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University of Leicester

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The Queen

Acceptance rate
71.2% (2011)

+44 116 252 2522

£13.1 million (2015)

Academic staff

Total enrollment
20,150 (2014)

Paul Boyle

Ut Vitam Habeant So that they may have life

1957 - gained University Status by Royal Charter 1921 - Leicestershire and Rutland University College

University Rd, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK

Bruce Grocott, Baron Grocott

Undergraduate tuition and fees
Domestic tuition: 9,000 GBP (2015), International tuition: 14,000 GBP (2015)

Notable alumni
Atifete Jahjaga, Phelan Hill, Aaron Porter, Adele Parks, David Blanchflower

De Montfort University, University of Leeds, University of Nottingham, Loughborough University, University of Manchester


Degree congregation 3pm friday 11th july 2008 university of leicester

The University of Leicester (/ˈlɛstə/ LES-tər) is a public research university based in Leicester, England. The main campus is south of the city centre, adjacent to Victoria Park.


The university established itself as a research-led university and was previously ranking among the top 20 universities in the United Kingdom. It was awarded University of the Year by The Times in 2008. As of 2016/17 the university is nationally ranked 25th in the The Sunday Times Good University Guide, 32nd in the The Complete University Guide and 47th in the The Guardian.It is ranked as one of the top 200 universities in the world by the Times in 2017.

The university is most famous for the invention of genetic fingerprinting and contributing to the discovery and identification of the remains of King Richard III.

Degree congregation 11am friday 11th july 2008 university of leicester


The university was founded as Leicestershire and Rutland University College in 1921. The site for the university was donated by a local textile manufacturer, Thomas Fielding Johnson, in order to create a living memorial for those who lost their lives in First World War. This is reflected in the University's motto Ut Vitam Habeant –"so that they may have life".

Students were first admitted to the college in 1921. In 1927, after it became University College, Leicester, students sat the examinations for external degrees of the University of London. Two years later it merged with the Vaughan Working Men's College, which had been providing adult education in Leicester since 1862. In 1957 the University College was granted its Royal Charter, and has since then had the status of a university with the right to award its own degrees. Leicester University won the first ever series of University Challenge, in 1963.


The main campus is a mile south of the city centre, adjacent to Victoria Park and Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College.

The central building, now known as the Fielding Johnson Building and housing the University's administration offices and Faculty of Law, dates from 1837 and was formerly the Leicestershire and Rutland Lunatic Asylum. Opposite the Fielding Johnson Building are the Astley Clarke Building, home to the School of Economics, and the University Sports Centre.

The Ken Edwards building, built in 1995, lies adjacent to the Fielding Johnson Building and is home to the School of Management.

Built in 1957, the Percy Gee building is home to Leicester University's Students' Union.

The David Wilson Library was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 4 December 2008, following an extensive refurbishment with a budget of £32 million.

The university campus is home to several notable examples of Brutalist architecture, including the Grade II listed Engineering Building and the Charles Wilson Building. Another prominent building on campus is the 18-storey Attenborough Tower, home to the College of Social Sciences.

The Bennett building, Physics and Astronomy building, the Chemistry building and the Adrian Building lie beyond the Charles Wilson Building. Across University Road lies the Maurice Shock and Hodgkin buildings, home to Leicester's Medical School.

Further along University Road and on Salisbury Road and Regents Road are the Department of Education and the Fraser Noble building.

On Lancaster Road there is the Attenborough Arts Centre, the University's arts centre.

Notable architecture

The skyline of Leicester University is punctuated by three distinctive, towering, buildings from the 1960s: the Department of Engineering, the Attenborough tower and the Charles Wilson building.

The University's Engineering Building was the first major building by British architect James Stirling. It comprises workshops and laboratories at ground level, and a tower containing offices and lecture theatres. It was completed in 1963 and is notable for the way in which its external form reflects its internal functions. The very compact campus contains a wide range of twentieth century architecture, though the oldest building is the Fielding Johnson building. The Attenborough Tower is undergoing extensive renovation.

Leicester's halls of residence are noteworthy: many of the halls (nearly all located in Oadby) date from the early 1900s and were the homes of Leicester’s wealthy industrialists.


In recent years the University has disposed of some of its poorer quality property in order to invest in new facilities, and is currently undergoing a £300+ million redevelopment. The new John Foster Hall of Residence opened in October 2006. The David Wilson Library, twice the size of the previous University Library, opened on 1 April 2008 and a new biomedical research building (the Henry Wellcome Building) has already been constructed. A complete revamp of the Percy Gee Student Union building (originally opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 9 May 1958) was completed in September 2010. Nixon Court was extended and refurbished in 2011.


