Cardiff University (Welsh: Prifysgol Caerdydd) is a leading university located in the Cathays Park area of Cardiff, Wales. It received its Royal charter in 1883 and is a member of the Russell Group of Universities. It has an annual turnover of £315 million. The university was shortlisted for the Sunday Times University of the Year award in 2003. Before August 2004, the university was officially known as University of Wales, Cardiff (Welsh: Prifysgol Cymru, Caerdydd), although it used the name Cardiff University publicly. The student population is diverse with 17% of students from overseas and 85% of students from state schools.
The Aberdare Report of 1881 recommended the foundation of university colleges in north and south Wales to complement the already established University College, Wales (now the University of Wales, Aberystwyth) in Aberystwyth. Following a public appeal that raised £37,000, the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire opened on October 24, 1883 and was incorporated by Royal Charter the following year. 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 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.
Work began on the Main Building in Cardiff's Civic Centre in 1903 and this opened 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. 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 was renamed University College, Cardiff.
In 1988, financial problems caused University College, Cardiff and the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology to merge, forming the University of Wales College, Cardiff. 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. 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. Some considered this part of an effort at Cardiff to set itself apart from the other colleges of the University of Wales, none of which are members of the Russell Group.
On 1 August 2004 the University of Wales, Cardiff merged with the University of Wales College of Medicine. The merged institution separated from the collegiate University of Wales and officially took the name Cardiff University.
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 August 1, 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 December 1, 2004 when the Act of Parliament transferring UWCM's assets to Cardiff University received Royal Assent. On December 17 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 currently still awards University of Wales degrees but for students admitted from 2005 these are planned to be replaced by Cardiff degrees except for medicine, dentistry and other health-related areas, which will begin to admit students for Cardiff degrees from 2006.
In 2004, Cardiff University and the University of Wales, Swansea entered a partnership to provide a four-year graduate-entry medical degree. An annual intake of around 70 post-graduate students undertake an accelerated version of the Cardiff course at the University of Wales, Swansea for the first two years before joining undergraduate students at Cardiff for the final two years. All medicine/surgery graduates are awarded the degrees MB BCh.
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 and will lead to the tripling of the number of trainee doctors in clinical training in Wales over a four year period.
In early 2007, the University created controversy when it emerged that it had invested large sums of money in the arms manufacturer BAE Systems.
The University is currently exploring closer links with the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama which is also based in Cardiff. It has been rumoured that this could lead to an eventual merger, as this is very similar to the wording used prior to the merger with UWCM.
The university has a rivalry with nearby Swansea University, against whom every year they have a varsity match.
Cardiff University has a long standing tradition of providing the best 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 (along with Swansea University) is the only university in Wales to have a department (town and county planning) rated as a 'Gold Standard' (One that achieved 5* rating in both the RAE in 2001 and 1996).
Academic Ranking of the Worlds Universities
- 2006 - placed 151-200 globally and 57-78 in Europe
- 2005 - placed 153-202 globally and 60-79 in Europe
- 2004 - placed 153-201 globally and 60-79 in Europe
- 2003 - placed 201-250 globally and 77-99 in Europe
Sunday Times 2007 Good University Guide
- Ranked 16th overall in the institution-wide league table
- Ranked 26th in a peer review survey (21 places above its nearest Welsh rival)
- Ranked 23rd in a survey of Head Teachers and peer review (19 places above its nearest Welsh rival)
- Ranked 38th in a student satisfaction survey (31 places below the top Welsh university)
- Placed 29th in the survey of Head teachers (4 places above its nearest Welsh rival)
Schools and Colleges
The 28 academic schools and four graduate schools are grouped into two colleges, with each college having a provost: the Wales College of Medicine, Biology, Life and Health Sciences and the College of Humanities and Sciences. The academic schools are:
College of Humanities and Sciences
- Business (including Economics)
- City & Regional Planning
- Computer Science
- Earth, Ocean and Planetary Science
- English, Communication and Philosophy
- European Studies (includes Politics)
- History and Archaeology
- Japanese Studies
- Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
- Lifelong Learning
- Physics & Astronomy
- Religious and Theological Studies
- Social Sciences (includes Criminology and Education)
Wales College of Medicine, Biology, Life and Health Sciences
Research and Graduate schools
- Social Sciences
- Biomedical and Life Sciences
- Physical Sciences and Engineering
- Manufacturing Engineering Centre (MEC)- The MEC is an autonomous research centre within Cardiff University, having the same status as the University's academic Schools.
There are sporting facilities and sports teams in the BUSA university league, including men's and women's hockey.
The Cardiff University Students' Union building is over the main railway going north from Cardiff to the Valleys, next door to Cathays railway station. It has shops, a nightclub and the studios of Xpress Radio (which is piped throughout the union) and gair rhydd (Welsh: 'Free Word'), the student newspaper.