Surrey University: Wikis


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University of Surrey
Established 1966 - gained University Status by Royal Charter
1891 - Battersea Polytechnic Institute
Type Public
Endowment £ 78.6 million[1]
Chancellor HRH The Duke of Kent[2]
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Christopher M. Snowden [2]
Pro-Chancellors The Rt Hon Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone
Dr J R Forrest
Penelope Keith
Sir William Wells[2]
Staff 2,338
incl. 1,403 academics and 150 researchers[1]
Students 15,705[3]
Undergraduates 9,600[3]
Postgraduates 6,105[3]
Location Guildford, England, UK
Campus Suburban
Colours Blue      and Gold     
Affiliations 1994 Group
Universities UK
University of Surrey Logo.svg

The University of Surrey is a university located within the county town of Guildford, Surrey in the South East of England. It received its charter on 9 September 1966, and was previously situated near Battersea Park in south-west London. The institution was known as Battersea College of Technology before gaining university status. Its roots however go back to the Battersea Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1891 to provide further and higher education for London's poorer inhabitants.[4]

The university is a member of the 1994 Group.[5] The university conducts extensive research on small satellites and has a high number of staff who are members of learned societies. The Research Assessment Exercise 2001 awarded nine departments at the university 5 or 5* ratings.[6] The university has recently expanded into China by launching the Surrey International Institute with Dongbei University of Finance and Economics.[7]

The university's main campus is located on Stag Hill close to the centre of Guildford and adjacent to Guildford Cathedral. A second campus, at Manor Park, is located a short distance away and has been developed to expand upon existing accommodation, academic buildings and sporting facilities.[8]



The School of Management Building, with the statue of Alan Turing in the middle distance
Part of the new development of student accommodation at Manor Park

The University of Surrey was preceded by the Battersea Polytechnic Institute which was founded in 1891 and admitted its first students in 1894. Its aims were to provide greater access to further and higher education for some of the "poorer inhabitants" of London. The Institute focused on science and technology subjects, and from about 1920 taught some classes for University of London students.[9]

In 1956 the Institute was among the first to receive the designation "College of Advanced Technology" and was renamed Battersea College of Technology. By the beginning of the sixties the College had virtually outgrown its building in Battersea and had decided to move to Guildford. In addition to this, the Robbins Report of 1963 proposed that the Colleges of Advanced Technology, including Battersea, should expand and become degree-awarding Universities.[9]

In 1965 the university-designate acquired a greenfield site in Guildford from Guildford Cathedral, Guildford Borough Council and the Onslow Village Trust. The following year, on 9 September 1966 the University of Surrey was established by Royal Charter and by 1970 the move from Battersea to Guildford was complete.[9]

Early visitors to the new campus were Led Zeppelin, who performed their very first gig at the university on 15 October 1968.[10]

In 1982 the university became the trustee of the building of the Guildford Institute and uses parts of the building for its adult education programme which ensures a university presence in the heart of Guildford. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (formerly Associated Examining Board) moved from Aldershot to its own headquarters building on the Stag Hill campus in 1985.

The university marked its Silver Jubilee in 1991, an event celebrated by the publishing of Surrey - The Rise of a Modern University by Roy Douglas[4] and by a Service of Thanksgiving in Guildford Cathedral attended by Her Majesty The Queen in March 1992.

The university celebrated its 35th anniversary year in May 2002 with a major event in Guildford Cathedral. It was also marked by the unveiling of the Surrey Scholar sculpture (by Allan Sly FBS) to mark the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen and as a gift to the people of Guildford. The Surrey Scholar is located at the bottom of Guildford High Street. Understanding the Real World, a visual history of the university, by Christopher Pick, was published to coincide with this anniversary.[9]

On 1 July 2005, Prof. Christopher Snowden became Surrey’s fourth Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive. Like his predecessors Prof. Dowling and Prof. Kelly, Prof. Snowden is a fellow of the Royal Society. He was appointed in recognition of his pioneering work in the fields of microwave engineering and compound semiconductors.

In 2007 the university saw a major increase in overall applications by 39% compared with the previous year.[11] This was followed by a further increase in applications of 12% in 2008.[12]

In June 2008, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university for services to the music industry.[13]

In October 2008, the university lost out to Royal Holloway in a bid to merge with London medical institute St George's, University of London.[14]

From September 2009, the Guildford School of Acting will become a subsidiary of the university and relocate from Guildford town centre to the university campus.


