Lancaster University (legally the University of Lancaster) is a collegiate public research university in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. The university was established by royal charter in 1964, one of several new universities created in the 1960s.
The university was initially based in St Leonard's Gate in the city centre, before moving in 1968 to a purpose-built 300 acres (120 ha) campus at Bailrigg, 4 km (2.5 mi) to the south. The campus buildings are arranged around a central walkway known as the Spine, which is connected to a central plaza, named Alexandra Square in honour of its first chancellor, Princess Alexandra.
Lancaster is one of only six collegiate universities in the UK; the colleges are weakly autonomous. The eight undergraduate colleges are named after places in the historic county of Lancashire, and each have their own campus residence blocks, common rooms, administration staff, and bars.
Lancaster is ranked in the top ten in all three national league tables, and received a Gold rating in the Government's inaugural (2017) Teaching Excellence Framework. In 2018 it was awarded University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, and achieved its highest ever national ranking of 6th place within the guide's national table. The annual income of the institution for 2016-17 was £267.0 million of which £37.7 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £268.7 million.
Along with the universities of Durham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York, Lancaster is a member of the N8 Group of research universities. Elizabeth II, Duke of Lancaster, is the visitor of the University. The current chancellor is Alan Milburn, since 2015.
Lancaster University partnered with Sunway University, Malaysia to offer dual awards undergraduate program since 2006.
Lancaster University entered into a dual degree program with the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Lahore. It simultaneously offered two degrees, from CIIT and Lancaster University; graduates would be alumni of both universities. This was the first programme between a UK and a Pakistani university. However, the dual nature of the programme proved problematic and the relationship ended.
A partnership in a new university venture, University Academy 92 was announced in 2017 and began operation in 2019. Lancaster now provides teaching in media, sport, business and psychology at a new campus in Trafford, Greater Manchester. The project was set up by the 'class of 92' Manchester United soccer players Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes. Lancaster wanted a base in Manchester.
In October 2013, Lancaster University announced the opening of a branch campus in Accra, Ghana, to serve the population of Ghana and all of Africa, providing a British university-level education locally to those students. The campus is operated in partnership with Transnational Academic Group Ghana Limited, and offers undergraduate and graduate programmes in management, business, Economics & international relations, Politics & International Relations, Accounting & Finance, Marketing, computer science, law and psychology along with an EMBA programme.
An additional small campus in Leipzig, Germany opened in 2019 to beat restrictions on employment and European research funding resulting from Brexit.
Lancaster opened the Joint Institute for Environmental Research and Education (JIE) in Guangzhou, China in 2016, in partnership with the South China Agricultural University (SCAU). A joint Environmental Science undergraduate degree began in September 2016 with students spending two years at each institution.
The Chinese Ministry of Education gave permission in April 2016 for Lancaster to establish Lancaster University College - Beijing Jiaotong University in Weihai, Shandong province.
In The Sunday Times 10-year (1998–2007) average ranking of British universities based on consistent league table performance, Lancaster was ranked joint 19th overall in the UK. As of recent years, the university has been placed within the top 10 by UK newspaper league tables and in the top 150 worldwide by the main global rankings (see information box for current rankings). It was also ranked the top university in the north-west of England for all ten years of recordings by The Complete University Guide.
Lancaster University Students' Union (LUSU) is the representative body of students at the university. Unusually, there is no main union building – instead the union is organized through the eight college JCRs, each of which has its own social venues and meeting spaces. The union is, however, allocated an administration building by the university. SCAN (acronym for Student Comments And News) is the union's newspaper and was established in 1967, making it the oldest student media on campus. LUSU owns a nightclub in Lancaster called The Sugarhouse (which survived an attempt to close it in 2019); operates a shop on campus, LUSU Central; and also an off campus housing agency LUSU Living.
The Bailrigg campus hosts a range of shops and services. Services on campus include Bailrigg post office, Barclays Bank, Santander Bank, a health centre, a pharmacy and a dental practice. Shops on campus include a SPAR supermarket, LUSU Central (a convenience store), a Subway, a charity shop (the proceeds of which go to St. Johns Hospice), a WHSmith, a hairdressers, Greggs, Costa, Blackwells, Go Burrito, Wok In, Juicafe, Sultan of Lancaster, Wongs and an ice cream parlour open in the summer months. The campus also hosts Bailrigg Motors, providing vehicle repairs, services & MOT's as well as a filling station and car wash.
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