The university finds its roots in the School of Medicine and Surgery (later the College of Medicine), established in 1834, and the College of Physical Science
(later renamed Armstrong College), founded in 1871. These two colleges came to form the larger 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.
The university subdivides into 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 annual income of the institution for 2019–20 was £532.9 million of which £97.7 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £471 million.
Newcastle University currently has one of the largest EU research portfolios in the UK.
The Armstrong Building
The establishment of a university in Newcastle upon Tyne
was first proposed in 1831 by Thomas Greenhow
in a lecture to the Literary and Philosophical Society
. In 1832 a group of local medics – physicians George Fife (teaching materia medica
and therapeutics) and Samuel Knott (teaching theory and practice of medicine), and surgeons John Fife
(teaching surgery), Alexander Fraser (teaching anatomy and physiology) and Henry Glassford Potter (teaching chemistry) – started offering medical lectures in Bell's Court to supplement the apprenticeship system (a fourth surgeon, Duncan McAllum, is mentioned by some sources among the founders, but was not included in the prospectus). The first session started on 1 October 1832 with eight or nine students, including John Snow
, then apprenticed to a local surgeon-apothecary, the opening lecture being delivered by John Fife. In 1834 the lectures and practical demonstrations moved to the Hall of the Company of Barber Surgeons to accommodate the growing number of students, and the School of Medicine and Surgery was formally established on 1 October 1834.
On 25 June 1851, following a dispute among the teaching staff, the school was formally dissolved and the lecturers 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. In July 1851 the majority college was recognised by the Society of Apothecaries
and in October by the Royal College of Surgeons of England
and in January 1852 was approved by the University of London
to submit its students for London medical degree examinations. Later in 1852, the majority college was formally linked to the University of Durham, becoming the "Newcastle-upon-Tyne College of Medicine in connection with the University of Durham".
The college awarded its first 'Licence in Medicine' (LicMed) under the auspices of the University of Durham in 1856, with external examiners from Oxford and London, becoming the first medical examining body on the United Kingdom to institute practical examinations alongside written and viva voce
examinations. The two colleges amalgamated in 1857, with the first session of the unified college opening on 3 October that year.
In 1861 the degree of Master of Surgery was introduced, allowing for the double qualification of Licence of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, along with the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Doctor of Medicine, both of which required residence in Durham. In 1870 the college was brought into closer connection with the university, becoming the Durham University College of Medicine
with the Reader in Medicine becoming the Professor of Medicine, the college gaining a representative on the university's senate, and residence at the college henceforth counting as residence in the university towards degrees in medicine and surgery, removing the need for students to spend a period of residence in Durham before they could receive the higher degrees.
Attempts to realise a place for the teaching of sciences in the city were finally met with the foundation of the College of Physical Science
in 1871. The college offered instruction in mathematics, physics, chemistry and geology to meet the growing needs of the mining industry, becoming the Durham College of Physical Science
in 1883 and then renamed after William George Armstrong
as Armstrong College
in 1904. Both these separate and independent institutions later became part of the University of Durham, whose 1908 Act formally recognised that the university consisted of two Divisions, Durham and Newcastle, on two different sites. By 1908, the Newcastle Division was teaching a full range of subjects in the Faculties of Medicine, Arts, and Science, which also included agriculture and engineering.
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.
Coat of arms
As the successor of King's College, Durham, the university at its founding in 1963, adopted the coat of arms
originally granted to the Council of King's College in 1937. In the letters patent
authorising the transfer, the arms are blazoned Azure, a Cross of St Cuthbert Argent and in chief of the last a lion passant guardant Gules
(On a blue shield, a silver square cross with flared ends, and on the top third of the shield, which is silver, a red lion walking and looking towards the viewer).
Above the portico
of the Students' Union building are bas-relief carvings of the arms and mottoes of the University of Durham, Armstrong College and Durham University College of Medicine, the predecessor parts of Newcastle University. While a Latin motto, mens agitat molem
(mind moves matter
) appears in the Students' Union building, the university itself does not have an official motto.
Campus and location
Newcastle University campus, looking towards the Arches with the Students' Union building on the left (2013)
Newcastle University Open Street Map
The university occupies a campus site close to Haymarket
in central Newcastle upon Tyne. It is located to the northwest of the city centre between the open spaces of Leazes Park
and the Town Moor
The Armstrong building is the oldest building on the campus and is the site of the original Armstrong College. The building was constructed in three stages;
the north east wing was completed first at a cost of £18,000 and opened by Princess Louise
on 5 November 1888. The south-east wing, which includes the Jubilee Tower, and south-west wings were opened in 1894. The Jubilee Tower was built with surplus funds raised from an Exhibition to mark Queen Victoria
in 1887. The north-west front, forming the main entrance, was completed in 1906 and features two stone figures to represent science and the arts. Much of the later construction work was financed by Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell
, the metallurgist
and former Lord Mayor
of Newcastle, after whom the main tower is named. In 1906 it was opened by King Edward VII
The building contains the King's Hall
, which serves as the university's chief hall for ceremonial purposes where Congregation
ceremonies are held. It can contain 500 seats.
