University of Greenwich

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University of Greenwich
Former name
Woolwich Polytechnic
Thames Polytechnic
MottoLatin: Discere, Agere, Conficere
Motto in English
"To learn, to do, to achieve"
TypePublic university
Endowment£1,063.000 (2020)[1]
ChancellorLord Boateng
Vice-ChancellorProfessor Jane Harrington
Students18,945 (2018/19)[2]
Undergraduates14,430 (2018/19)[2]
Postgraduates4,510 (2018/19)[2]
Location, ,
51°29′00″N 0°00′22″W / 51.483372°N 0.006075°W / 51.483372; -0.006075
CampusGreenwich Campus (London)
Avery Hill Campus (London)
Medway Campus (Kent)
ColoursBlue Colour-  
AffiliationsUniversity Alliance
Universities UK
Association of Commonwealth Universities
Logo blue 1k.png

The University of Greenwich is a public university located in London and Kent, United Kingdom. Previous names include Woolwich Polytechnic and Thames Polytechnic.[3]

The university's main campus is at the Old Royal Naval College, which along with its Avery Hill Campus, is located in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich also has a satellite campus in Medway, Kent, as part of a shared campus.[4] The university's range of subjects includes architecture, business, computing, mathematics, education, engineering, humanities, maritime studies, natural sciences, pharmacy and social sciences.[5] Greenwich's alumni include two Nobel laureates. In 2019, the university was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for its research in pest management and control to combat human and animal diseases in the UK and internationally. It received a Silver rating in the UK government's Teaching Excellence Framework.


The university dates back to 1891, when Woolwich Polytechnic, the second-oldest polytechnic in the United Kingdom,[6] opened in Woolwich. It was founded by Frank Didden, supported by and following the principles of Quintin Hogg, and opened to students in October 1891. Like Hogg's pioneering venture in London's Regent Street, it initially combined education with social and religious functions.

In 1894 it focused on an educational role, concentrating on higher technical education appropriate to its location close to Woolwich Dockyard and the Royal Arsenal;[7] William Anderson, director-general of the Ordnance Factories, was a trustee and later a member of the board of governors.[8] Its premises were also used for day schools – the first Woolwich Polytechnic School was established in 1897.

In 1970, Woolwich Polytechnic merged with part of Hammersmith College of Art and Building to form Thames Polytechnic. In the following years, Dartford College (1976), Avery Hill College of Education (1985), Garnett College (1987) and parts of Goldsmiths College and the City of London College (1988) were incorporated.[9]

In 1992, Thames Polytechnic was granted university status by the Major government (together with various other polytechnics) and renamed the University of Greenwich in 1993. On 1 January 1993, the Thames College of Health Care Studies, itself a merger of three local nursing and midwifery training schools, officially merged with the newly designated University of Greenwich, becoming a full faculty of the university.[9]

Formerly a UK government research agency, the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) was incorporated into the university in 1996.[10]

In 2001, the university gave up its historic main campus in the Bathway Quarter in Woolwich, relocating to its current main campus in Greenwich.[11]


Greenwich Campus[edit]

Greenwich Campus

Greenwich Campus is located mainly in the Old Royal Naval College, into which it moved in the 1990s when the premises were sold by the Royal Navy.

The campus is home to the Business School and the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The campus also includes university's Greenwich Maritime Institute, a specialist maritime management, policy and history teaching and research institute.[12]

The campus has a large library at Stockwell Street which houses an extensive collection of books and journals, language labs and a 300-PC computing facility. Other facilities include specialist computer laboratories including one at Dreadnought centre, a TV studio and editing suites. The Stephen Lawrence Gallery at the Stockwell Street building, showcases the work of contemporary artists and is linked to the School of Design.

Avery Hill Campus[edit]

Avery Hill Campus

Avery Hill Campus comprises two sites, Mansion and Southwood. Both are situated in the 86-acre Avery Hill Park in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, south-east London.

The campus is home to the Faculty of Education & Health. Facilities include computer laboratories, a library and a TV studio, as well as a sports and teaching centre with a sports hall and 220-seat lecture theatre. Southwood site also has clinical skills laboratories. These replicate NHS wards, enabling trainee health professionals to gain hands-on experience. The village complex provides student accommodation, a general shop and a launderette. The Dome, in the centre of the complex, houses a food outlet and gym. Rugby, football, indoor pitches, netball and tennis courts, and a dance studio are on Avery Hill campus.

