Swansea University

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Swansea University
Welsh: Prifysgol Abertawe
Former names
University College of Swansea, University of Wales Swansea
Motto Gweddw crefft heb ei dawn
(Technical skill is bereft without culture)
Established 1920 – University College of Swansea
1996 – University of Wales, Swansea
2007 – Swansea University
Type Public
Endowment £86 m[1]
Chancellor The Rt Hon. Rhodri Morgan
Vice-Chancellor Richard B. Davies
Administrative staff
Students 18,445[2]
Undergraduates 11,730[2]
Postgraduates 2,145[2]
Other students
4,570 FE[2]
Location Swansea, UK
Campus Suburban/Coastal
Colours Blue; AU colours = Green and White
Affiliations University of Wales, EUA, ACU
Website www.swan.ac.uk

Swansea University (Welsh: Prifysgol Abertawe) is a public research university located in Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom. It was chartered as University College of Swansea in 1920,[3] as the fourth college of the University of Wales. In 1996, it changed its name to the University of Wales Swansea[3] following structural changes within the University of Wales. The title of Swansea University was formally adopted on 1 September 2007 when the University of Wales became a non-membership confederal institution and the former members became universities in their own right.[4]

It is the third largest university in Wales in terms of number of students. The university campus is located next to the coast at the north of Swansea Bay, east of the Gower Peninsula, in the grounds of Singleton Park, just outside Swansea city centre. Swansea was granted its own degree-awarding powers in 2005 in preparation for possible changes within the University of Wales.[5]

Swansea and Cardiff University compete in an annual varsity match, known as the Welsh version of the Oxbridge event, which includes the Welsh Varsity rugby and The Welsh Boat Race.


The university is divided between two campuses. The 46-acre Singleton Park campus, set in parkland two miles west of Swansea city centre, houses the colleges of Arts and Humanities, Human and Health Sciences, Medicine, Science and Law. It lies on the eastern approach to the Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is also home to the Taliesin Arts Centre.

The 65-acre, £450 million beachfront science and innovation Bay Campus opens in September 2015 and will house the College of Engineering and School of Management, the Great Hall auditorium and a new library. It lies three miles east of Swansea city centre in the County Borough of Neath Port Talbot.[6]


In 2011, the university's Library & Information Services and Administrative Computing Unit merged to form Information Services and Systems. ISS provides a combined library, IT and careers service. The main Library & Information Centre on the Singleton campus has over 800,000 books and periodicals, along with access to a wide range of electronic resources including over 23,000 electronic journals. There are over 1,000 study spaces, almost half of which are equipped with networked PCs. LIS was awarded the Charter Mark in 2006, and received the new Customer Service Excellence award in 2009. In 2013 it received a renewed Customer Service Excellence award in combination with the university's Registry and Student Services.

The Library & Information Centre also has major archive collections, based on the South Wales Coalfield Collection, several papers of Welsh writers in English and the Richard Burton Collection, which was recently donated by Burton's wife, Sally. It is hoped that the collection will form the hub of a learning resource dedicated to the actor’s life and work.

Recent developments include a major extension in opening hours, the transfer of the stock of the Morriston Hospital Nursing Library to the Library and Information Centre and the creation of the Richard Burton Archives which house his personal possessions as well as the South Wales Coalfield Collection .[citation needed]

Sports Village[edit]

Swansea University's sports centre is located near the Singleton Park campus on the western side of Sketty Lane. The university sports centre is separate to the adjacent King Edward V Playing fields to the west. The sports centre is used by the university for its sports degree courses as well for general student recreation. Facilities include an indoor 6-lane running track, gymnasium, sports hall, tennis courts, squash courts and a climbing wall. Outdoor facilities include an 8-lane running track and floodlit playing fields including rugby, football, lacrosse and cricket pitches.[7][8]

During the 2012 Olympics, the University hosted the training camps for the Mexican and New Zealand Paralympic teams and the Ireland Triathlon team.[9]

Wales National Pool[edit]

The Wales National Pool in the Sketty area of Swansea, Wales, is a 50-metre swimming pool built to FINA standards. The facility, which also has a 25m × 9.5m training pool and 1,200 spectator seats, is used to train Wales' world class aquatic sports athletes and houses the headquarters of the Wales Amateur Swimming Association.

