The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is one of the largest universities in the UK with a student and staff community approaching 40,000, over 500 undergraduate courses and approximately 180 taught postgraduate programmes.
Located at the heart of Preston - the UK’s newest city - UCLan was founded in 1828 as the ‘Institute for the Diffusion of Knowledge’ and awarded university status in 1992. UCLan has further campuses at Westlakes in West Cumbria (nuclear and energy related research programmes); Llangollen in North Wales (outdoor education); Burnley in Lancashire, and a purpose-built International campus in Cyprus, the newest campus which opened in 2012.
UCLan has an established reputation for providing students with a superlative student experience. In the 2012 National Student Survey, UCLan gained top ten satisfaction ratings for Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy, Physical Geography and Environmental Science, Business Studies, Management Studies and Subjects allied to Medicine.
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, all 17 UCLan subject areas were rated as containing research of international excellence while 11 areas were identified to be undertaking ‘world-leading’ research.
In recent years UCLan has invested over £100 million on new buildings and facilities to enhance teaching, learning and leisure activities. New facilities opened in 2011 include the £13 million Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre and the JB Firth building, a £12.5 million facility to house the University’s renowned forensic science, chemistry and fire courses.
Other landmark facilities include the opening of a new School of Dentistry in 2007 - the first School of Dentistry to open in the UK for over a century and only the second to open in England for over 100 years.
The University has invested over £15 million in a ‘Media Factory’, which incorporates state-of-the-art facilities for digital media and performing arts students and business incubator facilities. The University also boasts the largest 3D lecture theatre in Europe which is used for teaching purposes across the academic portfolio.
The aim of all these facilities is to attract students from a broad range of backgrounds who are looking for a combination of academic excellence combined with innovation, research-informed teaching and real world practicality.
In 2012, UCLan launched the ‘UCLan Advantage’, a package of benefits for students that includes the guarantee of structured work experience opportunities for all students who request it, together with a guarantee of a global experience, or the opportunity to study abroad, to every interested student.
UCLan’s commitment to international collaboration has seen it develop offices in China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nigeria and India. In China, the University has built up strong academic partnerships for over 20 years. UCLan has students from over 120 countries and some 125 partnerships across the globe. Over 6,000 of UCLan’s 36,000 students are on courses offered through partnership arrangements.
UCLan is committed to ensuring its students compete in a global marketplace when they graduate, and provides opportunities to study abroad as part of their degree. UCLan’s Travel Bursaries have been taken up by UCLan students keen to experience an overseas work placement or study period. Its global citizens of the future have travelled to locations as far afield as Argentina, Peru, South Africa and Vietnam. All students are also offered the opportunity to study a range of world languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian.
The School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences is proud to have developed a strong partnership with the Maasai Centre - a non-profit, community-built facility in southern Kenya, in the foothills of Kilimanjaro. Each year, UCLan runs a fieldtrip to the Maasai Centre where students consider a wide range of themes from the management of wildlife to Maasai socio-economic systems and cultural change.
A commitment to research excellence underpins everything we do. An international team led by UCLan has recently discovered the largest known structure in the universe, and in a world first, has worked closely with NASA to investigate, store, manage and ultimately share the images produced by the space agency’s new solar observing satellite - the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
It is the real-world influence of UCLan research which is particularly impressive. For example, Dr Charlie Frowd’s EvoFIT software system, used by police forces around the world to catch criminals, won the recent University Excellence Competition category at the UK Trade and Investment event TechWorld and was also shortlisted within the ‘Research Project of the Year’ category at the 2011 Times Higher Education awards.
The University has also opened a base in China’s Shenzhen Virtual University Park, where a team is conducting world-leading research in nano technology. UCLan has acquired a parallel-processing supercomputer which provides an excellent base for modern physics research. As a part of the Centre for Materials Science, the Computational Physics Lab focuses on a new technological area - nano-structured soft materials and biologically inspired materials.
The 2012 Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey acknowledged UCLan as one of the country’s most entrepreneurial and business friendly universities. The University came top in the North West and third in the UK for generating student start-up businesses.
The University’s ‘Futures’ centre brings together an array of services aimed at boosting students’ employability and enterprise skills. Many of UCLan’s courses are accredited by professional and statutory bodies and include employability features such as live projects, work experience and workplace learning. As a result of close links with a huge range of employers including BAE Systems, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Cisco, the NHS, BNFL and NASA, visitors from industry contribute to career development activity while students can undertake short-term internships and longer term work placements to gain essential work experience and enhance employability skills.
Sport plays a major part in life at UCLan and the University was officially named as a training camp for athletes from 15 Pacific countries in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games. UCLan was also a host venue for the 2012 Corporate Games and was chosen as the only UK University to act as an official training venue for the Rugby League World Cup in 2013.