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Kingston University

Kingston University
Established 1992 – gained University Status
1899 – Kingston Technical Institute
Type Public
Endowment £2.0 m[1]
Chancellor Bonnie Greer[2]
Vice-Chancellor Julius Weinberg[3]
Students 23,105[4] (December 2012)
Undergraduates 18,899[4]
Postgraduates 4,206[4]
Location Kingston upon Thames, London, England, United Kingdom
Campus Urban
Colours Blue and Black          
Affiliations Million+, University Alliance
Logo of Kingston University

Kingston University (informally Kingston or KUL; formerly styled Kingston University London) is a public research university located in Kingston upon Thames, southwest London, United Kingdom. It was originally founded in 1899 and became a university in 1992.

Campuses are located in Kingston and Roehampton. There is a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate work spread across five faculties, as well as some further education provisions.


  • History 1
  • Campuses 2
    • Penrhyn Road 2.1
    • Kingston Hill 2.2
    • Knights Park 2.3
    • Roehampton Vale 2.4
    • Other locations 2.5
  • Academics 3
    • Faculties 3.1
      • Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture 3.1.1
      • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 3.1.2
      • Faculty of Business and Law 3.1.3
      • Faculty of Health and Social Care and Education 3.1.4
      • Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing 3.1.5
        • Galleries
    • Rankings and Reputation 3.2
    • Research 3.3
  • Student life 4
    • Students' Union 4.1
    • Halls of residence 4.2
  • Controversies 5
    • National Student Survey exaggeration 5.1
    • External examiner controversy 5.2
    • Closure of the School of Planning and Surveying protests 5.3
  • Notable people 6
    • Notable faculty and staff 6.1
    • Notable alumni 6.2
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Kingston was founded as Kingston Technical Institute in 1899. In 1930 the Kingston School of Art separated, later to become Kingston College of Art. Kingston was recognised as a Regional College of Technology by Ministry of Education in 1957. In 1970 it merged again with the College of Art to become Kingston Polytechnic, offering 34 major courses, of which 17 were at degree level.[5]

Kingston University was granted university status under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. In 1993, Kingston opened the Roehampton Vale campus building and in 1995, Kingston acquired Dorich House.


Penrhyn Road

Main building, Penrhyn Road campus

This is the main university campus located close to Kingston town centre. In addition to teaching facilities, it has a library, health centre and canteen. Students based here study: Arts and Social Sciences, Civil Engineering, Surveying and Planning, Computing and Information Systems and Mathematics, Earth Sciences and Geography, Statistics, Biosciences, Pharmacy, Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science, and Radiography. Recent development at this site has seen an extension to the current Learning Resources Centre. Massive construction projects took place and recently a new modern building in memory of John Galsworthy was finished. Across the road is the Reg Bailey Theatre with a stage area used by drama and dance students.

The site also features Kingston University Students' Union (KUSU), which is next door to Penrhyn Road's Student Union bar, The Space Bar. Penrhyn Road also houses the recently refurbished Fitness Centre. A short walk from the campus is Cooper House, also known as the Student Information and Advice Centre, which houses a number of student services and administration departments.

Kingston Hill

Kingston Hill campus, Kingston University

This campus underwent a major redevelopment in 1997. With its own halls and numerous car parks (including the main seven-storey car park) Kingston Hill mainly caters to Nursing, Law, Education, Business, Music, Health and Social Sciences. Located near the top of Kingston Hill, it connects to the other campus sites by use of a free university bus service. Before 1989, this campus was known as Gipsy Hill.

The music department is situated in Coombehurst House, which was once owned by Florence Nightingale's aunt and uncle. Nightingale was a frequent visitor to the house and the new Learning Resource Centre on Kingston Hill was named the Nightingale Centre after her.[6]

The Business School moved to a new building on the Kingston Hill Campus in 2012,[7] the year Ed McKeever, one of its alumni, won a gold medal at the London Olympics.

