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Sheffield University


Sheffield University

This article is about the University of Sheffield. For an unrelated university with a similar name, see Sheffield Hallam University.

University of Sheffield
File:University of Sheffield coat of arms.png
Motto Latin: Rerum cognoscere causas
Motto in English To discover the causes of things
Established 1905 (1905) – University of Sheffield
1897 (1897) – University College of Sheffield
1828 (1828) -Sheffield Medical School
Type Public
Endowment £36 million[1]
Chancellor Sir Peter Middleton
Vice-Chancellor Sir Keith Burnett
Admin. staff 5,306
Students 26,960[2]
Undergraduates 18,005[2]
Postgraduates 8,950[2]

Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, UK
Coordinates: 53°22′53″N 1°29′18″W / 53.381389°N 1.488272°W / 53.381389; -1.488272

Campus Urban
Former names University College of Sheffield
Colours Black & Gold
Affiliations Russell Group, WUN, ACU, N8 Group, White Rose, Yorkshire Universities, EQUIS, AMBA
Logo of the University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is a research university based in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. It is a member of the Russell Group of research intensive universities and also one of the original 'red brick' universities. In 2012, QS World University Rankings[3] placed Sheffield as the 66th university worldwide. The year before, Sheffield was also named 'University of the Year' 2011 in the Times Higher Education awards.[4]



The University of Sheffield was originally formed by the merger of three colleges. The Sheffield School of Medicine was founded in 1828, followed in 1879 by the opening of Firth College by Mark Firth, a steel manufacturer, to teach arts and science subjects. Firth College then helped to fund the opening of the Sheffield Technical School in 1884 to teach applied science, the only major faculty the existing colleges did not cover. The three institutions merged in 1897 to form the University College of Sheffield.[5] Sheffield is one of the six red brick universities.

Royal Charter

It was originally envisaged that the University College would join Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds as the fourth member of the federal Victoria University. However, the Victoria University began to split up before this could happen and so the University College of Sheffield received its own Royal Charter in 1905 and became the University of Sheffield.


From 200 full-time students in 1905, the University grew slowly until the 1950s and 1960s when it began to expand rapidly. Many new buildings (including the famous Arts Tower) were built and student numbers increased to their present levels of just under 26,000. In 1987 the University began to collaborate with its once would-be partners of the Victoria University by co-founding the Northern Consortium; a coalition for the education and recruitment of international students.

In 1995, the University took over the Sheffield and North Trent College of Nursing and Midwifery, which greatly increased the size of the medical faculty. In 2005, the South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority announced that it would split the training between Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University – however, the University decided to pull out of providing preregistration nursing and midwifery training due to "costs and operational difficulties".[6]


There are two official histories of the university:

  • Arthur W. Chapman (1955) The Story of a Modern University: A History of the University of Sheffield, Oxford University Press.
  • Helen Mathers (2005) Steel City Scholars: The Centenary History of the University of Sheffield, London: James & James.


Main (Western Bank) campus

The University of Sheffield is not a campus university, though most of its buildings are located in fairly close proximity to each other. The centre of the University's presence lies one mile to the west of Sheffield city centre, where there is a mile-long collection of buildings belonging almost entirely to the University. This area includes the Sheffield Students' Union (housed next door to University House), the Octagon Centre, Firth Court, the Geography and Planning building, the Alfred Denny Building (housing natural sciences and including a small museum), the Dainton and Richard Roberts Buildings (chemistry) and the Hicks Building (mathematics and physics). The Grade II*-listed library and Arts Tower are also located in this cluster. The Arts Tower houses one of Europe's few surviving examples of a Paternoster lift. A concourse under the main road (the A57) allows students to easily move between these buildings. Amongst the more recent additions to the universities estate are The Information Commons, opened in 2007, The Soundhouse (Carey Jones Architects and Jefferson Sheard Architects 2008) and the Jessop West building (2009), the first UK project by renowned Berlin architects Sauerbruch Hutton.[7] In addition, throughout 2010 the Western Bank Library received a £3.3m restoration and refurbishment, the University of Sheffield Union of Students underwent a £5m rebuild, and work commenced on a multimillion pound refurbishment of the grade II* listed Arts Tower to extend its lifespan by 30 years.[8]

St George's

To the east lies St George's Campus, named after St George's Church (now a lecture theatre and postgraduate residence). The campus is centred on Mappin Street, home to a number of University buildings, including the Faculty of Engineering (partly housed in the Grade II-listed Mappin Building) and the University of Sheffield School of Management and Department of Computer Science. The University also maintains the Turner Museum of Glass in this area. The University recently converted the listed old Victorian Jessop Hospital for Women buildings into the new home of the Department of Music. The adjacent Edwardian buildings and a large vacant plot of land opposite St George's Church are awaiting development as and when funding permits. The grade II listed Edwardian wing of the Jessop Hospital is being demolished to be replaced by a new £81 million building for the Faculty of Engineering.[9]

