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University of Bedfordshire

Coordinates: 51°52′40″N 0°24′41″W / 51.87778°N 0.41139°W / 51.87778; -0.41139
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University of Bedfordshire
Established1882 – Bedford Teacher Training College
1993 – University of Luton gained University Status
2006 – renamed to University of Bedfordshire after merging with the Bedford campus of De Montfort University
ChancellorSarfraz Manzoor
Vice-ChancellorProfessor Rebecca Bunting
Location, ,
51°52′40″N 0°24′41″W / 51.87778°N 0.41139°W / 51.87778; -0.41139
Websitebeds.ac.uk Edit this at Wikidata

The University of Bedfordshire is a public research university with campuses in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, England. The University has roots in further and higher education from 1882: it gained university status in 1993 as the University of Luton. The University changed its name to the University of Bedfordshire in 2006, following the merger of the University of Luton with the Bedford campus of De Montfort University.

It is spread across five campuses: there are three in Bedfordshire, in Bedford and Luton; and two in Buckinghamshire, in Aylesbury (for students studying Nursing and Midwifery), and in Milton Keynes. It is also active in London and Birmingham, as well as globally, with a growing portfolio of international partnerships as far afield as Trinidad and Tobago, Egypt, Vietnam, Oman and Mauritius.

The University entered the Research Assessment Exercise in 2014 and achieved an improvement of 22 places in the REF Power Ranking – the fourth largest improvement in the sector with nearly half of its research considered to be world leading or internationally excellent.[1][needs update]

In 2012, it achieved FairTrade status.[2] The University has also come eighth in the UK in the People and Planet University Green League in 2019 and received the Eco Campus Platinum award in 2020.[3]

The University of Bedfordshire has around 20,000 students from over 100 countries, with around 40 academic partners, both in the UK and overseas, to deliver a range of course from foundation degrees to doctorates. More than 40% of its student population come from families with no history of participation in higher education. Around 70% are mature returners to education and over half are from black or ethnic minority backgrounds.[4]

Appointed in 2020, the current Vice Chancellor is Professor Rebecca Bunting.[5] The current Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire is Sarfraz Manzoor, who was appointed in 2023.[6][7]


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 following 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.[8]


The University's two main campuses are in Luton and Bedford.In Buckinghamshire, the dedicated Mary Seacole Aylesbury campus for Healthcare students opened in February 2020 at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in partnership with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT). A smaller fourth campus at Milton Keynes became part of the university in 2012, offering a variety of degree courses as well as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes.[9]

On the outskirts of Luton, is the University’s Putteridge Bury campus. 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.[10][11]

The site is utilised for University events including graduations, academic research symposia and seminars, The University of Bedfordshire Business School's postgraduate programmes, as well as a wide variety of public and private events including conferences, weddings, funeral receptions and public holiday functions.

Luton Campus[edit]

The University’s Luton campus is located in the town centre and is home to a purpose built STEM building, seven-storey library, a Postgraduate & CPD Centre, as well as facilities to support each of the courses on offer. These include the Media Arts Centre, a Moot Court, Business Pods, Healthcare Simulation Suites, a Campus Gym and a three-storey art studio with designated fashion and photography studios.

The University's Campus Centre, at Luton, opened in October 2010. It houses a 240-seat lecture theatre, an exhibition area for displaying student work, a Student Information Desk and Students' Union support services.

The Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development Centre was completed in early 2013

The dedicated STEM building opened in 2019 and is set out over four storeys of teaching space including four computer laboratories and workshops for subjects such as automotive engineering, cyber-security and robotics, along with three large teaching labs, and four specialist containment labs.[12]

Bedford Campus[edit]

The Bedford campus includes a Physical Education and Sport Science Centre used to train athletes in the 2012 Olympic Games, and a Bedford Campus Centre boasting a 280-seat theatre, dance studios, a restaurant and social spaces for students. Liberty Park, on-site accommodation, offers 500 en-suite study bedrooms.

The 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.[13] There is also the Gateway building which offers teaching and informal learning spaces, lecture theatres and a student service centre over three storeys.

