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Cardiff University ( ) is a leading university located in the Cathays Parkmarker area of Cardiffmarker, Walesmarker, United Kingdommarker. It received its Royal charter in 1883 and is a member of the Russell Group of Universities. The university is consistently recognised as providing the best university education in Wales. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, almost 60 per cent of all research at Cardiff University was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent - 4* and 3* the top two categories of assessment. Ranked number 135 of the world's top universities, Cardiff University celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2008. Before August 2004, the university was officially known as University of Wales, Cardiff ( ), although it used the name Cardiff University publicly.


Park Place entrance
‎The Aberdare Report of 1881 recommended the foundation of university colleges in North Walesmarker and South Walesmarker to complement the already established University College, Wales (now the University of Wales, Aberystwythmarker) in Aberystwythmarker.There was considerable debate about whether the southern college should be located in Cardiff or Swansea.The case for Cardiff was strengthened by stressing the need to take account of the interests of Monmouthshire, at that time not legally considered part of Wales. This influenced the name of the new body.Following a public appeal that raised £37,000, the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire opened on October 24 1883, offering studies in Biology, Chemistry, English, French, German, Greek, History, Latin, Mathematics & Astronomy, Music, Welsh, Logic & Philosophy and Physics. The University College was incorporated by Royal Charter the following year. John Viriamu Jones was appointed as the University’s first Principal, at age 27. The only college in Wales with its own degree awarding powers at this time was St David's University Collegemarker. As such, Cardiff entered students for the examinations of the University of London until, in 1893, it became one of the founding institutions of the University of Wales and began awarding their degrees.

Chemistry department
In 1885, Aberdare Hall opened as the first hall of residence, allowing women access to the university. This moved to its current site in 1895, but remains a single-sex hall. 1904 saw the appointment of the first female professor in the UK, Millicent McKenzie.

Architect W.D. Caroe sought to combine the charm and elegance of his former college (Trinity College, Cambridgemarker) with the picturesque balance of many of the University of Oxfordmarker colleges. Building work on Main Building commenced in 1905 and was completed in many stages, the first in 1909. Money ran short for this project, however, and although the side-wings were completed in the 1960s the planned Great Hall has never been built. Prior to then, from its founding in 1883, the University was based in the Old Infirmary on Newport Road, Cardiff which is now part of the University’s Queen’s Buildings.

University buildings on Park Place
The main building of Cardiff University
In 1931, the School of Medicine, which had been founded as part of the College in 1893 when the Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Pharmacology were founded, was split off to form the University of Wales College of Medicine. In 1972, the College was renamed University College, Cardiff.

In 1988, financial problems caused University College, Cardiff and the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technologymarker to merge, forming the University of Wales College, Cardiff. Following changes to the constitution of the University of Wales in 1996, this became the University of Wales, Cardiff.

In the early 1990s, the university's computer systems served as the home for The Internet Movie Database. In 1997, the College was granted full independent degree awarding-powers by the Privy Council (though, as a member of the University of Wales it could not begin using them) and in 1999 the public name of the university was changed to Cardiff University. Some considered this part of an effort at Cardiff to set itself apart from the other colleges of the University of Wales, none of which are members of the Russell Group.

On 1 August, 2004 the University of Wales, Cardiff merged with the University of Wales College of Medicine. The merged institution separated from the collegiate University of Wales and officially took the name Cardiff University.

Cardiff today

Glamorgan Building
In 2002, ideas were floated to re-merge Cardiff with the University of Wales College of Medicine following the publication of the Welsh Assembly Government's review of higher education in Wales. This merger became effective on August 1, 2004, on which date Cardiff University ceased to be a constituent institution of the University of Wales and became an independent "link institution" affiliated to the federal University. The process of the merger was completed on December 1, 2004 when the Act of Parliament transferring UWCM's assets to Cardiff University received Royal Assent. On December 17 it was announced that the Privy Council had given approval to the new Supplemental Charter and had granted university status to Cardiff, legally changing the name of the institution to Cardiff University. Cardiff awarded University of Wales degrees to students admitted before 2005, but these have been replaced by Cardiff degrees. Medicine, dentistry and other health-related areas began to admit students for Cardiff degrees in 2006.

In 2004, Cardiff University and the Swansea Universitymarker entered a partnership to provide a four-year graduate-entry medical degree. An annual intake of around 70 post-graduate students undertake an accelerated version of the Cardiff course at the Swansea University for the first two years before joining undergraduate students at Cardiff for the final two years. All medicine/surgery graduates are awarded the degrees MB BCh.
Bute Building
However from September 2009 Swansea University will be independently providing medical education in a revised 4-yr Graduate Entry Degree.

