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University of Brighton
Established1858; 166 years ago (1858) (as Brighton College of Art)
1992; 32 years ago (1992) (university status)
Endowment£0.1 million (2022)[1]
Budget£193.5 million (2021–22)[1]
Vice-ChancellorDebra Humphris
Total staff
Students18,985 (2019/20)[3]
Undergraduates15,530 (2019/20)[3]
Postgraduates3,455 (2019/20)[3]
AffiliationsUniversity Alliance
Universities UK

The University of Brighton is a public university based on four campuses in Brighton and Eastbourne on the south coast of England. Its roots can be traced back to 1858 when the Brighton School of Art was opened in the Royal Pavilion.[4] It achieved university status in 1992.

The University focuses on practical, creative, and professional education, with the majority of degrees awarded also recognised by professional organisations or leading to professional qualifications.[5] Subjects include pharmacy, engineering, ecology, computing, art, architecture, geology, nursing, teaching, sport science, journalism, criminology and business.[6] It has around 18,000 students and 2,400 staff. The QS World University Rankings places the university within the top 100 internationally for Art and Design.[7]


1858—1900: Early years

In 1858 the Brighton School of Art opened its doors to its first 110 students, in rooms by the kitchens of the Royal Pavilion. It moved in 1876 to its own building in Grand Parade, with the Prime Minister, William Gladstone, witnessing the laying of the new building's foundation stone.

The Municipal School of Science and Technology opened in Brighton in 1897 with 600 enrolled students. In the 1960s new buildings were constructed in Moulsecoomb for what had become the Brighton College of Technology. In 1970 the School of Art and Brighton College of Technology merged to form Brighton Polytechnic.[8]

What became known as The Chelsea College of Physical Education opened in 1898 in London under the headship of Dorette Wilkie. A two year course was offered where teachers were taught to teach.[9] The college moved to Eastboure in 1947.[10] In 1976 it merged with Eastbourne and Seaford Colleges of Education to form the East Sussex College of Higher Education.[11] The same year, Brighton College of Education (the teacher training college) merged with Brighton Polytechnic, giving the Polytechnic a campus at Falmer. It had opened in 1909 as the Municipal Day Training College in Richmond Terrace, Brighton.

1900—2000: University status

There was a further merger in 1979, when the East Sussex College of Higher Education merged with the polytechnic, creating a campus in Eastbourne. That institution had opened in London in 1898 as an institution training women and girls in physical education and moved to Eastbourne in 1949.[citation needed]

UK polytechnics were granted university status in 1992 and Brighton Polytechnic became the University of Brighton under the provisions of the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992.

In 1994 the Sussex and Kent Institute of Nursing and Midwifery became part of the University, increasing the number of students based in Eastbourne.


In 2003 the Brighton and Sussex Medical School opened as a partnership between the University of Brighton, the University of Sussex and the Universities Hospitals Trust, the first medical school in South East England outside London. University Centre Hastings was opened in 2004, managed by the University of Brighton, but was closed some years ago.[12]

In 2011, the Brighton International College, part of Kaplan International Colleges, opened on the Moulsecoomb campus, to provide international students with English language courses and preparatory academic tuition for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

In October 2019 the University launched the first new contemporary publics arts space in the city since 1999, named the Brighton Centre for Contemporary Arts.[13][14] Brighton CCA is accessible to students and the public, hosting public exhibitions, events and commissioned work.[13]

In 2023, students and staff protested in opposition to the university's plans to make 110 staff redundant, the protests ultimately failed to prevent redundancies and 104 lecturers were made redundant through 82 voluntary redundancies and 22 compulsory redundancies.[15][16]

In May 2023, the University's Centre for Contemporary Arts was closed, the university says this is due to rising inflation, the "tuition fee freeze", and high energy costs.[17]

Campuses and facilities

The University has four campuses: three in Brighton – Falmer, City and Moulsecoomb, and one in Eastbourne.[18]

In 2018, the University of Brighton gained a first class award in the People & Planet's University League table – UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance.[19]

Falmer campus, Brighton

The Checkland Building at Falmer campus opened in 2009

The Falmer campus is approximately three miles from Brighton city centre. The School of Education, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Sport and Health Sciences, Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Research, International Health Development and Research Centre, Social Science Policy and Research Centre, Education Research Centre, the Centre for Learning and Teaching and the Brighton and Sussex Medical School are all based on this campus.

Falmer railway station is immediately adjacent, as is the Falmer Stadium, home to Brighton & Hove Albion FC, which opened in 2011.