King Edward VII gave permission to call the Great Hall, King's Hall.
During the First World War
, the building was requisitioned by the War Office
to create the 1st Northern General Hospital, a facility for the Royal Army Medical Corps
to treat military casualties.
Graduation photographs are often taken in the University Quadrangle, next to the Armstrong building. In 1949 the Quadrangle was turned into a formal garden in memory of members of Newcastle University who gave their lives in the two World Wars.
In 2017, a statue of Martin Luther King Jr.
was erected in the inner courtyard of the Armstrong Building, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his honorary degree from the university.
The Bruce Building is a former brewery, constructed between 1896 and 1900 on the site of the Hotspur Hotel, and designed by the architect Joseph Oswald
as the new premises of Newcastle Breweries
The university occupied the building from the 1950s, but, having been empty for some time, the building was refurbished in 2016 to become residential and office space.
Architecture Building, Newcastle University
The Devonshire Building, opened in 2004, incorporates in an energy efficient design. It uses photovoltaic cells
to help to power motorised shades that control the temperature of the building and geothermal heating
coils. Its architects won awards in the Hadrian awards and the RICS
Building of the Year Award 2004. The university won a Green Gown award for its construction.
The King's Gate building hosts student and administrative services and was built in 2009.
Plans for additions and improvements to the campus were made public in March 2008 and completed in 2010 at a cost of £200 million. They included a redevelopment of the south-east (Haymarket) façade with a five-storey King's Gate administration building as well as new student accommodation. Two additional buildings for the school of medicine were also built.
September 2012 saw the completion of the new buildings and facilities for INTO Newcastle University
on the university campus. The main building provides 18 new teaching rooms, a Learning Resource Centre, a lecture theatre, science lab, administrative and academic offices and restaurant.
Newcastle's Library Service
is the only one in the UK to be awarded the government's Charter Mark
for excellent customer services five times in a row, together with a Customer Services Excellence award.
It consists of four main facilities. The Philip Robinson Library is the main university library and is named after a bookseller in the city and benefactor to the library. The Walton Library specialises in services for the Faculty of Medical Sciences in the Medical School. It is named after Lord Walton of Detchant
, former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Professor of Neurology. The library has a relationship with the Northern region of the NHS
allowing their staff to use the library for research and study. The Law Library specialises in resources relating to law, and the Marjorie Robinson Library Rooms offers additional study spaces and computers. Together, these house over one million books and 500,000 electronic resources. Some schools within the university, such as the School of Modern Languages, also have their own smaller libraries with smaller highly specialised collections.
Newcastle University Business School opened a London campus in September 2015.
In September 2008, the university's first overseas branch was opened in Singapore, a Marine International campus called, NUMI Singapore. This later expanded beyond marine subjects and became Newcastle University Singapore, largely through becoming an Overseas University Partner of Singapore Institute of Technology
In 2011, the Medical School opened a campus in Malaysia, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed).
Organisation and governance
Former Chancellor Sir Liam Donaldson
robed as Chancellor of Newcastle University
The current Chancellor
is the British poet and artist Imtiaz Dharker
. She assumed the position of Chancellor on 1 January 2020.
The vice-chancellor is Chris Day
, a hepatologist and former pro-vice-chancellor of the Faculty of Medical Sciences.
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 19 academic schools,
13 research institutes and 38 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.
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.
Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors
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.
is Director of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal (NISR) at Newcastle University, where he is also Professor of Planning.
Newcastle City Council has worked with the university to tackle local issues. One such is the issue to make public service cuts fair in times of austerity. Chris Brink, former Vice-Chancellor
at the university chaired the Newcastle Fairness Commission
to decide how the concept of 'fairness'
could be implemented with the full support of the community.
Newcastle was the only UK university to formally back the Jubilee Debt Campaign
for the cancellation of debt in developing countries, and it has a strong ongoing commitment to the Make Poverty History
campaign. At a high-profile honorary degree ceremony in January 2007, the university awarded honorary degrees to Bob Geldof
, Gordon Brown
MP, and Benjamin Mkapa
(former president of Tanzania
) among others, at an event that promoted debate on current debt-relief issues.
In 2006, the university was granted fair trade
status and from January 2007 it became a smoke-free campus.
The university has also been actively involved with several of the region's museums for many years. The Great North Museum: Hancock
originally opened in 1884 and is often a venue for the university's events programme.
