Birmingham has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at the University has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on people’s lives. We continue this tradition today and have ambitions for a future that will embed our work and recognition of the Birmingham name on the international stage.
We continue this tradition today and have ambitions for a future that will embed our work and recognition of the Birmingham name on the international stage.
Universities are never complete. They develop as new challenges and opportunities occur. At Birmingham we innovate, we push the frontiers of understanding; we ask new research questions, we turn theory through experiment into practice – because that’s what great universities do.
The University grew out of the radical vision of our first Chancellor, Joseph Chamberlain. Founded in 1900, Birmingham represented a new model for higher education. This was England’s first civic university, where students from all religions and backgrounds were accepted on an equal basis.
Birmingham has continued to be a university unafraid to do things a little differently, and in response to the challenges of the day. It was a founder member of the National Union of Students and the first university in the country to:
The University of Birmingham was established by Queen Victoria by Royal Charter in 1900 and was the UK’s first civic or 'redbrick' university. The first phase of building work on the campus was completed in 1909 under the auspices of the esteemed architect Sir Aston Webb. We celebrated the centenary of those buildings in July 2009.
Our colleges put academic endeavour at the heart of our decision making and our professional services, located both in Corporate Services and in the Colleges, work in partnership with academics to support the academic mission of the University.
Professional Services deliver excellent and diverse services to University students, staff and visitors; contribute to the development and implementation of University policy and strategy; and provide professional support for decision-making.
Each college is led by a Head of College who also acts as a Pro-Vice Chancellor and sits on the University Executive Board.
The collaborative nature of the college structure means that there are fewer administrative boundaries between disciplines and working relationships between diverse areas of research have been strengthened.
The University of Birmingham is structured into five colleges, each of which is divided into a number of schools and departments.
The five colleges are –
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For over 100 years, innovative academic research at the University has influenced society and made an impact on people’s lives. Birmingham is where pacemakers and plastic heart valves were developed, where the first artificial vitamin (Vitamin C) was synthesised, and where the cavity magnetron was developed, leading to applications such as radar and the microwave oven.
In addition, allergy vaccines were pioneered, the key components of artificial blood were synthesised, and the first clinical trials of the contraceptive pill outside the USA were carried out, having a fundamental impact on the quality of life for women worldwide.
Today, the University continues to build on this pioneering heritage. We are still at the forefront of research, leading the field in many of the emerging disciplines of the 21st century, such as nanotechnology, gene therapy, robotics and the use of virtual reality in the study of archaeology. We are continually developing new initiatives to enrich our teaching and learning.