University of Bedfordshire

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University of Bedfordshire
University Bedfordshire logo.png
Established 1882 – Teacher Training College
1993 – gained University Status as University of Luton
2006 – University of Bedfordshire
Type Public
Endowment £1.64 m (2011)[1]
Chancellor Rt Hon John Bercow MP
Vice-Chancellor Bill Rammell
Students 23,930
Undergraduates 17,129
Postgraduates 6,801
Location Bedford, Luton Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK
51°52′40″N 0°24′41″W / 51.87778°N 0.41139°W / 51.87778; -0.41139Coordinates: 51°52′40″N 0°24′41″W / 51.87778°N 0.41139°W / 51.87778; -0.41139
Campus Urban
University of Bedfordshire – Luton Campus

The University of Bedfordshire is a public university in England with campuses in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, England. The university was created in August 2006 following approval by the Privy Council by merging the University of Luton and the Bedford campus of De Montfort University.

It has approximately 24,000 students, including nearly 3,000 international students. It is spread across four campuses: there are two campuses in Bedfordshire in Bedford, and Luton; and two campuses in Buckinghamshire, in Aylesbury for students studying Nursing and Midwifery, and in Milton Keynes, where business studies, electronic engineering, and telecommunications are taught.

The University entered the Research Assessment Exercise in 2008 and achieved a GPA of 2.087 with 34.7% world-leading or internationally excellent.[2] The top units of assessment were in Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Social Work Social Policy and Administration and English Language and Literature. In 2012 it achieved FairTrade status.[3]


The University of Luton had its roots in the Luton Modern School, which was established in 1908 and the Luton Modern School and Technical Institute which opened in 1937. This became Luton College of Higher Education with the merger of Luton College of Technology and Putteridge Bury College of Education in 1976. It obtained university status in 1993. The Bedford campus of De Montfort University was originally part of the Bedford College of Higher Education, which stemmed from Bedford Teacher Training College, founded in 1882, and Bedford Physical Training College, founded in 1903. The university was created by the merger of the University of Luton and the Bedford campus of De Montfort University in August 2006 following approval by the Privy Council.

Organisation and structure[edit]

The university has four faculties: Creative Arts, Technologies and Science; Education and Sport; Health and Social Sciences; and a Business School and according to the Daily Telegraph it has "one of the most generous" scholarship programmes in the United Kingdom.[4] The university has regional representatives in several parts of India who have extensive training to give free counselling, advice and, where possible, a face to face interview to students, based in Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad and Vadodara.

Academic profile[edit]

In 2000 the University of Luton was ranked 83 out of 93 British universities by The Times[5] in their annual university ranking, rising to 72 out of 101 two years later.[6] In 2004, the university's then high drop-out rate, and decision to allow students to progress go on to their third year of their degree even if they fail to pass their first and second year exams led the Sunday Telegraph to ask "Is this the worst university in Britain?"[7] Luton's vice-chancellor responded by drawing attention to its teaching quality, which had been rated 14th out of 121 similar institutions the previous year by The Times.[8]

The Sunday Times also awarded the University of Luton the title of Best New university in 2004 (prior to the purchase of the Bedford campus and rebranding).[9] The QAA conducted a thorough institutional audit of the university as a whole in 2005 (prior to the merger of the university), which resulted in the audit team’s questioning of the academic standards of its awards and its lack of confidence in the university's quality standards.[10] However, after the audit was taken the QAA was provided with information that indicates that appropriate action was taken by the university in response to the findings of this report. As a result the audit was signed off in July 2007.[11]

The university has been criticised for its association with the Institute for Optimum Nutrition,[12][13] an unacredited and controversial organisation whose founder, Patrick Holford's advocacy of vitamin C as better than conventional drugs to treat AIDS was described as 'very scary' by the British Dietetic Association.[14]

According to the THES in 2008 the university threatened legal action against a web site after one of its course was labelled "shocking" because of its staff-to-student ratio.[15] After the QAA audit conducted in 2009 the university was awarded a "Confidence" rating.