Facilities on the Falmer campus include a library, computer pool rooms, restaurant and cafe/bar, and the Students' Union[20] cafe, aka The Hive, and shop. Sports facilities on the campus include floodlit 3G AstroTurf pitch, netball and tennis courts, a sports centre with fitness suite, two activity studios and a sports hall with six badminton courts, and a new sports pavilion which opened in 2015.[21]

City campus, Brighton

Grand Parade Building, designed by Percy Billington between 1962 and 1967 for Brighton Polytechnic

City campus in Brighton city centre is home to the University's School of Art and Media, (formerly the Faculty of Arts), the School of Humanities and Social Science, the University of Brighton gallery and Sallis Benney Theatre. The University's archives[22] include the University of Brighton Design Archives, which houses collections from the Design Council and other British and global design organisations, and the moving image archive Screen Archive South East.[23] Facilities include the specialist humanities, art and design library at St Peter's House, computer pool rooms, a media centre, a restaurant and cafe.[24]

Moulsecoomb campus, Brighton

Built in 1962–63 for Brighton Polytechnic (now the University of Brighton), the Cockcroft Building is now one of the university's main buildings.

The Moulsecoomb campus is to the north of Brighton city centre on Lewes Road. Moulsecoomb railway station is nearby. It is the largest of the four campuses with over 8,000 students based there in the School of Applied Sciences, School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering and the School of Business and Law.

Teaching and learning resources include rapid prototyping and design equipment including 3D scanners, CNS lathes and laser cutters, clinical skills and molecular biology laboratories, specialist labs for structural dynamics, geotechnics, thermal dynamics, hydraulics and avionics, a flight simulator, real-time trading room, and architecture and interior architecture studios. Facilities include Aldrich Library, computer pool rooms, two restaurants and five cafes.[25] The new advanced engineering building opened in September 2017,[26] and Elm House opened in 2021.

The University of Brighton and Ricardo UK jointly opened the Sir Harry Ricardo Laboratories on 14 November 2006. The laboratories are one of the largest UK research teams dedicated to internal combustion engines, the development of laser-based measurement techniques, fundamental modelling and computational simulation.[27]

The University of Brighton Students' Union has its main offices in Cockcroft Building.


The Eastbourne campus is at the foot of the South Downs National Park, almost 3,000 students are based here.[28]

Teaching and learning facilities at Eastbourne campus include exercise physiology laboratories, an environmental chamber, a human movement laboratory and the Leaf Hospital[29] podiatry and physiotherapy clinic. Study facilities in Eastbourne include Queenwood library, computer pool rooms, a learning technologies suite, restaurants, and a Students' Union shop. Sports facilities include a 25-metre swimming pool, sports hall, artificial outdoor pitch and dance studio.

The University has confirmed it will close its Eastbourne sites before the start of the 2024/25 academic year.[30]


The University has four libraries spread around its campuses.

Each library is typically open between 55 and 68 hours per week, including evenings and weekends.[31]

Organisation and administration

The University has eight academic schools:

Medical school

The Brighton and Sussex Medical School is one of four medical schools to have been created as part of the UK government's strategy of increasing the number of qualified doctors from the UK working in the NHS.[32] The school is a joint school of the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex.[33] The University of Brighton provides professional aspects of the course while the University of Sussex provides biological science teaching.

School of Business and Law

Mithras House, built in 1939 as an administrative and design office for the Allen West electrical engineering company

The School of Business and Law delivers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, part-time courses for professionals, and programmes for commercial organisations. Formerly part of Brighton Technical College, the school has been teaching business and management courses since the 1960s.[citation needed] It took its current name in 1986. The school is in Elm House on the Moulsecoomb campus, following a large redevelopment.[34]

The University of Brighton is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) – an accreditation achieved by fewer than 6% of business schools globally.

Academic profile

The University of Brighton offers over 400 courses in a wide range of subjects.

University of Brighton's International College provides academic preparatory programmes for students outside the EU. On successful completion of their programme and achievement of the required grades, students can progress to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees offered at the university.

University of Brighton Doctoral College provides academic, administrative and practical support for the University's community of postgraduate research students. There are Doctoral College campus centres on the Eastbourne and each of the Brighton campuses.[35]


The University validates degree-level courses taught at a number of partner colleges.

