My University

Aston WebbThe University of Birmingham was recognised for its commitment to academic excellence and innovation by being named The Times and Sunday Times University of the year 2013-14. Our heritage as the UK’s first civic university – the original ‘redbrick’ – is combined with one of the most compelling and ambitious agendas in higher education.

Ranked by QS as 64th in the world university rankings, Birmingham is a leading member of the Russell Group (the Vice Chancellor is the current Chair) and a founder member of the Universitas 21 global network of research universities.

The University is a pioneer in sector leading initiatives. These include our ‘Birmingham Fellows’ programme, which has so far seen 66 of the world’s best early career academics join us; the much emulated unconditional offers strategy to exceptional candidates introduced in 2012-13; and the University School which will open in 2015, and are testament to an institution that rewards and encourages excellence in research and education and which has, unsurprisingly, seen impressive league table rises recently.

 A clear vision for the future...

We have a clear vision for the future, ambitious leadership, world-leading academic strengths, and a secure financial base. Our five-year strategic plan ‘Shaping Our Future: Birmingham 2015’ was published in 2010 and the University is already demonstrating significant progress against this plan that will lift us into the international elite. In support of this, the University is investing in our future, including an investment plan of over £200m in our stunning parkland campus which will see a new Library, Sports Centre and student accommodation, and world class academic appointments.

Our research grant capture is increasing significantly – in 2011/12, new research grant awards increased by over 50% and the figure was sustained last year. In 2012/13 the University ranked third for competitively won ESRC research grants and second for the AHRC.

We are recruiting undergraduate students with the finest academic credentials in our history and applications to study here in 2015 are growing rapidly and more impressively than either nationally or for comparable universities.

The University has a significant international presence: our office in Guangzhou, China is testament to our substantive collaboration with the local government and universities there; we have partnership agreements with many of the world’s leading universities; an office in New Delhi and a presence in Brussels which gives the University an outstanding understanding of European funding and influence with officials and politicians.

In Brazil, the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham are working together in a unique collaboration to develop a network of strategic partnerships with Brazilian universities, as well as the oil and gas industry.These initiatives have been central to the UK Government’s outreach into Brazil, and this year will bring in the region of 20 doctoral researchers to the University as part of a prestigious scholarship programme. 

Inevitably, these are just a few of our recent achievements, as the University community works together to enhance further our research achievements and educational provision. Our policy facing activity continues to go from strength to strength with notable success led from the College of Social Sciences such as the Public Services Academy and the establishment of Policy commissions in Local Public services, Healthy Ageing, and Wealth Distribution.

We are long established as leaders in the field of Medicine, with strengths in the research and treatment of cancer, heart, and liver disease as well as infections with a global significance including TB. In the Physical Sciences we boast outstanding academic and research credentials, including Chemical Engineering where we were recognised with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in the Jubilee year.

 First-class student experience...

As well as our focus on research excellence, we are committed to delivering a first-class experience for our students in every aspect of their university life. This is also why the University has been ranked 11th place in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2013 and 17th out of 124 UK universities in The Complete University Guide for 2016. These latest league table results further strengthen Birmingham’s position as a top 20 university and reflect its recent performance in other highly regarded league tables, such as the Guardian University Guide 2016, which ranks us at 17th. 

Areas particularly highlighted in the latest league tables include the excellent student experience and the quality of the courses available. With one of the widest range of offerings in the UK, 17 of our 48 subjects were ranked in the top 10 in the Complete University Guide (with two in first place). In addition, the University was ranked 10th place overall in the 2013 Wealth-X Survey, which measures the financial success of alumni. In the same survey, it placed 1st for self-made multi-millionaires. 

 Challenging minds...

Birmingham has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. The University of Birmingham School and Sixth Form will continue this tradition, providing an outstanding academic education for Birmingham’s young people and serving as a centre of teacher education in the region. The School and Sixth Form will be a comprehensive co-educational 11-16 school plus a sixth form, taking 150 per year into Year 7 and up to 200 per year into the Sixth Form. Located near the University of Birmingham’s main Edgbaston campus, it will have particularly strong links with School of Education in the College of Social Sciences and reflect our values, including a commitment to academic excellence and to raising aspirations and widening participation in higher education. As such, the emphasis will be on preparing pupils for entrance to selective universities. 

 Cultural profile...

The University’s cultural profile was enhanced with the opening of the beautiful Bramall Music Building in 2013. This houses the Elgar Concert Hall, named after our first Professor of Music, Sir Edward Elgar, and is a wonderful venue that enhances the quality of our Music department, already ranked second in the UK, and the importance of music as a part of the social and cultural life of the institution. This complements our reputation in music and our music scholarship scheme which attracts the most talented musicians from across the world to study at Birmingham.

The Bramall Music Building is one amongst a number of cultural assets that include the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon, the Ironbridge Institute at the centre of this world heritage location in Shropshire, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, our art gallery that is home to works from many of the greatest artists in the western tradition and the world’s second largest collection of Byzantine coins. Our Edgbaston campus also includes Winterbourne House and Garden, a unique Edwardian heritage attraction that is home to over 6,000 plant species from around the world.


Sport is integral to life at Birmingham and we are ranked second in the UK for the quality of student sport. Our new sports development will open in early 2016 and will include the city of Birmingham’s first 50m swimming pool that will not only provide facilities for our performance sportsmen and women but also offer a new resource to the local community. It was perhaps this combination of performance in, and commitment to, sport that attracted the 2012 Jamaican track and field team to our campus for their pre-Olympic training camp. After winning his second gold medal at the Games, Usain Bolt and his colleague Yohan Blake saluted, to a worldwide television audience, the facilities, support and warm welcome that they and their team mates had received from the University.

For more information about sport at the University, please visit the Sport Bham website.

 Student numbers and support...

We receive over 75,000 applications each year from students wishing to study here and welcome 24,000 successful students to the campus from 150 countries. A £5m investment in employability services has seen the numbers of graduates who find work within the first six months of graduation increase significantly for the second year in a row, and in a time of recession. A long-term project improving the academic support available to students and plans for the development of a state-of-the-art student services hub have led to satisfaction rankings in the National Student Survey rising faster than the national average, with overall satisfaction now standing at 88% (which is higher than the sector average).

 Birmingham's ambition...

Not only does Birmingham have serious ambition but we also have financial resources to realise those ambitions, and our plans for the future are underpinned by long established financial probity. We are large: we contribute £1 billion to our region’s economy and our turnover was £493 million in 2012/13. Our surpluses and substantial philanthropic support are re-invested into the intellectual and physical fabric of the institution, enabling us to plan with confidence for the future and to continue to invest in the facilities and services that are required for high-quality research, and an outstanding student learning experience.

Led by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood, the University is structured for swift decision-making, enabling us to capitalise on our academic range, financial strength and opportunities that emerge in the fast changing global HE environment.



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