University of Northampton

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This article is about the present day university. For the one in existence from 1261 to 1265, see University of Northampton (13th century).
The University of Northampton
University of Northampton Crest.png
Former names
University College Northampton (1999),
Nene College of Higher Education (1975),
Northampton Technical College (1924),
Motto Transforming lives, inspiring change
Type Public
Established 2005 (gained University status)
1975 (Nene College established)
Endowment £0.95 m[1]
Chancellor Baroness Falkner of Margravine
Vice-Chancellor Nick Petford
Administrative staff
Students 12,985 (2015/16)[3]
Undergraduates 10,670 (2015/16)[3]
Postgraduates 2,315 (2015/16)[3]
Location Northampton, Northamptonshire, UK
UoN new logo.jpg

The University of Northampton is a public university based in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England. It was formed in 1999 by the amalgamation of a number of training colleges and gained full university status as The University of Northampton in 2005.


In 1924, Northampton Technical College was opened at St George's Avenue, site of the Avenue Campus. A new building for the college was formally opened by the Duke and Duchess of York in 1932. A School of Art opened later in 1937.

The entrance to Avenue campus

At the beginning of the 1970s, Northamptonshire was one of the few counties in England to lack a teacher-training college. A college in Liverpool lost its home and was transferred to what is now the Park Campus. The college was opened by the Secretary of State for Education and Science, Margaret Thatcher, in 1972.

In 1975, this college amalgamated with the college of technology and art to become Nene College of Higher Education, taking its name from the River Nene.

In 1993, the college incorporated St. Andrew's School of Occupational Therapy and was granted taught degree awarding powers. In 1994 it took in the Leathersellers College and in 1997 the Sir Gordon Roberts College of Nursing and Midwifery. It became University College Northampton in 1999 and gained full university status in 2005. In order to gain university status it had to convince the Privy Council that a Royal Decree banning the establishment of a university in Northampton, signed by King Henry III in 1265 following the Battle of Lewes, should be repealed.

In 2005 the university also received the power to validate its own research degrees, which had formerly been validated by the University of Leicester. In the graduation ceremonies in July 2006 seven students received the first doctoral degrees validated by the University of Northampton.

In January 2010, the School of Applied Sciences was renamed the School of Science and Technology and moved into the newly refurbished Newton Building at Avenue Campus. The Newton Building was officially opened in September 2010 by HRH The Princess Anne.


Main entrance to the Avenue Campus

The university has two sites: Park Campus at Kingsthorpe, a northern suburb, and Avenue Campus just north of the town centre and opposite a large open park known as the Racecourse.

Avenue Campus was from 1924 the site of a college of technology that became part of the university.

The university has various types of halls of residence in its two campuses, with just over 1,600 rooms. Most first year students live in halls and few second or third years do so. Many of them live in the Abington area, north-west of the town centre. The main halls are: *Simon Senlis (named after Simon de Senlis); Spencer Perceval; William Carey; Margaret Bondfield; John Clare; Charles Bradlaugh (a former ground-floor flat in the latter is a multi-faith Chaplaincy Centre, and another in John Clare houses the Centre for Community Volunteering; Bassett-Lowke.

Simon Senlis hall

The university also offers accommodation at Belinda Ferrison house in the Mounts area of the town centre. In April 2012 Northampton Borough Council granted planning permission for a 464-room hall of residence on the site of the St John’s Surface Car Park in the town centre. It opened in 2014 and mainly accommodates international and post-graduate students.[4]

New buildings include a Santander Bank, "one-stop" student centre on Park campus, an innovation centre at Avenue campus for small and start-up businesses and a complete re-fit of the editing and sound studios at Avenue campus.

The Newton Building

The university recently took ownership of the Grade II listed former Kingsley Park Middle School next door to Avenue Campus. This has undergone an £11m refurbishment and now houses most of the School of Science and Technology, formerly split between Avenue Campus and Park Campus. The building has been renamed the Newton Building, after Sir Isaac Newton.

The university achieved the Ecocampus Silver award in 2011.[5]

In May 2012, the university announced plans to establish a new riverside campus in the town centre on the site of the disused Northampton Power Station on the south bank of the River Nene.[6] The site would be within the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone (known simply as Northampton Waterside)[7][8] and is due to start accepting students in 2018.

Organisation and administration[edit]

The Vice Chancellor is Nick Petford, who was preceded in the post by Ann Tate (who received an honorary degree from the university in 2011) and Martin Gaskell.

On 10 February 2008 the university appointed Baroness Falkner of Margravine as its first Chancellor.

Credit union[edit]

The Changemaker Credit Union is a joint initiative between the university and Northamptonshire Credit Union, providing financial services to students and staff.[9] Northamptonshire Credit Union is a member of the Association of British Credit Unions Limited.[10]

Academic profile[edit]

The university had 12,985 students spread across its two campuses in 2015/16.[3] It is divided into six schools: Arts; Science and Technology (formerly Applied Sciences); Education; Health; Business and Social Sciences.

The Sunley Conference Centre is for management training and development and also provides a large part of the university's conference facilities.

The university offers a wide range of undergraduate degrees, foundation degrees, diplomas and a variety of postgraduate opportunities up to PhD level. It is one of only a handful of universities in the UK to offer two-year fast-track degrees (currently for management and marketing and law) and it also offers four-year extended degrees with a year in industry. The university is internationally renowned for waste management education and research. Other centres of excellence include Centre for Children and Youth (childhood and Children's Geographies), Transpersonal Psychology, leather technology and lift engineering. Degree programmes in Environmental Science subjects offer overseas fieldwork trips for undergraduate students to locations such as North America and the Canary Islands.

