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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
Established1890; 134 years ago (1890)
Budget£307 million (2022/2023)[1]
ChancellorLord Boateng
Vice-ChancellorJane Harrington
Students19,825 (2019/20)[2]
Undergraduates14,580 (2019/20)[2]
Postgraduates5,245 (2019/20)[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

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 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: Abiy Ahmed and Charles K. Kao. It received an overall Gold rating in the UK government's Teaching Excellence Framework.[6]


The university dates back to 1890, when Woolwich Polytechnic, the second-oldest polytechnic in the United Kingdom,[7] 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;[8] William Anderson, director-general of the Ordnance Factories, was a trustee and later a member of the board of governors.[9] 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.[10]

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.[10]

Formerly a UK government research agency, the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) was incorporated into the university in 1996.[11]

In 2001, the university gave up its historic main campus in the Bathway Quarter in Woolwich, relocating to its current main campus in Greenwich.[12]


Academic disciplines at Greenwich are organised into four faculties which host a range of subject expertise within them:[13]

  • Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Business School
  • Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
  • Faculty of Engineering and Science

The university also has a number of professional service directorates that support students and the Faculties.

The Greenwich Park view of UOG


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, the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and The Faculty of Education, Health and Human Sciences. The campus also includes the Greenwich Maritime Institute, a specialist maritime management, policy and history teaching and research institute,[14] and the Institute for Lifecourse Development.[15]

The Old Royal Naval College includes "The Painted Hall", painted in the 18th century by Sir James Thornhill, with over 40,000 square feet of painted surfaces including 200 painting of kings, queens and mythological creatures.

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, in the Stockwell Street building, showcases the work of contemporary artists and is linked to the School of Design.

The award-winning Dreadnought Building hosts the Students Union and the Faculty of Education, Health and Human Sciences. It has psychology and neuroscience laboratories, an early years simulated classroom, a gym, a bar, a cafe, computer laboratories, and teaching and social spaces for students. The building was formerly the Dreadnought Seaman's hospital, named after the HMS Dreadnought quarantine and hospital ship which was moored on the Thames at Greenwich in the mid 19th century. HMS Dreadnought had previously been a ship of the line and fought at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Avery Hill Campus[edit]

Avery Hill Campus

The Avery Hill Campus is situated in Eltham next to the 86-acre Avery Hill Park in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, south-east London. The campus is home to student accommodation and to the Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences. Courses taught at the site include Teacher Training, Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health, Community, Learning Disability), Midwifery, Paramedic Science, Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy, PE and Sport, and Sports Science.

Facilities include a 220-seat lecture theatre, computer laboratories, a library, sports pitches, strength and conditioning laboratories, as well as a sports hall.

The site also hosts the Greenwich Learning and Simulation Centre (GLASC) [16] which replicates NHS wards, a critical care unit, a simulated pediatric and birthing centre and operating theatre. GLASC enables student trainees and experienced health professionals to gain hands-on experience and learn new clinical skills by engaging in multi-professional simulation activities.

The student village complex at Avery Hill provides student self-catering 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, are also on Avery Hill campus.

The facility, which was built by Wimpey Construction under a PFI contract, was completed in 1996.[17]

The Winter Garden, the centrepiece of the Mansion site, has fallen into neglect and is on Historic England's 'At Risk' Register.[18] A campaign to restore the Winter Garden is putting pressure on the university and Greenwich Council to ensure its future. The Mansion site is no longer owned by the University of Greenwich.

Medway Campus[edit]

Medway Campus

The 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 & Human Sciences also offers a number of its courses at Medway, including Midwifery and Paramedic Sciences. Facilities include laboratories, workshops, a computer-aided design studio and a training dispensary.

The Drill Hall Library has 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 is the Queen's House. 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.

