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Aberystwyth University

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Aberystwyth, West Wales

Main Campus:


Student Population:

8 100

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Art, Biological, Environment & Rural Sciences, Education and Lifelong Learning, English & Creative Writing, English Language, European Languages, Geography and Earth Sciences, History & Welsh History, Information Studies, International Politics, Law and Criminology, Management and Business, Mathematics & Physics, Psychology, Sport & Exercise Science, Theatre, Film & Television Studies, Welsh

Why Choose Aberystwyth University?

Aberystwyth was founded in 1872 as the first university institution in Wales. Its founders were driven by the determination that Wales should have excellent Higher Education, as good as anything found elsewhere in the United Kingdom. That tradition of access to academic excellence is still the driving force behind the University’s approach to teaching and learning.

With a long tradition of academic excellence, it now has more than 9,000 students studying in a stunning campus location overlooking Cardigan Bay. A number of renowned research facilities are located in the town, including the National Library of Wales. It has the largest and busiest arts centre in mid-Wales and a lively social scene.


Teaching Quality

Aberystwyth University is renowned for the quality of its teaching, which in underpinned by innovative research. The University strives to compete on a worldwide basis and produces work of the highest quality at international levels of excellence.

  • According to The Times Good University Guide 2011, Aberystwyth is fourth in the UK for Teaching and Learning.
  • The University has an excellent standard of teaching; its mission statement makes clear its intention to achieve excellence in all activities. In the national audit of teaching quality, 50% of Aberystwyth’s students rated the teaching as ‘Excellent’, the highest grade awarded. The University also has its own internal assessment programme which monitors the quality of teaching.
  • The following subject areas achieved the top rating of ‘Excellent’ in the Higher Education Funding Council’s teaching quality assessment exercise: Accounting & Finance / Biological Sciences / Celtic Studies / Economics / English / Environmental Earth Science.
  • The Department of International Politics was the first department of its kind in the world and was founded in 1919. It is now home to one of the largest graduate schools for International Relations in the world.
  • The Department of Computer Science was awarded top marks in its Quality Assurance Agency Subject Review covering the following areas: Computer Science / Internet Computing / Software Engineering.
  • Students are well supported by the staff and facilities of their chosen department and taught by academics who are at the cutting edge of research in such subject areas as: mapping the mineral composition of the moon by data from an X-ray camera in lunar orbit; working with politicians and diplomats to lay the ground for President Obama’s declared aim of progress towards nuclear zero; developing sustainable bio-fuels which can be grown on otherwise non-arable land.
  • The main University Campus sits alongside the impressive National Library of Wales which is one of the 5 great copyright libraries in Britain.  The Library has received a copy of everything published in the UK for over a century, and provides students with access to over 6 million volumes and collections.
  • The University’s own libraries are modern, well-equipped, and seat over 1,300 readers. The library staff are experts in their field and there will always be someone on-hand to help students find that obscure resource.
  • Both in the libraries and around campus, the University is well served by the latest computing facilities. Over 900 PCs are available, many with 24 hour access, giving students the chance work at times which are best for them. There is extensive wireless coverage on campus to work and study in more relaxed and informal manner.
  • Courses are structured to be flexible and respond to the needs of students.


Research Quality

There is world leading research at Aberystwyth University. Academic researchers produce high quality research, which is internationally acknowledged, and responds to intellectual, cultural, social and economic needs.

