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University of Sunderland
Sunderland University is one of the many ‘new’ Universities created in 1992. It is situated in the North Eastern city of Sunderland. It has two campuses in the city and a smaller base in London. The University of Sunderland is known for is excellence in areas such as pharmacy and cultural and media studies.
In recent years the University has invested over £130 million into facilities at its two main campuses. This has resulted in many new buildings including CitySpace, the University’s own award-winning sports centre. The University itself has one many wards. In 2001 it was named the UK’s best new University and in 2012, it was shortlisted for university of the year.
Sunderland itself is a thriving city. It combines great nightlife and culture with lovely scenery, such as the miles of beautiful sandy beaches available only a 10 minute walk from the Sir Tom Cowie Campus. Whatever students cannot find in Sunderland, can be found in nearby Newcastle, which is only a 40 minute metro ride or 20 minute train ride way. The University is also only an hour from Newcastle’s international airport and just over three hours from two capital cities, London and Edinburgh.
Complete University Guide (2022)
Guardian League Table (2021)
Teaching Excellence Framework
Green Credentials (2019)
Young vs Mature
Male vs Female
The University of Sunderland has two main campuses, into which the University has invested over £130 million in recent years. The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s is located on the banks of the River Wear, in the North East of the city. This campus houses the Business School, The Informatics Centre and the Media Centre among other facilities. It is also home to the Student’s Union and the North Shore entertainment venue. The Tom Cowie campus is a 10 minute walk from the nearest metro station, St Peter’s from where students can travel to Newcastle in 40 minutes or to Sunderland Central Station in 5 minutes.
The City Campus is located a 20 minute walk from the Tom Cowie Campus, or a 7 minute metro ride. It is right in the heart of Sunderland and houses a number of academic buildings and the University’s sports complex. It is only a 2 minute walk to the nearest metro station and a 15 minute walk to Sunderland Central railway station.
A third campus has recently been opened in London at Canary Wharf, the heart of Europe's most important financial centre. It has its own dedicated website to which students should look for more information.
Sunderland has been an important educational site since 674 AD, when St Peter’s Church and Monastery were built there. St Peter’s is known because the oldest existing Latin Bible was written in its scriptorium.
The University of Sunderland’s modern roots reach back to 1901 and the foundation of Sunderland Technical College. The college was the first in the country to offer sandwich courses, with a year in industry. It was also home to the largest pharmacy department in the country, in the 1920s. In the 1930s, the college offered two degree courses validated by the University of London, Pharmacy and Engineering.
In 1969, the Technical College merged with Sunderland School of Art and Sunderland Teacher Training College to become Sunderland Polytechnic. In 1992, the polytechnic was granted University status under the Further and Higher Education Act. In 2001 Sunderland was named England’s best new university by The Guardian.
Faculties & Departments
Faculty of Applied Sciences
- Department of Computing, Engineering and Technology
- Department of Psychology
- Department of Sport and Exercise Science
- Department of Pharmacy, Health and Wellbeing
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media
- Department of Arts
- Department of Design
- Department of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
- Department of Media Production and Performance
Faculty of Business and Law
- Sunderland Business School
- Sunderland Law School
- Department of Tourism
Faculty of Education and Society
- Department of Education
- Department of Culture
- Department of Social Sciences
In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework the University of Sunderland submitted research in 13 different subject areas. Aspects of this research were judged to be internationally excellent in all 13 areas and in 10 areas aspects were judged to be world leading.
Stand out areas include Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy where 51% of research was deemed internationally excellent and world leading and Communication, Cultural and Media studies where 38% of research was considered internationally excellent and 25%, world leading.
International & Industrial Opportunities
The Study Abroad programme at Sunderland, allows students to study for one or two semesters of their second year at one of the University’s 300 exchange partners. The universities available will depend upon which programme a student is studying and the current availability of places at the partner institution.
Sunderland also offer some short term summer options for studying abroad. These programmes last anywhere between 2 weeks and 3 months.
A number of courses at Sunderland offer students the possibility of a placement year in industry. See the individual course descriptions on the University’s website for more information.