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 editing suites. In 2015, it was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize for architecture.[19]

The Dreadnought Building is a central hub for the Greenwich Campus and hosts the Greenwich Students Union and Student Services. [20]

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.[21]

Medway Campus has 350 rooms across five halls of residence dedicated to student accommodation.[22]

Students' Union[edit]

Greenwich Students' Union Logo
Bangladesh students’ society

Greenwich Students' Union is the university's students' union. 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.[23]

At the Medway campus in Kent there is a partnership between the University of Greenwich Students' Union, Canterbury Christ Church and University of Kent Union on the Medway campus. Greenwich Students' Union has been leading the partnership since July 2021 and manages The Hub space,[24] previously The Student Hub when it was looked after by GK Unions – the Greenwich & Kent Students' Unions Together (once the Universities at Medway Students Association, UMSA). Greenwich Students' Union has a mascot called The Cutty Shark[25] and a presence at Avery Hill, Greenwich and Medway campus.


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 1870

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.[26] Significant areas of research and consultancy include landscape architecture, employment relations, fire safety, natural resources, tourism and hospitality, social network analysis, education, training, educational leadership and public services.[27]

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.[citation needed]


National rankings
Complete (2025)[28]107
Guardian (2024)[29]116
Times / Sunday Times (2024)[30]105
Global rankings
ARWU (2023)[31]601–700
QS (2025)[32]691–700
THE (2024)[33]501–600

The university was ranked 94 out of 121 UK institutions according to The Guardian University Guide 2022 league table.[34] For 2023, the University of Greenwich was ranked 60 according to Times Higher education (THE).[35] Moreover, University of Greenwich ranked first in London for Events, Tourism and Hospitality by the Guardian’s 2023 university rankings.[36] Subjects taught at Greenwich have seen rises in the Guardian university league tables for 2022: Chemistry was at 10, up 10 places since 2021. Forensic Science (9), Criminology (10), Mechanical Engineering (12), and Education (48) also moved up significantly.

In Center for World University Rankings World University Rankings 2020–21 – University of Greenwich was ranked 76 in the UK.[37] In 2022, University of Greenwich was ranked in the 750-800 range globally by QS World University Rankings.[38]

In the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2020,[39] 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.[40] In 2019, it was ranked 14 in UK, and third in London.[41] The University has gained many national awards, including four Queen's Anniversary Prizes, nine Times Higher Education Awards and two Guardian University Awards. [42]

In 2019, the university's Natural Resources Institute was awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for its research in pest management and control to combat human and animal diseases in the UK and internationally;[43] in 2015 it won a prize for work on the cassava crop in Africa.[44]

In 2023, the university has been classified as Gold in Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) of Higher Education.[45]

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.[46] 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.[47]

Partnership with Charlton Athletic[edit]

Charlton Athletic FC

In 2018, the University of Greenwich started a partnership with Charlton Athletic F.C.[48]

Notable alumni[edit]

Abiy Ahmed is Prime Minister of Ethiopia and a Nobel Peace prize winner
Sir Charles Kao was one of the distinguished alumni at UOG
Demitu Hambisa Bonsa

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. In June 2021, representatives from multiple countries called for the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Abiy to be re-considered because of the war crimes committed in Tigray.[49][50] Two British government ministers, Richard Marsh and Gareth Thomas, are also graduates. A more extensive list is given below.

Coat of arms[edit]