Faculties and schools
Teaching schools within the university are based within three faculties. Each faculty is led by a Provost/Pro-vice-chancellor and a team of Deans with specific responsibilities.
- School of Computing
- School of Engineering
- School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
- School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
National Innovation Centres
The University leads three National Innovation Centres:
- National Innovation Centre for Ageing
- National Innovation Centre for Data
- National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise
Newcastle University Business School
Medical faculty, Newcastle University
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.
The BMC Medicine journal
reported medical graduates from Oxford, Cambridge and Newcastle performed better in postgraduate tests than any other medical school in the UK.
The Royal Victoria Infirmary
has always had close links with the Faculty of Medical Sciences as a major teaching hospital.
School of Modern Languages
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. Beyond the learning of the languages themselves, Newcastle also places a great deal of emphasis on study and experience of the cultures of the countries where the languages taught are spoken. The School of Modern Languages hosts North East England
's only branches of two internationally important institutes: the Camões Institute
, a language institute for Portuguese, and the Confucius Institute
, a language and cultural institute for Chinese.
The teaching of modern foreign languages at Newcastle predates the creation of Newcastle University
itself, as in 1911 Armstrong College in Newcastle installed Albert George Latham
, its first professor of modern languages.
Often in the School's history, the high quality of its teaching, research and student experience have been recognised. In the 2015 edition of the Guardian University Guide
, the school was ranked 14 out of 63. In the 2014 edition of the Sunday Times Good University Guide
, Iberian Studies, French and German in the School were each placed in the top ten for their subject across the UK. (East Asian Studies does not feature in this Guide.) In the 2013 National Student Survey
, Spanish in the School came 6th in the UK for overall student satisfaction, and German came 7th.
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
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.
This implies having festivals, Q&A sessions, language tasters, or quizzes organised, as well as a web learning work aiming at constructing a web portal to link language learners across the region. There is a range of on-campus activities like the Linguacast On-Campus
: 10 and 12 years pupils come and learn more about the practice and teaching of language; they visit Newcastle campus to produce Modern Foreign languages (MFL) web material and study it back in school. The SML provides structures from their linguistic communities so as to set up taster or revisions sessions.
The Language Days provide the 11 and 13 Years pupils the opportunity to immerse in core skill area in preparation for examinations. It also hosts, together with the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences,
the North East Network for Languages regional centre.
Furthermore, the SML is the provider of the only German Extension Courses in the UK;
these courses are funded by the Department for Education
Newcastle Law School
Newcastle Law School
Newcastle Law School is the longest established law school in the north-east of England when law was taught at the university's predecessor college before it became independent from Durham University.
It has a number of recognised international and national experts in a variety of areas of legal scholarship ranging from Common and Chancery law, to International and European law, as well as contextual, socio-legal and theoretical legal studies.
The Law School occupies four specially adapted late-Victorian town houses. The Staff Offices, the Alumni Lecture Theatre and seminar rooms as well as the Law Library are all located within the School buildings.
School of Computing
The School of Computing undertakes a broad range of activity and is ranked in the Times Higher Education world Top 100.
Research areas include digital civics, synthetic biology, big data, cloud computing, and advanced modelling. The school was ranked first in the UK for impact of research in REF2014
and will lead the formation of the National Innovation Centre for Data.
Innovative teaching in the School was recognised in 2017 with the award of a National Teaching Fellowship.
In 2017, the School relocated to the University's Urban Sciences Building on the Newcastle Helix Development.
Museums and galleries
The Devonshire Building
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 the collections from two of the university's former museums, the Shefton Museum
and the Museum of Antiquities
, both now closed.
The university's Hatton Gallery
is also a part of the Great North Museum project, and remains within the Fine Art Building.
The University self-identifies five areas of particular strength:
- Ageing and Health
- Cities and Place
- Culture and Creative Arts
- One Planet
The university Quadrangle
The university is a member of the Russell Group
of the UK's research-intensive universities. It is ranked in the top 200 of most world rankings, and in the top 25 of most UK rankings. It is ranked 146th by QS,
114th by Leiden
and joint 171st by Times Higher Education
globally in 2018,
while nationally, it is ranked 21st by the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide,
22nd by the Complete University Guide
and 27th by the Guardian
for 2018. The majority of its undergraduate courses are ranked in the top 20 by the Complete University Guide in the country with a number of subjects ranked in the top 10 such as Dentistry (3rd), Medicine (9th), Architecture (5th), Linguistics (3rd) Art and Design (1st) and Communication and Media Studies (1st).
Newcastle University achieved the best possible outcome in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – a Gold Award.
The Times Higher Education Europe Teaching Rankings place Newcastle University joint 9th in Europe.
It was awarded 5 QS stars in 2013.
