While it is the iconic home of the University of London, there is much more to be said about the University than tales of Senate House.
The University of London received its first Royal Charter in 1836. The first secular university. It was also the first university to admit women in 1868.
It was established to conduct examinations and award degrees to bridge the divide between the godless UCL and the god-fearing KCL. Now it’s a federation of 17 member institutions, formerly known as colleges, which are considered world class universities in their own right. Our most recent member is City, University of London, which joined us in 2016.
Over the centuries the University of London has taken different roles, always focused on enabling access to high quality education at an affordable price point to people from around the world.
The University’s distance learning programme was founded in 1858. So distanced education isn’t a new-fangled idea to us but a well-proven approach that has demonstrated its value to students who would not otherwise have had the opportunity.
Today, we have more than 50,000 students studying a wide range of programmes in 190 countries. With academic direction provided by the Member Institutes, the central university designs and delivers online programmes, provides student services, assessments and works with 120 recognised teaching centres around the world.
This education model has been a signature for the success of the University of London programmes, particularly for undergraduates (UG), who can take our degrees online and receive additional academic support from a local Teaching Centre.
Over the years we have been invited to offer programmes and develop universities in Canada, Mauritius, Tasmania, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Singapore, Trinidad. We can – and regularly do – point to a legacy of institution and capacity building.
We are incredibly proud of our students – who include DH Lawrence, HG Wells, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela, (though he wasn’t allowed to graduate from where he studied, in prison). And during the Second World War, some 2,000 prisoners of war studied degrees and took University of London examinations, enabled by the Red Cross.
We have students today in the Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran, Hong Kong. Our student based in Antarctica just recently graduated.
Typically our students are studying part-time, self-funded and juggling many personal and professional responsibilities. Each graduate has their struggle.
The world of transnational education and online education is changing rapidly, accelerated by the pandemic and fuelled by a number of major private sector providers.
Our strategy commits the university to maintaining and growing our position as the UK’s leading higher education provider, working with our member institutes.