The University hosts the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research opened in 2012[16] which carried out the first British study of cyberstalking and other forms of harassment online.[17] In 2012 it established a UNESCO chair in New Media Forms of the Book to analyse trends in the use of electronic media, mobile media and Internet technologies[18] through research and practice.[19]

Teaching quality[edit]

University of Bedfordshire – Bedford Campus Centre

In 2004 The Sunday Times awarded the university the title of 'Best New University'[20] and in 2007 the it was short-listed for the Times Higher Education Supplement's University of the Year 2007.[21]

The university received top marks in the Quality Assurance Agency, the Government's higher education quality watchdog, most recent audit (2009). The university's Language and Linguistics courses is ranked second in the latest edition of the Complete University Guide (CUG) for student satisfaction.


  • Awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise: International Trade in 2011.[22]
  • Outstanding Finance Team winners in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2011.[23]
  • ‘Gold’ award from Investors in People in 2011.


In June 2012 the university was ranked 82 (out of 116) in the Complete Universities Guide, a rise of 21 places over its 2011 ranking.[24] The university is also ranked 88 (out of 116) in The Times Good University Guide, a rise of 18 places. The Times reports that the percentage of graduates gaining a first or upper second class degree has risen from 44.4 per cent last year to 53.6 per cent and there has been an increase in spending per student by the university on services and facilities, from £1,368 in 2011 to £2,004 in 2012.

In The Guardian University Guide the university was ranked 102 out of 117.[25] This guide is compiled using mainly teaching data (staff/student ratio, job prospects, entrance criteria, inclusiveness), while The Times guide also includes data on research ratings and the percentage of students who complete a degree.

The 2012 Guardian University Guide ranked the university’s nursing courses 11th (of 78 courses nationally), a rise of 12 places over 2011 and awarded us the maximum added value score.[26]

In 2012 the university received a first class award and was ranked 36th out of 145 in the People and Planet Green League 2012 – rising 17 places from the previous year.[3] In 2012 the University also received accreditation as a Fair Trade University.[3]

UK rankings
2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000
Times Good University Guide 88 106 71=[27] 89[27] 84
Guardian University Guide 102 103 88[28] 91[29] 95
Sunday Times University Guide 116[30] 111[30] 102[31] 102= 98 104 106[32] 83rd[33] 82 72[6] 100 83[5]
The Complete University Guide 82[34] 103[35] 72=[36] 86=[37] 86=[38]
The Daily Telegraph 86
People and Planet Green League 36[3] 53


The university's two main campuses are in Luton town centre and Bedford, on Polhill Avenue. Both have been recently modernised with new teaching and social facilities and new on-campus accommodations.[citation needed]

Both main campuses have on-campus accommodation. There are also two dedicated campuses for the teaching of nursing and midwifery degrees at Butterfield Park on the outskirts of Luton and at the Buckinghamshire campus at Oxford House in Aylesbury. The university also has a site at Putteridge Bury which is home to its Knowledge Hub and postgraduate Business School.[39] The campus is situated in approximately 30 acres of landscaped gardens. The current building was completed in 1911 and was designed by architects Sir Ernest George and Alfred Yeats in the style of Chequers, having had various redesigns and rebuilds over the years. The campus is home to the university's postgraduate Business School as well as the university's Conference Centre.[40][41] A smaller fourth campus, the University Campus Milton Keynes, became part of the university in 2012.[citation needed]

Each university campus has its own dedicated library and learning resources. There is also a large online digital library. Luton Park Square houses the university’s main library collection, the Social Learning Space and IT Suite. Bedford Polhill campus has a large library offering a full range of services including IT in the Learning Hub whilst Putteridge Bury specialises in materials supporting courses in education. Nursing students also have access to the NHS Trust Libraries.[citation needed]

Luton Campus[edit]

The university’s £34m Campus Centre opened in October 2010.[42] Designed for social activity as well as teaching the Campus Centre incorporates learning zones. It houses a 240-seat lecture theatre, an exhibition area for displaying student work, the Student Information Desk offering help and support for students and the Students’ Union's support services and executive offices. There are also several places to eat and drink.