Newcastle won the Sunday Times
University of the Year award in 2000 and is ranked 12th best in the UK by the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
According to the university, its library
is the only one in the UK to have been awarded the government's Charter Mark
for excellent customer services five times in a row.
Also, the university said it has a good track record for graduate employment in the country, and the Careers Service has won seven national careers awards in recent years by the Institute of Career Guidance.
The university's Cochrane Park sports facility was a training venue for the teams playing football games at St James' Park
for the 2012 London Olympics
In 2013 the university entered into a two-year agreement with sports wear producer Adidas
that includes scholarships and sportswear for two of the university's most talented athletes, and some funding for the Athletics' Union.
In 2016, Newcastle University became one of 16 universities in the world, and only two in the UK, to achieve Five Plus Stars from Quacquarelli Symonds
The university was awarded the perfect score of five Stars in all of the standardised assessment fields of Research, Internationalization, Facilities, Innovation, Inclusiveness, Specialist criteria and Student Employability (Newcastle University also made it to the Top 100 of QS Worldwide Employability Rankings in 2016).
UCAS Admission Statistics
In terms of average UCAS
points of entrants, Newcastle ranked joint 19th in Britain in 2014.
In 2015, the university gave offers of admission to 92.1% of its applicants, the highest amongst the Russell Group
25.1% of Newcastle's undergraduates are privately educated
, the thirteenth highest proportion amongst mainstream British universities.
In the 2016–17 academic year, the university had a domicile breakdown of 74:5:21 of UK:EU:non-EU students respectively with a female to male ratio of 51:49.
The Herschel Building, home to the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics, and several of the University's largest lecture theatres
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
It is ranked 17th in the UK for research power, according to the influential publication, Research Fortnight, and is in the UK's top twelve for research power in science and engineering. The Research Excellence Framework 2014 placed Newcastle University; 1st in the UK for Computing Science research impact, 3rd in the UK for Civil Engineering research power and 11th in the UK for Mathematical Sciences research, 3rd in the UK for English, and in the top 12 for Geography, Architecture and Planning, and Cultural and Media Studies research quality, 4th amongst UK medical schools for Clinical Medicine research intensity.
Students' Union following refurbishment, 2012
The university has many student organisations. Newcastle University Students' Union
(NUSU), known as the Union Society until a 2012 rebranding, includes student-run sports clubs and societies.
Unlike the majority of other students' unions in the UK, Newcastle University Students' Union owns the building where it is housed. The Union building was built in 1924 following a generous gift from an anonymous donor, who is now believed to have been Sir Cecil Cochrane
, a major benefactor to the university.
It is built in the neo-Jacobean
style and was designed by the local architect Robert Burns Dick
. It was opened on 22 October 1925 by the Rt. Hon. Lord Eustace Percy
, who later served as Rector
of King's College from 1937 to 1952. It is a Grade II listed building
. In 2010 the university donated £8 million towards a redevelopment project for the Union Building.
The Students' Union is run by seven paid sabbatical officers and ten 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.
is a weekly student newspaper
. Established in 1948, the current weekly readership is around 12,000, most of whom are students at the university. The Courier
has won The Guardian'
s Student Publication of the Year
award twice in a row, in 2012 and 2013.
It is published every Monday during term time.
Newcastle Student Radio is a student radio station
based in the university. It produces shows on music, news, talk and sport and aims to cater for a wide range of musical tastes.
NUTV, known as TCTV from 2010 to 2017, is student television
channel, first established in 2007. It produces live and on-demand content with coverage of events, as well as student-made programmes and shows.
In 2008 a survey conducted by an independent website ranked Newcastle as the number one student city in the UK, with a score of 63% across the categories of going out, shops, transport, community and facilities.
Newcastle is also considered one of the world's friendliest cities.
In another 2008 survey, by MSN Travel
, Newcastle was named as the number one university.
St Mary's College in Fenham
, one of the halls of residence, was formerly St Mary's College of Education, a teacher training college.
In 2019 private accommodation The Shield and Pitt Street Studios ranked 1st and 2nd in the Best in the UK for accommodation on a University review platform StudentCrowd.
Sports Centre, Newcastle University
Newcastle is one of the leading universities for sport in the UK and is consistently ranked within the top 12 out of 152 higher education institutions in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) rankings. More than 50 student-led sports clubs are supported through a team of professional staff and a network of indoor and outdoor sports facilities based over four sites.
The University have a strong rugby history and were the winners of the Northumberland Senior Cup
Many notable and world-renowned alumni, including politicians, business people, academics, doctors, artists, authors, actors, musicians, and sports people graduated from Newcastle University.
Newcastle University has signed over 100 agreements with foreign universities allowing for student exchange to take place reciprocally.
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