The pool is one of five of British Swimming's Intensive Training Centres (ITC), used to train swimmers for the London 2012 Olympics. The facility was built with funding from Sport Wales, Swansea Council and Swansea University and is built on the site of the university's sports centre.

360- Beach and Water Sports Centre[edit]

The 360 Beach and Water Sports Centre is a not for profit company set up by Swansea University and is located on the foreshore in front of the University's Singleton Park. It offers a range of sports, activities and training such as kite surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, beach volleyball and a beach side bistro to the local community, students, enthusiasts and visiting tourists. The centre cost £1.4 million and was opened in Autumn 2012.[10]

Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (Egypt Centre)[edit]

Located within the Taliesin building, the Egypt Centre is a museum of Egyptian antiquities open to the public. There are over 5000 items in the collection.[11] Most of them were collected by the pharmacist Sir Henry Wellcome. Others came to the University from: the British Museum; the Royal Edinburgh Museum; National Museums and Galleries of Wales Cardiff; the Royal Albert Museum and Art Gallery and also private donors.

Egypt Centre staff regularly give lectures and talks on Egyptology, widening participation in university museums, social inclusion and volunteering. Schools regularly visit us to take part in a stimulating and interactive programme of events.[11]

Organisation and administration[edit]


Singleton Abbey: The administrative building of the University

Swansea received its royal charter in 1920 and like many universities is governed by its constitution that is set out in its statutes and charter. The governing body of Swansea University is its Council, which, in turn, is supported by the Senate and the Court.

  • The Council consists of 29 members including the Chancellor, Pro-chancellors, Vice-chancellor, Treasurer, Pro-vice-chancellors, staff and student members, city council representation and a majority of lay members. The council is responsible for all of the University's activities and has a well-developed committee structure to help discharge its powers and duties.
  • The Senate consists of 200 members, the majority of whom are academics but includes also representatives from both the Students' Union and the Athletic Union. The senate is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, who is the head of the university both academically and administratively. The senate is the main academic body of the university and is responsible for teaching and research.
  • The Court consists of over 300 members, who represent the stakeholders in the university and stretch from local to national institutions. The court meets annually to discuss the university's annual report and its financial statements, as well as to discuss current issues in higher education
James Callaghan building, home to the History and Politics departments


Swansea University's academic departments are organised into seven colleges:

College of Arts and Humanities
  • American Studies, Ancient History, Applied Linguistics, Classics, Cymraeg/Welsh, Egyptology, English, English Literature, French, German, History, Italian, Medieval Studies, Media Studies (with Film and PR options), Politics & International Relations, PPE, Spanish-Hispanic Studies, Translation, War and Society
Faraday Tower, home to the Colleges of Engineering and Science
School of Management
  • Accounting, Banking, Business Management, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems, Marketing
College of Law
  • International Maritime, Trade and Commercial Law, Business & Law. Legal Practice Course, Graduate Diploma in Law, IISTL, CEELP, LLB
College of Engineering
  • Aerospace, Chemical and Biological, Civil, Electrical and Electronic, Environmental, Information, Communication & Computing Technology, Materials, Mechanical, Medical, Product Design, Engineering & Technology, Sport & Exercise Science
College of Human and Health Science
  • Audiology, Applied Social Sciences, Cancer Care, Childhood Studies, Clinical Physiology, Midwifery, Medical Sciences & Humanities, Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental), Osteopathy, Paramedic Science, Pre-Hospital Care, Psychology, Public Health and Health Promotion, Radiography
Swansea University's Medical School
  • Graduate Entry Medicine (4-year programme), Centre for Health Information, Biochemistry, Genetics, Institute of Life Sciences 1 & 2, BioMedical Research
College of Science
  • Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Geography, Mathematics and Physics.

The university also provides Welsh medium courses delivered by Academi Hywel Teifi, named after Hywel Teifi Edwards, which offers subjects across all colleges.


Swansea is a research-led university with 52 Centres of Research.[12] The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise rankings for Swansea showed almost 50 per cent of all research was world-leading or internationally excellent.[13]

For every £1 million of funding awarded in the research grant by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Swansea University raised another £2.5 million from other bodies.[citation needed]

Recent Research[edit]

Recent research interests include being part of the Bloodhound SSC land-speed record attempt in the area of Computational Fluid Dynamics and Aerodynamic design.[14] The university was also a key partner in the successful Thrust SSC land-speed record attempt.