Coat of arms of University of Greenwich
7 December 1990
Statant within a Coronet the finials composed of Roses and Escallops reversed alternately Or an Owl Gules
Barry wavy of six Argent and Azure upon a Pale Sable a Gun Barrel erect surmounted on the breach by a Lion's Face Or on a Chief Gules an Open Book proper bound Or between on the dexter a Cog Wheel and on the sinister a Capital of a Doric Column both Or
Dexter a Horse Argent in front of a Cedar Tree proper and sinister a Lion Or in front of an Oak Tree proper on a Compartment comprising a Grassy Mount proper
Discere, Agere, Conficere (To learn, to do, to achieve)[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31st July 2023" (PDF). University of Greenwich. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  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. ^ "Teaching Excellence Framework 2023 Outcomes". Office for Students. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  7. ^ "About Greenwich – University of Greenwich". Gre.ac.uk. 29 September 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  9. ^ "Sir William Anderson, 1834–1898" (PDF). London Borough of Bexley. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Thames Polytechnic". AIM25 AIM25: Archives in London and the M25 area. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Natural Resources Institute, UK (NRI)". Eldis. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  12. ^ Saint, A., Guillery, P. (2012). Survey of London, Volume 48: Woolwich. Yale Books, London. ISBN 978-0-300-18722-9. pp. 269–275.
  13. ^ "UOG faculties".
  14. ^ "Maritime Programmes". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Institute for Lifecourse Development".
  16. ^ "Greenwich Learning and Simulation Centre (GLASC)".
  17. ^ "Wimpey in first DBOO bid – student accommodation partnership". Construction News. 8 September 1994. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  18. ^ "At Risk Register, Historic England, Avery Hill". Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  19. ^ "RIBA Stirling Prize 2015 shortlist announced". 15 July 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  20. ^ "Student life at Greenwich".
  21. ^ "Student life at Avery Hill Campus".
  22. ^ "Student life at Medway".
  23. ^ "A Green GSU". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  24. ^ "The Hub".
  25. ^ "V A R S I T Y : Meet the Cutty Shark". Youtube.com. Greenwich Students' Union.
  26. ^ "UOG Research mission".
  27. ^ "UOG Research Group and Activities".
  28. ^ "Complete University Guide 2025". The Complete University Guide. 14 May 2024.
  29. ^ "Guardian University Guide 2024". The Guardian. 9 September 2023.
  30. ^ "Good University Guide 2024". The Times. 15 September 2023.
  31. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2023". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 15 August 2023.
  32. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2025". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. 4 June 2024.
  33. ^ "THE World University Rankings 2024". Times Higher Education. 28 September 2023.
  34. ^ "University league table". The Guardian. London. 11 September 2021.
  35. ^ "Best universities in the UK 2023 - University Rankings". 12 October 2022.
  36. ^ "Best UK universities for hospitality, event management and tourism – league table". TheGuardian.com.
  37. ^ "CWUR – World University Rankings 2020–21".
  38. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2022". topuniversities.com. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  39. ^ "The Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings". 22 April 2020.
  40. ^ "The Green league 2012: which universities are top of the class?". The Guardian. 28 May 2012.
  41. ^ "The 2019 People & Planet University League". 16 July 2019.
  42. ^ "University of Greenwich".
  43. ^ "University of Greenwich: Keeping pests and disease at bay". 19 November 2019.
  44. ^ NRI awarded Queen's Anniversary Prize for ground-breaking work on cassava, Natural Resources Institute. Retrieved: 8 October 2021.
  45. ^ "Open Ancillary".
  46. ^ Elia, Petros (24 October 2019). "It's time for universities to stop underpaying their outsourced workers | Petros Elia". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  47. ^ "Outsourced workers at University of Greenwich receive 23% pay rise". Employee Benefits. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  48. ^ "Our partnership with Charlton Athletic Football Club". 19 April 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  49. ^ Sew, Mistir (14 June 2021). "Revoke the Nobel Peace Prize from Ethiopia's Abiy". Ethiopia Insight. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  50. ^ TronvollThis, Kjetil (7 June 2021). "The Nobel committee should resign over the atrocities in Tigray". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  51. ^ "Helen Bailey, children's writer – obituary". The Telegraph. 19 July 2016. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  52. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Alumni Profiles A-L". University of Greenwich. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
  53. ^ "Rev John Behr". St. Vladimir's. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  54. ^ Harrison, Andrew (8 April 2016). "Terry Christian: What the most hated man in television did next". New Statesman. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  55. ^ "In Memory of Siobhan Dowd". English Pen. Retrieved 6 February 2008.
  56. ^ "6 players to follow". The Independent. London. 12 August 1995. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  57. ^ "Roy Hodgson CBE Greenwich Alumnus".
  58. ^ 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.
  59. ^ "Dave Rowntree". NNDB. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
  60. ^ assiabi (March 2013). "Spellbound by words". www.6d.fi. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  61. ^ "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.