UK Students (2021/2022)
All students at the University of Sunderland benefit from a ‘Get There’ scholarship. This scholarship includes a free 12 months travel card for local or regional travel, depending on a students’ term-time address, or £600 discount from University-managed accommodation. Students in London get an Oyster Card up to the value of £600.
Students studying at partner colleges will all benefit from the ‘Off-Campus’ Scholarship. This mounts to a £1,200 fee reduction for each year of study.
The University offers a range of other scholarships covering individual areas of expertise or interest.
Sunderland offers two sports scholarships. The Development Athlete Scholarship, for athletes competing at a regional or national level, has a value of £600. It is split into a cash payment of £250 and £350 worth of in-kind support. The Elite Athlete Scholarship is for athletes competing at international level and includes £450 cash and £550 worth of in-kind support.
University of Sunderland Scholarship is Sunderland’s answer to a bursary. It is worth £2,000, £1,000 in year 1 and £1,000 in year 2. All students with an annual household income of less than or equal to £42,620 are eligible.
Over the past few years the University of Sunderland has invested into its learning facilities. There are currently two libraries in Sunderland, the Murray library at the City Campus and the St Peter’s Library at the Tom Cowie Campus. Both libraries offer a mixture of group and individual learning spaces as well as areas for socialising. At the Murray Library, there are over 150 PCs available, 9 Mac computers and a Resource Discovery Zone with PCs, Macs, overhead displays, whiteboards and SmartBoard Technology. The Murray Library also has a café on site. At the St Peter’s Library, there are over 100 PCs and 5 macs available to students. Both libraries have Wi-Fi throughout. Library resources also include an extensive catalogue of books, journal articles and e-books.
There are also IT facilities across the University. In addition, students can borrow one of 30 loanable laptops for up to 3 days. The It Services department provide all relevant support such as connecting computers and smartphones to the university network or advice on internet security.
Other specialised facilities across the University include a moot court, laboratories for pharmacy, studio space for performing arts and fine art and a Media Centre with award winning facilities, including a cinema, which seats 200, and radio and TV studios.
The University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Sun Space, was completely renovated in 2012. It now offers students access to course materials, online discussions, course noticeboards and electronic essay submissions anywhere in the world. The university is also working towards providing greater access to the VLE from mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet computers.
Students who are struggling academically can find help and advice through the University's Student and Learning Support service. The help available includes a variety of accessible learning environments, a range of library resources and services, both electronic and in print and personal support to ensure learners are able to overcome physical and mental barriers to success.
Currently Sunderland is investing heavily in its sporting facilities. Its flagship sport and social facility, City Space opened at the City Campus in 2009 and has since been awarded various industry accolades and has hosted a number of major sporting events. Most notably, it was used as a Pre-Olympic training provider prior to the 2012 games.
The fitness suite within CitySpace features a huge range of cardio, resistance, and yoga equipment. There is also a large, multipurpose sports hall and a climbing wall The space also runs a comprehensive range of classes suitable for all fitness levels.
As well as CitySpace, the University is lucky enough to have use of some of the best facilities in the region. These include a 50m Olympic size swimming pool, a 95m Ski Slope, an LTA indoor tennis centre, a Marine Activities Centre, a climbing wall and a full athletics track.
The University of Sunderland’s Students Union is set across two main sites. The main Union facilities are located on the Tom Cowie Campus, in Wearbank House. In the same complex, the union runs North Shore, a bar, café and venue serving well-priced food and drinks and providing a space for student productions and live gigs. This student hub also contains a theatre and nightclub.
The Union runs another venue, The Bonded Warehouse, near the Student halls at Panns Bank and Scotia Quays. The Warehouse has a bar on the ground floor and a function room upstairs.
The Students' Union Advice Centre provides independent help for students, on a range of topics, including: immigration, consumer rights, housing, emotional welfare and financial issues.
The Union is run by 5 Officer Trustees (elected by students every year) and 5 Lay Trustees (recruited for their expertise and experience). Students get their own say on the running of the Union through the Union Council. The Council meets regularly and all students are able to attend and speak at the meetings.