The University's academic schools and departments, having been previously organised into five faculties, were re-organised into four colleges in 2009, each headed by a Pro-Vice Chancellor In August 2015 the colleges were further restructured with the merging of Social Sciences and Arts, Humanities and Law to give the following structure:

  • College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities
  • College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology
  • College of Science & Engineering
  • The colleges are supported by the Corporate Services.


    The University is held in high regard for the quality of its teaching. 19 subject areas have been graded as "Excellent" by the Quality Assurance Agency – including 14 successive scores of 22 points or above stretching back to 1998, six of which were maximum scores.

    Leicester was ranked joint first in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 National Student Survey for overall student satisfaction among mainstream universities in England. It was second only to Cambridge in 2008 and again joint first in 2009.


    The University has research groups in the areas of astrophysics, biochemistry and genetics. The techniques used in genetic fingerprinting were invented and developed at Leicester in 1984 by Sir Alec Jeffreys. It also houses Europe's biggest academic centre for space research, in which space probes have been built, most notably the Mars Lander Beagle 2, which was built in collaboration with the Open University.

    Leicester Physicists (led by Ken Pounds) were critical in demonstrating a fundamental prediction of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity - that black holes exist and are common in the universe. It is a founding partner of the £52 million National Space Centre.

    Leicester University is one of a small number of universities to have won the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education on more than one occasion: in 1994 for physics & astronomy and again in 2002 for genetics.

    Physics and Astronomy

    The Department is host to around 350 undergraduate students, following either BSc (three-year) or MPhys (four-year) degree courses, and over 70 postgraduate students registered for a higher degree.

    The main Physics building accommodates several research groups—Radio and Space Plasma Physics (RSPP), X-ray and Observational Astronomy (XROA), Condensed Matter Physics (CMP) and Theoretical Astrophysics (TA)—as well as centres for supercomputing, microscopy, Gamma and X-ray astronomy, and radar sounding, and the Swift UK Data Centre. A purpose built Space Research Centre houses the Space Science and Instrumentation (SSI) group and provides laboratories, clean rooms and other facilities for instrumentation research, Earth Observation Science (EOS) and the Bio-imaging Unit. The department also runs the University of Leicester Observatory in Manor Road, Oadby, with a 20-inch telescope it is one of the UK's largest and most advanced astronomical teaching facilities. The department has close involvement with the National Space Centre also located in Leicester.

    The department is home to the University's ALICE 3400+ core supercomputer and is a member of the UK's DiRAC (DiStributed Research utilising Advanced Computing) consortium. DiRAC is the integrated supercomputing facility for theoretical modelling and HPC-based research in particle physics, astronomy and cosmology, areas in which the UK is world-leading. It was funded as a result of investment of £12.32 million, from the Government's Large Facilities Capital Fund, together with investment from the Science and Technology Facilities Council and from universities.

    The department is a member of the Pi-CETL collaboration of three university physics departments with a track record in teaching and learning innovation. The Physics Innovations CETL is one of 74 Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, over all academic disciplines, and the only one in physics. It was funded for five years (2005–10) by the Higher Education Funding Council for England's (HEFCE). Pi-CETL involved collaboration between the Open University and the Universities of Leicester and Reading.

    In 1994 the University of Leicester celebrated winning the Queen's Anniversary Prize for its work in Physics & Astronomy. The prize citation reads: "World-class teaching, research and consultancy programme in astronomy and space and planetary science fields. Practical results from advanced thinking".

    In January 2017, Physics students from the University of Leicester made national news when they revealed their predictions on how long it would take a zombie apocalypse to wipe out humanity. They calculated that it would take just 100 days for zombies to completely take over earth. At the end of the 100 days, the students predicted that just 300 humans would remain alive and without infection.


    The department offers MEng and BEng degrees in Aerospace Engineering, Embedded Systems Engineering, Communications and Electronic Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and General Engineering. Each course is accredited by the relevant professional institutions. The department also offers MSc courses in Embedded Systems and Control, Information and Communication Engineering, Advanced Mechanical Engineering, and Advanced Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

    The department has an extensive range of industrial partners including: ARM Holdings, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Siemens, Corus, Mercedes-Benz. Many undergraduate and postgraduate projects are carried out in collaboration with industry.