Following an introduction through the Board of Governors, Kingston University rescued Dorich House (a Grade II listed building[8]) and its art collections from dereliction in 1993 and the newly restored building was opened in 1996. Once the home to internationally acclaimed Estonian Sculptor Dora Gordine and the Hon. Richard Hare, the house became a museum in 2004.[9]

Knights Park

Knights Park campus

This campus, located on Grange Road, close to Penrhyn Road, is the home of the University's Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, and provides undergraduate courses in Architecture, Art & Design History, Interior Design, Product & Furniture, Graphic Design, Filmmaking, Photography, Illustration & Animation, Fine Art and Fashion amongst others. The facility also features a student bar, café and arts library. The building is on the River [10]

Roehampton Vale

The Roehampton Vale campus is based on Friars Avenue, on the outskirts of Kingston. Students studying all Engineering courses (except for Civil Engineering) are based here. Facilities on site include a wind tunnel, engineering workshops, flight simulator, a flying condition Learjet-200 plus automotive and aeronautical learning resources. Recent development at this site has seen the opening of the Hawker Wing, providing further teaching space.

Other locations

In addition to the four main campuses are three administration buildings: Cooper House near the Penrhyn Road Campus, Millennium House and River House in Kingston town centre – the latter is so named as it is overlooks the River Thames and includes the office of the Vice-Chancellor.



Teaching and research are organised in five faculties.

Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

Based at the Knights Park campus, the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture can be traced back to the original School of Art in Kingston which was founded in the 1890s. It separated from the Technical College, moved to Knights Park in 1939, and became Kingston College of Art in 1945. The College of Art merged back with the Technical College to form Kingston Polytechnic in 1970.[11]

The faculty delivers both Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes of study across the following schools – Architecture & Landscape, Art & Design History, Fine Art, Surveying & Planning, 3D Design and Communication Design. The Faculty also has a school of Foundation Studies which delivers the BTEC Foundation in Art and Design which prepares undergraduate students for entry into honours degree Art and Design programmes.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Primarily based at the Penrhyn Road campus, although as part of a restructure in 2005, the faculty also incorporates the now former School of Music and the School of Education which are both based at the Kingston Hill Campus.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Masters by Research (MA) degrees can be undertaken in any of the following areas – Drama, Dance, Creative Writing, Criminology, Economics, Education, English Literature, European Studies, Film Studies, History, Human Rights, Journalism, Linguistics and Languages, Media, Music, Politics, Psychology, Sociology. Kingston's MFA in Creative Writing was the first of its kind in the UK. The Faculty also offers a Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing as well as a Low Residency MA CW.

The Faculty is home to the London Graduate School, The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, the Practice Research Unit, The Institute of Social Science, Cultural Histories @ Kingston, and the Kingston Writing School.

The Faculty also operates Kingston University Press.

Faculty of Business and Law

Based at the Kingston Hill campus and incorporating the Kingston University Business School and Kingston Law School. The Faculty is home to almost 5,000 students.

The Faculty of Business and Law offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as executive education in the five following groupings: Law, Accounting Finance and Banking, Informatics and Operations Management / Business, Information Technology, Leadership, Human Resources and Organisation and Strategy, Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

The faculty also offers PhD and DBA research degrees in addition to its MBA programme. The Business School was the first in the world to receive AMBA accreditation for its MBA, DBA and Masters in Business Management. Other accreditations include the Law Society, the Bar Council, CIMA, CIPD.

Faculty of Health and Social Care and Education

A collaboration with Tooting, and Kingston Hill (KH) and Penrhyn Road (PR) at Kingston University. Subjects offered include all branches of Nursing (KH), Midwifery (KH), Paramedic Sciences (SGUL), Physiotherapy (SGUL), Diagnostic Radiography (PR), Therapeutic Radiography (PR) and Social Work (KH), along with postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development courses for those already employed in the healthcare profession. The School of Education joined the Faculty in 2012.[12]

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing

The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing was formed in summer 2011. The Faculty is composed of eight schools: Aerospace and Aircraft Engineering; Civil Engineering and Construction; Computing and Information Systems; Geography, Geology and Environment; Life Sciences; Mathematics; Mechanical and Automotive Engineering; and Pharmacy and Chemistry.

The School of Geography, Geology and the Environment hosts Geographical Information Systems (GIS), which was the very first degree of its kind.

The Faculty's teaching is split between undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Facilities at the Roehampton Vale campus including a Learjet 25, flight simulator, wind tunnel and automotive workshops including a range of vehicles and testing facilities.