The University of Brighton also validates higher education courses taught at the KLC School of Design, London.[36]

Reputation and rankings

National rankings
Complete (2024)[37]68
Guardian (2024)[38]70
Times / Sunday Times (2024)[39]87
Global rankings
QS (2024)[40]771–780
THE (2024)[41]801–1000

The University's Community University Partnership Programme received an honourable mention at the 2010 Community-Campus Partnerships for Health awards[42] and was highly commended in the Social Responsibility category at the 2009 Green Gown Awards.[43]

Brighton is in the top 50 universities in England for graduate prospects in the Complete University Guide league tables – reflecting the number of graduates who are in highly skilled employment or further study 15 months after they graduate.[44]

The university gained a Silver award in the national Teaching Excellence Framework 2023, recognising the quality of their teaching and student outcomes.[45]

The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise confirmed that 79% of the University of Brighton's research output is of international standing. Taking the top three grades, the results show that 15 per cent of the research is 'world-leading' (the highest grade), 29 per cent is internationally excellent (the second highest grade) and 35 per cent is internationally recognised (the third highest grade).[46] The University's RAE ranking rose from 80th place in 2001 to 59th in 2008, leading it to be described as one of the "rising stars" in the UK.[47] Sixty-five per cent of research in art and design at the Faculty of Arts was classified as either "world-leading" or "internationally excellent". This places Brighton amongst the leading research centres in the country for art and design and Research Fortnight ranked the submission second in terms of the volume and quality of research.[48] Brighton is also ranked as one of the leading modern universities in terms of the quality of its research by the Research Fortnight newsletter.

Research centres and groups

Student life

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Students on each campus have access to services including a careers advisory service, counselling service, student advice service, disability and dyslexia service, and chaplaincy.[53]

Brighton Students' Union is the representative body for students. The BSU is a charity and is headed up by four full-time elected student officers.[54] The BSU represent the student voice at the University, ensuring that they're using student feedback to make positive changes that make student life better. They support students with appeals, mitigating circumstances and other academic issues that may occur.

The BSU also organises a variety of activities and events throughout the year; including societies, sports, student media and more. Buzz Radio is a student-led campus radio station with studios in Brighton.[55][56] There are a number of shops and cafés across University of Brighton campuses that are run by the BSU.[57]

Notable alumni, staff and associates

Main article: List of University of Brighton alumni

Many prominent figures in the arts have attended the University, or the institutions from which it was formed. These include Turner Prize winners Keith Tyson and Rachel Whiteread (1982–85)[58] studied at the Faculty of Arts, Brighton, as did Keith Coventry, the winner of 2010 John Moores Painting Prize, the photographer Ewen Spencer, the artist Alison Lapper, the designer Julien Macdonald and the writer-illustrator Emily Gravett.

Former students also include the artists Paine Proffitt, Cliff Wright, illustrator of the Harry Potter books, the designer Julien Macdonald OBE, and musicians Natasha Khan, (who performs as Bat for Lashes), and The Haxan Cloak

The list of students, lecturers and researchers once at Brighton includes Kate Greenaway Medal winners Emily Gravett, Raymond Briggs and Quentin Blake; children's writer-illustrator Lucy Cousins; Magnum photographer Mark Power; fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki; world champion bridge player Sandra Landy; and adventurer and conservationist Holly Budge.

Liz Aggiss, the live artist, dance performer, choreographer and film maker, taught visual performance at Brighton from 1982. She is now Emeritus Professor of Visual Performance.

Contributions made to modern visual culture by Brighton Faculty of Arts and Architecture members include Royal Designer for Industry George Hardie's cover designs for Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, and several series of Royal Mail stamps, and John Vernon Lord's sleeve for Deep Purple's Book of Taliesyn.

In 2000 a group of graduates from the BA Illustration course formed the successful Peepshow Collective.[59]

The longer history of the school of art in Brighton includes the artists Conrad Heighton Leigh, and poster designer John Bellany. The artist Helen Chadwick took the sculpture course at Brighton Polytechnic (1973–76) and later returned to the institution to teach.[60] The artist Cherryl Fountain also attended the polytechnic.[61] The sculptor/woodcarver Robert Koenig, author of the woodcarving project Odyssey also studied on the sculpture course at the same time as Helen Chadwick. The sculptor Antony Gormley formerly taught at Brighton.[62] Alexandra Gage, Viscountess Gage is a fine arts senior lecturer at Brighton.[63]