Mary Seacole, Aylesbury Campus[edit]

The University’s Mary Seacole Campus opened in February 2020 at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury and in partnership with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT). 

The three-storey building, located on the hospital site, provides a specialist skills lab, set out as a hospital ward with state-of-the-art audio visual technology. There are also a suite of classrooms, a library, social learning spaces and computer study facilities.[14]

Milton Keynes Campus[edit]

The Milton Keynes campus was originally established with the long term aim of becoming a new, independent university in Milton Keynes.[15]

The original University Centre Milton Keynes building at 200 Silbury Boulevard.

The institution began as 'the University Centre Milton Keynes' (UCMK), part of Milton Keynes College and supported by the University of Bedfordshire, the University of Northampton and the Open University. It was opened on 29 September 2008, with start-up funding provided by the Milton Keynes Partnership, which purchased the initial building (a former office block) in Central Milton Keynes.

In October 2009, the University of Bedfordshire (acting as lead academic partner) made a successful bid to the Higher Education Funding Council for England to expand provision at UCMK, one of just six such centres to have achieved this.[16]

In September 2012 the centre ceased to be part of MK College and became a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Bedfordshire.[17] The university announced plans for a new campus in the city, with the new name of the institution being 'University Campus Milton Keynes', and this was opened at Saxon Court on Avebury Boulevard in September 2013.[18][19]

Since March 2017, the brand 'UCMK' is no longer in use and the campus now operates as University of Bedfordshire Milton Keynes Campus.

Today, under the operation of the University of Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes campus offers foundation degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees.[20]

Organisation and structure[edit]

The University has four faculties: Creative Arts, Technologies and Science; Education and Sport; Health and Social Sciences; and the University of Bedfordshire Business School.

Academic profile[edit]

National rankings
Complete (2025)[21]129
Guardian (2024)[22]122
Times / Sunday Times (2024)[23]130
Global rankings
THE (2024)[24]1001–1200

In 2000, the University of Luton was ranked 83 out of 93 British universities by The Times[25] in their annual university ranking, rising to 72 out of 101 two years later.[26]

The Sunday Times awarded the University of Luton the title of Best New University in 2004 (prior to the purchase of the Bedford campus and rebranding).[27] 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.[28] 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.[29] The University was subsequently commended by the QAA for the high quality and standards of our higher education provision in 2015.[30]

The University appears in Times Higher Education World University rankings, is ranked as one of the top 300 universities in the world under 50 years old in the Young University rankings, and was awarded Silver in the first ever Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in 2017.[4]

The University hosts the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research, opened in 2012,[31] which carried out the first British study of cyberstalking and other forms of harassment online.[32] 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[33] through research and practice.[34]

Teaching quality[edit]

In 2004 The Sunday Times awarded the University the title of 'Best New University'[35] and in 2007 it was short-listed for the Times Higher Education Supplement's University of the Year 2007.[36]


  • Awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise: International Trade in 2011.[37]
  • Outstanding Finance Team winners in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2011.[38]

Educational partner institutions[edit]

The University works together with a number of partner institutions to offer a range of courses:[39]

The University was a co-sponsor of UTC Central Bedfordshire, a university technical college which operated in Houghton Regis from 2012 to 2016.

Student life[edit]

The University of Bedfordshire Students' Union is affiliated to the National Union of Students, which represents students nationwide.[40]

In 2020, Radio LaB 97.1FM—the University's affiliated community radio station—won two Community Radio Awards.[41][42]

Notable alumni[edit]

