University Campus Suffolk

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University Campus Suffolk
Ucs logo blue.png
Established 1 August 2007
Location Suffolk, England
Campus Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft
Affiliations University of East Anglia, University of Essex, West Suffolk College, Great Yarmouth College, Lowestoft College, Otley College, East of England Development Agency, Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council

University Campus Suffolk
Otley College
West Suffolk College
Lowestoft College
Great Yarmouth College
Suffolk New College

University Campus Suffolk (UCS) is an educational institution located in the English county of Suffolk. UCS is a collaboration between the University of Essex and the University of East Anglia which sponsor its formation and validate its degrees.[1][2] UCS accepted its first students in September 2007. Until then Suffolk was one of only four counties in England which did not have a University campus.[1]

UCS operates at six sites with its central hub in Ipswich. Other sites are centred on pre-existing Higher Education centres in Ipswich, Lowestoft, Bury St. Edmunds, Otley and in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.[3] UCS operates five academic schools[4] and in 2012 had around 2,200 students.[2][5] In 2011 some 55% of the student body were classed as mature students and 70% of UCS students were female.[2] There are plans to extend the intake to around 7,500 students by 2014.[5]


In 2003, Suffolk County Council established a "stakeholder group" made up of representatives from the University of East Anglia, the University of Essex, Suffolk College, the East of England Development Agency, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Suffolk Learning and Skills Council, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk Chief Executive's Group and the Suffolk Development Agency. The aim of the group was to investigate the possibility of establishing a university in the county. Following funding pledges from Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council in 2004, UCS was backed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) with £15m worth of funding in 2005 and attracted a £12.5m grant from the East of England Development Agency in 2006[6]

UCS was officially launched on 1 August 2007[1][7] and welcomed its first students in September of the same year.[8]


University Campus Suffolk's teaching is split into five schools: applied social sciences; arts and humanities; business, leadership and enterprise; nursing and midwifery; and science, technology and health.[4] The schools work across the UCS network with degrees validated by the University of Essex and the University of East Anglia.[4]


UCS Ipswich[edit]

Waterfront location of the Ipswich campus

Based around the Ipswich waterfront redevelopment, UCS Ipswich is the main hub of the network.[1] It was developed from the former Higher Education section of Suffolk College. The Waterfront building, designed by RMJM Architects,[9] is the centre of the hub, opening in September 2008 and costing £35 million.[5][10] It has three lecture theatres, and 34 smaller teaching rooms.[4] The six-storey James Hehir Building was officially opened in March 2011 at a cost of £21 million[11] It is named after the former chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council and housed "Kai", the curiously named student union bar, which closed in 2012 due to continually running at a loss.[2][11][12] Part of the old Suffolk College site, now known as "Campus North", was redeveloped at a cost of £2.5 million. This houses the small UCS Ipswich library facility or "Learning Resource Centre".[4] Onsite student accommodation is provided in the 600-place Athena Hall, located adjacent to the James Hehir building.[2]

A range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses are offered at UCS Ipswich, including Art and Design, Business and Management, Computing, Education, Film and Media Studies, Health, Nursing and Midwifery, Humanities, Social Sciences and Initial Teacher Training.[1]

UCS at Suffolk New College[edit]

Suffolk New College is located next to the UCS Ipswich campus and was developed from the Further Education centre of Suffolk College.[1] It is a centre for civil engineering degrees and initial teacher training.[1]

UCS Otley[edit]

The Otley Centre is located at the site of Otley College, situated eight miles north of Ipswich. The centre offers a range of foundation degrees in areas such as Animal Science & Welfare, Animal Science & Welfare (Equine Health), Arboriculture and Sustainable Land Use Management as well as providing initial teacher training.[1] A modern equine centre is a feature of the site with Olympic-standard approved facilities.[4]

UCS Bury St Edmunds[edit]

The Bury St Edmunds Centre is located at the site of West Suffolk College. A range of foundation degrees in subjects including Art, Engineering and Logistics and Transport and Management are taught at the site as well as degrees in Business Management, Education, English and History, CIOB accredited Construction Management and initial teacher training.[1] Over 700 students follow degree and foundation degree courses at the site.[13] The site, which was remodelled in 2011,[13] has an industry-standard recording studio.[4]

