University of Aberystwyth


It was established in 1872, Aberystwyth was the first university institution in Wales.

Funded through public and private subscriptions, and with five regional committees (London, Manchester, Liverpool, North and South Wales) guaranteeing funds for the first three years’ running costs, the University opened with 26 students. Thomas Charles Edwards was the Principal. Until 1894, when the college joined the University of Wales as a founder member, students applying to Aberystwyth sat the University of London’s entrance exams. Women were admitted in 1884.

In 1885, after a fire in what is now known as Old College, the Gogerddan Estate was donated to the University and would become the location of Penglais Campus, the University’s principal campus. Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1893, the University installed the Prince of Wales as Chancellor in 1896, the same year it awarded an honorary degree to British Prime Minister William Gladstone.

The university’s Coat of Arms dates from the 1880s. The shield features two red dragons to symbolise Wales, and an open book to symbolise learning. The crest, an eagle or phoenix above a flaming tower, may signify the College’s rebirth after the 1885 fire. The motto is Nid Byd, Byd Heb Wybodaeth (a world without knowledge is no world at all).

In the early 1900s the University added courses that included Law, Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, and Botany. The Department for International Politics, which Aberystwyth says is the oldest such department in the world, was founded in 1919. By 1977, there were eight Fellows of the Royal Society on the University’s staff, including Gwendolen Rees, the first Welsh woman elected an FRS.

The Department of Sports and Exercise Science was established in 2000. Joint honours Psychology degrees were introduced in September 2007, and single honours Psychology in 2009.


Aberystwyth University has pioneered a number of academic disciplines – drama, geography, international politics and Welsh were first taught to degree level at Aberystwyth.

The departments and institutes are:

  • Art
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • School of Education and Lifelong Learning
  • English and Creative Writing
  • Modern Languages
  • Geography and Earth Sciences
  • History and Welsh History
  • Information Studies
  • International Politics
  • Law and Criminology
  • Aberystwyth Business School
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Theatre, Film and Television Studies

Aberystwyth University is an integral part of the small friendly town of Aberystwyth and offers a unique student experience.

Modular system provides a large degree of flexibility and choice.

Many programmes allow students to defer the choice of specialism until the second year.

Transfer between degree schemes is possible at the end of the first, and even in some cases, the second year, subject to passes in pre-requisite modules.

Some degrees offer vocational content or make a contribution towards professional qualifications.

Some degrees include industrial placements or work experience.

Modern language degrees include a year abroad in a country where the chosen language is spoken.

There are opportunities to study abroad through the Erasmus scheme or one of our international exchange programmes. Students at Aberystwyth are also eligible for the Year in Employment scheme, which offers an extended work placement in the UK or abroad.

It is possible to enter directly or transfer into a 4-year Integrated Masters scheme.

The university has an international reputation for the excellence of its teaching and research.


Aberystwyth University makes offers in terms of the specific grading systems of UK, EU and international qualifications.

They operate an inclusive admissions policy which means that all qualifications at a certain level will count towards your offer.

They recognise the individual nature of every application, and our published standard offers should be viewed only as a guide. Further information and advice can be obtained by contacting the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Their standard A level grade offers currently range from CCC–AAB for a wide range of honours degree subjects and CC–DDD for entry at foundation level.


Over 140 years excellence in teaching and research.

Many of our computer science, business and management, law and psychology courses are accredited. Some will also provide you with exemptions for professional examinations.

Teaching at Aberystwyth is research-informed and teachers are active in research and scholarship.

Modern e-learning techniques are widely used.


Drama, geography, international politics, maths, physics and Welsh were the first subjects to be taught at Aberystwyth University from its establishment in 1872. Since then the university has added to its highly regarded portfolio of courses and offers a broad portfolio of arts, science and humanities teaching across 17 departments.

Teaching is research-led and opportunities for the development of skills valued by employers are embedded into the curriculum. Many of our undergraduate degrees off unique opportunities to do intense research projects in the final year.

Employability is a growing strength, with on-campus work experience and training opportunities.

Teaching is supported and enhanced by modern e-learning techniques, including web-based materials, reading list software, Ebrary electronic book provision and video and audio lecture capture.


All students have access to one-to-one meetings with professional Careers Service staff via the drop-in service offering advice and information, or via booked full guidance appointments.

Guidance, advice and information is also offered within academic departments to support academic related questions, as well as careers development, and to respond to specific subject needs.

Lectures, presentations and workshops are delivered by Careers Service staff in all academic departments.

Workshops to enhance skills development and career choice are also offered centrally by the Careers Service, as well as by visiting employers and guest speakers.

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