The facility, which was built by Wimpey Construction under a PFI contract, was completed in 1996.[13]

The Winter Garden, the centre-piece of the Mansion site, has been allowed to fall into neglect and is on Historic England's 'At Risk' Register.[14] A campaign to restore the Winter Garden is putting pressure on the University and Greenwich Council to ensure its future.[15]

Medway Campus[edit]

Medway Campus

Medway Campus is located on a former Royal Navy shorebase (called HMS Pembroke) opened in 1903 at Chatham Maritime, Kent.

The Faculty of Engineering and Science is based here, as is the Natural Resources Institute, a centre for research, consultancy and education in natural and human resources. It is also the home of Medway School of Pharmacy, a joint school operated by the Universities of Greenwich and Kent. The Faculty of Education & Health offers a number of its programmes at Medway.Facilities include laboratories, workshops, a computer-aided design studio and a training dispensary.

The Drill Hall Library is a learning resource centre with a library, computers, study areas and teaching rooms. Social facilities include a sports hall, bar, gym and outdoor tennis courts.The university is a member of Universities at Medway, a partnership of educational establishments at Chatham Maritime that is developing the area as a major higher education centre in the Medway region.

The Old Royal Naval College – now part of the University of Greenwich – on the south bank of the river Thames in Greenwich, London, viewed from the north. Between the two college buildings appears the Queen's House in the middle of the picture. On the skyline (800 metres beyond the College) stands a statue of James Wolfe at the end of an avenue of chestnut trees, with the Royal Observatory visible to the right.


Greenwich has four faculties:[16]

  • Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Business School
  • Faculty of Education and Health
  • Faculty of Engineering and Science
The Greenwich Park view of UOG

Student life[edit]

Greenwich Campus is near 74-hectare Greenwich Park, home to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. The Stockwell Street Building opened in 2014 and is now home to the campus library, film and TV studios, and state-of-the-art editing suites. The Dreadnought Building is a central hub for the Greenwich Campus, with further teaching and social spaces.[17]

The Student Village at Avery Hill Campus provides accommodation for around 1,000 students. On-site facilities include a café, canteen, shop, launderette, bicycle parking, and a gym.[18]

Medway Campus has 350 rooms across five halls of residence dedicated to student accommodation.[19]

Students Union[edit]

Greenwich Students Union Logo
Bangladesh students’ society

Greenwich Students' Union is the university's students' union.[20] In October 2019, the GSU Student Assembly voted to ask the university to declare a climate emergency and for the university and union sustainability strategies to consult with students in creating them. This call to action aimed to speed up the university's efforts at becoming carbon neutral.[21] GK Unions is a partnership between the University of Greenwich Students' Union and University of Kent Union on the Medway campus.[22] GK Unions stands for the Greenwich & Kent Students' Unions Together (previously Universities at Medway Students Association, UMSA). It is the representative body and service provider for all students studying at the Chatham Maritime campus. Students are automatically a member of the association if they are a registered student of the University of Greenwich or University of Kent.[23]

University of Greenwich.jpg


University of Greenwich near River Thames
Queen Mary Court
British James Holland (artist) painted the colonnade of Queen Mary House at the Royal Naval College before 1987

Greenwich research seeks to influence and enhance health, education, science, engineering, computing and social policy, and attracts international agencies, government departments and global corporations (for example, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, BAE Systems, Airbus, GE Aviation and Merck Consumer Health) from over 50 countries.[24] Significant areas of research and consultancy include landscape architecture, employment relations, fire safety, natural resources, social network analysis, education, training, educational leadership and public services.[25]

Examples of research[edit]

  • The university's Natural Resources Institute has developed an artificial cow that attracts and kills the tsetse fly. This was recognised by a Universities UK survey in 2009 as one of the ten most important discoveries to be made in a UK university over the past 60 years.
  • The Fire Safety Engineering Group, part of the School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences, is a world leader in computational fire engineering, including expertise in aircraft, building, ship and rail evacuation and fire modelling. It has developed airEXODUS, a leading evacuation model in the aviation industry.
  • A University of Greenwich research team helped restore the Cutty Sark after it was badly damaged by fire.
  • Researchers working on 19 sustainable development and agriculture projects in India helped the university to win the 2010 Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding International Strategy.
  • Two University of Greenwich scientists have developed a technology which converts contaminated land and industrial waste into harmless pebbles, capturing large amounts of carbon dioxide at the same time.
  • The Greenwich Maritime Institute makes internationally recognised contributions to research in maritime history and economics, such as its exploration of the governance of the River Thames since the 1960s and the effects this has had on the economic development of adjacent communities.


