University of South Wales

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Not to be confused with University of New South Wales.
University of South Wales
Prifysgol De Cymru
University of South Wales Logo.png.jpg
Former names
University of Glamorgan, University of Wales, Newport
Type Public
Established 11 April 2013 (origins 1841)
Chancellor Rowan Williams[1]
Vice-Chancellor Julie Lydon
Administrative staff
3,234 [2]
Students 27,710 (2014/15)[3]
Undergraduates 22,795 (2014/15)[3]
Postgraduates 4,920 (2014/15)[3]
Location Wales
Campus Caerleon,Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd
Affiliations University Alliance

The University of South Wales (Welsh: Prifysgol De Cymru) is a university in Wales. It was formed on 11 April 2013 from the merger of the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport.[4]


The university can trace its roots to the founding of the Newport Mechanics' Institute in 1841. The Newport Mechanics' Institute later become the University of Wales, Newport. In 1913 the South Wales and Monmouthshire School of Mines was formed.[5] The school of mines was later to become the Polytechnic of Wales, before gaining the status of University of Glamorgan in 1992. The name for the new merged university was chosen following a research exercise amongst interested parties and announced in December 2012 by the prospective vice-chancellor of the university, Julie Lydon.[6]

Student numbers[edit]

At formation it was reported that the university had more than 33,500 students from 122 countries and was then the sixth largest in the United Kingdom and the largest in Wales.[7][8][9] However the Office of the Independent Adjudicator stated that, in 2013, the number of students was 29,875 [10] The Higher Education Statistics Agency reported student total numbers of 27,710 for the 2014/15 academic year. This means that the University is the 12th largest in the UK and the 2nd largest in Wales, after Cardiff University, when measured by the number of enrolled students.

University 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13 13-14 14-15
Glamorgan 22,710 20,900Decrease 21,070Increase 20,210Decrease 21,190Increase 20,345Decrease n/a n/a
Newport 9,120 9,065Decrease 9,290Increase 10,040Increase 9,990Decrease 9,780Decrease n/a n/a
South Wales 31,830 29,965Decrease 30,360 Increase 30,250Decrease 31,180Increase 30,125Decrease 29,195Decrease 27,710Decrease

Source:- The Higher Education Statistics Agency [11]


Associated organisations[edit]

The university is part of the University of South Wales Group comprising the university, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Merthyr Tydfil College.

The university has a band of 106 partner colleges, universities, FE institutions or organisations, who deliver University of South Wales's higher education programmes or access courses in the UK and 18 other countries.[12]


The university has four faculties [13] spread over its campuses in South East Wales.

Faculty of Business and Society

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science

  • School of Computing and Mathematics
  • School of Engineering
  • School of Applied Sciences

Faculty of Creative Industries

  • School of Drama and Music
  • School of Art and Design
  • School of Media

Faculty of Life Sciences and Education

  • School of Psychology and Therapeutic Studies
  • School of Education, Early Years and Social Work
  • School of Health, Sport & Professional Practice
  • School of Care Sciences

The university has a film school, animation facilities, broadcasting studios, a photography school, a reputation for theatre design, poets, scriptwriters and authors as well as the national music and drama conservatoire, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, as a wholly owned subsidiary. It offers a range of qualifications from further education to degrees to PhD study. As a Post 92 University it delivers a range of STEM subjects.

In June 2013 the fine art course at Newport was closed, with the final degree show being entitled "depARTure". A tutor, Kathryn Ashill, said that the students had a "responsibility of going out with a bang".[14]


The university has four main campuses across South Wales:


The Caerleon Campus is scheduled for closure on the 31 July 2016. Caerleon is located on the northern outskirts of Newport. The second largest campus hosted a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including education, sports and photography. The campus has extensive sports facilities, library, students' union shop and a students' union bar. It was formerly the main campus of the University of Wales, Newport. In 2014, it was announced by the University of South Wales that the Caerleon campus would close in 2016[15] with courses being integrated into the remaining campuses. The University is intending to sell the campus for housing development but there is strong opposition to the proposed re-development from local residents.[16] The Caerleon Civic Society has asked Cadw, the body that looks after historic monuments and buildings in Wales, to give the Edwardian main building Grade II Listed building status to save it from demolition.[17]