Photo gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "University praised for REF 2014 results - beds.ac.uk | University of Bedfordshire". beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  2. ^ "People & Planet Green League 2012 – University Profile – People & Planet". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  3. ^ "University awarded EcoCampus Platinum standard | University of Bedfordshire". beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Our University | University of Bedfordshire". beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  5. ^ "University of Bedfordshire appoints new Vice Chancellor | University of Bedfordshire". beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  6. ^ "Sarfraz Manzoor announced as University of Bedfordshire Chancellor | University of Bedfordshire". www.beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  7. ^ "Springsteen movie writer from Luton becomes university chancellor". BBC News. 1 March 2023. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  8. ^ "Luton University: Taking on a new identity". The Independent. 3 August 2006. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  9. ^ "'University College Milton Keynes' to open in 2012 – beds.ac.uk". beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  10. ^ James Dyer, The Stopsley Book, Book Castle, 1998, ISBN 1-871199-04-2, pp. 56–64.
  11. ^ Good Stuff. "Putteridge Bury (Luton College of Higher Education) – Offley – Hertfordshire – England – British Listed Buildings". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Luton campus | University of Bedfordshire". beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  13. ^ "De Montfort University, Pollhill Information Centre – van Heyningen and Haward Architects". Archived from the original on 26 September 2006. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  14. ^ "Aylesbury campus – beds.ac.uk | University of Bedfordshire". beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  15. ^ "University ambitions in Milton Keynes"The Guardian
  16. ^ "Milton Keynes University plans progress"Business Weekly
  17. ^ 'University College Milton Keynes' to open in 2012
  18. ^ New £25m university campus planned for Milton KeynesBBC
  19. ^ UCMK celebrates first birthday
  20. ^ https://www.beds.ac.uk/milton-keynes [dead link]
  21. ^ "Complete University Guide 2025". The Complete University Guide. 14 May 2024.
  22. ^ "Guardian University Guide 2024". The Guardian. 9 September 2023.
  23. ^ "Good University Guide 2024". The Times. 15 September 2023.
  24. ^ "THE World University Rankings 2024". Times Higher Education. 28 September 2023.
  25. ^ "Times University Ranking 2000 – Good University Ranking Guide". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  26. ^ "Times University Ranking 2002 – Good University Ranking Guide". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  27. ^ "Untitled Document". Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  28. ^ University of Luton – APRIL 2005 Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Institutional audit – University of Luton". qaa.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  30. ^ "University of Bedfordshire awarded Quality Mark for higher education – beds.ac.uk | University of Bedfordshire". beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  31. ^ "The National Centre for Cyberstalking Research - beds.ac.uk". Archived from the original on 18 July 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  32. ^ "Social networks 'should do more' on cyberstalking". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 July 2011.
  33. ^ "UK National Commission for UNESCO". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  34. ^ emplod. "augmentedwonder". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  35. ^ "Studying at the University of Bedfordshire – beds.ac.uk". Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  36. ^ "Times Higher Education" (PDF). Retrieved 16 July 2015.[permanent dead link]
  37. ^ "University of Bedfordshire «". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  38. ^ "Search". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  39. ^ "Academic Partners | University of Bedfordshire". beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  40. ^ Bed SU. "ISSUU – The Blend Summer edition by Bed SU". Issuu. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  41. ^ "Radio LaB are Winners at Community Radio Awards 2020". Radio LaB 97.1FM. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  42. ^ "Community Radio Awards 2020 shortlist revealed". 15 November 2020. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  43. ^ "Abbey makes up for lost time | Nationwide 1 | Football | Sport | Telegraph". Telegraph. 24 May 2007. Archived from the original on 24 May 2007.
  44. ^ "Media student success stories – beds.ac.uk | University of Bedfordshire". University of Bedfordshire.
  45. ^ "Gemma Hunt: BA Hons Media Performance – beds.ac.uk". University of Bedfordshire. 22 October 2013. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013.
  46. ^ "Becky Jago: BA Hons Media Performance - University of Bedfordshire". University of Bedfordshire. 27 September 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  47. ^ "Graduation season at Bedfordshire comes to an end in Luton - beds.ac.uk | University of Bedfordshire". University of Bedfordshire.
  48. ^ "3am Interview: FUCKING THE BOOKS - AN INTERVIEW WITH BEN MYERS". www.3ammagazine.com.
  49. ^ "Melvin Odoom – beds.ac.uk | University of Bedfordshire". University of Bedfordshire.
  50. ^ "Dami Olonisakin – beds.ac.uk | University of Bedfordshire". beds.ac.uk. Retrieved 13 January 2021.

External links[edit]