  • The University has a high academic reputation based on over 130 years excellence in teaching and research. 85% of research at Aberystwyth University is of international standard or better, with “world leading” research in 15 of the 16 subject areas according to the Research Assessment Exercise 2008.
  • Aberystwyth University is now second in Wales for quality of research and 41st out of 119 in the UK according to the Research Fortnight RAE 2008 Quality Index of University Research.
  • Five academic departments (1 in 3 of submissions) had over 60% of their research activity rated 4* (world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour) or 3* (internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour).
  • 40% of research submitted by the Department of International Politics is rated 4*, placing the Department in the top 3 in the UK.
  • 70% of research submitted by the Department of Computer Science rated 4* or 3*.
  • 65% of research submitted by the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences and the Department of Welsh is rated 4* or 3*.
  • 60% of research submitted by the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies is rated 4* or 3*.
  • The expertise of six members of staff at Aberystwyth University was recognised by their selection on to RAE 2008 subject panels. They were Professor Ross King (Computer Science and Informatics), Professor David Ellis (Library and Information Management), Professor Ken Booth (Politics and International Studies), Professor Tim Woods (American Studies and Anglophone Area Studies), Professor Aled Jones (History), and Professor Martin Barker (Communication, Cultural and Media Studies).
  • The Department of Computer Science isNo.1 in the UK for student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2010) and No.1 in Wales for research. It has highly rated, world-class research in: Advanced Reasoning/ Computational Biology/ Intelligent Robotics/ Vision Graphics and Visualisation.
  • The University has an expanding postgraduate community which is, however, still small enough to be close-knit, and which benefits from an easy working relationship with staff who operate an ‘open access’ policy.
  • Postgraduate courses at Aberystwyth University are based on some of the UK's leading research in fields as diverse as Celtic Studies and Space Robotics. There is state-of-the art Distance Learning in Information Studies and Law and the University has one of only thirty AMBA-accredited Management and Business Schools in Britain.
  • Aberystwyth offers an excellent range of accredited Research Training Master's degrees in the Arts and the Humanities and Research Preparation Degrees in Science and the Social Sciences.
  • The Centre for European Studies is a cross-departmental and multi-disciplinary research-led learning centre focusing on the study of further European integration and Europe’s relations with the outside world.
  • The Department of History and Welsh History was established in 1872 and is recognised as one of the foremost history departments in Britain. The research interests of its staff extend across the full chronological and geographical range from the Roman period to contemporary political issues, and from Wales and Britain to America, France, and Russia.  Aberystwyth is proud to maintain its long standing position as the leading centre of teaching and research in Welsh history from the medieval period to the present day.
  • The Department of Information Studies covers research activity clusters around issues in relation to the ability of individuals, organisations, and societies to obtain, manage, organise and retrieve information and knowledge in an increasingly complex and diverse Digital Age. Contemporary issues relate to intellectual property, cultural memory and identity, and communication and creativity in a digital age.
  • The Department of International Politics has a reputation for research excellence is indicated by the results of the 2008 Research Excellence Exercise, which ranks Aberystwyth first among all international relations departments in the UK. The Department of International Politics is home to an outstandingly talented group of scholars who regularly publish in leading journals and the world’s finest presses.  They are also active participants in major conferences throughout the world, helping to shape the direction of the field and to understanding the most urgent problems of contemporary international relations.
  • The Department of Law and Criminology is committed to and engages in research activity of international quality in a number of areas of Law and Criminology.  This research is carried out by academic staff and a cohort of postgraduate research students, who together comprise an active and vibrant research community.
  • The School of Art is ranked No. 1 in Wales and No. 8 in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2012). Research at the School of Art falls into two areas: fine art practice (painting, photography, printmaking, illustration, contemporary drawing, multi- and time-based media) and the study of art and visual culture and its presentation.



Studying at Aberystwyth for international students is an opportunity not to be missed. A friendly welcome, great student satisfaction and a superb high-quality learning environment in a beautiful location on the west coast of Wales.

  • While the University remains an important facility for the Welsh nation, over two-thirds of its students are from outside Wales. Students from over 100 countries around the world are attracted to Aberystwyth’s unique academic community. This makes it a far more diverse university than the average Welsh university.
  • Aberystwyth University is committed to the view that international collaborations, and the presence in Aberystwyth of a diverse range of international students, strengthens the University’s academic profile, enriches the student experience and makes a positive cultural and economic contribution to the broader community.
  • Aberystwyth has a long history of international engagement. It has developed strong international links over many decades, both in research and teaching, across a wide span of the curriculum.
  • The University’s International English Centre(IEC) runs a number of courses to improve the English Language competency of international students for whom English is a second or foreign language including an International Foundation programme, a pre-Masters course, year-round English courses, and summer and pre-sessional courses. The IEC also runs a number of teacher training programmes for aspiring teachers of English as a Foreign Language.All of the fee-paying English Language courses are accredited by the British Council under the Accreditation UK scheme.
  • There are up to 15 International Excellence Undergraduate Scholarships worth £2,000 a year, available each year for international students applying to study a full degree.
  • 70 International Excellence Postgraduate Scholarships are also available worth £2,000 for students achieving the equivalent of UK 2.1 degree or £3,000 for students achieving the equivalent of UK 1st class degree.


Student Satisfaction

“Probably the best place in the world to be a student.” i-graduate survey 2010

  • The University was voted fourth in the UK for student satisfaction, and top in Wales, (the National Student Survey 2011).
  • At Aberystwyth students are part of a cosmopolitan community and enjoy the experience of studying with people from around the world. The intimate size and friendliness of the town adds to this feeling of academic camaraderie.  Students are from all kinds of social backgrounds.
  • Aberystwyth University has a very high level of student satisfaction according to the International Student Barometer. In the 2010 report, Aberystwyth ranked number 1 of 123 Higher Education institutions worldwide for the elements ‘good place to be’ and ‘overall student satisfaction’.   The International Student Barometer is the largest annual survey of students and has gathered information from more than 600,000 students worldwide since its establishment in 2005. It incorporates over 500 institutions on 5 continents.
  • Aberystwyth University performed exceptionally well in all aspects of a student’s experience.  From the initial welcome on their first weekend, through to the teaching and learning facilities and academic support, students at Aberystwyth reported that the quality of the academic experience available to them was amongst the very best.
  • The National Student Satisfaction Surveyand The Times rated the University in the top 10 for its high level of Student Satisfaction.
  • The MSN website voted the University in the UK’s top 10 of University towns and cities. A University’s completion rate is the proportion of its students who complete the degree they started. At 87.5%,statistically, Aberystwyth has one of the lowest dropout rates of any university in the UK.
  • The University values its students’ views very highly and each department circulates questionnaires to students to gain their opinions on a wide variety of issues ranging from the course syllabus to the quality of lecturers. Internal procedures ensure that steps are taken to resolve any problems highlighted in these questionnaires. Students will also be represented on many of the University’s important committees. Each Department has a Staff-Student Consultative Committee through which their views will have a direct input into the department’s teaching.


