Introduction to Aberystwyth University

Located on the west coast of Wales, Aberystwyth University is a leading UK provider of Higher Education, and a popular location for students from all over the world. In September 2017, Aberystwyth University was named University of the Year for Teaching Quality in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. On overall student satisfaction, Aberystwyth was ranked the best in Wales and one of the UK’s top five mainstream universities in the 2017 NSS.

The Old Collage

The University was established in 1872 and housed at the Old College, on Aberystwyth seafront.

In the nineteenth century, the campaign to establish Aberystwyth University was led by Hugh Owen, a London Welshman, who sought from the 1850s onwards to raise enough money by public and private subscription to establish a college of university status in Wales. It was almost an impossible ambition. Yet, in 1872, the University was opened in a half-finished hotel building on the sea front in Aberystwyth. There were 26 students and a teaching staff of three!

The first dozen or so years of the University’s existence were a desperate struggle for survival. The generosity of a few individual beneficiaries, and organised appeals for support from the ordinary people of Wales, kept the University in being, and, perhaps more importantly, deeply rooted it in the affection of the Welsh people. A matter of considerable pride is that the University has made a significant contribution to the education of women, being one of the first institutions to admit female students.

From the 1960s some departments relocated from the seafront to the modern, purpose-built Penglais campus. This finely landscaped site enjoys spectacular views over the town of Aberystwyth and the sea. New buildings, including major arts and science developments, halls of residence, a magnificent Arts Centre and first rate sports facilities are located here. 

There are also plans to transform the Grade 1 listed Old College in time for the university’s 150th anniversary in 2022. Work is now underway to develop plans for the building as a performance and gallery space for artists, exhibitions and musicians, a centre for entrepreneurs and new businesses, as well as café and community rooms. It will also house a university museum to display a wealth of artefacts from across the institution’s collections, and a new science centre will showcase cutting edge interactive displays alongside a planetarium and 4D facility, highlighting the university’s links with the European Space Agency.

In September, 2012, the School of Education relocated from the Old College to the Penglais Campus, now located in a purpose build building at Penbryn P5. Since the introduction of the Student Led Teaching Awards in 2011-12, the School of Education has been awarded the accolade of Department of the Year twice, in 2012-13 and 2015-16, and Highly Commended in 2013/14.

Since being formed in 1892, the School of Education is celebrating 125 years in Teacher Education and Training.

The School of Education - Penbryn 5Lecture Room - The School of Education