Northumbria University
Northumbria University coat of arms.png
Coat of Arms
MottoLatin: Aetas Discendi[1]
Motto in English
A lifetime of learning
Established1877 - Rutherford College of Technology
1969 - Newcastle Polytechnic
1992 - gained university status
Budget£325M (2022)
ChancellorBaroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
Vice-ChancellorProfessor Andy Long [2]
Academic staff
1,617 (as at December 2021) [3]
Administrative staff
1,516 (as at December 2021) [3]
Other students
10,000 of Northumbria's students are international

54°58′35″N 1°36′29″W / 54.9764°N 1.6080°W / 54.9764; -1.6080Coordinates: 54°58′35″N 1°36′29″W / 54.9764°N 1.6080°W / 54.9764; -1.6080
CampusUrban and suburban
ColoursUniversity: Black & white
Northumbria Sport:
Sporting affiliations
Northumbria Sport

Northumbria University (legally the University of Northumbria at Newcastle) is a UK public university located in Newcastle upon Tyne, North East of England. It has been a university since 1992, but has its origins in the Rutherford College, founded in 1877.[4]

Northumbria University is primarily based within City Campus located in Newcastle upon Tyne city centre and at Coach Lane campus on the outskirts of the city centre, London and Amsterdam. It is organised into four faculties — Arts, Design and Social Sciences; Business and Law; Engineering and Environment and Health and Life Sciences. Northumbria University has approximately 32,000 students.[5]

Northumbria is a member of the Association of Commonwealth, Universities UK and the Wallace Group.

According to the Results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework in the Times Higher Education's Young Universities Rankings (2022), Northumbria University is 28th in the UK for Quality-related (QR) power. This determines how much funding is awarded to universities to spend on research activity. As a result, Northumbria is ranked in the top 25 in the UK for research power (the grade point average score of a university, multiplied by the full-time equivalent number of researchers submitted).[6] The University is ranked top 25 in the UK for the number of graduates entering professional employment, with nine out of ten graduates working or studying six months after graduation.[7]


Northumbria University has its origins in three Newcastle colleges: Rutherford College of Technology, which was established by John Hunter Rutherford in 1877 and opened formally in 1894 by the Duke of York (later King George V), the College of Art & Industrial Design and the Municipal College of Commerce. In 1969, the three colleges were amalgamated to form Newcastle Polytechnic. The Polytechnic became the major regional centre for the training of teachers with the creation of the City College of Education in 1974 and the Northern Counties College of Education in 1976.[8]

The Sutherland Building
The Sutherland Building

In 1992, Newcastle Polytechnic was reconstituted as the new University of Northumbria,[9] as part of a nationwide process in which polytechnics became new universities. It was originally styled, and its official name still is, the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (see the Articles of Government[10]) but the trading name was simplified to Northumbria University in 2002. In 1995, it was awarded responsibility for the education of healthcare professionals, which was transferred from the National Health Service.

In 2017, the university was fined £400,000 after a sports science experiment gave volunteers a hundred times the safe dose of caffeine. Two student volunteers were given a dose of 30g instead of 0.3g, because staff conducting the experiment tried to calculate the dose on a mobile phone calculator and misread the decimal point. Both were hospitalised and one reported loss of short-term memory.[11][12] A court hearing heard that the university had not trained staff in safety and had not carried out a proper risk assessment, and that the dose was above the level known to cause risk of death.[13]


Northumbria university's City Campus East.
Northumbria university's City Campus East.

United Kingdom

City Campus East
City Campus East

The university has two large campuses situated in Newcastle and one in London. City Campus, located in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, is divided into City Campus East and City Campus West by the city's central motorway and linked by a £4 million bridge which in 2008 was officially opened by the former Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Digby Jones.[14]

City Campus

Law and Business Building
Law and Business Building

City Campus East is home to the Schools of Law, Design and the Newcastle Business School (NBS). NBS and Law are housed in one building, and the School of Design is across a courtyard.

City Campus East, designed by Atkins, opened in September 2007, winning awards from The Journal newspaper and the Low Carbon New Build Project of the Year accolade.

Buildings of Northumbria University
Buildings of Northumbria University

City Campus West is home to the Schools of Arts & Social Sciences, Built & Natural Environment, Computing, Engineering & Information Sciences and Life Sciences. Also located on this campus is the University Library, Students' Union building and Sport Central, a £31m sports facility for students, staff and the community which opened in 2010.[8]

The Sutherland Building, formerly the Medical School of Durham University,[15] which was a naval warehouse during World War II, and the Dental School of Newcastle University[16] (1945–78) is the home of is the home of the University Executive team and new world-class studios for Architecture students, designed by Page\Park architects, which opened in 2019.[17]

Administrative Departments including Finance & Planning and Human Resources, are based in Pandon Building.

Burt Hall

The Students' Union building, at City Campus West, underwent a multimillion-pound makeover with new lobby and recreational facilities, and a refurbished bar and cafe space, in summer 2010.

In September 2016 the Sandyford Building was acquired from Newcastle College.[18]

In 2018 a £7m building for Computer and Information sciences was opened in City Campus West[19] in place of the demolished Rutherford Hall.[20]

Coach Lane

A second campus[21] is located 2.6 miles (4km) outside Newcastle, on Coach Lane, and is known as the Coach Lane Campus[22] at Cochrane Park near the A188 (Benton Road). It is in the Dene ward near Longbenton and round the corner from Tyneview Park; a large Department for Work and Pensions office, accessible via the Four Lane Ends Interchange.

The Coach Lane Campus is home to a number of areas of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, in particular the Departments of Nursing, Midwifery and Health and Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing, as well as the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeships programmes. Coach Lane Campus has computing and library services; and sports facilities, including indoor courts, a fitness suite, outdoor rugby and football pitches, and an all-weather floodlit pitch.

