The University of London is a collegiate research university located in London, England, consisting of 18 constituent colleges, nine research institutes and a number of central bodies.
The university is the second largest university by number of full-time students in the United Kingdom, with 161,270 campus-based students and over 50,000 distance learning students in the University of London International Programmes. The university was established by royal charter in 1836, as a degree-awarding examination board for students holding certificates from University College London (UCL) (previously called London University) 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”. The university moved to a federal structure in 1900.
For most practical purposes, ranging from admissions to funding, the constituent colleges operate on an independent basis, with some recently obtaining the power to award their own degrees whilst remaining in the federal university.
University College London (UCL) was founded under the name London University in 1826 as a secular alternative to the religious universities of Oxford and Cambridge. In response to the theological controversy surrounding such educational establishment, King’s College London (KCL) was founded and was the first to be granted a royal charter (in 1829).
The university awarded its first degrees in 1839, all to students from UCL and King’s College.
In 1863, via a fourth charter, the university gained the right to grant degrees in surgery.
In 1878, the university set another first when it became the first university in the UK to admit women to degrees, via the grant of a supplemental charter.
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”.
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”.
LIST OF UNIVERSITIES
The ten largest colleges of the university are
- UCL University College London,
- King’s College London,
- Queen Mary,
- London School of Economics and Political Science,
- Royal Holloway,
- SOAS, School of Oriental and African Studies;
- St George’s.
The specialist colleges of the university include the:
- London Business School;
- Royal Veterinary College;
- Heythrop College, specialising in philosophy and theology.
Imperial College London was formerly a member before leaving the university in 2007. City is the most recent constituent college, having joined on 1 September 2016.