    Arts, humanities and social sciences

    More recently, novelist Adele Parks graduated from the university in the 1990s, and the university library now holds the writings of both Joe Orton and Sue Townsend.

    College of Social Sciences, Arts, & Humanities

    The School of Archaeology and Ancient History was formed in 1990 from the then Departments of Archaeology and Classics, under the headship of Prof. Graeme Barker, FBA. The current head is Prof. David Mattingly, FBA MAE. The academic staff currently (as of January 2017) include 21 archaeologists and 8 ancient historians, though several staff teach and research in both disciplines. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise, 74% of the School's research activity, including 100% of its Research Environment, was classed as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', ranking it 6th among UK university departments teaching archaeology and 1st for the public impact of its research. The School has particular strengths in Mediterranean archaeology, ancient Greek and Roman history, and the archaeology of recent periods; and is also home to the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS). In September 2012, a ULAS team exhumed the body of King Richard III, discovering it in the former Greyfriars Friary Church in the city of Leicester.

    The School of English teaches English at degree level. The School is committed to offering the whole spectrum of English Studies from Contemporary Writing to Old English and language studies. It contains the distinguished Victorian Studies Centre, the first of its kind in the UK.

    Malcolm Bradbury is one of the Department's most famous alumni: he graduated with a First in English in 1953.

    The School of Historical Studies is, with 35 full-time members of staff, including 11 Professors as of 2009, one of the largest of any university in the country. It has made considerable scholarly achievements in many areas of history, notably Urban History, English Local History, American Studies and Holocaust Studies. The School houses both the East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA) and the Media Archive for Central England (MACE).

    The School of Law is one of the biggest departments in the University. The Faculty maintains links with many top law firms, including the Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, who offer a one-year scholarship to a Leicester student studying for the dual Law and French degree. According to the Times Online Good University Guide 2009, the Faculty of Law was ranked 8th, out of 87 institutions, making it one of the top law schools in the country.

    The School of Museum Studies has the highest proportion of world-leading rated research in any subject in any UK university (RAE 2008). In its 40-year history the school has played an influential role in the reinvention of museum theory and practice.

    The School of Geography and Geology, housed in the Bennett building, is notable for its collection of maps dating back almost a century, and equally for the Geology department's fossil collection. Both departments feature highly in rankings for the UK.

    Also within the College of Arts, Humanities, and Law are the Department for the History of Art and Film and the School of Modern Languages.

    Mass Communication Research

    Within the College of Social Sciences, the Centre for Mass Communication Research, now part of the Department of Media and Communications, is one of the longest established academic centres at Leicester, engaging in pioneering research in the 1970s and 1980s and now specializing in Masters courses, as does the Department of Museum Studies, in terms of both campus-based and distance-learning Masters.

    School of Business

    Within the College of Social Science, the School of Business is dedicated to the advanced study and teaching of the subject matter of Management and Economics.The "School of Business" was founded in 2016, bringing together the expertise of the School of Management and the Department of Economics. The new school now has approximately 150 academic staff, 50 from Economics and 100 from Management. The Dean of the School of Business, Professor Zoe Radnor, arrived from the University of Loughborough in 2016. In 2010 the former School of Management was ranked 2nd after Oxford University by the Guardian.

    The School encourages the development of innovation and creativity through dialog, criticism and integrative learning. Professor Gibson Burrell's attempt to develop a critical management school at the University of Leicester, has been recognized in the academic literature.

    The School of Business provides postgraduate and undergraduate programmes in Management, Accounting and Economics. The School of Business, is one of the only 168 Schools/Universities in the world accredited by the Association of MBAs.

    Learning Innovation and Technology-Enhanced Learning

    The Institute of Learning Innovation within the University of Leicester is a research and postgraduate teaching group, directed by Grainne Conole. The Institute has and continues to research on UK- and European-funded projects (over 30 as of August 2013), focusing on topics such as educational use of podcasting, e-readers in distance education, virtual worlds, open educational resources and open education, and learning design.

    Leicester Medical School

    The university is home to a large medical school, Leicester Medical School, which opened in 1971. The school was formerly in partnership with the University of Warwick, and the Leicester-Warwick medical school proved to be a success in helping Leicester expand, and Warwick establish. The partnership ran the end of its course towards the end of 2006 and the medical schools became autonomous institutions within their respective universities.

    Rankings and reputation

    The university established itself as a research-led university and was named University of the Year of 2008 by the Times Higher Education. It is also the only university ever to have won a Times Higher Education award in seven consecutive years. The university previously ranked among the top 20 universities in the United Kingdom by the Times Good University Guide and The Guardian.

