University of Suffolk

The University of Suffolk is a public university situated in Suffolk and Norfolk, England. The modern university was established in 2007 as University Campus Suffolk (UCS), the institution was founded as a unique collaboration between the University of East Anglia and the University of Essex.[2] The university's current name was adopted after it was granted independence in 2016 by the Privy Council and was awarded university status.[3][4][5][6]

University of Suffolk
Established2007 – University Campus Suffolk
2016 – renamed to University of Suffolk after gaining independence
ChancellorHelen Pankhurst CBE
Vice-ChancellorHelen Langton
Students9,565 (2019/20)[1]
Undergraduates8,910 (2019/20)[1]
Postgraduates650 (2019/20)[1]
Ipswich, and other campuses serving foundation courses around Suffolk and in Norfolk
Colours    Grey & gold
AffiliationsUniversity of East Anglia
University of Essex
West Suffolk College
East Coast College
Universities UK

The University of Suffolk is spread over four campuses: a central hub in Ipswich, and further campuses which focus on foundation courses which are located in Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth (the latter in Norfolk, not Suffolk).[7] The university operates six academic faculties and in 2019/20 had 9,565 students. Some 8% of the student body are classed as international students, 53% are classed as mature students, and 66% of the university's students are female.[8]

The university was ranked in the top 10 for Course and Lecturers in the WhatUni Student Choice Awards 2019.[9]

The current chancellor of the University of Suffolk is Helen Pankhurst, an appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), as well as a scholar, writer, and the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst.


In 2003 Suffolk County Council established a "stakeholder group" to investigate the possibility of establishing a university in the county. Suffolk was the largest English county that did not host a university.[10] The group included representatives from the University of East Anglia, the University of Essex, West Suffolk College, the East of England Development Agency, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Suffolk Learning and Skills Council, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk Chief Executive's Group and the Suffolk Development Agency.

Following funding pledges from Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council in 2004, the plan was backed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) with £15m worth of funding in 2005 and attracted a £12.5m grant from the East of England Development Agency in 2006[10] The institution was officially launched under the name 'University Campus Suffolk' on 1 August 2007[5][11] and welcomed its first students in September of the same year.[12]

Because UCS did not have degree-awarding powers, its students received their degrees from either the University of East Anglia or the University of Essex via a cooperative agreement.[12] The institution was later granted degree-awarding powers by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in November 2015, and in May 2016 it was awarded University status by the Privy Council. As a consequence, UCS was renamed The University of Suffolk in August 2016 and began awarding degrees in its own right.[3][4]


The Waterfront Building in Ipswich


The University of Suffolk's main hub is located in Ipswich on the historical Ipswich Waterfront. The Ipswich campus is spread across a compact area on the Waterfront with various university buildings. The principal university building is known simply as the Waterfront Building and was designed by RMJM Architects,[13] the Waterfront Building was opened in September 2008 and cost £35 million to build.[14][15] It has three lecture halls, and 34 smaller teaching rooms.[16]

The six-storey James Hehir Building was officially opened in March 2011 at a cost of £21 million[17] It is named after the former chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council and includes Cult Cafe. Campus North houses the library or "Learning Resource Centre".[16] Onsite student accommodation is provided in the 600-room Athena Hall, located adjacent to the James Hehir building.[6]

The most recent addition to the growing campus is The Hold, this building houses the majority of the Suffolk Record Office's collection and provides various facilities to the university including a lecture hall.

The Ipswich campus offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including Art and Design, Business Management, Computing, Education, Film, Law, Nursing and Midwifery.

Waterfront Campus

Great Yarmouth

The Great Yarmouth centre is located at the Southtown site of East Coast College in neighbouring Norfolk.[5] Subjects such as Computing, Counselling, Engineering, Fashion, Music, and Photography are available at the centre, which has a modern recording studio.[5][16]


The Lowestoft Centre is located at the site of East Coast College. Lowestoft offers degrees in Children's Care, Learning and Development, Design, Inclusive Practice and Integrated Working, Operations Engineering, Supporting Inclusive Learning and Practice, and Social Science.


The University of Suffolk community extends to embrace unique and integrated partnerships, central to its identity. With partner colleges, East Coast College and Suffolk New College, the network provides access to higher education ‘on the doorstep’ of many young and mature students in Suffolk and Great Yarmouth, alongside attracting students from further afield who are interested in a particular course and keen to enjoy the distinctive environments offered by each partner college.

Also central to the University of Suffolk's identity are partnerships, recognised both nationally and internationally, with the Global Banking School, London School of Commerce, Unicaf, a pan-African, independent, internationally accredited university and Unitas, an education charity specialising in criminal justice.  Working collaboratively with education partners is demonstration of the university's outward looking, innovative approach to learning. The university also delivers a now well established accelerated two-year Dance degree in partnership with DanceEast, which when launched was the first of its kind to be offered in the UK.

Organisation and administration

Faculties and departments

The university is split into four schools, each facilitating various courses.

• School of Social Sciences and Humanities.

