University Profile: University of Birmingham
League Table Ranking 2016: 18
Number of Students: 32,500, of which 60% are undergraduate and 40% postgraduate
Location: The heart of England, just outside central Birmingham in the leafy suburbs of Edgbaston and Selly Oak
Although the roots of the University of Birmingham can be traced back to the 1700s and the establishment of the only medical education seminars outside of London, it was in 1900 that Birmingham became the country’s first civic – or ‘redbrick’ – university. In doing so, Birmingham came to represent a new model for higher education: an establishment where students were accepted on an equal basis regardless of religion or background. Today, the University’s research related activity has a global impact, and collaborations with partners such as Philips, Mars and Unilever ensures research at the University creates a major impact on the city, the country and the world. Birmingham has a strong history in the field of medicine, ranked top in the UK for dentistry, and also boasts a first-class sporting heritage, with a highly ranked Sports and Rehabilitation centre and facilities for both elite and amateur athletes. Notable alumni include Neville Chamberlain, Ann Widdecome and Chris Tarrant.
Around 80% of students at the University of Birmingham are enrolled in full time courses, with a further 20% engaged in part time study. Students are able to choose from single or joint honours degrees, with the undergraduate program in Liberal Arts and Sciences even allowing students to design their own curriculum as per their individual strengths and interests. Personal Skills Awards are offered to students to enable them to gain experience and certifications in the areas of management and leadership, and all first year undergraduates undergo a formal transition review with an academic staff member to evaluate how they are getting on and assess if there are particular areas where additional support is needed.
Much of the accommodation offered to both undergraduate and postgraduate students is in one of three purpose built ‘villages’ – communities comprising halls of residence, catering outlets and social spaces. Students can choose to go self-catered or opt for the Meal Plan, a flexible and convenient weekly meal allowance to spend in both halls and on campus. The ‘village’ style campuses all offer a variety of shops, bars, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets, creating a lively, friendly atmosphere.
The University of Birmingham boasts one of the country’s largest libraries, with millions of archives and manuscripts, as well as a rare books collection. Further subject specific libraries and resource centres are scattered across the campus, which also offers free wireless internet to all students on-site. The University is currently in the middle of a five-year campus development programme, which has seen construction of a brand new Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry (opened March 2016) and will culminate with the opening of the new world-class sports centre.
The aim of the University of Birmingham is not just to provide a good academic experience, but also to maintain an environment which is safe and welcoming for students of all backgrounds. The Guild of Students – Birmingham’s Students’ Union – is not only home to a number of restaurants, bars, clubs and facilities (including a hairdresser, supermarket, bank and letting agency), but also the body who oversees the hundreds of clubs and societies which cater to the tastes and interests of Birmingham students. University of Birmingham Sport (UBSport) is one of the top sports clubs in the country, with teams consistently finishing in the top three of the British Universities and Colleges Sport league (BUCS) – although there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to get involved, with facilities for both the complete beginner and the international athlete. Away from campus, Birmingham is a vibrant and lively city, with plenty of cultural and social activities on hand. Foodies may also be interested to note that Birmingham has been named the gastro-capital of the UK due to its melting pot of cuisine and cultures.
My Personal Statement Verdict: 4/5
Content was accurate at the time of compilation.