Cardiff University


Cardiff University (Welsh: Prifysgol Caerdydd) is a public research university located in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. Founded in 1883 as the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, it became one of the founding colleges of the University of Wales in 1893, and in 1997 received (but held in abeyance) its own degree-awarding powers. It adapted the public name of Cardiff University in 1999, and in 2005 this became its legal name as it left the University of Wales to become an independent University awarding its own degrees. It is the third oldest university institution in Wales and is the only Welsh member of the Russell Group of leading British research universities.

The university is composed of three colleges: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Biomedical and Life Sciences; and Physical Sciences and Engineering.

The university is consistently recognised as providing high quality research-based university education and was ranked 122nd in the world by the QS World University Rankings 2015–16, as well as achieving the highest student satisfaction rating in the 2013 National Student Survey for universities in Wales. The research quality of Cardiff University was ranked 5th overall in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, with some areas ranked top in the country.

The University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire opened on 24 October 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, this charter was the first in Wales to allow the enrollment of women, and specifically forbid religious tests for entry. As Cardiff was not an independent university and could not award its own degrees, it prepared its students for the examinations of the University of London or further study at Oxford or Cambridge.

In 1888 the university college at Cardiff and University College of North Wales (now Bangor University) proposed to University College Wales (at Aberystwyth) a joint action to obtain a university charter for Wales, modelled on that of Victoria University, a confederation of new universities in Northern England. This charter was granted to the new University of Wales in 1893, allowing the colleges to award degrees as members of this institution. The chancellor was set ex officio as the Prince of Wales, and the position of operational head would rotate among heads of the colleges.

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 associate professor in the UK, Millicent Mackenzie. In 1910 she was appointed the first female professor at a fully chartered university in the UK.

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 lost the name it had retained for ninety years and was renamed University College, Cardiff.

In 1988, the college underwent extreme financial difficulties, and the threat of bankruptcy was seriously considered, which led to the merger of University College, Cardiff with the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST), founded 1866, forming the University of Wales College, Cardiff. The Principal of the new institution was Sir Aubrey Trotman-Dickenson, who had been principal of UWIST. 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.


The 26 academic schools of the University are divided into three colleges: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Biomedical and Life Sciences; and Physical Sciences.

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

·         Cardiff Business School

·         Planning and Geography

·         English, Communication and Philosophy

·         Modern Languages

·         History Archaeology and Religion

·         Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies

·         Law and Politics

·         Lifelong Learning

·         Music

·         Social Sciences

·         Welsh

College of Biomedical and Life Sciences

·         Biosciences

·         Dentistry

·         Healthcare Sciences

·         Medicine

·         Optometry and Vision Sciences

·         Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

·         Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education

·         Psychology

College of Physical Sciences

·         Architecture

·         Chemistry

·         Computer Science & Informatics

·         Earth and Ocean Sciences

·         Engineering

·         Mathematics

·         Physics and Astronomy

Cardiff also has a Doctoral Academy, that brings together the work of four previous discipline-based Graduate Schools and the postgraduate research activity of the University’s Graduate Centre.


Dependent on the course. Most courses require AAA–ABB. A large proportion of Cardiff students have AAB or above at A level and are at their first choice institution.

A wide range of other qualifications are considered.

Significant changes are being made to the school curriculum in England and Wales. Cardiff University is currently reviewing the impact these changes will have for admissions in 2017 admissions. Updates will be posted on their website.


More than 90 programmes of study are professionally accredited.

The university has a commitment to lifelong learning.

The breadth of expertise encompasses:

  • Humanities
  • Physical
  • Health
  • Life and Social Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Technology


Cardiff has high overall levels of student satisfaction.

Cardiff is ranked 3rd in the Russell Group for student satisfaction based on National Student Survey data.


Careers and Employability encourages students to develop a wide range of employability skills including aspects of self-management, team working, problem solving, business and customer awareness, communication and literacy, numeracy and IT. In 2014 95.5% of Cardiff students were employed or in further study six months after graduation.

This was the highest number in the Russell Group.

Cardiff is listed annually in the top 25 universities targeted by graduate recruiters according to the annual Graduate Market survey published by High Fliers.

Cardiff provides a comprehensive range of services to help students achieve their career goals. These services include information, advice and guidance, work experience, skills development and mentoring.

There is also the Cardiff Award which enables students to gain recognition for skills development and work experience achieved throughout university. The Cardiff Award has been developed with the support and expertise of graduate recruiters and is sponsored by EY.

The Careers and Employability Centre provides comprehensive library facilities, vacancy information for student and graduate jobs on the website, a professional team of specialist career consultants and advisers, a wide range of group sessions and workshops, careers fair.

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