Northumbria University History

Northumbria University Newcastle Logo

Northumbria University History

Northumbria University, officially the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, is a university located in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England. A former polytechnic, it was established as one of the new universities in 1992. It is a member of the University Alliance and the second university of Newcastle.

Northumbria University has its origins in three regional colleges: Rutherford College of Technology, which was established by John Hunter Rutherford in 1880 and opened formally by HRH The Duke of York in 1894, the College of Art & Industrial Design and the Municipal College of Commerce.

Newcastle Polytechnic

In 1969, these three institutions 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.

University status

In 1992, Newcastle Polytechnic was inaugurated as the new Northumbria University as part of the UK-wide 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) 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.

Campuses

City Campus East

The university has two large campuses. 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.

City Campus

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.

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.

The Sutherland Building
Sandyford Road site, opposite Newcastle Civic Centre

The Sutherland Building, formerly the Medical School of Durham University,which was a naval warehouse during World War II, and the Dental School of Durham University (1945–78) is the home of Administrative Departments including Finance & Planning and Human Resources, using the space vacated when the School of Law moved to City Campus East.

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.

Coach Lane

A second campus is located 2.6 miles (4 km) outside of Newcastle, on Coach Lane, and is known as the Coach Lane Campus 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 School of Health, Community and Education Studies. Coach Lane Campus has computing and library services; its own Students’ Union, and sports facilities, including indoor courts, a fitness suite, outdoor rugby and football pitches, and an all-weather floodlit pitch.  A free shuttle bus scheme runs between the two campuses.

London Campus

Northumbria University has a campus in Central London that was opened in 2014. This campus concentrates mainly on business courses offering postgraduate Master of Science degrees in Marketing, Financial Management and International management. The campus is located close to a number of underground stations such as Aldgate and Liverpool Street. Postgraduate students studying with Northumbria University at the London Campus can also gain an internship as part of their studies.

Organisation and structure

Burt Hall

Northumbria describes itself as a comprehensive university, offering 30 of Britain’s 32 most frequently chosen academic disciplines. It specialises in law and business, arts and design, computing, environmental science, built environment, applied healthcare, sports science and psychology, and teacher education.

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 School of Design in Newcastle upon Tyne also has a satellite campus in Islington, London.

Northumbria University employs more than 3,200 people and offers approximately 500 study 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

Northumbria University is international in its operations and reach, with programmes delivered in Newcastle upon Tyne, London and worldwide. Northumbria University recruits in Asia, with numbers of students studying degrees at partner institutions in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Seoul and elsewhere.