The Faculty of Creative Industries is based at the Cardiff Campus, along with a smaller number of courses from the South Wales Business School. The Atrium Building is the main building at the campus, opened by the University of Glamorgan in 2007. The campus includes the Atlantic House building, and the Cromwell House building, which hosts the university's fashion courses. The ATRiuM building is currently being expanded and is due to open in September 2016. Fashion students will move from Cromwell House to the ATRiuM.


The university's newest campus. The £35 million campus on the west bank of the River Usk in Newport city centre was opened in 2011, by the University of Wales, Newport. Hosts a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including teaching, business, social work and youth work.

Pontypridd (Treforest and Glyntaff Campuses)[edit]

This was formerly the main campus of the University of Glamorgan. Currently the university's largest campus, with a range of facilities, including an indoor sports centre and students' union. The campus is located in three parts:-

1) Treforest – Which hosts a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses notable in engineering and related subjects.

2) Glyntaff – Where nursing, science and sport courses are based.

3) Tyn y Wern – The location of the University of South Wales' sport park.

Former campuses[edit]

  • London - In 2014, USW spent an estimated £300,000 developing a campus in the Docklands area of London, but in January 2015 cancelled the project before taking on any students. The university described this as a test of the market, but blamed problems created by new UK visa regulations.[18]

Academic Profile[edit]


The University of Wales, Newport received the 2013 Guardian Higher Education Award (with the University of Glamorgan) for widening participation through its Universities Heads of the Valleys Institute (UHOVI) initiative.[19][20] The University of Glamorgan was recognised for providing outstanding student support, winning the 2012 Times Higher Award for Outstanding Support to Students.[21]

The vice-chancellor of the university, Julie Lydon, was appointed an OBE for services to higher education in Wales in the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours.[22]

League Tables[edit]

The Complete University Guide 2016 ranked the university as 99 out of 127 UK universities.[23] The university came 8th in the UK at the WhatUni? Student Choice Awards 2016.[24]

National Cyber Security Academy[edit]

In 2016, the university launched its National Cyber Security Academy. This academy is a joint venture with industrial partners and Welsh Government and has been recognised by the UK's national security organisation GCHQ. [25]


The university is one of Wales’s five major universities and a member of the St David's Day Group.[26] Its precursor institutions have been recognised for producing some world-leading and internationally excellent research in specialist areas, such as mechanical, aeronautical & manufacturing engineering, social work, social policy & administration, education, history, art and design,[27] nursing and midwifery, architecture and the built environment, English language and literature, communication, cultural & media studies, sports-related studies.[28]

The university offers independent advice to government and employers across the UK on health, education, economic growth, social policy and governance[citation needed]. It has provided a partnership platform for think-tanks such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation [29] and NESTA to develop debate on public policy reform in the UK[citation needed].

Student life[edit]

Student Union[edit]

University of South Wales Students' Union is the students' union of the university. It exists to support and represent the students of the university. It is a member-led organisation and all students are automatically members.[30]


The Caerleon and Pontypridd campuses have a number of halls of residence and facilities. Students on the Cardiff campus have access to private halls of residence, which are shared with the city's other universities. The Newport campus has nearby private student halls of residence.

Notable alumni[edit]

Artists and photographers[edit]

Authors and creative writers[edit]

Business and legal[edit]


Healthcare professionals[edit]

  • Sue Bale OBE, Director of South East Wales Academic Health Science Partnership

Media personalities and performers[edit]




Sports people[edit]


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  2. ^ "Freedom of Information request". 7 May 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "2014/15 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "University merger 11 April 2013". 2013-03-21. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  5. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pg896 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
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