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|University of Wales, Aberystwyth|
|Motto||Welsh: Nid Byd, Byd Heb Wybodaeth|
Motto in English
|A world without knowledge is no world at all|
|Established||1872 (as The University College of Wales)|
|Endowment||£43.3 million (2018)|
|Chancellor||John, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd|
Aberystwyth University (Welsh: Prifysgol Aberystwyth) is a public research university in Aberystwyth, Wales. Aberystwyth was a founding member institution of the former federal University of Wales. The university has over 8,000 students studying across 3 academic faculties and 17 departments.
Founded in 1872 as University College Wales, Aberystwyth, it became a founder member of the University of Wales in 1894, and changed its name to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. In the mid-1990s, the university again changed its name to become the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. On 1 September 2007, the University of Wales ceased to be a federal university and Aberystwyth University became independent again.
In 2019, it became the first university to be named "University of the year for teaching quality" by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide for two consecutive years. It is the first university in the world to be awarded Plastic Free University status (for single-use plastic items).
In the middle of the 19th century, eminent Welsh people were advocating the establishment of a university in the Principality, one of these, Thomas Nicholas, whose book Middle and High Class Schools, and University Education for Wales (1863) is said to have "exerted great influence on educated Welshmen".
Funded through public and private subscriptions, and with five regional committees (London, Manchester, Liverpool, North and South Wales) guaranteeing funds for the first three years' running costs, the university opened in October 1872 with 26 students. Thomas Charles Edwards was the Principal. In October 1875, chapels in Wales raised the next tranche of funds from over 70,000 contributors. Until 1893, when the college joined the University of Wales as a founder member, students applying to Aberystwyth sat the University of London's entrance exams. Women were admitted in 1884.
In 1885, a fire damaged what is now known as the Old College, Aberystwyth, and in 1897 the first 14 acres of what would become the main Penglais campus were purchased. Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1893, the university installed the Prince of Wales as Chancellor in 1896, the same year it awarded an honorary degree to the British Prime Minister William Gladstone.
The university's coat of arms dates from the 1880s. The shield features two red dragons to symbolise Wales, and an open book to symbolise learning. The crest, an eagle or phoenix above a flaming tower, may signify the College's rebirth after the 1885 fire. The motto is Nid Byd, Byd Heb Wybodaeth (a world without knowledge is no world at all).
In the early 1900s the university added courses that included Law, Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, and Botany. The Department for International Politics, which Aberystwyth says is the oldest such department in the world, was founded in 1919. By 1977, the university's staff included eight Fellows of the Royal Society, such as Gwendolen Rees, the first Welsh woman to be elected an FRS.
The Department of Sports and Exercise Science was established in 2000. Joint honours Psychology degrees were introduced in September 2007, and single honours Psychology in 2009.
The chancellor of the university is The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who took up the position in January 2018. The visitor of the university is an appointment made by the Privy Council, under the Royal Charter of the university. Since July 2014, the holder of this office is Mr Justice Sir Roderick Evans QC.
In 2011 the university appointed a new vice chancellor under whom the academic departments were restructured as larger subject-themed institutes.
Organisation and administration
Departments and Faculties
The University's academic departments, as well as the Arts Centre, International English Centre, and Music Centre are organised in three faculties:
The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) is a research and teaching centre which brings together staff from the Institutes of Rural Sciences and Biological Sciences and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER). Around 360 research, teaching and support staff conduct basic, strategic and applied research in biology.
In 1998. the Department of Economics (founded in 1912), the Department of Accounting and Finance (founded in 1979) and the Centre for Business Studies merged to create the School of Management and Business. In 2013, the School joined the Department of Information Studies and the Department of Law and Criminology at a new campus at Llanbadarn Fawr. The School was shortlisted for ‘Business School of the Year Times Higher Education Awards (2014). In 2016 the Institute, minus the Department of Information Studies, was renamed the Institute of Business and Law, the remaining departments being renamed Aberystwyth Business School and Aberystwyth Law School.