London Campus

The London Campus[23] offers full-time or part-time programmes, from a range of Business, Computing, Cyber, Project Management and Technology focused programmes to approximately 2,500 students. The campus is delivered in partnership with QA Higher Education, part of QA, the UK’s largest corporate training provider. The campus is near Liverpool Street station, close to the heart of London’s financial district


Northumbria University has an international campus based in Amsterdam,[24] Netherlands through a partnership with Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences where it offers accredited postgraduate qualifications and the opportunity for undergraduates to experience overseas studies.[25]

Organisation and structure

Former Dame Allan's School
Former Dame Allan's School

Northumbria  offers programmes in the disciplines of law and business, arts and design, engineering, mathematics, physics computing, geography and environmental sciences, architecture and built environment, applied sciences and healthcare, sports science, humanities and social sciences, psychology, nursing, social work and teacher education.

Northumbria University employs more than 3,100 people and offers  undergraduate, postgraduate, CPD and degree apprenticeship programmes through four Faculties:

Newcastle Business School

Main article: Newcastle Business School

In September 2007, Northumbria University opened its new Newcastle Business School building on the site of the former Warner Brothers cinema as part of a £136m city campus east development.[26] Newcastle Business School is the only university in the UK to hold double AACSB accreditation for business and accounting which makes them form part of an elite group of 190 institutions worldwide to hold this.[27][28] As of 2020, The university also holds accreditation for EPAS in 21 different undergraduate programmes, more than any other university in the UK. Newcastle Business School has also developed relations with a wide range of other professional bodies.[28] As a result, the university can offer a wide range of professional exemptions in its programmes such as the Accountancy degree which holds exemptions from many of the top accountancy boards including ICAEW, ACCA, and CIMA.

In 2015, Newcastle Business School was the winner of ‘UK Business School of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards.[29]

Northumbria Law School

Northumbria Law School is located within City Campus East where it shares its building with Newcastle Business School.
Northumbria Law School is located within City Campus East where it shares its building with Newcastle Business School.

Northumbria Law School[30] is located within City Campus East where it shares its building with Newcastle Business School.

Northumbria Law School is the largest law school within the north-east of England. It is part of only six institutions outside of London that provides the Bar Professional Training Course. Northumbria Law School is located within City Campus East where it shares its building with Newcastle Business School.

Northumbria also offers 'clinical' courses in law accredited by the Law Society and Bar Council. These allow graduates direct entry to the profession. The institution's Student Law Office is a clinical legal education enterprise, where law students participate in a legal advice and representation scheme on behalf of real clients, under the supervision of practising lawyers. The student law office has managed over 8,300 enquiries, represented over 3,000 clients and secured over £1.6m in compensation since 2005. In 2013, the university was awarded with the Queens Anniversary Prize in Further and Higher and Further Education for outstanding community work of its student law office.


Although the university roots are linked with medicine through the Sutherland Building being formerly the Medical School of Durham University, it has not offered medicine as a programme until recently. Northumbria has a joint medical programme through a partnership with St George's University of Grenada.[31] As part of the programme the teaching hours are split between time spent within the Grenada and the United Kingdom. The programme has been expanded in recent years with an increased amount of time that students can spend within the United Kingdom.

Academic profile

National rankings
Complete (2023)[32]43
Guardian (2023)[33]41
Times / Sunday Times (2022)[34]57
Global rankings
THE (2023)[35]351-400
QS (2023)[36]651-700
ARWU (2022)[37]901–1000


In the UK Research Assessment Exercise 2008 some research in nine of twelve areas submitted was described as "world-leading".[38] In the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise, Northumbria was one of the UK top 50 for research power and the university which had risen fastest up the rankings.[39]

Northumbria University, Newcastle was nominated for University of the Year in the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2022.[40]

Reputation and rankings

Student life

Sutherland Building main entrance.
Sutherland Building main entrance.

Northumbria Students' Union[42] is a campaigning and representative organisation. It is a charity currently exempt from registration and is led by six Sabbatical Officers (President and five vice-presidents) and a 26-member Student Council.

Northumbria University Students Union Logo.png

The Students' Union offers a range of student activities such as NSU/Community, NSU/Media (Which encompasses NSU/TV, NSU/Radio, NSU/Life and NSU/Snaps), NSU/Rag (Raise and Give),NSU/Societies, NSU/Employability, Duke of Edinburgh awards and Fast Friends. It represents students in academic and non-academic matters through a nationally recognised School Reps and Postgraduate Research Reps Systems.

The university building contains several venues for students to socialise in a safe environment, chiefly at Habita (formerly Bar One), Domain (formerly The Venue) and Reds.

In 2011, Northumbria Students' Union received the National Union of Students award for best higher education students union.

In 2016, Northumbria Students' Union received the National Union of Students award for Student Opportunities and runner up for the Education Award.[43]


See also: Team Northumbria (netball), Team Northumbria (basketball), and Team Northumbria F.C.

Northumbria is considered one of the leading universities for Rugby League in the UK,[44] after being crowned BUCS National Champions in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022.

In 2022 Northumbria entered 69 teams into BUCS, the highest number to date for the university.   

Sport Awards:

Sporting Alumni:

Northumbria has several world class sporting alumni[47] including Steve Cram CBE, Stephen Miller MBE, and Victoria Pendleton CBE.

Northumbria support talented athletes through its partnership with the TASS Scheme and their own Student Athlete Scholarship Scheme. Current student Taka Suzuki won seven medals, including five golds and two silvers in swimming at Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympics Games.

Notable alumni

See also


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Further reading