The university has a connection with CERN. At CERN, university staff were part of the first team to create antihydrogen[13] and later trapping it.[15] The current leader of the Large Hadron Collider project is a Swansea University alumnus Dr Lyn Evans.

Staff at the Clinical Haemorheology Laboratory, next to Morriston Hospital’s A&E department, have been working with Haemair and the University’s Complex Fluids Group in the Department of Engineering on developing a patented prosthetic lung and respiratory aid It has been showcased in the Science Museum in London. It is likely to be of huge benefit to patients with chronic lung diseases including emphysema, Cystic Fibrosis and severe asthma, and could be an alternative to a lung transplant in some cases. It could also play a major role in short-term care for patients suffering temporary lung failure.The lung could be available for patients within five years.[16]

The breadth of research carried out at Swansea University can be seen in the Research as Art competition, organised by the Swansea University Research Forum (SURF). Researchers from across different subjects submit an image and accompanying abstract to illustrate their work. http://www.swansea.ac.uk/research/surf/art-competition/

Research Centres and Institutes[edit]

Centre for Nanohealth[edit]

This £21.6 million Centre for Nanohealth employs 30 members of staff from fields including engineering, physics, chemistry, biology and medicine and has a central suite of laboratories. The main focus of research at the centre include bio-electronics, nano-medicine, nano-fabrication, nano-rheology, fundamental modelling at nanoscopic level and bio-nanotechnology.

Research Institute for Arts and Humanities[edit]

RIAH creates a specialist environment for research and postgraduate study, bringing together academics, postgraduates and visiting scholars. It supports research across modern languages, translation, digital communication, journalism, political and cultural studies, American studies, history, medieval studies, classics and applied linguistics. It is classified as an institutional "Centre of Excellence".[17]

Institute of Life Sciences[edit]

A side profile of the Institute of Life Sciences 2

The Institute of Life Sciences is the research and commercial arm of the School of Medicine. Iit aims to convert research carried out by the School of Medicine into commercial products. At £52 million, Institute of Life Science is the largest investment in research ever made at Swansea. The second phase of the Institute Life Science opened in November 2011 and cost £29 million.

Research Institute for Applied Social Sciences[edit]

The Research Institute for Applied Social Sciences (RIASS) is a cross-University collaboration within the social, human, health and environmental sciences. Drawing on the expertise of research centres across the institution, RIASS is ensuring that the applied social sciences are embedded throughout the University.[18]

Welsh Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience[edit]

The Universities of Cardiff and Bangor have developed a pioneering collaborative venture that researches illnesses such as strokes, dementia and brain injuries. These three faculties, home to over 250 academics and researchers, have brought in approximately £11 million in grants in just the last three years.[when?]

The Welsh Assembly Government decided to build upon these strengths by investing over £5 million to establish the new multi-centre Wales Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (WICN). The institute draws together the three psychology faculties, with investment in a shared management structure, administrative support, and additional academic appointments, as well as equipment and technical support in order to grow as one institute in the study and application of cognitive and clinical neuroscience.

Recent developments[edit]

The Digital Technium houses Britain's most advanced Virtual Reality cave.[19]

The University has restructured in recent years, expanding popular areas such as History, English, Geography and Computer Science while The Department of Chemistry has been closed down. However, recent course additions include Aerospace Engineering as well as a partnership with Cardiff University to provide a four-year accelerated graduate-entry medical degree (MB BCh) in Swansea which was launched in 2004. In 2007, Swansea University was awarded the four-year course on its own.[20]

In July 2007 the £52 million Institute of Life Science (ILS) opened as the research arm of the university's school of medicine.[21] The ILS is based in a six-storey building housing laboratories, business incubation suites and an IBM Blue C supercomputer.[22][23] The supercomputer is used for projects including numerically-intensive analysis of viral genomes, epidemiological modelling, large clinical databases and analysis of the genetics of disease susceptibility.[24] In July 2009, an expansion of the ILS was announced with a £29m investment from Swansea University, the Welsh Assembly Government, the European Union and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.[25] ILS2 was completed in November 2011.[26]

In November 2007, the University announced a collaboration with Navitas to found an International College – International College Wales Swansea to provide foundation, 1st year degree and Pre-Masters programmes on campus. The first intake was September 2008.