In 2005, The Wales College of Medicine, which is part of the University, launched the North Wales Clinical School in Wrexhammarker in collaboration with the North East Wales Institute of Higher Educationmarker in Wrexham and the University of Wales, Bangormarker and with the National Health Service in Wales. This has been funded with £12.5 million from the Welsh Assembly and will lead to the trebling of the number of trainee doctors in clinical training in Wales over a four year period.

The university has a rivalry with nearby Swansea Universitymarker, against whom every year they have a varsity match termed the Welsh Varsity.

The university also has a popular Centre for Lifelong Learning which has been teaching a wide range of courses to the public for over 125 years. In April 2009 the University announced plans to end the teaching of literature, history, archaeology, music, creative writing, philosophy, media studies, art history, religion, photography and Welsh. Up to 140 jobs are feared to be at risk with approximately one third of courses predicted to be axed. In July 2009, the University announced it was ending the teaching of over 250 humanities courses at the centre making over 100 staff redundant. The university says it will reintroduce 40 humanities courses early in 2010 for a trial period.


Cathays Park campus
Cardiff University has a long standing tradition of providing the best education in Wales, as shown in its five year standing as the best centre of excellence in Wales in the Sunday Times League Tables. Cardiff is also the only university in Wales to be a member of the Russell Group of Research Intensive Universities. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 33 out of the 34 research areas submitted by the University for assessment were shown to be undertaking research that includes world-leading work.

Times Higher Education ranked Cardiff University 99th in the top 100 universities in the world in 2007, although by 2008 it had dropped 34 places to number 133

The Times Higher-QS World University Rankings

  • 2008 - Ranked 133 globally
    Redwood Building
  • 2007 - Moved into the top 100 globally at position 99
  • 2006 - placed 141 globally and 8-25 in Europe

The Times Online - Good University Guide 2010

  • Ranked 26th overall out of 114 universities
    Cardiff University - the main building (as seen from Cathays Park in spring time)
    • Ranked 4th for Architecture out of 43 universities
    • Ranked 5th for Town and Country Planning and Landscape out of 26 universities
    • Ranked 18th for Law out of 91 universities
    • Ranked 17th for Business Studies out of 110 universities

The Guardian University Guide 2007

  • Ranked 33rd overall out of 149 universities in the institution-wide league table
    • Ranked 38th out of 140 universities for business and management studies

UK University Rankings]]
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Times Good University Guide 34th 35th 30th 30th 29th 34th 25th 21st= 22nd 16th 28th 29th
Guardian University Guide 41st 36th 20th 24th 24th 22nd 33rd
Sunday Times University Guide 22nd 23rd 33rd 29th 25th 15th 21st 19th 19th 28th 24th=
Daily Telegraph 32nd= 27th
FT 35th 29th 34th 22nd
Independent 27th 37nd

Schools and colleges

Cardiff University has 29 academic schools and four graduate schools.

The academic schools are:

  • Architecture
    Aberdare Hall
  • Biosciences
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • City & Regional Planning
  • Computer Science
  • Cymraeg
  • Dentistry
  • Earth and Ocean Sciences
    Psychology and biosciences complex
  • Engineering
  • English, Communication and Philosophy
  • European Studies
  • Healthcare Studies
  • History and Archaeology
  • Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
  • Law
    One of Cardiff's several libraries
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Manufacturing Engineering Centre
  • Mathematics
  • Medicinemarker
  • Music
  • Nursing and Midwifery Studies
  • Optometry and Vision Sciences
  • Pharmacy
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education
  • Psychology
  • Religious and Theological Studies
  • Social Sciences

Research and graduate schools

  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Biomedical and Life Sciences
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering


There are sporting facilities and sports teams in the BUCS university league, including men's and women's hockey.

The Cardiff University Students' Unionmarker building is over the main railway going north from Cardiff to the Valleysmarker, next door to Cathays railway stationmarker. It has shops, a nightclub and the studios of Xpress Radio (which is broadcast on the internet [43158] and piped throughout the union) and Gair Rhydd (Welsh for 'Free Word'), the student newspaper.

Notable alumni/current staff

Alumni and current staff of Cardiff University (and its predecessor) include:


  1. The Russell Group. Retrieved on 2009-09-03.
  2. RAE 2008 Quality profiles for Cardiff University. Retrieved on 2009-03-09
  3. The Top 200 World Universities. Retrieved 2009-09-03
  5. QS Top Universities: Top 100 universities in the THE - QS World University Rankings 2007

External links

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