The Stanley Picker Gallery[10] is the Faculty's exhibition space which is now used to present a variety of research-based projects, fellowships and exhibitions.

In 2003, the Stanley Picker Gallery gave birth to transitstation,[13] which was created/curated by Stanley Picker Fellow Dagmar Glausnitzer-Smith,[14][15] and the then gallery curator Charles Ryder.

In 2003, The Director of Foundation Studies in Art and Design, Paul Stafford, converted a run-down public convenience in Kingston town centre into The Toilet Gallery.[16]

Kingston University also runs Dorich House[17] which houses a huge collection of sculptor Dora Gordine's work, plus fine examples of Russian Imperial art and furniture. Dorich House is also used as meeting and conference venue.

Rankings and Reputation


The Faculty of Arts & Design runs a number of research centres:

  • Contemporary Art Research Centre ("CARC")
  • Colour Design Research Centre
  • Screen Design Research Centre
  • Modern Interiors Research Design[18]
  • Sustainable Design Research Centre[19]
  • Centre for the Contemporary Visual & Material Culture
  • Curating Contemporary Design Research Group
  • Real Estate Research Group
  • Fashion Industry Research Centre

The Faculty of Business & Law has a number of specialist research units which cover the principal business disciplines. These research units include: Asia Business Research Centre, Business-to-Business Marketing Research Centre, Centre for Insolvency Law and Policy, Centre for Working Life Research, Consumer Research Unit, Marketing in New Contexts Group, Small Business Research Centre, Centre for Research in Employment, Skills & Society, Institute of Leadership & Management in Health.

The School of Computing and Information Systems research interests are spread across a wide range of topics, from emerging wireless and network technologies for healthcare, computationally intensive computer vision to computer-based learning technologies and networking. Research activities are organised into smaller research groups and larger research centres. The three current research centres are:

  • Digital Imaging Research Centre (DIRC)[20]
  • Mobile Information Networking Technologies (MINT)[21]
  • The Mobile Information Engineering and E-Med Systems group,[22] is part of the MINT Research centre. It conducts research in the areas of bio-information systems and the application of emerging mobile and network technologies for health care systems. The group is active both nationally and internationally. The group brings together clinicians, engineers, and scientists in information and communication technologies for medicine and solutions to health care problems.

The Schools within Engineering places emphasis on commercially useful research with significant funding from external bodies. The faculty has three research centres –

  • Aerospace Research Group [23]
  • Centre for Fire and Explosion Studies[24]
  • Sustainable Technology Research Centre [25]

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has a number of successful, active research areas, most notably English Literature and Language, including Creative Writing; History, Politics, Philosophy, Drama and Psychology.

Student life

Students' Union

Kingston University Students' Union (KUSU) is a charitable organisation in place primarily to represent the student body and provide services and activities beneficial to that body. They are a student union in the mearning of the term given in the Education Act 1994 and whilst independent of the university are funded by a compulsory block grant from them.

The main offices are housed on the Penrhyn Road campus along with the 'Space' bar and the Penrhyn Road Students' Union shop. From their head office Kingston University Students' Union represents student views to the University through membership on university committees and the board of governors.

They also support students to enhance their experience at university through sports, societies and volunteering. Over 30 sports clubs and 70 societies are operated by KUSU and the volunteering department is the largest supplier of volunteers for the Royal Borough of Kingston. KUSU also offers independent advice (including Citizens' Advice) and representation through their Student Support services. They can advise on a range of issues from Housing to Academic Misconduct. This department also delivers a course rep system to the university's 26,000

KUSU runs 3 bars and 2 shops and the money is reinvested in the student benefit. Hannafords bar is located on Kingston Hill along with the Kingston Hill shop. Penrhyn Road is host to the space bar, KUSU's largest venue and the penrhyn road shop. Knights Park boasts a popular bar set on the bank of the Hogsmill river.

The Students' Union is run by an executive committee composed of mostly part-time officers. The four full-time elected officers take a sabbatical year to work full-time for the Students' Union as President, Vice President Education, Vice President Activities and Vice President Communications.

Elections are held every year to elect a new executive committee and KUSU is in the process of registering as a charity.