A £20m Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development Centre is scheduled to be completed in early 2013 and includes state-of-the-art IT and AV equipment, informal and quiet learning spaces, two “Harvard-style” lecture theatres, as well as a student lounge and cafe. The Luton Learning Resource Centre has over 200,000 books and specialist texts, 9,000 journals and 300 fully networked PCs that are available at the Park Square campus. There is also an extensive online library of resources.

Luton campus is home to the following schools of study: Business; Media, Art and Design; Science; Computing; Law; Psychology; and Social Sciences, and there are 1,573 bedrooms available for students across the Luton campus.

Putteridge Bury, Luton[edit]

Built in 1911, Putteridge Bury is a country mansion set in 30 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland, just four miles from the Park Square campus on the Hertfordshire – Bedfordshire border. It is home to the Bedfordshire Business School postgraduate programmes and the university's Conference Centre.[43]

Bedford Campus[edit]

Polhill Library on the Bedford campus

The Bedford campus on Polhill Avenue is about 20 minutes walk from Bedford town centre. The university provides a free bus service running between the town centre and the campus. The campus has recently undergone a redevelopment which includes an Physical Education and Sport Science Centre used to train athletes in the 2012 Olympics,and a Bedford Campus Centre boasting a 280-seat theatre, dance studios, restaurant and social spaces for students. Liberty Park, the recently completed £20m on-campus student accommodation, offers 500 en-suite study bedrooms. The Polhill Library was designed by van Heyningen and Haward Architects as a gateway to the campus. The building was completed in 2001 and provides approximately 360 individual study spaces, teaching space, staff work areas and traditional library services.[44]

The Bedford campus has the following schools: Primary Education, Secondary and Post-Compulsory Education, Education Studies, Physical Education and Sport Studies, Sport and Exercise Sciences, and Tourism and Leisure

Butterfield Park[edit]

Butterfield is home to a purpose-designed building for Health, Nursing and Midwifery students, and £1m has been invested to offer students appropriate teaching and learning resources. The 85-acre 'building and technology' zone provides facilities that includin a skills lab and a £500,000 clinical simulation centre, complete with operating theatre suite, hospital ward and family room, that ensure students develop and refine their clinical abilities in realistic settings.[45]

Butterfield Park was named Green Office of the Year 2008 in The Office Development Awards competition for the environmental development of the future.

It is home to the Luton Institute of Research in the Applied Natural Sciences (LIRANS), which focuses on postgraduate training, research, applied research and product development – in association with other academic groups and in collaboration with industry. LIRANS carries out research in three broad areas: cryobiology, environmental change and sensors.

Butterfield Park is located on the north-east side of Luton. It is also near to the university's Putteridge Bury Campus, which is four miles from the main Park Square campus.

Buckinghamshire campus[edit]

The university's Buckinghamshire campus, for Health, Nursing and Midwifery students, in Aylesbury, is equipped with purpose-built facilities including a multi-purpose skills lab with comprehensive simulation facilities. Students undertake clinical placements at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, in Wycombe General Hospital in High Wycombe, and in a range of community based healthcare settings. Students can take advantage of accommodation just a short walk from the hospitals. There is the opportunity to be involved in local communities and with the practitioners from local NHS Trusts and disciplines.

University Campus Milton Keynes[edit]

The Milton Keynes campus became part of the university in September 2012. It teaches Foundation Degrees and Master's degrees in a variety of business, electronics, and Information and Communications Technology subjects.

Students' Union[edit]

In May 2012 the Beds Students' Union Welfare Advice Service was presented with an Advice Quality Mark recognising their contribution to the care of students and local residents. It also represents students in university decision-making and nationally. It provides a wide range of services for students as well as providing social facilities and bars and cafes. It is affiliated to the National Union of Students, which represents students nationwide. Elections are held every year to elect a new executive committee.