AberMUD, the first popular internet-based MUD, was written in the department by then-student Alan Cox. Jan Pinkava, another graduate, won an Oscar for his short animated film Geri's Game. Students in the department were also involved in the creation of the award-winning service robot librarian named Hugh (robot) and Kar-go, the autonomous delivery vehicle.
The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (IGES) was formed, in 1989, from the former Departments of Geography (established in 1918) and Geology. houses the E. G. Bowen map library, containing 80,000 maps and 500 atlases.
The College of Librarianship Wales (CLW) was established at Llanbadarn Fawr in 1964, in response to a recommendation for the training of bilingual librarians that was made in the Bourdillon Report on Standards of public library service in England (HMSO, 1962). The College grew rapidly, developing close links to the Welsh speaking and professional communities, acquiring an international reputation and pioneering flexible and distance learning courses. It claimed to be Europe's largest institution for training librarians. The independent college merged with the university (in August 1989) and the department moved to the Penglais campus a quarter of a century later. Following the merger, the new department took over responsibility for existing offerings in archives administration and modern records management.
The Department of International Politics was founded, shortly after World War I (in 1919), with the stated purpose of furthering political understanding of the world in the hope of avoiding such conflicts in the future. This goal led to the creation of the Woodrow Wilson Chair of International Politics. The department has over 700 students from 40 countries studying at undergraduate, masters and PhD levels. It achieved a 95% score for student satisfaction in the 2016 National Student Survey, placing it as the highest-ranking politics department in Wales and within the UK's top ten.
The department has hosted various notable academic staff in the field including E. H. Carr, Leopold Kohr, Andrew Linklater, Ken Booth, Steve Smith, Michael Cox, Michael MccGwire, Jenny Edkins and Colin J. McInnes.
The Department of Law and Criminology (founded in 1901) is housed in the Hugh Owen Building on the Penglais campus, and includes the Centre for Welsh Legal Affairs, a specialist research centre. All academic staff are engaged in research, and the International Journal of Biosciences and the Law and the Cambrian Law Review are edited in the department. In 2013, the department joined the Department of Information Studies and the School of Management and Business at a new campus at Llanbadarn Fawr, as part of a newly created Institute of Management, Law and Information Studies. As of September 2018, the department has since relocated back to the Hugh Owen Building, based in the Penglais campus, and its name changed from Aberystwyth Law School to the Department of Law and Criminology.
Aberystwyth has taught modern languages since 1874. French, German, Italian and Spanish courses are taught at both beginners' and advanced levels, in a research-active academic environment. One of its research projects is the Anglo-Norman Dictionary, based in Aberystwyth since 2001 and available online since 2005.
Physics was first taught at Aberystwyth as part of Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, and Mathematics under N. R. Grimley, soon after the foundation of the University College. It became a department in 1877, under the leadership of F. W. Rudler. The department was located in the south wing of what is now the Old College, but later relocated to the Physics Building on the Penglais Campus. The first Chair in Physics was offered to D. E. Jones in 1885. Prior to World War I, much of the early research in the department was undertaken in Germany. Early research in the 1900s was concerned with electrical conductivity and quantum theory, later moving into thermal conductivity and acoustics. In 1931, the department hosted the Faraday Centenary Exhibition. E. J. Williams was appointed Chair of Physics in 1938 where he continued his research into sub-atomic particles using a cloud chamber. Following World War II, research was concerned with mechanical and nuclear physics, later moving into the fields of air density, experimental rocket launching equipment, and radar.
In 2007, Aberystwyth established the subject as a 'Centre for Applied Psychology' within the Department of International Politics. By 2011, Psychology had moved into their current premises in Penbryn 5 on the Penglais Campus. The department is home to over 300 undergraduate students - with degrees accredited by the British Psychological Society.