UCS Lowestoft[edit]

The Lowestoft Centre is located at the site of Lowestoft College. UCS Lowestoft offers a combination of more conventional degrees such as Business Management, Design and Early Years[1] alongside some more unusual options including Football Development courses.[4]

UCS Great Yarmouth[edit]

UCS Great Yarmouth is located at the Southtown site of Great Yarmouth College in neighbouring Norfolk.[1] Subjects such as Computing, Counselling, Engineering, Fashion, Music, and Photography are available at the centre, which has a modern recording studio.[1][4]


UCS is the lead partner on the LEAP (Learning and Enterprise Access Points) project. The LEAPs are education and training points located in market towns across Suffolk. The aim of the LEAPs is to provide access to a range of education opportunities from basic skills to Higher Education. UCS developed LEAPs around Suffolk by working with the local government and the East of England Development Agency.[citation needed]


The Ipswich Campus has a 600 room hall of residence.[2]


University Campus Suffolk operates as a "Centre for Applied Sustainability". An example of UCSs work with sustainability is the Phase 1 campus development which was assessed as BREEAM Excellent. This signifies that the development is setting the "best practice in sustainable development".[14]

UCS is also actively engaged in the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership Green Economy Pathfinder [15] and is launching an MSc in Sustainable business in September 2013.[16]

UCS Union[edit]

UCS Union was formed on 1 August 2007, the same day UCS was officially launched. It provides support for its students and looks after their well-being during their studies.[2] It ran a union bar in the James Hehir building at UCS Ipswich, but the bar was closed in 2012 due to continually running at a loss.[4] A new bar, run by a local publican, opened in 2013, but UCS ranked poorly in terms of student nightlife and sporting opportunities in a survey conducted in the same year.[17]

The union is the representative of the student body at the management level of the university and as such its positions are manned by paid and unpaid students who wear suits and go to meetings, and who are based at the Union office in the heart of the campus' East building. The Union also looks after the university social calendar, with multiple events run during the academic weeks and special Freshers weeks at the beginning of each academic year. The UCS Union is not affiliated with the National Union of Students (NUS).

The President and Vice-President of the Union are, subject to a sufficient number of votes, elected every April, and take office for 12 months from July - July overseeing the totality of one academic year. The candidates come from the student body and must compete in the election campaigns in March/April. There is a current two-year maximum term for the positions. The current President is Benjamin Adofo and the Vice-President is Christopher Mitchell, both newly elected for 2013.

Academic Year President Vice-President
2008-09 Howard Smith -
2010-11 Andy Speed Ben Tuck
2011-12 Jonathan Wright Sam Bennett
2012-13 Jonathan Wright Sam Bennett
2013-14 Benjamin Adofo Christopher Mitchell


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l University Campus Suffolk, University of Essex. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g University Campus Suffolk guide, Daily Telegraph, 2011-06-21. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  3. ^ University Campus Suffolk, University of East Anglia. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j University guide 2013 University Campus Suffolk, The Guardian, 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
  5. ^ a b c University Campus Suffolk (UCS), The Independent Freshers Guide, 2012, 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  6. ^ University plan wins £12.5m grant, BBC news website, 2006-03-20. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  7. ^ New university officially opened, BBC news website, 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  8. ^ University open to first students, BBC news website, 2007-09-10. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  9. ^ New views of dockside campus plan, BBC news website, 2006-08-03. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  10. ^ Flagship university building open, BBC news website, 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  11. ^ a b UCS opens £21m James Hehir Building in Ipswich, BBC news website, 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  12. ^ Closure of Kai, UCS Union. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  13. ^ a b West Suffolk College unveils £1.2m facelift, BBC Suffolk news, 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  14. ^ News story, 2008
  15. ^ Green Economy Manifesto, 2012
  16. ^ UCS MSc Sustainable Business
  17. ^ Ipswich: University Campus Suffolk ranked poorly for its nightlife and sporting opportunities, Ipswich Star', 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2014-02-28.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°03′09″N 1°09′49″E / 52.0525°N 1.1635°E / 52.0525; 1.1635