The Union run all of the University’s Sports Clubs and other societies. They also run their own magazine, Degrees North. The SU also run a number of fundraising and volunteering initiatives and projects. They offer volunteering opportunities, as part of longer term projects or one off activities. To thank student volunteers, they offer free social events, food, drink and transport for off campus volunteering, as well as extra training and development and a record of volunteering achievements.
The Student’s Union also run Connect, a programme of activities, events and trips. These provide an excellent opportunity to meet other students while learning something new and having fun. Most of the events are free and those that aren’t are very inexpensive.
Religion & Spirituality
The Chaplaincy Centre at Sunderland is located in Wearbank House. Facilities include Muslim Prayer rooms, the ‘Bede’ chapel for Christian worship, a library, a number of quiet areas for reflection and contemplation, and various common rooms and meeting rooms where students can socialise and discuss issues.
There is one permanent Christian Chaplain, and a number of associate Chaplains and other advisors from many world faith communities. The Chaplaincy team offer information on the many different places of worship in the area and encourage and support students and religious groups of all faiths and denominations. They also provide confidential, independent advice.
The Chaplaincy run different faith services throughout the week and a number of fun social events such as film nights once a week.
Health & Wellbeing
The University of Sunderland does not have an on-campus medical centre but the Health and Wellbeing service, which has facilities on both Sunderland campuses, can help students to register with local doctors and dentists. They also offer information on contraception, drugs and alcohol and the UK health system.
The University offers a free and confidential counselling service for students at Sunderland. All counsellors are professionally qualified and can offer support and advice on a range of issues including: anxiety, depression, bereavement, relationship difficulties, exam worries, problems with courses, feelings of isolation, and problems with making friends. As well as offering a counselling service, staff can also advise on practical support offered by the University for students with family commitments or those experiencing a bereavement or long-term illness.
The University offers a support service for students with disabilities and students who have a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. The Disability Support team can also offer advice and guidance to students who think they might have a specific learning difficulty but who haven't yet had a formal diagnosis. The service is confidential, and can offer practical support on accessing financial support and learning aids.
The University of Sunderland’s Careers and Employability Service help students improve their employability and prepare for the world of work. They offer careers appointments to discuss individual career paths and more general help with CVs, Applications and interview preparation. The Careers Service also run a number of employer recruitment fairs and employer presentations as well as supporting students who wish to start up their own businesses.
The University also lists vacancies on its own site, opportunities online. Jobs advertised include casual, part-time work, holiday work, internships, paid projects and volunteering opportunities.
Self-catered (per week) (2021/2022)
The University of Sunderland offers a range of student accommodation, all located within 1.5 miles of the city centre. There are 5 main university halls in Sunderland. Clanny House is the largest halls and is located 1 mile from City Campus, and 2.4 miles from the Sir Tom Cowie Campus. Opposite Clanny House is the Forge U Student Village, which is privately managed, in partnership with the University. Scotia Quay and Panns Bank halls are located on the opposite side of the river to the Tom Cowie Campus and are just under a mile from the City Campus. The final halls, the Precinct, are only a five-minute walk from the city campus. All University halls are serviced by regular buses and all are within a ten-minute walk of the nearest metro station.
All rooms are self-catered and all have access to shared kitchen and living areas. There is a mixture of standard rooms, en suite rooms and shared bedrooms as well as some studio flats. In Clanny House, Panns Bank and the Precinct, rooms range between £75 and £86 a week. In Scotia Quay, prices are slightly higher, £93-£95 a week, because all rooms are en-suite. The highest priced rooms are in Forge U student Village because this is privately owned. Here, rooms are priced at between £82 and £135 a week.
English Language Requirements
Students at Sunderland whose first language is not English must have an IELTS score of 6.0 or higher, with at least 6.0 in each component, or an equivalent qualification. See the University’s website for more detailed information.
Approximately 17 per cent of Sunderland’s students come from countries outside of the UK, and each year they welcome students from over 100 different countries. Freshers’ Week is the first week of term for new first year students, it provides a mix of academic and social events helping international students to settle in to life in England.
International students at Sunderland are supported throughout their time at the University by the International Student Support Department. They provide advice on a range of issues such as applying for visas, accommodation and settling in to life in the UK. International students can also, like at students at the university, arrange to see the UK and meet new people through Connect.