The main campus of the University is situated on Penglais Hill, overlooking the town of Aberystwyth and Cardigan Bay, and comprises most of the University buildings, Arts Centre, Students’ Union, and many of the student residences. Just below Penglais Campus is the National Library of Wales, one of Britain's five legal deposit libraries. The landscaping of the Penglais Campus is historically significant and is listed. The CADW listing states,
"The landscaping of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth campuses, particularly the earlier Penglais campus, is of exceptional historic interest as one of the most important modern landscaping schemes in Wales...One section of the Penglais campus was designed by the well known landscape architect Brenda Colvin and is one of the very few of her schemes to have survived. A number of women have played a key role in the development and planting of the whole site."
The Llanbadarn Centre is located approximately one mile to the east of the Penglais Campus, near Llanbadarn Fawr, overlooking the town and Cardigan Bay to the west, with the backdrop of the Cambrian Mountains to the east. Llanbadarn Centre hosted Aberystwyth Law School and Aberystwyth Business School, which together formed the Institute of Business and Law. The Department of Information Studies is also based there. Additionally, the Llanbadarn Campus is the site of the Aberystwyth branch of Coleg Ceredigion (a further education college, and not part of the University).
At Gogerddan, on the outskirts of town is located the University's major centre for research in land based sciences and the main centre for the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Science.
School of Art, Edward Davies Building
The School of Art is located between the Penglais Campus and the centre of Aberystwyth, in what was originally the Edward Davies Chemical Laboratory. A listed building, the Edward Davies Building is one of the finest examples of architecture in Aberystwyth.
The site of the original university is the 'Old College', currently the subject of the 'New Life for Old College' project which aims to transform it into an integrated centre of heritage, culture, learning and knowledge exchange. The university opened an international campus in Mauritius in 2016 operating as Aberystwyth University (Mauritian Branch Campus) and registered with the Tertiary Education Commission of Mauritius, but closed it to new enrolments two years later due to low enrolment numbers.
Most of the student residences are on campus, with the rest in walking distance of the campus and Aberystwyth town centre. Accommodation ranges from 'traditional' catered residences to en-suite self-catered accommodation, and from budget rooms to more luxurious studio apartments. All have wired access to the University's computer network and a support network of residential tutors.
- Cwrt Mawr (self-catered flats, single rooms, capacity 503)
- Neuadd Pantycelyn (Welsh speaking traditional catered hall, refurbished in 2020, capacity 200)
- Penbryn (Welsh-speaking traditional catered hall, capacity 350)
- Rosser (self-catered en-suite flats, capacity 336),
- Rosser G (postgraduate flats following 2011 expansion to Rosser, capacity 60)
- Trefloyne (self-catered flats, capacity 147)
- Almost 200 individual houses arranged in closes and cul-de-sacs. Each house typically accommodate 5 or 6 students. (total capacity 1003)
- Purpose-built student accommodation with studio apartments and en-suite bedrooms (total capacity 1000). An area of accommodation within the Fferm Penglais Student Residence is set aside for students who are Welsh learners or fluent Welsh speakers, and wish to live in a Welsh speaking environment.
- Seafront Residences (self-catered flats located on the seafront and Queen's Road, overall capacity 361). The original Seafront residences, Plyn' and Caerleon, were destroyed by fire in 1998.
- Seafront residences include Aberglasney, Balmoral, Blaenwern, Caerleon, Carpenter, Pumlumon, Ty Glyndwr, and Ty Gwerin Halls.
The University also owns several houses, such as Penglais Farmhouse (Adjacent to Pentre Jane Morgan) and flats in Waun Fawr, which are let on an Assured Shorthold Tenure to students with families. Disabled access rooms are available within the existing student village.
Reputation and academic profile
|Times / Sunday Times (2021)||42|
|British Government assessment|
|Teaching Excellence Framework||Gold|
Aberystwyth University is placed in the UK’s top 50 universities in the main national rankings. It is ranked 48th for 132 UK university rankings in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide for 2019  and the first university to be given the prestigious award "University of the year for teaching quality" for two consecutive years (2018 and 2019).
