University of Birmingham
Ever an innovator in university admissions, Birmingham has introduced an online offer calculator to give prospective students a better idea of whether they are likely to secure a place. Four in every five applicants received an offer in 2015, when the demand for places rose by more than 5%.
The university’s popularity has increased markedly since it started the trend for unconditional offers three years ago. Those who are predicted better than three As at A-level are offered a place without needing to achieve set grades. In 2016, the scheme is operating in 55 subjects, from African studies and anthropology; mathematics; modern languages to social work and chemistry, and may be expanded further in 2017.
Another attraction has been Birmingham’s focus on employability — the university has invested £5m in graduate careers services and was our University of the Year for Graduate Employability for 2015-16, two years after winning the overall University of the Year title. Successful alumni offer mentoring and the university provides bursaries to support work experience and internships in the UK and overseas.
Students enjoy studying here with National Student Survey
SHOW MOREscores for teaching quality and overall student experience, ranking Birmingham in the top half of the Russell Group of research-led universities. The projected dropout rate of 3.6% is also well below the level expected and one of the lowest in the UK.
Birmingham did well in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, when more than 80% of its submission was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. Its performance took Birmingham into the top 20 for research quality and has helped to maintain its position in our top 20 overall. The university was ranked in the top five for philosophy, history, classics, theology and religion, area studies, chemical engineering, and sport, exercise and rehabilitation studies.
Its current research focus includes antibiotic resistance, drone warfare and sustainable energy among a series of ‘global challenges’ identified as priorities. Birmingham, which has a research partnership with the University of Nottingham, has one of the largest clinical trial units in Europe and recently opened the Institute of Translational Medicine.
In 2015 Birmingham announced its discovery of one of the world’s oldest Koran manuscripts and displayed it to the public in a collaborative exhibition with the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and Cadbury Research Library.
Birmingham was the original "redbrick" university. The 230-acre campus in leafy Edgbaston is dominated by a 300ft clock tower, one of the city’s best-known landmarks. Dentistry is located in the city centre, while part of the School of Education is in Selly Oak, a mile from the Edgbaston campus. Drama is also located there, along with the BBC Drama Village, which is part of a strategic alliance between the university and the corporation.
The university is part way through a long-term programme of investment. A new Student Services Hub has seen part of the redbrick Aston Webb Building remodelled to house a number of different services including employability, careers and a 400-seat lecture theatre. A new library building opened in September 2016, and a cultural hub will embrace new and emerging technologies for an enhanced student experience.
A new sports centre boasts Birmingham’s first 50-metre swimming pool, a multi-sport hall, a range of activity and fitness studios, an extensive gym, six glass-backed squash courts and various other facilities.
The numbers recruited from the poorest social groups have been rising gradually. The Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme, which encourages students from the West Midlands whose families have little or no experience of higher education to apply to university, is being extended to students in other parts of England. In 2016, students whose household income is less than £36,000 will qualify for the university’s Chamberlain awards of between £1,000 and £2,000 a year.
Three-quarters of the undergraduates undertake work experience as part of their course. The university also encourages interdisciplinary study, for example allowing undergraduates to combine technology with subjects ranging from Latin or modern Greek to the management of floods and other natural disasters.
Most of the halls and university flats are conveniently located in an attractive parkland setting near the main campus. There are more than 5,000 university-owned beds, and accommodation in the private sector is also plentiful.
The campus is less than three miles from the city centre, but the area has plenty of shops, pubs and restaurants. With its own nightclub among the facilities on campus, some students do not even stray that far, but the city is acquiring a growing reputation among the young.
The sports facilities are some of the best in the country and other student facilities on campus are also first-rate. They include a medical practice and the university’s own station. There is also an outdoor pursuits centre by Coniston Water in the Lake District. The "active lifestyles" programme attracts 4,000 students to 150 different courses.
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Deprived areas offer rate
Wealthy areas offer rate
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STUDENTS’ GUILD PRESIDENT
I loved my first year in halls; amazing events are put on for first-years and I made some of my best friends.
Sharing student housing is amazing but has its drawbacks: the mess, the milk that miraculously disappears and the fight over who uses the washing machine next can be frustrating.
We constantly come in the top 10 for employability; workshops are on hand whenever you need them.
As nerve-wracking as it may be, introduce yourself to your flatmates and neighbours as soon as you can. Everyone comes to university in the same position.
Places in accommodation
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Student satisfaction with teaching quality
Physics and Astronomy
Middle Eastern and African Studies
Theology and Religious Studies
Classics and Ancient History
Russian and East European Languages
Electrical and Electronic Engineering
History of Art, Architecture and Design
Geography and Environmental Science
Drama, Dance and Cinematics
Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation and Tourism
Town and Country Planning and Landscape
Pharmacology and Pharmacy
Accounting and Finance
Subjects allied to medicine