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The University


Aerial view of the campus

The university was founded in 1920, it stands in parkland overlooking Swansea Bay on the edge of the Gower Peninsula, Britain's first 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. As Wales' second city, Swansea enjoys a full range of social, cultural and sporting amenities and excellent transport links: London is 192 miles away, under three hours by train, and Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is less than an hour away. The University offers over 529 undergraduate courses and 130 postgraduate courses in subjects ranging from American Studies to Zoology. As well as these full and part-time options the University offers an extensive range of continuing-education programmes and we pride ourselves on the holistic experience we are able to offer our students. With around 10,300 students the University is substantial enough to have excellent facilities, but small enough to have a friendly feel.

The Location

And what a location! From the campus you can travel along the sea front to the Marina and the city centre, or to the vibrant old fishing village of Mumbles. Situated between the lively modern city of Swansea and the unspoiled beaches of the Gower Peninsula the location is unparalleled. The Gower ends at the spectacular three-mile beach of Rhosili, which is a mecca for surfers. The south coast also attracts walkers, wind surfers, rock climbers and hang-gliding enthusiasts. The area also provides a natural field laboratory for the University, and field trips to the peninsula are part of life for students studying natural sciences. Alternatively, you can head north to explore the countryside around the Towy Valley, where you will find the dramatic ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle to the south east of Llandeilo, or make for the Brecon Beacons National Park. The park's mountain ranges and huge open spaces provide the perfect setting for walking, caving and climbing. Swansea itself hosts the acclaimed Marina and rejuvenated Wind Street which have given the city a new cultural air, to be enjoyed by visitors both old and new. It is full of surprises, with its pedestrianised shopping centre only a five-minute walk from a promenade along the sweep of the bay. The city has had a market since medieval times and today's permanent covered market continues this tradition, many of the stalls displaying traditional locally produced food.

The History

KING GEORGE V laid the foundation stone of Swansea’s University in July 1920. It was the twenty ninth university to be established in the British Isles, and one of the four original colleges of the University of Wales (created in 1893). Its students numbered 89 in 1920-1; today they are more than 10,000. From the beginning Swansea was both a scientific and technical institution, linked to the great industries of South Wales, and also a centre of excellence in the arts serving the region’s community. Today these qualities remain central to the University’s mission, fortified by national and international distinction in fundamental research. The city gave its new civic university an enviable site in rolling, coastal parkland. It also donated Singleton Abbey, the neo-Gothic mansion (dating from 1780) of the Vivians, Lords Swansea, which has been the University's heart ever since. Among its Presidents has been Lord Callaghan, among its Principals Lord Fulton, among its teachers Kingsley Amis, among its Fellows Sir Geraint Evans, and among its recent alumni the millionaire-businessman Terry Matthews. There were only eight women students in 1920-1; today women are in the majority. In 1921 it appointed the first woman professor in a British university. And it has consistently produced brilliant players for Welsh rugby. During World War II, parts of the University of London and some War Departments were evacuated to Swansea. Its early distinction in Geology, Physics, Welsh, History, Languages and Engineering has been complemented by developments in Social Science, Law, Health Science and, very recently, by a Medical School. Its building programme in the 1930s was interrupted by war but was resumed in 1956 according to Lord Fulton’s vision to create a coherent and compact campus. Despite the strains of the 1960s and since, the University has made great strides as a humane and attractive community of students and staff. It is actually conscious of its responsibilities to the social, economic and cultural development of Wales and the United Kingdom, and to the education of its cosmopolitan body of undergraduates and postgraduates.