The area around the lake on the main Stag Hill Campus

The university moved in 1968 to a new 30 ha (74-acre) site on Stag Hill in Guildford, Surrey, adjacent to Guildford Cathedral (see picture, below). A further 90 ha (222 acres) allocated to the university remained undeveloped until 2005. The new Manor Park campus, designed as a car-free village, is 1.6 kilometres (1 mi) from the Stag Hill campus and on the other side of the A3 trunk road.[15] It combines residences for students and staff, buildings for research and teaching, and sporting facilities.

The BBC's local radio station for Surrey and North-East Hampshire, BBC Surrey, has its studios on the campus.[16] In addition the university has a student-run medium wave radio station, GU2 Radio (GU2 is the local postcode prefix).

In November 2007, the university was given planning permission to build the Surrey Multifaith Centre at the University of Surrey. This will be the first building in Britain to have a Synagogue, Muslim Prayer Hall, Gurdwara and Chapel built separately under one roof.[17]

In July 2008, the university officially began work on building a £35 million new sports centre named the Surrey Sports Park.[18]

On 8 July 2009, a temporary Amigo convenience store opened in the BB Building on the campus, replacing the previous One Stop store which was situated near the library. The new store is operated by the Compass Group, and will see the University enjoy 'guaranteed rental income and share of turnover'[19]. The project is part of wider work which will see a new building, housing a larger shop and library extension, opening on the One Stop site in April 2011[20].

In September 2009, the Guildford School of Acting will moved into a new purpose built facility on the main Stag Hill campus.


The academic activities of the university are divided into the following four faculties:

Faculty of Arts & Human Sciences

  • Dance, Film and Theatre
  • Economics
  • English
  • Languages and Translation Studies
  • Music and Sound Recording
  • Political, International and Policy Studies
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Centre for Environmental Strategy
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemical and Bio-systems Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computing
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Engineering
  • Physics
  • Technology Entrepreneurship

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

  • Chemical Sciences
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Microbial Sciences
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Health and Social Care
  • Postgraduate Medical School

Faculty of Management and Law

  • School of Law
  • School of Management
The Duke of Kent Building houses much of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Academic Standards

Playing fields next to the headquarters of AQA, and with Guildford Cathedral in the background
The Austin Pearce Building


The university conducts extensive research on small satellites, with its Surrey Space Centre and spin-off commercial company, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. In the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, the University of Surrey received a 5* rating in the categories of "Sociology", "Other Studies and Professions Allied to Medicine", and "Electrical and Electronic Engineering" and a 5 rating in the categories of "Psychology", "Physics", "Applied Mathematics", "Statistics and Operational Research", "European Studies", and "Russian, Slavonic and East European Languages".[6]

In addition, the Surrey Research Park is a 28 ha (69-acre) low density development which is owned and developed by the university, providing large landscaped areas with water features and facilities for over 110 companies engaged in a broad spectrum of research, development and design activities. The university generates the third highest endowment income out of all UK universities "reflecting its commercially-orientated heritage."[21]


In 1991 the university was granted the Queen's Award for Export Achievement,[9] and in 1996 it was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education in recognition of the university's outstanding achievement in satellite engineering and communications, teaching and research by the Centre for Satellite Engineering Research and its associated companies.[22] In 1998 Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) was awarded the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement. This was presented in person by the Queen on her second visit to the university, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Duke of Kent, Chancellor of the University.[23]

More recently the university was awarded the 2002 Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education, this time for its internationally renowned research and development on optoelectronic devices and ion beam applications.[22] The university has a high number of staff who are academicians of the learned societies: 10 Fellows of the Royal Society, 21 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering, one Fellow of the British Academy and 6 Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences.[24]

In July 2007, the university was awarded Fairtrade University status by the Fairtrade Foundation.[25]


For 2009, the university was ranked 22nd overall by The Guardian,[26] while The Times placed the university 39th overall. Its highest ranked subject is Food Science (1st), whilst its Sociology department is ranked second only to the University of Cambridge.[27] In world rankings, Times Higher Education ranked the university 190th in 2007.[28]

UK University Rankings
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993
Times Good University Guide 39th[29] 40th=[30] 38th[31] 38th 40th[32] 36th 32nd[33 ] 44th 38th 38th 30th 39th 28th 24th 15th 16th 23rd
Guardian University Guide 27th[34] 22nd 24th[35] 12th 12th[36] 18th[37] 41st[38] 38th[39]
Sunday Times University Guide 35th[40] 39th 39th=[41] 40th[41] 44th[42] 42nd[42] 32nd[42] 39th[42] 32nd[42] 30th[42]= 25th[42]
Daily Telegraph 35th[43] 44th=
FT 33rd 29th[44] 37th[45] 31st[46]
Independent / Complete 30th[47][48 ] 35th[48 ]

