Northumbria University (legally the University of Northumbria at Newcastle) is a public research 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
Coat of Arms
MottoLatin: Aetas Discendi[1]
Motto in English
A lifetime of learning
  • 1877: Rutherford College of Technology
  • 1969: Newcastle Polytechnic
  • 1992: gained university status
Endowment£1.21 million (2023)[2]
Budget£338.3 million (2022/23)[2]
ChancellorBaroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
Vice-ChancellorAndy Long
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; -1.6080
CampusUrban and suburban
ColoursUniversity: Black & white
Northumbria Sport:
Sporting affiliations
Northumbria Sport

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 38,300 students.[5]

According to the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, Northumbria University was rated 23rd 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] This determines how much funding is awarded to universities to spend on research activity and represented the largest percentage-point rise in market share since the previous exercise.[7] The annual income of the institution for 2022–23 was £338.3 million of which £16.4 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £340.2 million.[2]

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



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 incorporation of the City College of Education in 1974 and the Northern Counties College of Education in 1976.[8]

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.[citation needed]

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 was named the UK University of the Year 2022 by Times Higher Education. The award was given in recognition of Northumbria's transformation over more than a decade into a research-intensive modern institution. The judging panel stated "The scale of [Northumbria's] ambition, the rigour and effectiveness with which it has been pursued and its role in transforming lives and supporting its region all make it a deserving winner."[14]


Northumbria university's City Campus East.

United Kingdom

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.[15]

City Campus

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.[citation needed]

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

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,[16] which was a naval warehouse during World War II, and the Dental School of Newcastle University[citation needed] (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.[citation needed]

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 (4 km) 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]



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

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.[citation needed]

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

  • Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Business and Law
  • Faculty of Engineering and Environment
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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.[citation needed]

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[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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]



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.[citation needed]

Academic profile

National rankings
Complete (2025)[32]34
Guardian (2024)[33]38
Times / Sunday Times (2024)[34]49
Global rankings
ARWU (2023)[35]801–900
QS (2025)[36]535=
THE (2024)[37]501–600



Northumbria was one of the best performing universities in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, rising the highest number of places in a ranking of 'research power' by THE. The university climbed to 23rd place from 50th in 2014 and 80th in 2008.[38]

In the UK Research Assessment Exercise 2008 some research in nine of twelve areas submitted was described as "world-leading".[39] 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.[40]

Reputation and rankings

  • Northumbria was named UK University of the Year by Times Higher Education in November 2022.[41]
  • Northumbria University is in the top 25 for research power in the UK, according to the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, Times Higher Education REF2021 rankings.
  • Northumbria University is the top University in the North East for sustainability,[42] according to the People and Planet league table
  • Northumbria is one of the highest ranked UK universities in the Times Higher Education's Young Universities Rankings (2022-).[citation needed]

Student life

Sutherland Building main entrance.

Northumbria Students' Union[43] 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.


The Students' Union offers a range of student activities such as NSU/Community, NSU/Media (Which encompasses NSU/TV, 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

In 2016, Northumbria Students' Union received the National Union of Students award for Student Opportunities and runner up for the Education Award.[44]



Northumbria is considered one of the leading universities for Rugby League in the UK,[45] after being crowned BUCS National Champions in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022.[citation needed] In 2022 Northumbria entered 69 teams into BUCS, the highest number to date for the university.[citation needed]   

Sport Awards:

  • In 2014 Northumbria won the BUCS Most Improved University for Sport award[46] following a rise in the national ranking from 20th in 2010 to 8th in 2014 where they remained until 2017.
  • In 2017 Sport's Student Leadership and Workforce programme was recognised as the best in the country when awarded the BUCS Workforce Development programme of the year.[47]  

Sporting Alumni:

Northumbria has several world class sporting alumni[48] including Steve Cram CBE, Stephen Miller MBE, and Victoria Pendleton CBE.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

Notable alumni



Coat of arms of Northumbria University
Granted 9 November 1995.[75]
On a wreath Argent and Gules, a lion sejant affronty Or holding in the dexter forepaw a torch Azure enflamed Proper and supporting with the sinister forepaw a trident also Azure.
Per fess enarched and embattled Argent and Gules in chief two castles triple-towered also Gules and in base an open book Or.
On either side a sea-horse the head neck and forelegs Argent the piscine parts Bleu Céleste dorsally finned Or gorged with a mural crown Gules and supporting between the forelegs a trident erect Azure.
'Aetas Discendi'

The university states 'Northumbria's shield contains two triple-towered castles, representing the City of Newcastle upon Tyne, and an open book which represents learning. The arched line of battlements dividing the shield refers to the Roman Wall, a historic feature of Northumberland. Whilst the curve of the arch reflects the King George the Fifth Bridge over the River Tyne, more generally the bridge alludes to the university's role in the transmission of knowledge to, and strong links, with the society in which its located.'[76] The crest is a lion grasping a flaming torch which is an emblem of learning, also a trident as the emblem of the old god of the River Tyne. The supporters are seahorses referencing the arms of Newcastle upon Tyne but with the addition of crowns around their necks, alluding to the roman Wall and holding tridents of the River Tyne.[citation needed]

See also



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Further reading