The University of Wales (Welsh: Prifysgol Cymru) is a federal university founded in 1893. It has member institutions throughout Wales, ranging from Red Brick universities such as Lampeter and Aberystwyth, to post-1992 universities such as Newport and institutes of higher education such as UWIC and NEWI. Indeed, the only university in Wales completely separate from the federal University of Wales is the University of Glamorgan in Pontypridd. The Chancellor of the University of Wales is HRH the Prince of Wales and the Pro-Chancellor is the Archbishop of Wales, Dr. Barry Morgan. The Vice-Chancellor is currently Professor Marc Clement.

 University of Wales, Aberystwyth
 University of Wales, Bangor
 University of Wales, Newport
 North East Wales Institute of Higher Education
 University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
 University of Wales, Lampeter
 Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
 Swansea Institute of Higher Education
 University of Wales, Swansea
Trinity College, Carmarthen
 Cardiff University*
 University of Wales College of Medicine*

*Former Members of the University of WalesHistory
The University of Wales was founded in Wales in 1893 as a federal university with three foundation colleges: University College Wales (now UW Aberystwyth), which had been founded in 1872 and University College North Wales (now UW Bangor) and University College South Wales and Monmouthshire (now Cardiff University) which were founded following the Aberdare Report in 1881. Prior to the foundation of the federal University, these three colleges had prepared students for the examinations of the University of London. A fourth college, Swansea, was added in 1920 and in 1931 the Welsh School of Medicine was established in Cardiff. In 1967 the Welsh College of Advanced Technology entered the federal University as the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST), also in Cardiff. In 1971 St David’s College (now UW Lampeter), Wales’ oldest degree-awarding institution, suspended its own degree-awarding powers and entered the University of Wales. A financial crisis in the late eighties caused UWIST and University College Cardiff to merge in 1988, forming the University of Wales College Cardiff (UWCC). In 1992 the University lost its position as the only university in Wales when the Polytechnic of Wales became the University of Glamorgan.

The University was composed of colleges until 1996, when the University was reorganised with a two-tier structure of member institutions in order to absorb the Cardiff Institute of Higher Education (which became the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC)) and the Gwent College of Higher Education (which became University of Wales College, Newport (UWCN)). The existing colleges became constituent institutions and the two new member institutions became university colleges. In 2003, both of these colleges became full constituent institutions and in 2004 UWCN received permission from the Privy Council to change its name to the University of Wales, Newport.

Cardiff University and the University of Wales College of Medicine (UWCM) merged on August 1, 2004. The merged institution, known as Cardiff University, ceased to be a constitutent institution and became a new category of ‘Affiliated/Linked Institutions’. While the new institution will continue to award University of Wales degrees in medicine and related subjects, students joining Cardiff from 2005 to study other subjects will be awarded Cardiff University degrees.

At the same time, the University admitted four new institutions, helping to fill the void left by the loss of Cardiff and UWCM. Thus, North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI), Swansea Institute of Higher Education and Trinity College, Carmarthen (who were all previously Associated Institutions) along with the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (which was previously a Validated Institution) were admitted as full members of the University on July 27, 2004.

The University’s members are organised into the following categories:

Member Institutions
Constituent Institutions

College Established Undergrads Post-grads Location Vice-Chancellor
University of Wales, Aberystwyth 1872 8,450 (not including 1,520 Further Education students) 2,570 Aberystwyth Noel G. Lloyd
University of Wales, Bangor 1884 9,500 Bangor Professor Merfyn Jones
University of Wales, Newport 1975 7,572 1,893 Newport Professor James R. Lusty
North East Wales Institute of Higher Education 1975 2,000 Wrexham Michael Scott
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff 1996 9,275 Cardiff Professor Antony J Chapman
University of Wales, Lampeter 1822 7,455 1,035 Lampeter Professor Robert A Pearce
Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama 1949 550 Cardiff Sir David Rowe-Beddoe
Swansea Institute of Higher Education 1992 Swansea Professor David Warner
University of Wales, Swansea 1920 9,864 1,695 Swansea Prof. Richard B. Davies
Trinity College, Carmarthen 1848 2,200 Carmarthen Medwin Hughes

Affiliated/Linked Institutions

Cardiff was once a full member of the University but has now left (though it retains some ties). When Cardiff left, it merged with the University of Wales College of Medicine (which was also a former member). Currently Cardiff still awards University of Wales degrees, but will award its own degrees to students admitted from 2005 (except in Medicine and related subjects where University of Wales degrees will continue to be awarded).

Validated Insititutions

  • Coleg Sir Gâr
  • Greenwich School of Management
  • Herefordshire College of Art and Design
  • MBA Programme, HUMAN ACADEMY

Neither of the two institutions are members of the University, but do have some of their degrees validated by them.

Central services
The University of Wales Registry, in Cardiff’s Civic Centre, is the central administrative centre and the place that actually registers degrees and sends out degree certificates as well as validating the degrees of the University that are offered outside the member institutions. The University also directly runs the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and the Welsh Dictionary Unit, both based alongside the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. The first edition of Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (University of Wales Dictionary), which has the same status for Welsh as the OED does for English, was completed in 2002, eighty-two years after it had been started. The University of Wales Press was founded in 1922 and publishes around sixty books a year in both English and Welsh. The University also runs the Gregynog conference and fieldwork centre in mid-Wales, based around the 150 year-old Gregynog Hall – one of Britain’s oldest concrete buildings.

Validations unit
The Validations Unit based at the Registry in Cathays Park, Cardiff, provides a service in widening participation in Higher Education while maintaining academic standards, by assuring the quality of HE programmes in associated educational institutions not only in Wales, but also elsewhere in the British Isles.

It also has an overseas presence, where institutions might wish to run degrees mainly or wholly through the medium of English and need them to be validated by a British university. For example, a university level institution in a Spanish speaking country might need its International MBA validated in this way.

By administering such arrangements to the highest academic standards, the highly qualified and multilingual staff at the UW Validations Unit are instrumental in raising the academic profile of Wales throughout the world, and in providing Wales (the ‘Learning Country’ as described by its Minister of Education, a ‘Knowledge Economy’ according to its Economic Development Minister) with a highly valuable and often unsung invisible export.

Leave a Reply