National rankings
Complete (2021)[26]90
Guardian (2021)[27]90
Times / Sunday Times (2021)[28]84
Global rankings
ARWU (2020)[29]801-900
QS (2021)[30]
THE (2021)[31]601–800
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[32]Silver

In 2013, University of Greenwich was ranked 701 by QS World University Rankings.[33]

The university is ranked 87 out of 116 institutions according to the Guardian University Guide 2015 University League Table.[34]

In Center for World University Rankings World University Rankings 2020–21 – University of Greenwich was ranked 76 in National Rank[35]

In the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2020,[36] Greenwich performed well in several categories:

  • Responsible Consumption and Production (24th)
  • Life on Land (66th)
  • Reduced Inequalities (68th)
  • Climate Action (75th)
  • Partnership for the Goals (77th)


In 2012, the university was rated as the greenest in the UK by People & Planet Green League Table.[37] In 2019, it was ranked 14 in UK, and third in London.[38]

In 2019, the University of Greenwich awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for its research in pest management and control to combat human and animal diseases in the UK and internationally.[39]

Since 2014, the university has been classified as Silver in Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) of Higher Education.[40]

Cafeteria workers' dispute[edit]

In 2019, the university's main cafeteria was operated by BaxterStorey, which paid its workers £9.25 per hour without contractual sick pay. After a chef had collapsed on his way home from a shift during a typical 80-hour week, all workers joined UVW union.[41] After four strike days in October 2019, and protests disrupting the annual graduation ceremony and a board meeting, Greenwich University announced in early January 2020 that all outsourced cafe workers, cleaners and security guards would receive the London living wage of £10.55, in addition to the same sick pay and annual leave as university staff.[42]

Partnership with Charlton Athletic[edit]

Charlton Athletic FC

In 2018, the University of Greewnich started a partnership with Charlton Athletic F.C..[43]

Notable alumni[edit]

Abiy Ahmed is Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Nobel Peace prize winner
Sir Charles Kao was one of the distinguished alumni in UOG

Prominent alumni of the university and its predecessor organisations include Nobel Laureate Charles Kao, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009 for his work on transmission of light in fibre optics, and Abiy Ahmed, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Two British government ministers, Richard Marsh and Gareth Thomas, are also graduates. A more extensive list is given below.


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  2. ^ a b c "Where do HE students study?". Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  3. ^ "History of University".
  4. ^ "The campuses of University of Greenwich". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  5. ^ Hinde, Thomas (1996). An Illustrated History of the University of Greenwich (First ed.). London: James and James. ISBN 9780907383635. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  6. ^ "About Greenwich – University of Greenwich". 29 September 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Sir William Anderson, 1834–1898" (PDF). London Borough of Bexley. London Borough of Bexley. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
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  12. ^ "Maritime Programmes". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  13. ^ "Wimpey in first DBOO bid – student accommodation partnership". Construction News. 8 September 1994. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  14. ^ "At Risk Register, Historic England, Avery Hill". Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Save and renovate the Avery Hill Winter Garden". Retrieved 5 January 2017.
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  19. ^ "Student life at Medway".
  20. ^ "Students union – university of greenwich".
  21. ^ "A Green GSU". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  22. ^ "GK Union".
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  28. ^ "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2021". Times Newspapers.
  29. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
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  35. ^ "CWUR – World University Rankings 2020–21".
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  37. ^ "The Green league 2012: which universities are top of the class?". The Guardian. 28 May 2012.
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  39. ^ "The Queen's Anniversary Prizes". 19 November 2019.
  40. ^ "Teaching Excellence Framework the ratings in full 2019".
  41. ^ Elia, Petros (24 October 2019). "It's time for universities to stop underpaying their outsourced workers | Petros Elia". the Guardian. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  42. ^ "Outsourced workers at University of Greenwich receive 23% pay rise". Employee Benefits. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  43. ^ "Our partnership with Charlton Athletic Football Club". 19 April 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  44. ^ "Helen Bailey, children's writer – obituary". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
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  46. ^ "Rev John Behr". St. Vladimir's. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  47. ^ "In Memory of Siobhan Dowd". English Pen. Retrieved 6 February 2008.
  48. ^ "6 players to follow". The Independent. London. 12 August 1995. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  49. ^ a b c d e f g h "Alumni Profiles M-Z". University of Greenwich. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
  50. ^ "In Depth – Klaxons". Celebrity Spy. Retrieved 19 August 2007.[dead link]
  51. ^ "Dave Rowntree". NNDB. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
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  53. ^ "Britti Joel Willans muutti Suomeen ja hämmästyi uskollista sääntöjen tottelemista – "Ehkä suomalaiset juovat itsensä niin humalaan juuri sääntöjen takia"". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 22 June 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2018.

External links[edit]