Northumbria University has its origins in three regional colleges: Rutherford College of Technology, which was established by John Hunter Rutherford in 1880 and opened formally by HRH The Duke of York in 1894, the College of Art & Industrial Design and the Municipal College of Commerce.
In 1969, these three institutions were amalgamated to form Newcastle Polytechnic. The Polytechnic became the major regional centre for the training of teachers with the incorporation of the City College of Education in 1974, and the Northern Counties College of Education in 1976.
In 1992, Newcastle Polytechnic was inaugurated as the new Northumbria University as part of the UK-wide process in which polytechnics became new universities. It was originally styled, and its official name still is, the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (see the Articles of Government) but the trading name was simplified to Northumbria University in 2002. In 1995, it was awarded responsibility for the education of healthcare professionals, which was transferred from the National Health Service.
The university has two large campuses. City Campus, located in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, is divided into City Campus East and City Campus West by the city's central motorway and linked by a £4 million bridge which in 2008 was officially opened by the former Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Digby Jones.
City Campus East is home to the Schools of Law, Design and the Newcastle Business School (NBS). NBS and Law are housed in one building, and the School of Design is across a courtyard.
City Campus East, designed by Atkins, opened in September 2007, winning awards from The Journal newspaper and the Low Carbon New Build Project of the Year accolade.
City Campus West is home to the Schools of Arts & Social Sciences, Built & Natural Environment, Computing, Engineering & Information Sciences and Life Sciences. Also located on this campus is the University Library, Students' Union building and Sport Central, a £31m sports facility for students, staff and the community which opened in 2010.
The Sutherland Building, formerly the Medical School of Durham University, which was a naval warehouse during World War II, and the Dental School of Durham University (1945–78) is the home of Administrative Departments including Finance & Planning and Human Resources, using the space vacated when the School of Law moved to City Campus East.
The Students' Union building, at City Campus West, underwent a multimillion-pound makeover with new lobby and recreational facilities, and a refurbished bar and cafe space, in summer 2010.
In September 2016 the Sandyford Building was acquired from Newcastle College.
A second campus is located 2.6 miles (4 km) outside of Newcastle, on Coach Lane, and is known as the Coach Lane Campus at Cochrane Park near the A188 (Benton Road). It is in the Dene ward near Longbenton and round the corner from Tyneview Park; a large Department for Work and Pensions office, accessible via the Four Lane Ends Interchange.
The Coach Lane Campus is home to School of Health, Community and Education Studies. Coach Lane Campus has computing and library services; its own Students' Union, and sports facilities, including indoor courts, a fitness suite, outdoor rugby and football pitches, and an all-weather floodlit pitch. A free shuttle bus scheme runs between the two campuses.
Northumbria University has a campus in Central London that was opened in 2014. This campus concentrates mainly on business courses offering postgraduate Master of Science degrees in Marketing, Financial Management and International management. The campus is located close to a number of underground stations such as Aldgate and Liverpool Street. Postgraduate students studying with Northumbria University at the London Campus can also gain an internship as part of their studies.
Northumbria describes itself as a comprehensive university, offering 30 of Britain's 32 most frequently chosen academic disciplines. It specialises in law and business, arts and design, computing, environmental science, built environment, applied healthcare, sports science and psychology, and teacher education.
Northumbria also offers 'clinical' courses in law accredited by the Law Society and Bar Council. These allow graduates direct entry to the profession. The institution's Student Law Office is a unique clinical legal education enterprise, where law students participate in a legal advice and representation scheme on behalf of real clients, as part of their academic and professional development. The service is run as a full legal service, just like any other firm of solicitors. Practising lawyers closely supervise the students' work and have overall responsibility for ensuring that clients receive a professional service.
The School of Design in Newcastle upon Tyne also has a satellite campus in Islington, London.
Northumbria University employs more than 3,200 people and offers approximately 500 study programmes through four Faculties:Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences
Faculty of Business and Law
Faculty of Engineering and Environment
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Northumbria University is international in its operations and reach, with programmes delivered in Newcastle upon Tyne, London and worldwide. Northumbria University recruits in Asia, with numbers of students studying degrees at partner institutions in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Seoul and elsewhere.
In the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 a small amount of research in nine of twelve areas submitted was described as "world leading".