Campus Renovation and Expansion[edit]

Architect's view of the proposed main square for Swansea University's new campus

The current 46-acre Singleton Park Campus has reached a point where there is no longer space for additional recruitment and expansion. There is no option for the University to expand its existing site, but its prized location – opposite a beach, within a park – makes a wholesale move to a new site unattractive.

The Campus Development Programme therefore consists of:

  • the development of a new Science and Innovation Campus
  • the transformation of the Singleton Campus
  • the sale of Hendrefoilan Student Village

The Science and Innovation Campus aims to capitalise on the University’s growing research expertise and interactions with major international companies such as BP and Rolls-Royce. At the same time it will create significant additional student places principally in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to meet demand, which cannot be physically achieved within the existing Singleton Park Campus alone. More particularly it will address the deficiency in science and technology research in Wales which is an essential component in building the Welsh Knowledge Economy.

Swansea University is undergoing rapid, research-led growth fuelled by an aggressive development strategy. Long-established strengths in Engineering and Physical Sciences are complemented by the Institute of Life Science, Europe’s first centre for Nano-health, and the Institute of Advanced Telecommunications, all of which enjoy research funding support from world-leading multinational companies.

The 'Innovation Campus' will be developed on a 100-acre (0.40 km2) site between the Fabian Way and Jersey Marine beach at Crymlyn Burrows[27] and will be home to Engineering, Computing, Telecommunications, the Business and Law Schools and a range of "research/test facilities" for large and small companies.[28]

Outline planning permission was granted in December 2010 by Neath Port Talbot Borough Council and the final tranche of funding was guaranteed by the Welsh Assembly Government in March 2011.[29] The final designs are now being prepared by architects Porphyrios Associates and Hopkins Architects in conjunction with the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment. Work began in spring 2013.[30]

On the Singleton Park campus, Fulton House, the Students' Union and the Faraday Building have been renovated while some existing Singleton campus buildings are earmarked for demolition upon completion of the new campus; these are: Talbot, Vivian (inc Sports Science Motion Lab), Amy Dillwyn and Taliesin Annexe.[31]

Academic profile[edit]

Rankings and reputation[edit]

(2014/15, world)
(2016, national)
The Guardian[34]
(2015, national)
Times/Sunday Times[35]
(2015, national)

Swansea University moved up six places to 42nd in The Complete University Guide.[36] The university is also listed as one of the top 500 universities in the World at 350 to 400 in the 2012 World University Rankings,[37] down from 347th in 2008[38]

In July 2011, Vice-Chancellor Richard Davies unveiled an ambition for Swansea to become a World top 200 institution.

Swansea University's best department is Engineering where it received 15th place in the country in the 2013 Complete University Guide.[39] Swansea University is also one of the few universities to offer the EngD (Engineering Doctorate), a more industry orientated equivalent of the traditional PhD (Doctorate of Philosophy).

National Student Survey results show Swansea’s score for “overall satisfaction” is 87%, up from 82% last year, and higher than the Wales and UK average. Swansea improved in each of the 22 questions in the survey. Swansea is now in the top third of institutions for levels of student satisfaction, and are 42nd out of 136, a jump of 38 places compared to last year and the biggest improvement in Wales.

In May 2014, Swansea was voted University of the Year based on student reviews carried out by Whatuni[40]

Student life[edit]

Xtreme Radio[edit]

Xtreme Radio is the radio station of the University, run by students. It was founded in November 1968 as Action Radio, making it the third oldest student radio station in the UK and oldest in Wales.[41] It broadcasts to various areas around campus and is available worldwide on the internet. It was previously available on 1431am around the campus, but this has since ceased. The station plays a wide variety of music, as well as having a number of specialist programmes including talk and sports shows.

Student accommodation[edit]

Swansea University provides approximately 3400 places in University halls and aims to offer accommodation to over 98% of new Undergraduate students who request it. Accommodation is also available for all International Postgraduate students.

Swansea University maintains on-campus and off-campus halls of residence and the purpose built Hendrefoelan Student Village. Several new halls of residence were completed in 2004 and in 2008.

