Richmond, The American International University in London, is a private non-profit, American liberal arts and business studies university located in London, United Kingdom, and established in 1972. It is one of nine private universities (and one of six non-profit) in the country. The university has over 1,500 students, representing over 100 nationalities, with an average student-to-faculty ratio of sixteen to one. 52% of its students come from the US, 23% from the UK and the rest from across the world.
The university’s degrees are accredited in the United States by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and are validated in the UK by the Open University Validation Services (OUVS). Richmond’s Business School is an accredited Higher Education Partner of the Chartered Management Institute while its psychology degree is accredited by the British Psychological Society giving Richmond graduates the opportunity to gain graduate and/or chartered membership of the society and access to the widest range of training, development and employment opportunities. It is one of eight members of the Independent Universities Group, whose objective is to differentiate between their academic credentials and the more commercial elements of the alternative sector.
Richmond was founded in 1972 by the social entrepreneur and politician Sir Cyril Taylor, chairman of the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS), as Richmond College, The American College in London. It began teaching on the site of the former Richmond Theological College, part of the University of London founded in 1843 as a Methodist theological college. AIFS had been previously using the college site for a number of years for their London study abroad programmes.
In its early years Richmond served mainly to house study abroad programmes to US students, however this changed in 1981 when Richmond obtained a license to award US undergraduate degrees from the Washington DC Board of Education and formal accreditation from the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (now the Middle States Commission on Higher Education). With this licence it became a fully accredited independent liberal university. Following the closure of the Washington DC Board of Education, Richmond moved its accreditation to Delaware where it still issues degrees.
The university’s Kensington campus expansion on Young Street was officially opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, in March 1988 and attracted a number of high-profile students including the daughter of NATO commander Alexander Haig and members of the Tata family. The UK Privy Council recognised Richmond’s right to award degrees in 1990 and since 1996 it has also been accreditation by the Open University to issue British validated degrees in addition to its US accreditation.
In 1995 AIFS, which had owned Richmond up until then spun-off the University as a non-profit educational institution. Richmond inaugurated its first postgraduate degree in 1998 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
Richmond, The American International University in London is composed of three specialist schools and a sports academy:
- Richmond Business School
- Richmond School of Communications, Arts & Social Sciences (CASS)
- Richmond School of General Education & Centre of Modern Languages
- Richmond International Academic Soccer Academy (RIASA)
Applicants must have a high school/secondary school diploma or equivalent with a minimum of grade point average of C+ (2.5 out of 4.0 in the American grading system). Qualifications gained under other educational systems will be assessed for equivalency to the C+/2.5 American system standard.
Other factors such as the letter of reference, personal statement, results of standardized examinations and participation in extracurricular activities are also considered in the application process. Students holding advanced qualifications (e.g., A-Levels, French Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement Examinations) may be given credit toward completion of degrees after review by the Dean of Academic Affairs. Typically, such students are granted exemption from some first-year courses.
They provide the students with an education which encourages them to explore a wide range of subjects and programs. It is designed to allow the discovery of the connections between different academic areas such as literature, science, mathematics, writing, business, psychology and sociology. It is a broad based education, an ideal preparation for a range of careers.
A Richmond education offers a global perspective. It examines the patterns of similarities and differences between cultures and provides them with an intercultural focus. It’s challenging and stimulating. It encourages them to form their own opinions.
At Richmond the students will qualify an American BA or BS degree, and in many cases, simultaneously a UK BA(Honours) or BSc (Honours) degree, qualifications which are immediately recognised and respected by employers and graduate schools worldwide. The Richmond dual degree is possible because Richmond’s degrees have US accreditation (Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools), plus institutional approval in the United Kingdom by The Open University(OU). Richmond has also undergone a successful full institutional review by the UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).
Professional standards for teaching and learning are upheld. A wide range of teaching, learning and assessment methods are applied by academic staff. The University has a strong ethos of research-informed teaching and the development of research skills among its students. Students whom the review team met spoke positively about the expertise of academic staff, the range of teaching, learning and assessment methods used, the embedding of research and professional practice in courses, and the opportunities to develop and apply their research-related skills and subject knowledge. The University has an effective approach to mentoring new staff and providing professional development opportunities for existing staff at all stages of their careers. New members of staff are supported by an induction process and an assessment of staff development needs. For academic staff, this includes mentoring by more experienced colleagues through informal discussions and guidance. Useful feedback to academic staff is provided by peer observation of teaching sessions and student evaluation of new members of staff.
The Department of Student Affairs assist students and faculty in achieving their educational goals both in and outside the classroom. Their main objectives are providing services that support and encourage student welfare, safety and development. Some of their main service areas include career development and guidance for life after graduation.