Birmingham City University, Study In The UK | Careers | Undergraduate, Postgraduate Course, Degree/ Diploma
Birmingham City University (abbrev. BCU) is a university in Birmingham, England. Initially established as the Birmingham College of Art with roots dating back to 1843, it was designated as a polytechnic in 1971 and gained university status in 1992.
Birmingham City University Details:
In the 1960s, changes were made to the higher education system creating an expansion of polytechnics as a more vocationally orientated alternative to the typical university.
The City of Birmingham Education Committee was invited to submit a scheme for the establishment of a polytechnic bringing together a number of different colleges in the city in 1967. Late in 1969, the post of director of the polytechnic was advertised. Although the city lagged behind other parts of the country, Birmingham finally gained a polytechnic in 1971—then the 27th in the UK—designated by the Education Secretary Margaret Thatcher as the City of Birmingham Polytechnic. This was the second polytechnic in Birmingham, the first – Birmingham Polytechnic Institution – having existed in the mid-19th century for ten years.
In the early 1970s, the Perry Barr campus was the site of building work for what later became the centrepiece of the polytechnic: the Attwood and Baker buildings. Later in the 1970s, the campus was increased in size with the building of what later became the Cox, Dawson, Edge, Feeney and Galton buildings. In the early 1980s, the William Kenrick Library was added to the site. Although smaller buildings were subsequently constructed, this is largely the Perry Barr campus as it remains today (now called the City North Campus of Birmingham City University).
From its opening, the polytechnic was considered very strong in the field of art and design. As early as 1972, fashion and textile courses were heavily oversubscribed; there were 100 applications for every 30 places. Also in that year, the polytechnic held the Design in a Polytechnic exhibition, which was opened at a reception hosted by Sir Duncan Oppenheim, the chairman of the Council of Industrial Design. Arts courses remained strong at the polytechnic through the 1970s, with twice as many arts students compared to those doing engineering or technology courses.
The Further and Higher Education Act 1992 allowed all polytechnics to adopt the title of “university”. The name University of Central England in Birmingham was approved by the Privy Council on 16 June 1992. The name change took place in time for the new academic year starting later that year. Students who graduated in mid-1992 were given certificates bearing the name University of Central England, even if the entirety of their study had taken place at the polytechnic. The original design was created by Amba Frog Design after a meeting with delegates from university student councils.
Throughout its history the university has been spread across a number of different sites in Birmingham. As of 2018, the university is at the following campuses:
The Parkside & Curzon Building are part of the City Centre Campus
City Centre Campus, located is the home of Birmingham School of Acting and the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment inside Millennium Point. The Parkside Building, adjacent to Millennium Point and connected to it via a bridge, opened its doors in 2013, housing Birmingham School of Media and design courses from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media. The Curzon Building houses the Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences and the School of English, as well as the library, Students’ Union and other support services. Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, moved to the City Centre Campus in 2017.
Vittoria Street in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, home to Birmingham School of Jewellery.
Margaret Street, home of the School of Fine Art, formerly home of the Birmingham School of Art.
City South Campus, on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston, home to both the university’s health, education and life sciences courses and a moderate amount of student accommodation.
Bournville Campus, home to Birmingham City University International College.
The university has completed a “flagship” extension to its campus in Birmingham City Centre, next to the existing facilities at Millennium Point. The City Centre Campus is a £150 million scheme, as part of Birmingham’s Eastside development, with design and media students moving into Phase 1 of the development in 2013, from the former Gosta Green Campus and City North Campus, respectively. Business, English, law and social sciences followed when Phase 2 of the new building was completed in 2015.
As of September 2017, Birmingham City University invested approximately £220 million into campus infrastructure while moving its campus into the city centre. The university focused on building cutting-edge facilities for students and updating internal systems used for human resources and finance. The university purchased Oracle ERP Cloud and HCM Cloud to update its IT strategy and standardise employee-facing functions, which became crucial in the institution’s efforts to modernise its IT infrastructure.
Student Services and Facilities:
University House (formerly known as the New Technology Institute or NTI) is located close to the City Centre Campus and is home to a number of the University’s professional service departments. The International Project Space (IPS) is an art gallery located at the Bournville Centre for Visual Arts.
Moor Lane is a venue for sports, business training and conferences near to City North Campus. Previously, a dedicated sports centre was located behind The Coppice, a student accommodation block next to the former City North Campus, and included tennis courts, bowls, football and rugby pitches, running track and a social club. The university announced a £7 million sports complex would be built on the site, formerly the Ansells Sports Club, with construction to start in mid-2008 for completion in 2009. The centre, Doug Ellis Sports Centre, opened on 4 January 2010 and includes a fitness suite, workout classes, and a sports hall.
Libraries and Collections:
The university has seven libraries across Birmingham on all campuses that contain around 950,000 books and 9,000 print and electronic journals. Kenrick Library, named after William Kenrick in recognition of his role as the first Chairman of Governors when the Polytechnic was formed in 1971, was located at the City North Campus and was the largest of the university’s libraries, covering three floors and featuring more than 320,000 books, 2,000 print journals and more than 4,000 electronic journals. A £3 million refurbishment introduced a suite of individual and group study areas. The library closed in May 2018 when the remaining schools based at Perry Barr moved to the City South Campus. Other libraries include:
- Curzon Library (located at the City Centre Campus and houses the Conservatoire library collection)
- Bournville Library
- Mary Seacole Library (located at the City South Campus)
- Margaret Street Library
- Vittoria Street Library
Roughly half of the university’s full-time students are from the West Midlands, and a large percentage of these are from ethnic minorities. The university runs access and foundation programmes through an international network of associated universities and further education colleges, and it has the highest intake of international students in the Birmingham area. For 2009 entry, applications rose by 37 per cent from 2008, one of the biggest increases at any university. There are almost six applications per place and course entry requirements range from 200 to 300 UCAS points for all honours programmes; other courses’ requirements vary.
Birmingham City University Students’ Union is located at the City Centre Campus. There are several reception offices located at all the university’s campuses. It is affiliated with the National Union of Students, and all students are automatically members of the union. Student media comprises a magazine, The Scratch and a television station, Tiger TV. The Students’ Union also has close ties with the student and community radio station Scratch Radio, which is housed in the Parkside Building at the City Centre Campus.
Content accurate at the time of compilation. However, details may be subject to change. You should always confirm details with the provider. Student statistics are sourced from HESA, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 2016–17 data.