    Since 2014, the university has continued to fall below that level across all rankings, which it has defined as 'disappointing'. In 2017, the university ranked 25th in the The Sunday Times Good University Guide, 32nd in the The Complete University Guide and 47th in the The Guardian.

    Library special collections

    Local history collections (for the Centre for English Local History), known as the Marc Fitch Library, including:

  • Thomas Hatton (1876–1943), a local businessman whose collection of nearly 2,000 books on English local history was donated to the Library of Leicester College in 1920. This was one of the first major donations to the Library.
  • The library also holds a number of collections containing items written by several famous writers, these include:

  • The Joe Orton Collection. Joe Orton (1933–1967) was a Leicester-born playwright, the collection contains his manuscripts and correspondence.
  • The Laura Riding Letters. The collected correspondence of the American poet and critic Laura Riding (1901–1991).
  • The Sue Townsend Collection. The personal papers of Sue Townsend (1946-2014). The collection contains Townsend's literary correspondence and notebooks detailing her works.
  • Archives of the Institute for the Study of Terrorism.
  • Student life

    The university has a number of different societies within its students' union. The Union has around 200 different societies.

    Student media

    Founded in 1957, The Ripple is the university's student magazine.

    Founded in 1996, LUSH Radio is the radio station of the University of Leicester Students' Union. It is run and presented exclusively by students and broadcasts a mixture of music, chat and news. Some notable personalities from the early days of LUSH Radio (or LUSH FM as it was known at the time) who have gone on to work in the media are Lucy O'Doherty (BBC 6 Music) and Adam Mitchenall (ETV).

    Annual events

    The station holds an annual 24-hour charity broadcast. In 2011, £300 was raised for Comic Relief. In 2013 the station held its first '69 Hour Broadcast', which raised over £450 for Comic Relief.

    The station holds an award ceremony every year, the "LUSH Awards". This aims to recognise the achievements and successes of the station's broadcasters and producers.

    LUSH have broadcast live the annual Varsity match against De Montfort University for both Football from the King Power Stadium and Rugby Union from Welford Road Stadium.


    LUST (Leicester University Student Television) was re-founded in 2002 after a period of dormancy. The station is affiliated to the National Student Television Association (NaSTA) and hosted the association's annual awards ceremony in 2008.

    Notable academics from the university include; Anthony Giddens, prominent sociologist who taught social psychology, Sarah Hainsworth, Professor of Materials and Forensic Engineering, involved in analysing the wounds on the skeleton of Richard III, Jeffrey A. Hoffman, NASA astronaut and physicist, Sir Alec Jeffreys, inventor of genetic fingerprinting; Philip Larkin, librarian and poet; Charles Rees, organic chemist; Lord Rees of Ludlow, the Astronomer Royal, visiting professor at Leicester.

    Numerous public figures in many diverse fields have been students at the university. Alumni in science include Peter Atkins, physical chemist; Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature; Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer

    Alumni in politics and government include Natalie Bennett, former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales; Atifete Jahjaga, President of Kosovo; Jyrki Katainen, Prime Minister of Finland; Norman Lamb, MP; Princess Mako of Akishino, a member of the Japanese Imperial Family; Aaron Porter, President, National Union of Students (United Kingdom) 2010-11.

    Alumni in the arts include Sir Malcolm Bradbury, author; Pete McCarthy, writer, broadcaster, comedian; Bob Mortimer, comedian; Bob Parr MBE, multi Emmy Award-winning television producer; C. P. Snow, author; John Sutherland, Guardian Columnist, Emeritus Professor of English Literature, University College London; Andrew Waterman, poet.

    The Attenboroughs

    The University of Leicester is commonly associated with the Attenborough family. Richard and David Attenborough (with their younger brother John) spent their childhood in College House, which is now home to part of the Maths department (and is now near to the Attenborough tower, the tallest building on the campus and home to many of the arts and humanities departments). Their father Frederick Attenborough was Principal of the University College from 1932 until 1951. The brothers were educated at the adjacent grammar school before attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the University of Cambridge respectively.

    Both have maintained links with the university—David Attenborough was made an honorary Doctor of Letters in 1970 and opened the Attenborough Arboretum in Knighton in 1997. In the same year, the Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales. Both brothers were made Distinguished Honorary Fellows of the University at the degree ceremony in the afternoon of 13 July 2006.


    University of Leicester Wikipedia

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