• Suffolk Business School.

• School of Health and Sports Sciences.

• School of Engineering, Arts, Science and Technology – EAST.

East Contemporary Art Collection

The University of Suffolk is home to the "East Contemporary Art Collection",[18] which is exhibited at the Waterfront Gallery.[19] Founded by artists Robert Priseman and Simon Carter in 2013 the "East Contemporary Art Collection" contains 160 works of art by 115 artists[20] and was formed to make the first public collection of contemporary art in the East of England.[21]

Artists represented in the collection all have a working connection with the seven east of England counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire and included Maggi Hambling, Amanda Ansell, Susan Gunn, Nicholas Middleton, Justin Partyka, Anne Schwegmann-Fielding, James Dodds, Linda Ingham, Stephen Newton and Mary Webb.[22] The works of art in the collection were all produced after the year 2000 and are designed to be available for public display and as a learning resource for the university and students from the wider educational community.[23]


The university operates as a "Centre for Applied sustainability". An example of its work with sustainability is the Phase 1 campus development which was assessed as BREEAM Excellent. This signifies that the development is setting the "best practice in sustainable development".[24]

The university is also actively engaged in the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership Green Economy Pathfinder.

Student life

Student housing

The on-campus halls of residence, Athena Hall, is located on the Ipswich Waterfront and houses up to 590 students. Athena Hall offers a mixture of cluster flats and studio rooms. There is currently no accredited accommodation for the partner colleges in Bury St Edmunds, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.


The Union was formed on 1 August 2007, the same day the university was officially launched. It provides support for its students and looks after their well-being during their studies.[6]

The union is the representative of the student body at the management level of the university, and as such its positions are staffed by paid and unpaid students who are based at the Union office in the heart of the campus's East building. The Union also looks after the university social calendar, with multiple events run during the academic weeks and special Freshers weeks at the beginning of each academic year.

The president and vice-president of the Union are, subject to a sufficient number of votes, elected every March, and take office for 12 months from July to July, overseeing the totality of one academic year. The candidates come from the student body and must compete in the election campaigns in March/April. There is a current two-year maximum term for the positions. The current president is Daniel Goulborn and the vice-president is Mauro Cardoso, both newly elected for 2020.

Academic profile

As one of the newest universities in the UK, the University of Suffolk does not carry the same level of recognition and reputation as other older universities around the country. As it stands, the university ranks low on national rankings but has made good progress with its worldwide recognition in recent years, bringing in many students from the UK and abroad seeking an education in a fully modern establishment. The university was ranked in the top 10 for Course and Lecturers in the WhatUni Student Choice Awards 2019, which was based on a survey of over 41,000 students nationwide, rising 60 places from the previous year.[25]

National rankings
Complete (2023)[26]100
Guardian (2023)[27]67
Times / Sunday Times (2022)[28]105 Global Ranking 1527


The University of Suffolk ranked 129 by The Complete University Guide in 2021.

Notable alumni


  1. "Where do HE students study?". Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  2. Anonymous (4 July 2016). "University Campus Suffolk gains approval to become the University of Suffolk". University of Suffolk. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  3. "University Campus Suffolk gains independence". BBC. 17 May 2016.
  4. Anonymous (4 July 2016). "University Campus Suffolk gains approval to become the University of Suffolk".
  5. University Campus Suffolk Archived 26 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine, University of Essex. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  6. University Campus Suffolk guide, Daily Telegraph, 21 June 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  7. University Campus Suffolk, University of East Anglia. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  8. "University of Suffolk (S82) - Which? University".
  9. Mooney, Bernadette (10 May 2019). "WhatUni Awards 2019". University of Suffolk. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  10. University plan wins £12.5m grant, BBC News, 20 March 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  11. New university officially opened, BBC News, 1 August 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  12. University open to first students, BBC News, 10 September 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  13. New views of dockside campus plan, BBC news website, 3 August 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  14. University Campus Suffolk (UCS), The Independent Freshers Guide, 2012, 3 August 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  15. Flagship university building open, BBC news website, 29 September 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  16. University guide 2013 University Campus Suffolk, The Guardian, 31 May 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  17. UCS opens £21m James Hehir Building in Ipswich, BBC news website, 27 January 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  18. "East Contemporary Art Collection". Art UK. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  19. "Waterfront Gallery, UCS". Culture 24. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  20. "Art Collection to go on Public Display at University Campus Suffolk". Newswire. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  21. "East of England Contemporary Art Collection". Artist and Illustrator. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  22. "On display at Ipswich Waterfront". Ipswich Star. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  23. "East Contemporary Art Trip". One Sixth Form College. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  24. "News story, 2008". Archived from the original on 9 March 2010.
  25. Sandalls, Katy (8 March 2019). "University of Suffolk shortlisted for award". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  26. "Complete University Guide 2023". The Complete University Guide. 5 July 2022.
  27. "Guardian University Guide 2023". The Guardian. 24 September 2022.
  28. "Good University Guide 2023". The Times. 17 September 2022.

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