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed it in the 301—350 group for 800 university rankings, compared with 351—400 the previous year, and the QS World University Rankings placed it at the 432th position for 2019, compared with 481—490 of the previous year. In 2015, UK employers from “predominantly business, IT and engineering sectors” listed Aberystwyth equal 49th in their 62-place employability rankings for UK graduates, according to a Times Higher Education report.
Aberystwyth University was rated in the top ten of UK higher education institutions for overall student satisfaction in the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS).
Aberystwyth University was shortlisted in four categories in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAs) (2015).
Aberystwyth University has been awarded the Silver Award under the Corporate Health Standard (CHS), the quality mark for workplace health promotion run by Welsh Government.
The University has been awarded an Athena SWAN Charter Award, recognising commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research.
In 2007 the University came under criticism for its record on sustainability, ranking 97th out of 106 UK higher education institutions in that year's Green League table. In 2012 the university was listed in the table's "Failed, no award" section, ranking equal 132nd out of 145. In 2013 it ranked equal 135th out of 143, and was listed again as "Failed, no award".
In October 2015, the University’s Penglais Campus became the first University campus in Wales to achieve the Green Flag Award. The Green Flag Award is a UK-wide partnership, delivered in Wales by Keep Wales Tidy with support from Natural Resources Wales, and is the mark of a high quality park or green space.
In 2013, the University and College Union alleged bullying behaviour by Aberystwyth University managers, and said staff were fearful for their jobs. University president Sir Emyr Jones Parry said in a BBC radio interview, "I don't believe the views set out are representative and I don't recognise the picture." He also said, "Due process is rigorously applied in Aberystwyth." Economist John Cable resigned his emeritus professorship, describing the university's management as "disproportionate, aggressive and confrontational". The singer Peter Karrie resigned his honorary fellowship in protest, he said, at the apparent determination to "ruin one of the finest arts centres in the country", and because he was "unable to support any regime that can treat their staff in such a cruel and appalling manner."
Officers and Academics
Presidents and Chancellors
- 1872–95 Henry Austin Bruce, 1st Lord Aberdare
- 1895–1913 Stuart, Lord Rendel
- 1913–26 Sir John Williams, 1st Bt
- 1926–44 Edmund Davies, Lord Edmund-Davies
- 1944–54 Thomas Jones (T. J.)
- 1955–64 Sir David Hughes Parry
- 1964–76 Sir Ben Bowen Thomas
- 1977–85 Cledwyn Hughes, Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos
- 1985–97 Melvyn Rosser
- 1997–2007 Elystan Morgan, Lord Elystan-Morgan
- 2007–17 Sir Emyr Jones Parry
- 2018–present John, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd
Principals and Vice-Chancellors
- 1872–91 Thomas Charles Edwards
- 1891–1919 Thomas Francis Roberts
- 1919–26 John Humphreys Davies
- 1927–34 Sir Henry Stuart-Jones
- 1934–52 Ifor Leslie Evans
- 1953–57 Goronwy Rees
- 1958–69 Sir Thomas Parry
- 1969–79 Sir Goronwy Daniel
- 1979–89 Gareth Owen
- 1989–94 Kenneth, Lord Morgan
- 1994–2004 Derec Llwyd Morgan
- 2004–11 Noel Lloyd
- 2011–16 April McMahon
- 2016–17 John Grattan (acting)
- 2016–present Elizabeth Treasure
- Henry Bird, Lecturer in Art History (1936–41)
- Ken Booth, Professor of International Politics
- Edward Carr, Historian, Woodrow Wilson Professor of International Politics
- Sir Henry Walford Davies, Master of the King's Music
- John Davies, Welsh historian
- Hannah Dee, Lecturer in Computer Science
- R. Geraint Gruffydd, Chair of Welsh Language and Literature (1970–79)