Halls of residence

The University has six halls of residence. Chancellors' and Walkden are based at the Kingston Hill campus. Middle Mill is adjacent to Knights Park campus, while Clayhill and Seething Wells are on opposite sides of Surbiton. Finally, there is Kingston Bridge House which is situated on the edge of Bushy Park at the Hampton Wick end of Kingston Bridge, London.

There are also contracted out halls of residence which are not owned by the university but licensed by them. IQ Wave halls were contracted due to Rennie being demolished to make way for a new education building at Kingston Hill.

The university operates a "headed tenancy" scheme in which the university sublets local properties to students from landlords.


National Student Survey exaggeration

In 2008, an audio recording[26][27][28] obtained by student media included two psychology lecturers asking students to inflate their graded opinions given as part of the National Student Survey.[29] One member of staff was recorded as encouraging students to boost specific satisfaction scores, because "if Kingston comes down the bottom [of the league tables], then the bottom line is that nobody is going to want to employ you because they are going to think your degree is shit".[29][30] In response, Vice-Chancellor Peter Scott [31][32] confirmed that the recording was genuine but added that he believed that the incident was an isolated one.[33] In July 2008, the Higher Education Funding Council of England removed the University's Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from the League Tables for the year as its sanction for having fraudulently manipulated the National Student Survey results.[34]

External examiner controversy

In 2008, the BBC obtained e-mails circulated within Kingston's School of Music, relating to the opinions of an external examiner moderating the BMus course.[35] The messages showed that her final report caused considerable concern within the department. The examiner was persuaded to moderate her criticism following contact from a member of the University's staff. The e-mails also detailed a plan to replace her (at the end of her term) with a more experienced and broad-based external examiner, a process which Kingston stressed breaks no rules relating to the appointment of such examiners.[35] In October 2008, Peter Williams, Chief Executive of the UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), presented the agency's findings to a Parliamentary Select Committee charged with investigating standards in British higher education. Following an investigation of the allegations by a former University staff member that undue pressure was applied to the School of Music's External Examiner, QAA upheld all charges of wrongdoing, as alleged.[36][37][38]

Closure of the School of Planning and Surveying protests

On 19 February 2014, the university announced the closure of the School of Planning and Surveying at Kingston University. Under the proposals 14 out of 19 teaching jobs were to be axed and 18 first and second year students would lose their places. Six degree programmes, including planning and historic conservation courses, would cease to exist at the end of that academic year, while surveying and other courses would move to other university departments. The following day, the head of the School of Planning and Surveying, Sarah Sayce, sent an email to students in her department explaining the circumstances and asking them to rally against the closure.[39] She was subsequently suspended by the university. At the "Big Student Meeting" of 27 February following her dismissal, students clashed with the Vice Chancellor over the proposed closure and the suspension of Sayce.[40][41][42][43]

Notable people

Notable faculty and staff

Notable alumni


  1. ^
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  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^
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  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^ Kingston University. Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education
  13. ^
  14. ^
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  18. ^
  19. ^ [2]
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  29. ^ a b
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  34. ^
  35. ^ a b
  36. ^
  37. ^ [3]
  38. ^
  39. ^ Philippidis, Eliza (27 February 2014). "Prof Kicked Off Campus". The River (Kingston University student newspaper)
  40. ^ Sharman, Jon (21 February 2014). "Students 'could lose places' in proposed planning and surveying department closure". Surrey Comet
  41. ^ Sharman, Jon (21 February 2014). "Poor recruitment figures could cost 18 Kingston University students their places if School of Surveying and Planning closed, vice-chancellor says". Surrey Comet
  42. ^ Sharman, Jon (25 February 2014). "Kingston University academic suspended after 'trying to rally students against plans to close' School of Planning and Surveying". Surrey Comet
  43. ^ Medem, Ines (27 February 2014). Big Student Meeting "Anarchy in the KU: Vice Chancellor clashes with students over axed department". The River (Kingston University student newspaper)
  44. ^
  45. ^ a b
  46. ^ Unattributed, "Anya Gallaccio," British Council - online biography, retrieved, 22 August 2011
  47. ^ Ian MacDonald, "Preface to the First Revised Edition." In MacDonald, Revolution in the Head (London: Vintage, 2005), p. xix.

External links

  • Kingston University – Official Website
  • Kingston University Students' Union
  • Kingston University Student News Website
  • by Prof. Michael GibsonA History of Kingston University.

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