Academics and alumni


Academics to work at the university include Alf Adams, pioneer of the strained quantum-well laser;[49] Jim Al-Khalili, the nuclear physicist, author and broadcaster;[50] Aleks Krotoski, the technology journalist and broadcaster;[51] Martin Sweeting, founder of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd;[52] and Nigel Gilbert, the sociologist pioneer in the use of agent-based models in the social sciences.[53] On 20 May 2009, Andreas Mogensen, a researcher at the Surrey Space Centre, was announced as a new member of the European Astronaut Corps, part of the European Space Agency and in doing so, will become the first Danish astronaut.[54]


Former students of the university (or its predecessor, Battersea Poytechnic) include the designer of the Mini, Sir Alec Issigonis[55] and the founder of the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain, Robert Earl.[56] The vice chancellor of York St John University, Dianne Willcocks[57] and the chancellor of Edge Hill University, Tanya Byron[58] both studied at the university. Other alumni include MP Sir George Young,[59] Dame Linda Dobbs,[60] and David Varney, former chairman of HM Revenue and Customs.[61] The television and radio broadcasters, Jeremy Kyle[62] and Toby Anstis[63] are also alumni of the university, as is William Joyce[64], the fascist propagandist better known as Lord Haw-Haw. Quentin Crisp[65], author and actor, studied art at Battersea Polytechnic.

Educational links

Since its foundation, the university has fostered links with other educational bodies in the local community and region. For example, in recent years it has validated courses at and subsequently accredited Saint Mary's College (now an independent institution called St Mary's University College, Twickenham),[66] Wimbledon School of Art,[67] and Farnborough College of Technology.[68] The university currently validates courses at North East Surrey College Of Technology (NESCOT), Guildford School of Acting, Guildford College of Further & Higher Education, King Edward VII Hospital Department of Staff Development, The Nuclear Department at HMS Sultan, St John's Seminary, Southern Theological Education & Training Scheme (STETS), the Pre-Retirement Association and SHL (UK) Ltd.[69]

In 1998, as a result of the continuing development in the relationship between the university and the nearby Roehampton Institute, it was decided to form an academic federation. In November 1999, the Privy Council approved the necessary changes to the university's Charter and Statutes and the Roehampton Institute became The University of Surrey Roehampton at the beginning of 2000. Between 2000 and 2004, the university and Roehampton worked together as the Federal University of Surrey.[70] In June 2004, the Privy Council granted Roehampton an independent university title, and it became Roehampton University from 1 August 2004. This move ended the federal partnership between the two institutions, although collaboration between the two is being maintained.[71]

In 2007, the university and Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, Dalian, China launched the Surrey International Institute, DUFE.[72] SII, DUFE offers Surrey degrees and dual-degree programmes in China.[7] A placement year link with University of North Carolina is currently being initiated in 2009, where each institution places students from the other with companies located near by, in the South East of England and the Carolinas, respectively.

International partners

The university holds a number of formal links with institutions from around the world to share teaching and research and facilitate staff and student exchanges.

Global Partners

Surrey Sports Park

The Surrey Sports Park is currently being built close to the main University campus. When it opens in 2010, it will house a 50 metre pool, three sports halls, a squash centre, 700 metres of fitness facilities, two artificial floodlit pitches, outdoor and indoor tennis courts, four real tennis courts and a climbing centre.[74]

It will play host to all but 4 matches of the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup (the semi finals, 3rd place play off and final will be held at the Twickenham Stoop).

Surrey Space Centre

The Surrey Space Centre is a fully integrated mix of world class academic research teams whose aim is to underpin the technical development of the small space industry; and the commercial activities of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) with a global reputation for the design, build and launch of low cost, multi-purpose satellites.

A postdoctoral researcher at the University of Surrey was announced on 22 May 2009 as one of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) next intake of astronauts. Dr Andreas Mogensen was presented at an event in Paris among just six successful applicants from an initial list of over 8,000, and is now expected to undertake missions to the International Space Station, the Moon and beyond.


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External links

Coordinates: 51°14′35″N 0°35′22″W / 51.24306°N 0.58944°W / 51.24306; -0.58944


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