Employable Graduates

The University aims to maintain close partnerships with private and public sector employers and to respond to the changing needs of society for skilled, educated and employable graduates, equipping graduates with the high level skills and flexibility required in a rapidly changing knowledge economy and contributing to both regional and national wealth creation and economic development.

  • The University seeks to develop in its graduates and postgraduates an ability to respond analytically, critically and creatively to a variety of situations and experiences, and to equip them with the academic and transferable skills to enable them to succeed and to continue learning beyond graduation.
  • The employment prospects of Aberystwyth graduates are excellent.  85% of Aberystwyth graduates are in employment and/or further study 6 months after graduation.
  • Aberystwyth has the highest percentage of students expected to complete their courses within normal time and has one of the lowest dropout rates.
  • Throughout a student’s studies at Aberystwyth they will be given the opportunity to acquire abilities that will help them in the world of work. These transferable skills include communication, computing and presentational skills.  Skills are taught as part of their general degree scheme and many departments offer distinct professional skills modules.
  • Aberystwyth University is committed, through its employability strategy, to providing opportunities for students to enhance their employability - and these skills and attributes will be developed not only through the content of their chosen programme of study but also the methods of learning, teaching and assessment adopted by a department.
  • Important, too, will be any paid or voluntary work that a student undertakes and their involvement in extra and co-curricular activities – also their willingness to reflect on what they have done and where they are heading. A student’s time at Aberystwyth will provide them with countless opportunities to enhance their skill-set for employability, but it is up to each student to make the most of them. The University has introduced an on-line personal development planning (PDP) tool to develop a student’s awareness of the skills learnt at university and elsewhere. Run by the department, it will give every student an opportunity to look back at their progress and also to set objectives for the future. PDP is supported by an employability and careers education programme which focuses on personal development and career management skills – lectures and workshops are scheduled into, and tailored to, all undergraduate courses.
  • As well as these departmental sessions, the Careers Service runs a central Employability Events Programme each term to help identify, develop and articulate a student’s skills, as well as a series of employer presentations to give first-hand information about possible career areas, graduate employment and work experience opportunities. Some departments also organise subject-related employer and alumni presentations.


Variety of Courses

The University has a wide and attractive portfolio of subjects, all of which are delivered through quality teaching and involved in innovative research.

  • Aberystwyth University aims to provide a high quality learning environment which involves students at all levels in an active and transforming learning experience.
  • Aberystwyth University has 17 departments across 3 academic faculties.
  • Aberystwyth has a wide range of interesting undergraduate university courses to choose from, all of which have been designed around today's modern university student. The University offers an extensive variety of single honours, joint honours and major/minor programmes in across its academic departments: Art; Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS);  Computer Science;  Education & Lifelong Learning; English Language; European Studies; Geography & Earth Sciences; History & Welsh History;  Information Studies; International Politics; Law & Criminology;  Management & Business; Mathematics & Physics; Psychology; Sport & Exercise Science; Theatre, Film & Television Studies; Welsh. The University also offers extensive provision of Masters, MPhil and PhD programmes across all the university departments.



Aberystwyth University is set in beautiful unspoilt scenery on the shores of Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales, in the UK. The beach has consistently been awarded the EU blue flag for cleanliness and the landscape, flora and fauna in the Aberystwyth area are quite outstanding. Several sites of special scientific interest are close to the University and Red Kites regularly fly over the campuses and bottlenosed dolphins can be seen offshore

The town and surrounding area provides a wide range of recreational activities and great days out. As a major tourist centre, Aberystwyth has a wealth of restaurants and good places to eat and plenty of general activities and facilities.  Aberystwyth is chic and modern. All of the pubs and clubs in town offer a warm welcome to students; and most student clubs and societies organise regular social evenings, which provide a fantastic way of making new friends. Aberystwyth has a good number of shops and offers a unique retail experience where lots of independent shops hold their own against the high street giants. There are several clothes shops with a great selection of brands and one offs and some great vintage treasure chests to rummage through. There are specialist shops for cheese, organic produce, coffee, chocolate, sweets, seafood, oriental cuisine, spices and local meat. A number of large supermarkets are also based in Aberystwyth.

The award winning Arts Centre on campus hosts performances from most major national and international touring companies, as well as producing its own in-house productions. Performances are presented in the Centre’s 1,200 seat concert hall, 320 seat theatre and in the more intimate studio, whilst the exhibition programme focuses on the very best in contemporary art.  The Arts Centre offers a comprehensive range of musical performances ranging from classical to blues, jazz to rock and roll, pop and electronic music. The Arts Centre cinema has full 3D technology and also streams live performances from around the globe alongside its film programme. It also shows art-house and foreign-language films as well as new releases. It hosts a number of film festivals, in which students are encouraged to get involved. Aberystwyth really does have something for everyone.

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