There are also a number of university managed properties in the Uplands and Brynmill areas of the city.[42]

Hendrefoelan Student Village[edit]

Hendrefoelan Student Village is the university’s largest residence site where 1644 students live in self-catering accommodation. The Hendrefoelan estate is 2.5 miles from the campus, just off the main Swansea to Gower road, set amongst mature woodland with open grassy areas. The campus hosts a shop, laundrette, bar and diner. Buses run from the campus to the University, City Centre, Swansea Stadium and various Hospitals within the city. The campus is near the Killay shopping precinct.[42]

Campus halls[edit]

Penmaen and Horton buildings seen from Singleton Park

There are nine halls that make up the campus residences providing accommodation to around 1226 students. The halls offer a combination of part and self-catered rooms and a choice of standard or ensuite study rooms. Three of these halls (Caswell, Langland and Oxwich) were completed in 2004 and the original halls (Kilvey, Preseli, Rhossili and Cefn Bryn, formerly known as Sibly, Lewis Jones, Mary Williams Annexe and Mary Williams respectively) have undergone some refurbishment in recent years. Penmaen and Horton are the newest addition to the campus residences providing 351 self-catered, ensuite study rooms. Many rooms have views over the bay or across the park.[43]

Tŷ Beck / Beck House[edit]

Six large Victorian town houses situated in the Uplands area of Swansea, approximately a mile from the Singleton campus. Predominantly provide rooms for postgraduates and students with families, as well as overseas exchange students.[44]

Notable alumni and academics[edit]



Science, engineering and technology[edit]






See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Operating and Financial Review and Financial Statements 2012–2013" (PDF). Swansea University. p. 34. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Table 0 – All students by institution, mode of study, level of study and domicile 2007/08". Higher Education Statistics Agency online statistics. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  3. ^ a b library.wales.org: Home
  4. ^ "Three universities go independent". BBC News. 1 September 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Swansea Goes It Alone". thes.co.uk. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Swansea University Athletic Union – The Home for SUAU University Athletes
  8. ^ City and County of Swansea – New sports village to host top athletics
  9. ^ Pre Games Training Camps
  10. ^ ‘360’ – at the centre of beach and water sports in Swansea Bay.
  11. ^ a b setup
  12. ^ Swansea University – Centres & Institutes
  13. ^ a b swan.ac.uk
  14. ^ "Bloodhound SSC". bloodhoundssc.swan.ac.uk. 
  15. ^ swan.ac.uk
  16. ^ Swansea artificial lung collaboration wins top prize
  17. ^ RIAH
  18. ^ RIASS
  19. ^ Swansea University – Digital Technium
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ Swansea University – ILS
  22. ^ ILS – Home
  23. ^ ILS – What we offer
  24. ^ ILS – Blue C's capabilities
  25. ^ "Up to 650 jobs could come to city". Wales politics (Wales: BBC NEWS). 18 July 2009. 
  26. ^ Ministers unveil architect plans for Institute of Life Science Phase Two
  27. ^ thisissouthwales.co.uk
  28. ^ EL(3)-03-08 : Paper 1 : Evidence to the Committee inquiry into the economic contribution of higher education – Swansea University
  29. ^ "Minister formally announces funding for Swansea University’s new innovation campus". wales.gov.uk. 
  30. ^ Swansea University – Campus Developments – FAQs
  31. ^ Link text
  32. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2014/15". Quacquarelli Symonds. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  33. ^ "University League Table 2016". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  34. ^ "University league table 2015 - the complete list". The Guardian. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  35. ^ "The Times and Sunday Times University League Tables 2015". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  36. ^ "University Rankings". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  37. ^ "Swansea University – World University Rankings". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  38. ^ THE QS World University Rankings – Topuniversities
  39. ^ "Engineering Department Rankings". Complete University Guide. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  40. ^ [3]
  41. ^ Xtreme Radio 1431AM, Swansea University and surrounding Student areas – Media UK
  42. ^ a b Swansea University – Swansea Accommodation Services
  43. ^ Swansea University – Singleton Campus Residences
  44. ^ Swansea University – Ty Beck House

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°36′35.00″N 3°58′50.00″W / 51.6097222°N 3.9805556°W / 51.6097222; -3.9805556