Photos of university / #_londonu
The University of London (abbreviated as Lond or more rarely Londin in post-nominals) is a federal[a] public research university located in London, England.
The university was established by royal charter in 1836, as a degree-awarding examination board for students holding certificates from University College London and King's College London and "other such other Institutions, corporate or unincorporated, as shall be established for the purpose of Education, whether within the Metropolis or elsewhere within our United Kingdom", allowing it to be one of three institutions to claim the title of the third-oldest university in England, and moved to a federal structure in 1900. It is now incorporated by its fourth (1863) royal charter and governed by the University of London Act 2018. It was the first university in the United Kingdom to introduce examinations for women in 1869 and, a decade later, the first to admit women to degrees. In 1913, it appointed Caroline Spurgeon as only the second woman professor at a British university, and in 1948 was the first British university to appoint a woman as its vice chancellor (chief executive). The university's member institutions house the oldest teaching hospitals in England.
The university consists of 17 member institutions and three central academic bodies. The university has around 48,000 distance learning external students and 178,735 campus-based internal students, making it the largest university by number of students in the United Kingdom. For most practical purposes, ranging from admissions to funding, the member institutions operate on an independent basis, with many awarding their own degrees whilst remaining in the federal university. The largest colleges by enrolment are UCL, King's College London, City, Queen Mary, Birkbeck, the London School of Economics, Royal Holloway, and Goldsmiths, each of which has over 9,000 students. Smaller, more specialist, colleges are the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), St George's (medicine), the Royal Veterinary College, London Business School, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, the Royal Academy of Music, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the Institute of Cancer Research. Imperial College London was formerly a member from 1907 before it became an independent university in 2007, and Heythrop College was a member from 1970 until its closure in 2018. City is the most recent constituent college, having joined on 1 September 2016. Under the 2018 act, member institutions ceased to be termed colleges and gained the right to seek university status without having to leave the federal university: Birkbeck, City, Goldsmiths’, King's College London, the LSE, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Queen Mary, the Royal Veterinary College, Royal Holloway, SOAS, St George's and UCL have all indicated that they intend to do so.
As of 2015, there are around 2 million University of London alumni across the world, including 12 monarchs or royalty, 52 presidents or prime ministers (including 1 Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), 85 Nobel laureates, 5 Fields Medalists, 4 Turing Award winners, 6 Grammy winners, 2 Oscar winners, 3 Olympic gold medalists and the "Father of the Nation" of several countries. The university also owns University of London Press.
In 2002, Imperial College and UCL mooted the possibility of a merger, raising the question of the future of the University of London and the smaller colleges within it. Subsequently, considerable opposition from academic staff of both UCL and Imperial led to a rejection of the merger.
Despite this failure, the trend of decentralising power continued. A significant development in this process was the closing down of the Convocation of all the university's alumni in October 2003; this recognised that individual college alumni associations were now increasingly the centre of focus for alumni. However, the university continued to grow even as it moved to a looser federation, and, in 2005, admitted the Central School of Speech and Drama.
On 9 December 2005, Imperial College became the second constituent body (after Regent's Park College) to make a formal decision to leave the university. Its council announced that it was beginning negotiations to withdraw from the university in time for its own centenary celebrations, and in order to be able to award its own degrees. On 5 October 2006, the University of London accepted Imperial's formal request to withdraw from it. Imperial became fully independent on 9 July 2007, as part of the celebrations of the college's centenary.
The Times Higher Education Supplement announced in February 2007 that the London School of Economics, University College London and King's College London all planned to start awarding their own degrees, rather than degrees from the federal University of London as they had done previously, from the start of the academic year starting in Autumn 2007. Although this plan to award their own degrees did not amount to a decision to leave the University of London, the THES suggested that this "rais[ed] new doubts about the future of the federal University of London".
The School of Pharmacy, University of London, merged with UCL on 1 January 2012, becoming the UCL School of Pharmacy within the Faculty of Life Sciences. This was followed on 2 December 2014 by the Institute of Education also merging with UCL, becoming the UCL Institute of Education.
Since 2010, the university has been outsourcing support services such as cleaning and portering. This has prompted industrial action by the largely Latin American workforce under the "3Cosas" campaign (the 3Cosas – 3 causes –being sick pay, holiday pay, and pensions for outsourced workers on parity with staff employed directly by the university). The 3Cosas campaigners were members of the UNISON trade union. However, documents leaked in 2014 revealed that UNISON representatives tried to counter the 3Cosas campaign in meetings with university management. The 3Cosas workers subsequently transferred to the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain.
Following good results in the Research Excellence Framework in December 2014, City University London said that they were exploring the possibility of joining the University of London. It was subsequently announced in July 2015 that City would join the University of London in August 2016. It will cease to be an independent university and become a college as "City, University of London".
In 2016 reforms were proposed that would see the colleges become member institutions and be allowed to legally become universities in their own right. A bill to amend the university's statutes was introduced into the House of Lords in late 2016. The bill was held up by procedural matters in the House of Commons, with MP Christopher Chope objecting to it receiving a second reading without debate and no time having been scheduled for such debate. Twelve of the colleges, including UCL and King's, have said that they will seek university status once the bill is passed. The bill was debated and passed its second reading on 16 October 2018. It received royal assent on 20 December 2018.
In 2018, Heythrop College became the first major British higher education institution to close since the medieval University of Northampton in 1265. Its library of over 250,000 volumes was moved to the Senate House Library.
In 2019, the University of London Press, founded in 1910, was relaunched as a fully open-access publisher specializing in "distinctive scholarship at the forefront of the Humanities".
In 2018/19, 178,735 students (approximately 5% of all UK students) attended one of the University of London's affiliated schools. Additionally, over 50,000 students are part of University of London Worldwide.
The ULU building on Malet Street (close to Senate House) was home to the University of London Union, which acted as the student union for all University of London students alongside the individual college and institution unions. The building is now rebranded as "Student Central, London", offering full membership to current University of London students, and associate membership to students at other universities, and other groups. The union previously owned London Student, the largest student newspaper in Europe, which now runs as a digital news organisation.
Sports, clubs and traditions
Though most sports teams are organised at the college level, ULU ran several sports clubs of its own, some of which (for example the rowing team) compete in BUCS leagues. The union also organised leagues for college teams to participate in. These leagues and sports clubs are supported by Friends of University of London Sport which aims to promote them.
In addition to these, ULU catered for sports not covered by the individual colleges through clubs such as the University of London Union Lifesaving Club, which helps students gain awards and learn new skills in lifesaving as well as sending teams to compete throughout the country in the BULSCA league.
ULU also organised several societies, ranging from Ballroom and Latin American Dance to Shaolin Kung Fu, and from the University of London Big Band to the Breakdancing Society. Affiliated to the university is the University of London Society of Change Ringers, a society for bellringers at all London universities.
The university runs the University of London Boat Club.