial year Cardiff had a capital expenditure of £14.29 million.

At 31 July 2012 Cardiff had endowments of £25.58 million and total net assets of £402.86 million.[12]


(2013, national)
(2013, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2014, national)
The Guardian[17]
(2014, national)
Times/Sunday Times[18]
(2014, national)

Cardiff University continues the tradition of all three of its former institutions in providing high quality research-based education in Wales, as shown in its five-year standing as the best centre of excellence in Wales in the Sunday Times League Tables. Cardiff is also the only university in Wales to be a member of the Russell Group of Research Intensive Universities. Cardiff is by far the strongest research-focused university in Wales. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 33 out of the 34 research areas submitted by the University for assessment were shown to be undertaking research that includes world-leading work.

Cardiff has two Nobel Laureates on its staff, Professor Sir Martin Evans and Professor Robert Huber.[19] A number of Cardiff University staff have[20] been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society, these include Graham Hutchings FRS, professor of Physical Chemistry and Director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute, School of Chemistry[21] and Professor Ole Holger Petersen CBE FRS, MRC Professor and Director of Cardiff School of Biosciences.[22]

In 2013, Cardiff University was ranked as one of the best universities in the UK for supporting LGB students by the charity Stonewall in its annual Gay by Degree guide. The University was one of only two universities in the UK and the only university in Wales to achieve top marks in a Stonewall checklist of priorities for LGB students.[23]

The University has also won four Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher & Further Education. The most recent award was won in 2009 by the University's Violence & Society Research Group.


Academic facilities

The University's academic facilities are centred around Cathays Park in central Cardiff,[24] which contains the University's main building, housing administrative facilities and the science library;[25] the Bute building, which contains the Welsh School of Architecture[26] and the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies;[27] the Glamorgan building, which houses the Cardiff School of Social Sciences,[28] the Redwood Building, which houses the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences;[29] the law building which houses the Cardiff Law School;[30] and the biosciences building, which provides facilities for both biosciences and medical teaching.[31]

A number of the University's academic facilities are also located at the Heath Park campus which is based at the University Hospital of Wales, this contains the Cardiff University School of Medicine, the School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, the School of Dentistry, the School of Healthcare Studies and the School of Optometry & Vision Sciences.[24]

Athletic facilities

The majority of the University's sports facilities are located at the sports training village in the Talybont Halls complex. This includes facilties for football, badminton, basketball, tennis, hockey and gym facilties.[32] Additional gym facilities and squash courts are located at the university fitness and squash centre, near the city centre campus at Cathays Park.[33] Extensive playing fields for Rugby, football and lacrosse are located at the University playing fields near Llanrumney.[34] The University also utilises the nearby Millennium Stadium for rugby fixtures such as the annual varsity tournament.[35]

Student accommodation and student life facilities

The University maintains fourteen student halls and a number of student houses throughout the city of Cardiff; providing a total of 5,362 student places in accommodation.[2] They are in a variety of architectural styles and ages, from the Gothic Aberdare Hall, built in 1895, to the modern Talybont Halls, built in 1995. All first-year students are guaranteed a place in Halls.[36] The Cardiff University Halls are:

  • Aberconway Hall
  • Aberdare Hall
  • Cartwright Court
  • Colum Hall
  • Gordon Hall
  • Roy Jenkins Hall
  • Senghennydd Court
  • Senghennydd Hall
  • Talybont Halls
  • University Hall

The Cardiff University Students' Union building is near Cathays Park, next to Cathays railway station. It has shops, a nightclub and the studios of Xpress Radio and Gair Rhydd, the student newspaper.

Student life

Student groups

The Cardiff University Students' Union is a student-run organisation that aims to promote student interests both within the University and further afield. It is democratically controlled by the student body through the election of eight full-time officers who manage the running of the Union.[37] The Union provides a range of services, including a number of cafes, bars and shops, as well as advice, training and representation. The Union provides facilities and support for several student media groups, including: Gair rhydd, the student newspaper,[38] Quench, an arts and lifestyle magazine covering a range of issues,[39] Xpress Radio, the student radio station,[40] and CUTV, the student television channel.[41] The Union also supports over 150 other clubs and societies across a wide range of interests,[42] including: Cardiff University Debating Society,[43] and Act One, the student dramatic society.[44] The Union is an affiliated member of the National Union of Students.[45]

Student Volunteering Cardiff is a registered charity run by Cardiff students that promotes and enables volunteering by the student body.[46]


The Cardiff University Athletic Union is the body that supports student sport at Cardiff, it oversees more than 60 competitive and non-competitive sports clubs, many of which compete in the British Universities and Colleges Sport league.[47] The university's American football team, the Cardiff Cobras, competes in the British Universities American Football League. The University's Ice Hockey team, the Cardiff Redhawks (which also recruits players from other Welsh universities) competes in the British Universities Ice Hockey Association leagues.[48]

The university's sports teams also take part in the annual Welsh Varsity against Swansea University, which includes the Welsh Boat Race, and several other sporting competitions.[49]

Insignia and other representations


Cardiff University's motto is Gwirionedd, Undod a Chytgord. The Welsh motto is translated as Truth, Unity and Concord or Truth, Unity and Harmony and is taken from the prayer for the Church militant as it appears in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.[50]

Coat of arms

Cardiff University's current coat of arms was granted by the College of Arms in 1988 following the merger of University College Cardiff and the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology.[51] The coat of arms incorporates features from the heralds of both of the former institutions. The three chevrons of the arms are derived from the arms of the de Clare Lords of Glamorgan (Glamorgan being the county in which Cardiff is located). The open book signifies learning; on it are the crescent and annulet, marks of cadence that indicate that University College Cardiff is the second of the University of Wales' institutions, and that the Wales Institute of Science and Technology is the fifth.[52]

A notable feature of the arms are the supporters, which in heraldry are rarely granted to universities. The supporters are an angel and dragon, and are derived from the crests of the merged universities. The crest is a Welsh dragon in the stance of a lion; it stands on the helmet. Both the dragon and the helmet are distinguished by being front-facing rather than in profile as is more usually found in Welsh heraldry.[52]

Notable alumni and faculty

Heads of state and government





Arts and Journalism

See also


External links

  • Cardiff University
  • Cardiff University Students' Union

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