Heritage and background
As an institution, the University of Chester has been breaking new ground since 1839, when it was founded by such pioneers as the great 19th-century prime ministers, William Gladstone and the Earl of Derby.
It is one of the oldest English higher education establishments of any kind, pre-dating all but Oxford, Cambridge, London and Durham, and was the first in the country to be purpose-built for the professional training of teachers, guided by Christian values.
In the 20th-century, the institution steadily expanded its student numbers and the variety and nature of its courses. In 1910, it began its long and fruitful association with the University of Liverpool.
Women were first admitted in 1962, shortly before the curriculum underwent significant development, to include BA and BSc programmes, in addition to teacher education.
The establishment of the School of Nursing and Midwifery (now the Faculty of Health and Social Care) in the 1990s marked a particularly important stage in its diversification.
The new millennium
proved equally eventful. In August 2002, responsibility was taken
for the higher education campus of Warrington Collegiate Institute.
In 2005, HM Privy Council conferred university status, empowering
the new University of Chester to award its own taught degrees, and
His Grace, The Duke of Westminster was installed as the Inaugural
Chancellor on September 25, 2005. In 2007, HM Privy Council granted
Research Degree Awarding Powers.
The total of undergraduate, postgraduate and research students now numbers approximately 16,800.
Recruitment is from the United Kingdom and overseas, particularly the United States, India, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, Japan, the Middle East, Russia, Greece and Finland and international study links are constantly evolving.
Within faculties, there is a portfolio of some 130 course combinations, ranging from Applied Theology to Weight Management, covering business and management, health and social care, applied science, arts and media, humanities, social sciences and law, education and lifelong learning.
The original mission continues to inform University life and excellence in teaching remains an intrinsic part of today’s academic curriculum.
As well as BEd, BA, BTh, BSc and LLB degrees and courses leading to master's degrees, including the award-winning MBA from Chester Business School, a new range of foundation degrees (FDs) has broadened the scope for students. FDs combine conventional university study with learning at work and at this University have included the UK’s first FDs in Muslim Youth Work and Mortuary Science. They exemplify the investment in widening access to higher education and post-experience training, through partnerships with schools, colleges, employers, the public sector and other organisations.
Degree supervision for MPhil and PhD awards is a growing area of activity, through the Research and Knowledge Transfer Office. The emphasis is very much on practical research that has economic, cultural and social benefits for the region and beyond. Consultancy support provides imaginative, expert solutions to the challenges posed across a variety of areas.
The University is now the major provider of nursing, midwifery and social care education across Cheshire, Warrington, Halton and Wirral. Students gain practical experience at acute hospitals in those areas, as well as on campus, and, once qualified, can progress to advanced practice level.
courses in Business and Management, Law, Criminology, Dietetics,
Journalism and Advertising has further extended the
University’s work and connections with industry, commerce and
the professions. Millions of pounds are being invested in the
accommodation and resources to underpin these initiatives.
About the Chester campus
A few minutes walk from the city centre, the 32 acre campus houses the institution’s original Victorian buildings, opened in 1842, including a chapel built by the first students and Senate House, once home to the early Principals.
New-building projects have included: a £5 million base for the Faculty of Health and Social Care, complete with clinical skills laboratories; and the Binks Building, at the heart of the campus, which provides lecture theatres and other teaching spaces, office accommodation and language laboratories.
With an ever-expanding student body, Chester Students’ Union has outgrown its original accommodation in the De Bunsen Building and a £2 million new building now provides a shop, rooms for club and society representatives, offices for sabbatical officers and a meeting place for the Executive Team.
Major refurbishments have also been carried out to Chester Business School in the Rigg Building close to the Chester campus, biological and sports science laboratories and the Best Building, which counselling studio and interview rooms for Social and Communication Studies and a soils laboratory and map room for Geography and Development Studies.
Sports facilities include a fully-equipped sports hall, fitness suite, squash courts and grass and all-weather pitches.
The largest auditorium, Molloy Hall, hosts major arts events, such as those associated with the Chester Literature Festival, and conferences.
Nearby, the English Department is situated in a Victorian former vicarage, while History and Archaeology is in the 18th-century Blue Coat School, both listed buildings.
In addition to the
main campus, are two newly acquired sites; Kingsway, which is a
short distance away, with a multi-purpose performance venue,
interactive newsrooms, sound and video editing booths, performance,
fine art, photography and graphic design studios and teaching
facilities for the Faculty of Arts and Media, and Riverside Campus.
Riverside was acquired in 2010 and provides in excess of 100,000
square feet of library, study, and specialist teaching facilities
for most students in the Chester-based Faculties of Education and
Children's Services, and Health and Social Care.
About the Warrington campus
This self-contained, 25 acre site has benefited from a £12 million investment programme, to enhance academic and social activities.
Improvements began with a facelift for the dining room and café bar, new floodlit all-weather pitch to complement existing sports facilities, and a new Students’ Union bar.
A new, three-storey Business Centre, the Tucker Building, provides both teaching facilities and expertise and support for local and regional companies. This was named after a former Principal of Warrington Collegiate Institute, Hilary Tucker.
With the new Broomhead Library, learning resources capacity has been trebled. It offers the first open-access computer suites in the UK to offer users the flexibility of using Apple Mac or Windows software on the latest iMac equipment, together with state-of-the-art library technology, a comprehensive catalogue of books, publications, CDs, videos and DVDs and a combination of quiet study and sociable spaces. This Building was also named after a former Principal, Steven Broomhead, now Chief Executive of the Northwest Regional Development Agency.
In keeping with other developments, the former Main Teaching Block has been re-named the Martin Building, in honour of former Principal Joyce Martin.
Home to the North
West Media Centre, the campus has strong links with the broadcast
organisations such as the BBC and ITV Granada and other creative
industries and operates its own radio station, Cat 1251 AM.
Academic strengths also include Sport Development and Health and