Royal Holloway University of London


Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), formally incorporated as Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, is a public research university and a constituent college of the federal University of London. It has three faculties, 20 academic departments and c. 9,200 undergraduate and postgraduate students from over 100 countries. The campus is located west of Egham, Surrey, 19 miles (31 km) from central London.

The Egham campus was founded in 1879 by the Victorian entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Holloway. Royal Holloway College was officially opened in 1886 by Queen Victoria as an all-women college. It became a member of the University of London in 1900. In 1945, the college admitted male postgraduate students, and in 1965, around 100 of the first male undergraduates. In 1985, Royal Holloway merged with Bedford College (another former all-women's college in London). The merged college was named Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (RHBNC), this remaining the official registered name of the college by Act of Parliament. The annual income of the institution for 2017–18 was £173.6 million of which £13.9 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £169.4 million.

Royal Holloway is ranked 19th (out of 134) in the UK according to The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020, who also shortlisted the institution for University of the Year 2020. It is also ranked 23rd (out of 131) in the UK by The Complete University Guide 2020, as well as being ranked in the top 300 universities in the world as published by Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2019.

There are strong links and exchange programs with institutions in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong, notably Yale University, the University of Toronto, the University of Melbourne and the University of Hong Kong.


Royal Holloway's campus is set in 135 acres (55 ha) of woodland, between Windsor and Heathrow. Around 200 species of shrubs, 150 different types of tree and numerous wild flowering plants can be found in RHC's parkland. The nearest station is Egham. The campus is about 40–50 minutes from Waterloo station in central London about 19 miles (31 km) away, and Windsor is 5 miles (8 km). The campus is 2 miles (3.2 km) from M25 junction 13 and close to the M3, M4 and M40 and London Heathrow Airport. RHC's worst feature is considered to be that "Egham is not known for its social scene", but it has been noted that the campus's environment "offers the best of both worlds – friendly and relaxed on the one hand, dynamic and busy on the other."

The Founder's Building, which dominates the campus, has striking north and south towers and two large quadrangles and contains a chapel, kitchen and dining hall, lecture theatre and the arts library along with student rooms and offices. Founder's has often been the centre of media attention and is a popular filming location for TV and film as a grandiose 'university' or 'public school'.

Between 2002 and 2008, the college underwent a £100 million investment programme and a re-development of its campus, as a result of the merger with Bedford College and the sale of Bedford's site in Regent's Park. A number of recent projects undertaken by Royal Holloway have included an extension to the School of Management (2005 and 2011) and the library (which holds half a million books). In 2013, the Student Services Centre, which is a single point of contact for all non-academic enquiries, was opened in the Windsor Building. The Drama Department expanded its performance space with the opening of the Caryl Churchill Theatre, which seats almost 200 audience members across two levels and has a third floor for technical operation, in 2013. The department also uses the onsite 19th-century boilerhouse, which was converted into a performance space with a sprung dance floor in 2014.

The International Building, opened in 2000 by The Princess Royal, houses the Language Centre along with the English, French, German, Italian and Hispanic Studies Departments. The new developments have also been followed by the establishment of formal links with New York University, the University of Sydney, and Yale University, and connections with the Royal College of Music means that music students at Royal Holloway have the opportunity to take lessons there.

The size of the campus has allowed the college to develop some of the best sports facilities of any university institution in the London area, and helped build the college's reputation as a sporting institution of excellence. An aerobics studio, fitness suite, sports Hall, sports fields and tennis courts account for some of the sporting facilities that Royal Holloway offers. The Sports Centre was refurbished in 2013 while a bequest by Margaret Young in 2014 enabled the college to further develop its sports facilities. New for the 2014/15 sporting season were floodlit outdoor pitches and courts, which provide all-weather playing surfaces for a wide range of sports.

Situated on the campus are restaurants and cafès, a college shop, a bank, a health centre, a Chapel, a careers centre, teaching and social spaces and sports facilities. As a result of an evaluation by People & Planet in 2007, Royal Holloway was ranked 60th out of 120 universities for environmental performance. The university has put into place initiatives to enhance environmental performance, such as the improvement of woodland management to develop nature conservation and more recycling banks have been introduced to halls of residence.


The university is made up of a number of schools and departments organized into three faculties, and 20 academic departments. One Dean heads each faculty, and is supported by Deputy Deans. The Principal takes the role of appointing The Heads of Department, who in turn report to their faculty's Dean. The faculties are as follows:

  • Drama, Theatre and Dance
  • English
  • History
  • Media Arts
  • Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures
  • Music
  • Politics & International Relations and Philosophy
  • Law, Criminology & Sociology (including Social Work)
  • Economics
  • Management
  • Biological Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Earth Sciences
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Geography
  • Information Security Group
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Centre for Professional Studies
  • Psychology


At one point in time, Royal Holloway was ranked 2nd out of 90 universities in England and Wales for the number of students going into graduate employment. However, according to Complete University Guide 2016, the university has seen a drop in graduate employability since 2007/8 with a graduate prospect of only 62.2% ranking it 77th out of 126 universities in the UK. According to Complete University Guide 2020, this figure is starting to increase again, with a graduate prospect of 73.5%. Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of universities in the UK for overall satisfaction (89%), according to the National Student Survey 2014.

The university is popular with both state-educated and privately educated students, with the latter group currently accounting for around 18% of all students in 2010. In 2014–15, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked the college 47th in Europe and 118th in the world.

Royal Holloway was ranked 20th overall in Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2020 ranking of British universities based on consistent league table performance. In 2010, the college benefited from upgraded evaluation methods used by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. They ranked the college as 88th in the world, and 22nd in Europe.

Halls of residence

Most halls are part of the main campus, and initially allocated to first year students who firmly accept a conditional or unconditional offer. Accommodation prices at the university can vary, ranging from £85-£163 per week. Halls are either self-catered or catered, with students living in the latter entitled to a 50 per cent discount off the normal price of the majority of food sold in the dining halls. Around 2,900 students live in halls of residence.

The Founder's Building houses 493 students in original Victorian rooms and converted space, which underwent refurbishment in 2012. Meals for catered students are provided in Founder's dining hall.

Similar accommodation blocks, named Butler, Tuke and Williamson, were completed in September 2007 to replace the ageing Athlone, Cameron and Williamson Halls. Of the waste created by the demolition of Athlone, Cameron and Williamson, 98 per cent was recycled. All five of these new halls were named after former principals and have been designed to be environmentally friendly, accomplished by sedum-planted roofs that change colour by season, as well as being designed to improve insulation. In a BREEAM environmental performance assessment, the Butler, Tuke and Williamson halls were rated "Very Good", as their construction was designed to reduce heat loss.

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