List of vice-chancellors

See also


  1. ^ a b "Financial Statements for 2021–22". University of Brighton. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  2. ^ "About us – University of Brighton". University of Brighton. Archived from the original on 19 January 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Where do HE students study?". Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  4. ^ "University of Brighton". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  5. ^ "University of Brighton". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  6. ^ "UCAS Search tool – Search Results". Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  7. ^ "QS World University Rankings for Art & Design 2023".
  8. ^ "School report: University of Brighton". The Guardian. 3 April 2004. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  9. ^ Clarke, Gill; Webb, Ida M. (22 September 2005). "Wilkie [formerly Wilke], Dorette (1867–1930), promoter of women's physical education". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 1 (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/63387. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  10. ^ Chelsea College of Physical Education, Eastbourne. <corpname>Chelsea College of Physical Education, Eastbourne, East Sussex</corpname>. 1947–1969.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ "The Brighton Effect 33 issuu". Issuu. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  12. ^ University of Brighton Milestones in our history. Archived 11 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 15 September 2011
  13. ^ a b "Launch of the Brighton Centre for Contemporary Arts". CVAN South East. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Brighton Centre for Contemporary Arts". Latest Bars Ltd. 2 September 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  15. ^ Griffiths, Viv (28 November 2023). "Strike at University of Brighton ends after 129 days". Sussex Bylines. Retrieved 27 February 2023.
  16. ^ "Supporting you during industrial action". University of Brighton. 3 October 2023. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  17. ^ "University of Brighton to close Brighton Contemporary Centre for the Arts citing ongoing fee freeze, 'soaring energy costs' and 'generationally high inflation'". The Art Newspaper – International art news and events. 26 May 2023. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  18. ^ About us – University of Brighton Archived 19 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 2011-22-09
  19. ^ "People & Planet University League". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  20. ^ "Brighton Students' Union at Falmer". Brighton Students' Union. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  21. ^ Facilities at Brighton – Sport Brighton. Retrieved 2011-22-09.
  22. ^ Collections at the university. Retrieved 18 October 2011
  23. ^ Screen Archive South East
  24. ^ University of Brighton Guide 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011
  25. ^ "The Engineer". The Engineer. September 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  26. ^ "Advanced Engineering Building".
  27. ^ About Us – Sir Harry Ricardo Labs. Retrieved on 22 August 2011.
  28. ^ University of Brighton guide 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  29. ^ "Leaf Hospital, Eastbourne". Leaf Therapy. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  30. ^ "University of Brighton confirms Eastbourne campus closure". BBC News. 28 January 2022. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  31. ^ Libraries – University of Brighton. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  32. ^ "BSMS ::". Archived from the original on 9 October 2014.
  33. ^ "BSMS ::". Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  34. ^ "800 student bedrooms in massive revamp of Brighton's Lewes Road". The Argus. 2 March 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  35. ^ "Brighton Doctoral College".
  36. ^ Educational partnerships – University of Brighton. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  37. ^ "Complete University Guide 2024". The Complete University Guide. 7 June 2023.
  38. ^ "Guardian University Guide 2024". The Guardian. 9 September 2023.
  39. ^ "Good University Guide 2024". The Times. 15 September 2023.
  40. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2024". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. 27 June 2023.
  41. ^ "THE World University Rankings 2024". Times Higher Education. 28 September 2023.
  42. ^ CCPH – Past Awards Recipients. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  43. ^ "Green Gown Awards 2009 – Results". Archived from the original on 8 June 2013.
  44. ^ [1] Retrieved on 23 February 2024.
  45. ^ "Teaching Excellence Framework 2023 Outcomes". Teaching Excellence Framework 2023 Outcomes. Retrieved 23 February 2024.
  46. ^ Facts and figures, RAE 2008 information – University of Brighton Archived 22 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  47. ^ RAE 2008 proves UK research is world class. Times Higher Education. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  48. ^ Research Success – Centre for Research and Development Archived 13 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (18 December 2008). Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  49. ^ "2/4 SIGHT Engine". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  50. ^ "2/4 SIGHT Engine in". AutoblogGreen. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  51. ^ "Association with the University of Sussex". Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  52. ^ "RAE2008 Automotive". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  53. ^ "Wellbeing". University of Brighton. Archived from the original on 19 April 2023. Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  54. ^ "Our Governance". Brighton Student's Union. Archived from the original on 27 September 2023. Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  55. ^ "BSU Student Media". Brighton Student Union. Archived from the original on 27 September 2023. Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  56. ^ "Landing Page - Buzz Radio". Brighton University Blogs. Archived from the original on 23 September 2023. Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  57. ^ "Eat, Drink & Shop". Brighton Student Union. Archived from the original on 27 September 2023. Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  58. ^ "Rachel Whiteread", Alumni and Associates, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton
  59. ^ Lawrence Zeegen (2009), What is Illustration?, Brighton: RotoVision SA, p. 192, ISBN 978-2-88893-033-4
  60. ^ "Helen Chadwick", Alumni and Associates, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton
  61. ^ Fountain, Cherryl. "Biography". Retrieved 24 September 2020. Cherryl Fountain ... of Royal Academy Schools
  62. ^ "Anthony Gormley" (sic), Alumni and Associates, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton
  63. ^ "Lord Gage's first sale and public exhibition of paintings – Firle Place, nr Lewes". 26 April 2010.
  64. ^ "Vice-Chancellor to step down at the university". University of Brighton. 20 June 2004. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  65. ^ "University of Brighton appoints a new Vice-Chancellor". News. University of Brighton. 10 December 2004. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  66. ^ "University of Brighton appoints new Vice-Chancellor".