West of the main campus

Further west lies Weston Park, the Weston Park Museum, the Harold Cantor Gallery, sports facilities in the Crookesmoor area, and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health around the Royal Hallamshire Hospital (although these subjects are taught in the city's extensive teaching hospitals under the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and throughout South Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire). It is in this area that the new £12m Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in November 2010, is located.[10]

Student accommodation

Further west still lie the University halls of residence. These comprise Tapton Hall of Residence (now vacant awaiting redevelopment into private housing), The Endcliffe Student Village comprising the established Halifax and Stephenson Halls (although much of the Halifax Hall has been converted to conferencing rooms), Endcliffe Vale Flats, Crescent Flats, Crewe Flats, and newly built (2007) Burbage, Stanage, Howden, Froggatt, Millstone, Rivelin, Yarncliffe, Birchen, Curbar, Cratcliffe, Lawrencefield and Derwent, as well as University owned private houses. A new student village was completed (but not fully occupied) for the 2009/10 academic year with 1200 beds on the site of the former Ranmoor Halls of Residence, now known as the Ranmoor Village. Student accommodation in both the Endcliffe and Ranmoor villages is rented out during the summer recess to visiting conference delegations etc.

Manvers campus

The Manvers campus, at Wath-on-Dearne between Rotherham and Barnsley, was where the majority of nursing was taught, but this has now been mothballed.

University Arms
Broad Lane Court
The Manvers campus


Sir Frederick Mappin Building, Faculty of Engineering

The University has five faculties[11] plus an International Faculty in Thessaloniki, Greece.[11]


There are several bodies which govern the University.

University Executive Board

Members of the UEB are:

  • Vice-Chancellor
  • Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellors (x5)
  • Institutional Pro-Vice Chancellors (x2: Research and Innovation and Learning and Teaching)
  • Registrar and Secretary
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Director of Human Resources


The Court is a large body which fosters relations between the University and the community, and includes lay members. Ex-officio members of the Court include all the MPs of Sheffield, the Bishops of Sheffield and Hallam, and the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police.[12] It also includes representatives of professional bodies such as the Arts Council, Royal Society and the General Medical Council.[13]


The Council manages the University's business side (finance and property).[12]


The Senate manages the academic side of the University. It is the highest academic authority of the University.[12] The Members of the Senate are:[14]

  • The Vice-Chancellor
  • The Pro-Vice-Chancellors (2 Institutional PVCs, and 5 for the Faculties)
  • Faculty Officers
  • Heads of all academic departments
  • Two heads of the School of Clinical Dentistry
  • The Librarian
  • Elected representatives of staff
  • Five student officers
  • A student elected from each Faculty
  • Two postgraduate student representatives
  • One mature student
  • The Registrar and Secretary (Secretary to the Senate)


Coat of arms
The University’ s logo

The brand (encompassing the visual identity) is centred on the theme of "discovery", led by the Latin motto from the coat of arms "Rerum Cognoscere Causas" – "to discover the causes of things".

The visual identity includes two specially-designed fonts, TUOS Blake (sans-serif) and TUOS Stephenson (serif).[15] It has been applied across print, screen and other areas such as signage, vehicle livery and merchandising. The project was key to the University's Marketing Department receiving "HEIST Marketing Team of the Year, 2005".[16]


Sheffield was the Sunday Times University of the Year in 2001 and has consistently appeared as one of their top-20 institutions. Just three universities nationally have more than Sheffield's 30 top-rated subjects for teaching excellence and only five have a greater number than the 35 subject areas at Sheffield deemed to have conducted world-class research in the most recent ratings.[17]

The University of Sheffield is rated 8th in the UK, 18th in Europe and 69th in the world in an annual academic ranking of the top 500 universities worldwide published in August 2010. Shanghai Jiao Tong University evaluated the universities using several research performance indicators, including the number of highly cited researchers, academic performance, articles in the periodicals Science and Nature, and the number of Nobel prize-winners. A separate ranking, published in the US by Newsweek magazine, and released in August 2006, ranked Sheffield 9th in the UK, 18th in Europe and 70th in the world in a list of the Global Top 100 Universities. The University is rated 12th in the UK, 22nd in Europe and 68th in the world in the Times Higher Education Supplement's November 2007 ranking of the top 100 universities in the world.

The university ranked 17th in the United Kingdom in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)[18] and is consistently ranked in the top 20 universities in the United Kingdom according to The Good University Guide.[17] It was the Sunday Times University of the Year.[4] in 2001. In 2012, QS World University Rankings[3] placed Sheffield as the 66th university worldwide.

The university is ranked amongst both the UK's and world's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, and the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise found 41 submissions out of 49 of Sheffield's research to contain more than 50% of "world-leading" and "internationally excellent" research, which made Sheffield among the Top Ten in the Russell Group.[19][20] The university has produced five Nobel Prize winners so far.

(2013, national)
(2013, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2014, national)
The Guardian[25]
(2014, national)
Times/Sunday Times[26]
(2014, national)

Research and teaching quality

The University of Sheffield has been described by The Times as one of the powerhouses of British higher education.[17] The University is a member of the Russell Group, the European University Association, the Worldwide Universities Network and the White Rose University Consortium.