- David Russell Hulme, Director of Music (1992–), conductor, musicologist
- Robert Maynard Jones, Chair of Welsh Language (1980)
- D. Gwenallt Jones, poet, Welsh Lecturer
- Leopold Kohr, Economist, Political Scientist
- Dennis Lindley, Professor of Statistics (1960–67)
- David John de Lloyd, Gregynog Professor of Music, composer
- Alec Muffett, Systems Programmer (1988–92)
- Lily Newton, Professor of Botany
- Ian Parrott, Gregynog Professor of Music (1950–83), composer, musicologist
- Joseph Parry, Professor of Music, composer, conductor
- Sir Thomas Herbert Parry-Williams, poet, Professor of Welsh (1920–52)
- F. Gwendolen Rees FRS Professor of Zoology
- Huw Rees FRS (1923–2009), Geneticist 
- William Rubinstein, Professor of History
- Marie Breen Smyth, Reader in Political Violence, International Politics
- Richard Marggraf Turley, Professor of Engagement with the Public Imagination
- Dame Marjorie Williamson, Principal, Royal Holloway, London (1962–73)
- Richard Henry Yapp, botanist
- Charles, Prince of Wales
- Tunku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tunku Munawir, 11th Yang Di Pertuan Besar (Grand Ruler) of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia (2008–present)
- Tunku Naquiyuddin, Tunku Laxamana (Regent) of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia (1994–99)
- Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, 3rd President of Sierra Leone (1996–7)
- E. G. Bowen, Geographer
- Sir Edward Collingwood, mathematician, scientist
- Alan Cox, Programmer (major contributor to the Linux kernel, 1980s)
- D. J. Davies, economist, socialist, Plaid Cymru activist
- Natasha Devon, writer, mental health activist
- Andrew Gordon naval historian
- Sir Deian Hopkin, historian
- David Russell Hulme, Director of Music (from 1992), conductor
- David Gwilym James Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton 1952–65
- Emrys Jones, Professor of Geography, London School of Economics
- T. Harri Jones, poet
- Roy Kift, dramatist, writer
- Mary King, political scientist
- Michael MccGwire, international relations specialist, Naval Commander
- Twm Morys, poet
- Tavi Murray, glaciologist, Polar Medallist
- Ernest Charles Nelson, botanist
- David Hughes Parry, Vice-Chancellor, University of London (1945–48)
- T. H. Parry-Williams, poet, author, academic
- Frederick Soddy, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry (1921)
- Sir John Meurig Thomas FRS, chemist, professor, author
- Paul Thomas, founding Vice-Chancellor, University of the Sunshine Coast
- Sir Nigel Thrift, Geographer, Vice Chancellor, University of Warwick
- David John Williams, writer
- Sir Glanmor Williams, historian
- Rev. John Tudno Williams, theologian
- Waldo Williams, poet
- Rev. William Richard Williams, theologian
- Christine James, first female Archdruid of Wales
- Gethin Glyn, Zoologist
- Aron Dafydd, UMCA Leader
- Tun Salleh Abas, Lord President of the Federal Court, Malaysia (1984–88)
- Belinda Ang, Judge, Supreme Court of Singapore (2003–)
- Sir Alun Talfan Davies, judge, publisher
- Sir Ellis Ellis-Griffith, 1st Bt, barrister, Liberal politician
- Iris de Freitas Brazao, first female prosecuting lawyer in the Caribbean
- Sir Samuel Thomas Evans, barrister, judge, Liberal politician
- Elwyn, Lord Elwyn-Jones, Lord Chancellor (1974–79)
- John, Lord Morris of Aberavon, Attorney General (1997–99)
- Timothy Brain, Chief Constable for Gloucestershire (2001–10)
- Sir Goronwy Daniel, civil servant, academic
- Joe Borg, European Union Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner (2004–10)
- Captain Roderic Bowen, Liberal MP, Deputy Commons Speaker
- Nicholas, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Welsh Conservative Leader (1999–2011)
- Rehman Chishti, Conservative MP (2010–), Special Envoy (2019–20)
- Dr Stephen Clackson Independent Councillor, Orkney Islands Council 
- David, 1st Lord Davies, Liberal politician, philanthropist 