Reputation and rankings[edit]

(2017, national)
The Guardian[12]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[13]
(2017, national)

In the 2012 Guardian University League Table, the university was ranked first for 'value added' in UK.[14]

The university was awarded 'The Outstanding HEI Supporting Social Entrepreneurship Award' at the UnLtd/HEFCE ‘Dare to be Different’ national conference in June 2011.[15] and has also been named the Midlands most 'Enterprising University of the Year' for both 2011 and 2012, in recognition of its work in social enterprise.[16] In February 2013, the university received international recognisation for its commitment to social innovation and entrepreneurship by being designated a 'Changemaker Campus' by Ashoka U.[17] Northampton is the first Changemaker Campus in the UK and joins a global network of 21 other Changemaker Campuses.


In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) the university achieved significant ratings in Business and Management; Health; Education; History; Metallurgy and Materials; English; Drama, Dance and Performing Arts; Art and Design; and Asian Studies.[18]

Research, consultancy and knowledge transfer at the university are centred on a number of cognate research groupings. It carries out internationally renowned research into lift engineering and technology, using the Express Lift Tower in the town, reflecting the town's historic role in lift manufacturing.

The university provides numerous other business support schemes and programmes for new companies. These are often run through the university’s Sunley Management Centre. Other schemes run by the university include an art loan facility for offices or conferences. The university provided lab facilities for the Channel 4 programme “How Clean Is Your House”.

Learning and Teaching[edit]

The Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, directed by Prof Alejandro Armellini, is a central point of support and reference for all staff and services across the University of Northampton. It focuses on three areas: intellectual capital, student experience, and learning and teaching enhancement and innovation.[19] The Institute aims to enable transformational learning experiences through inspirational teaching. It works on developing capability in learning design, innovation and excellent teaching practice, underpinned by the latest pedagogic research.[20]

Student life[edit]

Students' Union[edit]

The Students' Union has venues across the two campuses.

On Park Campus, there is Central Park, the daytime bar and food outlet, with a pool table and frequent showings of live sport. Upstairs there is NN2, a 500-capacity venue that hosts club nights and events involving live bands and DJs. On the other side of campus there is the Pavilion Bar, which serves food and drink throughout the day and evenings, and offers a range of entertainment, including karaoke and quiz nights.

The Union building on Avenue Campus has recently been refurbished; it has a bar and diner and is home to the Union’s newspaper and radio station. It is host to live music, stand-up comedy and bingo nights. There are Union shops on both campuses.

The Union was awarded a national Gold award,[21] as well as 'Best Club', in the national NUS Best Bar None awards 2011. This award confirms the Union as being a safe venue with effective policies on drink and drugs, crime prevention, fire, security and first aid.


The university has 26 sports clubs and enters 24 teams in Wednesday BUCS Leagues each week. The most successful clubs are rugby league, in the South BUCS Premier League, which has produced numerous participants in the Student Rugby league Home Nations tournament, and Men’s Basketball, which narrowly lost the 2011 BUCS Conference Cup final. The latter also competes in the English Basketball National Leagues. The university has a very competitive Trampolining Club, which has several members who compete at both national and international competitions and is based at the NTGA (Northamptonshire Trampoline and Gymnast Academy).


Approximately 30 student societies are affiliated to The University of Northampton Students’ Union. These range from special interest societies such as Doctor Who and Anime to faith-based societies such as the Christian Union and Islamic Society.

NUMedia, the student-led, run and managed media society, was launched in September 2011 and is responsible for the NUNews newspaper, NURadio broadcasts and NUTube video productions.

Parents and carers organise, run and staff a crèche for students and staff during half-term holidays.

University Technical Colleges[edit]

The university is an academic sponsor of two university technical colleges which opened in September 2013. Daventry University Technical College specialises in engineering, construction and environmental sustainability, Silverstone University Technical College in motorsports engineering, event management and hospitality.

Notable people[edit]


  • Henry Bird - taught drawing at the art school; his students included the architect Will Alsop.[22]
  • Dave Hill - political and educational activist, professor of education (2007–12)
  • Robert Kirk - professor emeritus in the department of philosophy


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "University of Northampton accounts-2011.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d "2015/16 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "University granted planning permission". Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  5. ^ "Ecocampus register". Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  6. ^ "BBC News - University plans £300m new campus". 2012-05-25. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone on Northampton Borough Council website - NOTE Power station site shown as 21B, railway station as 12 on map ; accessed 30 May 2012
  8. ^ "Waterside Restoration Master Plan 2004 Appendix" (PDF). Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  9. ^ Changemaker Credit Union The University of Northampton (retrieved 7 March 2015)
  10. ^ Credit unions in membership of ABCUL Association of British Credit Unions (retrieved 1 November 2014)
  11. ^ "University League Table 2017". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  12. ^ "University league tables 2017". The Guardian. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  13. ^ "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2017". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  14. ^ "Guardian University League Tables". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  15. ^ "The University of Northampton wins top Social Entrepreneurship Award". Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "RAE 2008 results". Retrieved 2008-12-24. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "NUS Best Bar None assessments 2010/11" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  22. ^ Alsop W. (June 28, 2001). Drawing on the experiences of life help create better work. Architects' Journal

External links[edit]