In the latest round of Teaching Quality Assessments (TQA 1993–2001) Sheffield ranked third in the UK for the highest number of "Excellent" rated subject areas. Nearly 75% of all teaching subjects achieved a 24/24 (Excellent) score.

The University of Sheffield is rated 8th in the UK, 24th in Europe and 77th in the world in an annual academic ranking of the top 500 universities worldwide published in August 2008.[27] A separate ranking, published in the US by Newsweek magazine, and released in August 2006, ranked Sheffield 9th in the UK, 18th in Europe and 70th in the world in a list of the Global Top 100 Universities.

The University has won Queen's Anniversary Prizes in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2007.[28] It was also named the Sunday Times University of the Year in 2001.

In the 2007 National Student Survey, five of the University of Sheffield's departments reached the top of the table for overall student satisfaction among the UK universities. "Dentistry, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Philosophy, East Asian Studies and courses in Modern Languages and Modern Languages with Interpreting returned the highest satisfaction scores in the UK".[29]

Major research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls Royce, Siemens, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, and Slazenger, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations. As an example, the Department of Architecture, under the guidance of Professor Jeremy Till, are currently involved in a research project with development and disaster relief charity Article 25 to investigate the possibilities of building sustainably in arid regions.The University also works with local small and medium enterprises through the dedicated physical spaces at the Sheffield Bioincubator and Kroto Innovation Centre.

For many years the University has been engaged in theological publishing through Sheffield Academic Press and JSOT Press.

The University of Sheffield is also a partner organisation in Higher Futures, a collaborative association of institutions set up under the government's Lifelong Learning Networks initiative, to co-ordinate vocational and work-based education.[30]

As well as the research carried out in departments, the university has 84 specialised research centres or institutes.[31]

Involvement with the arms trade

The University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is run in partnership with Boeing, which conducts research projects funded by arms manufacturers such as BAE Systems.[32] In 2008, the University partnered with BAE Systems to launch a new Centre for Research in Active Control which aimed to improve the stealth of BAE Systems' submarines.[33] In 2012 the Students Union voted in favour of the University ending all links with the arms trade.[34]


The University of Sheffield's 25,000 students arrive mostly from the UK, but include more than 3,700 international students from 120 different countries. The University employs nearly 6,000 people, including almost 1,400 academic staff.

Students' Union, sports and traditions

The University of Sheffield Students' Union was founded in 1906. It has two bars (Bar One – which has a book-able function room with its own bar, The Raynor Lounge – and The Interval); three club venues (Fusion, Foundry and Studio); and coffee shops, restaurants, shops, and the student run cinema Film Unit. There is also a student radio station called Forge Radio and a newspaper called Forge Press, which are run under the umbrella of 'Forge Media'. The Union has nearly three hundred student societies and nearly fifty sports teams.

In November 2009 a development project began to redevelop the Students' Union building, funded by £5m by the HEFCE, which was completed and re-opened in September 2010. Works centred on improving circulation around the building by aligning previously disjointed floors, improving internal access between the Union building and neighbouring University House, and constructing a striking new entrance and lobby that incorporates the university's traditional colours of black and gold.

During 2012-13 the Students' Union went under a further redevelopment costing £20 million which led to the refurbishment of the University House. University House, which was one of the first glass curtain walled buildings in the world when it was completed in 1963, has now been integrated with the University’s Students' Union – the number one in the UK - in one single building. [35]

The union has an active volunteering and charity community. The RAG (Raising and Giving society) raised over £180,000 in 2011-12, through general fundraising and several larger events; the union is host to the world's largest student organized charity hitchhike, Bummit, which runs every year.[36] Another RAG tradition is Spiderwalk, a 12.5-mile trek through the city and the Peak District through the night; other societies run fund-raising activities throughout the night, such as a 24-hour role-playing event. The Union's "SheffieldVolunteering" scheme is one of the country's most active and well-recognised student volunteering schemes, with over 26,269 hours logged in 2011-12, and has won various national acclaims over the years.[37]

Varsity sports

The annual "Varsity Challenge" takes place between teams from the University and its rival Sheffield Hallam University. The University has 26 varsity sports (sports contested in varsity). The University sports colours are black and gold. The University of Sheffield won the Varsity competition in 2012, beating Sheffield Hallam University for the first time in ten years. [38]

Nobel Prizes

The University's Faculty of Pure Science may boast an association with five Nobel Prizes, two for the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology:

And three to its Department of Chemistry:

Notable alumni





Media and Arts



Public service




Notable academics


Honorary Graduates

In 1908 the newly formed university awarded 20 honorary degrees to notable people and also 14 to members of staff such as Professor Lucius Trant O'Shea, and has continued to honour people each year in this way.

See also


External links

  • University of Sheffield's Union of Students
  • Lists of University College of Sheffield students
  • RAE results 2008
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