- Glyn Davies, Conservative MP
- Gwilym Prys Davies, Lord Prys-Davies, Labour peer (1982–2015)
- Gwynfor Evans, first Plaid Cymru MP
- Steve Gilbert, Liberal Democrat MP (2010–15)
- Siân Gwenllian, Plaid Cymru AM
- Neil Hamilton, Conservative MP and AM, barrister
- Sylvia, Lady Hermon, Ulster Unionist politician
- Emlyn, Lord Hooson, Liberal politician
- Cledwyn Hughes, Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos, Labour politician
- Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Foreign Minister, Malaysia, (2020–)
- Dan Jarvis, Labour MP
- Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West
- Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales (2009–18), AM for Bridgend
- Gerry MacLochlainn Sinn Féin politician
- John Morris, Lord Morris of Aberavon, Labour politician
- Elystan Morgan, Lord Elystan-Morgan, Labour MP
- Roland Moyle, Labour MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Clement Attlee
- Will Quince, Conservative MP
- Dan Rogerson, Liberal Democrat MP
- Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru MP, Plaid Cymru Leader (2017–)
- Molly Scott Cato, Green Party MEP
- Ahmed Shaheed, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Maldives
- Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Union Environment Commissioner (2019–)
- Bob Stewart, Conservative MP
- Gareth Thomas, Labour MP
- Gareth Thomas, Labour MP
- Mark Williams, Liberal Democrat MP, Welsh LD Leader (2016–17)
- Mike Wood, Conservative MP
- Steven Woolfe, UK Independence Party MEP
- Lance Batchelor, CEO, Domino's Pizza and Saga
- Geoff Drabble, CEO, Ashtead
- Belinda Earl, CEO, Debenhams and Jaeger
- David Prosser, CEO, Legal & General
- Tom Singh, owner and CEO, New Look
- Cath Bishop, professional rower, civil servant
- John Dawes, Rugby player, Captain of Wales and British Lions
- Carwyn James, Wales and British and Irish Lions Rugby Coach (1949?–51)
- Leigh Richmond Roose, International footballer
- Berwyn Price, Gold Medal Commonwealth Games (1978)
- Angela Tooby, Silver Medal, World Cross-Country Championships (1988)
Arts and Entertainment
- Dorothy Bonarjee, Indian poet, artist
- Neil Brand, writer, composer, silent film accompanist
- Seth Clabough, American novelist, academic
- Shân Cothi, operatic singer, actress
- Jane Green, author
- Sarah Hall, writer, poet
- David Russell Hulme, conductor, musicologist
- Aneirin Hughes, actor
- Emrys James, actor
- Eveline Annie Jenkins (1893–1976), botanical artist
- Alex Jones, Presenter, BBC One TV Programme, The One Show (2010–)
- Melih Kibar, Turkish composer
- Alun Lewis, Second World War writer, poet
- Caryl Lewis, novelist
- Rick Lloyd, musician (Y Blew, Flying Pickets)
- Hayley Long, fiction writer
- Sharon Maguire, film director, Bridget Jones's Diary
- Matt McCooey, actor
- Alan Mehdizadeh, actor, Billy Elliot the Musical
- Robert Minhinnick, poet, essayist, novelist, translator
- Amy Parry-Williams (1910–1988), singer, writer
- Esther Pilkington, performance artist
- Jan Pinkava, Oscar-winning animated film director
- Rachel Roberts, actress
- Lisa Surihani, Malaysian actress
- Richard Roberts, theologian, pacifist
- Aberystwyth University Students' Union
- Thomas Parry Library
- List of universities in Wales
- Aberystwyth Arts Centre
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- Ben Bowen Thomas, "Aber" 1872–1972 (University of Wales Press, 1972)
- J Roger Webster, Old College Aberystwyth: The Evolution of a High Victorian Building (University of Wales Press, 1995)
- Emrys Wynn Jones, Fair may your future be: the story of the Aberystwyth Old Students’ Association 1892–1992 (Aberystwyth Old Students’ Association, 1992)
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- Aberystwyth University – University official website
- Aberystwyth Students' Union – Students' Union website
- Aberystwyth Old Students' Association - Alumni Association website
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