Notable research awards in 2009/10 included funding from the Department of Health’s Policy Research Programme for a Northumbria-led national assessment of dementia care, in collaboration with the Universities of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Glamorgan.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council awarded £1.4 million to a Northumbria University research team working alongside the Universities of Birmingham, Central Lancashire, Swansea and London (Birkbeck) on energy consumption.
RTC North and a private company, Nonlinear Dynamics – a world leader in its field – announced a research collaboration with Northumbria University which could lead to a major breakthrough in the production of bio-fuels. The three-year project will bring together traditional scientific laboratory analysis techniques and some of the world’s most advanced data analysis software.
A new company established by the University in 2010 will give manufacturers the chance to use computational chemistry to create “designer molecules” for the first time in an industrial setting. The process, Quantum Directed Genetic Algorithms (QDGA), is a unique solution for identifying new catalysts and reactants.
In 2017, the university was fined £400,000 after a sports science experiment gave volunteers a hundred times the safe dose. Two students volunteering in a study of the effects of caffeine were given a dose of 30g instead of 0.3g, because staff conducting the experiment tried to calculate the dose on a mobile phone calculator and misread the decimal point. Both were hospitalised and one reported loss of short-term memory. A court hearing heard that the university had not trained staff in safety and had not carried out a proper risk assessment, and that the dose was above the level known to cause risk of death.
Northumbria Students' Union as a campaigning and representative organisation. It is a charity currently exempt from registration and is led by five Sabbatical Officers (President and 4 Vice-Presidents) and a 19-member Student Council.
The Students' Union offers a range of student activities such as NSU/Community, NSU/Media (Which encompasses NSU/TV, NSU/Radio and NSU/Life), NSU/Rag (Raise and Give), NSU/Societies, NSU/Employability, Duke of Edinburgh awards and Fast Friends. It represents students in academic and non-academic matters through a nationally recognised School Reps and Postgraduate Research Reps Systems.
The university building contains several venues for students to socialise in a safe environment, chiefly at Habita (formerly Bar One), Domain (formerly The Venue) and Reds.
In 2011, Northumbria Student's Union received the National Union of Students award for best higher education students union.
In 2016, Northumbria Student's Union received the National Union of Students award for Student Opportunities and runner up for the Education Award.Dalton Kern, Chinese scholar and dance enthusiast, previously served as Minister for Equality
Bibiana Aído Almagro, Spanish politician, previously served as Minister for Equality
Lady Edwina Grosvenor, studied criminology
Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, former MP for Redcar
Tunde Baiyewu, vocalist, lead singer of the Lighthouse Family
Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of BAFTA
Rodney Bickerstaffe, former General Secretary of UNISON
J. Alan Biggins TD PhD FSA, scientist and surveyor
Gavin Brown, art dealer
Timothy Brown, chief executive of IDEO
Alan Campbell, MP for Tynemouth
Nigel Cabourn, fashion designer
Chris Cook, GB Commonwealth and Olympic swimmer
Martin Corry, England rugby international, and Leicester Tigers
Steve Cram, English athlete and television presenter
Ali Dia, Senegalese footballer
Rick Dickinson, designer of the ZX81 computer
Robbie Elliott, footballer and coach
John Fashanu, Nigerian footballer and TV personality
Toby Flood, England rugby international, and Leicester Tigers
Mary Glindon, MP for North Tyneside
Scott Henshall, fashion designer
Louise Hopkins, artist
Sir Jonathan Ive, industrial designer, lead designer of the Apple Inc. iMac and iPod
Peter Johnson, game designer and programmer
Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham
Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields
Duncan Lloyd, lead guitarist of Maxïmo Park
Neil Marshall, film director
Alexei Mordashov, Russian business oligarch
Bob Murray, former chairman of Sunderland AFC
Jamie Noon, England rugby international, and Newcastle Falcons player
Victoria Pendleton, Olympic cyclist
Gerry Steinberg, former MP for City of Durham
Peter Middlebrook, global political economist and CEO of Geopolicity Inc.
Zak Waters, photographer
Kevin Whately, actor
Jonny Wilkinson, England rugby international, and Newcastle Falcons player
Paul Winsper, fitness expert
Bharti Kher, contemporary artist
Jason Holland, designer
Rudolf Abel, Russian spy