There are many different societies and club at Beds SU – both in Luton and Bedford. These are set up and run by students, with full support of Student Activities Co-ordinators, and provide a wide variety of events and activities through the year. At present there are 55 active societies which cover cultural, recreational, sporting, religious and political themes. Over the academic year the Students Union runs several RAG events to raise money for various causes. Students take part in the fund raising helping out by taking part in events or volunteering on a fund raising stall. There is a regular student union e-zine.[46]

Postgraduate studies[edit]

The university offers courses at the postgraduate level. It currently has 4,000 postgraduate students and 1,200 members of staff from more than 100 countries, with more than 46 per cent of students aged over 25.

In the latest Government Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008, the university was recognised as 'world-leading' for its research in Earth Systems and Environmental Science; Social Work, Social Policy and Administration; English Language and Literature; and Communications, Cultural and Media Studies.[47] The university has also been recognised as 'internationally excellent' in the areas of Computer Science and Informatics; and Business and Management Studies.

Professional Accreditation[edit]

The university’s courses are accredited through, or have close links with:

Educational partner institutions[edit]

The university works together with a number of partner institutions to offer a range of courses:[48]

The university is a co-sponsor of UTC Central Bedfordshire, a university technical college which opened in Houghton Regis in September 2012.

Notable alumni[edit]

Photo gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "RAE 2008: results for UK universities". The Guardian (London). 18 December 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d
  4. ^ Paton, Graeme (9 March 2012). "Brightest students tempted by £3k university scholarships". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ Julie Henry, Is this the worst university in Britain?, Sunday Telegraph, 8 February 2004; page updated 30 March 2004
  8. ^ Alan Thomson, Lay off, says Luton, as it plays to strengths, Times Higher Education Supplement, 9 April 2004.
  9. ^
  10. ^ University of Luton – APRIL 2005
  11. ^ Institutional audit – University of Luton
  12. ^ D. Thompson, Counterknowledge (Atlantic Books, 2008).
  13. ^ Ben Goldacre (1 November 2008). Bad Science. Fourth Estate. pp. 178–. ISBN 978-0-00-724019-7. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Times Higher Education – Website closes after Hesa withholds data
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Social networks 'should do more' on cyberstalking". The Daily Telegraph (London). 11 July 2011. 
  18. ^,_university_of_bedfordshire_(2012)
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Times Education Supplement shortlists (see page 28)
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "University guide 2013: University league table". The Guardian (London). 21 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "University guide 2012: Nursing and paramedical studies". The Guardian (London). 17 May 2011. 
  27. ^ a b Watson, Roland; Elliott, Francis; Foster, Patrick. "University Rankings League Table 2010 | Good University Guide – Times Online". London: Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  28. ^ "University guide 2010: University league table | Education". London: 12 May 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  29. ^ "University ranking by institution". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 29 October 2007. 
  30. ^ a b >The Sunday Times 30 September 2012
  31. ^ Lewis, Leo; Island, Jindo. "The Sunday Times University League Table". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 13 September 2009. 
  32. ^ "University ranking based on performance over 10 years" (PDF). London: Times Online. 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2008. 
  33. ^ "The Sunday Times University League Table" (PDF). The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 3 November 2007. 
  34. ^ "The Complete University Guide 2013". Complete University Guide. 
  35. ^ "The Complete University Guide 2012". Complete University Guide. 
  36. ^ "The Complete University Guide 2011". Complete University Guide. 
  37. ^ "The Complete University Guide 2010". Complete University Guide. 
  38. ^ "The Independent University League Table". The Independent (London). 24 April 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  39. ^
  40. ^ James Dyer, The Stopsley Book, Book Castle, 1998, ISBN 1-871199-04-2, pp. 56–64.
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ See James Dyer, The Stopsley Book, Book Castle, 1998, ISBN 1-871199-04-2, pp. 56–64.
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^ Educational partners

External links[edit]