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The University of Birmingham was the first redbrick university to gain university status in 1900. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for innovation and prestige and it’s particularly well-respected for music, physics, biosciences, computer science, mechanical engineering, political science, international relations and law.
Sprawling across a large campus, the University of Birmingham is home to around 30,000 students, one of the largest student populations in the county. Academically, the University is divided into five colleges, each of which is further classified into individual colleges. The main colleges are: Arts & Law, Engineering & Physical Sciences, Life & Environmental Sciences, Medical & Dental Sciences; and Social Sciences.
The University Birmingham can count eight Nobel Prize winners from past alumni. Other Birmingham alumni include former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Chris Tarrant, Manchester United Chief Executive David Gill, Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon and actors Tamsin Greig and Victoria Wood - not forgetting politician and Strictly Come Dancing ‘star’ Ann Widdecombe.
The University of Birmingham is located approximately 2.5 miles away from Birmingham’s city centre in Edgbaston. The main campus occupies 250 acres of parkland and includes a lake. The University also owns the Selly Oak campus, which is spread over 80 acres and is located a mile away from the main campus.
The second largest city in the UK, Birmingham is a vibrant, multicultural city. Once grimy, industrial and pockmarked with canals, extensive regeneration has polished up the rough diamond that is Birmingham, installing new shops, clubs, bars and swanky hang outs.
The main campus is a mini-town in itself, with a variety of facilities and services. These include libraries, computer labs, day-care and nursery facilities, a media centre and the Munrow Sports Centre. Campus landmarks include the famous Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Chancellor’s Court Heritage Hall, Lapworth Museum of Geology and Winterbourne House & Garden. There are also plenty of shops and cafes too.
First-year undergraduates are guaranteed accommodation within university-provided halls of residence, subject to some terms and conditions. University owned-and-managed accommodation is spread over three student villages: Pritchatt’s Park, Selly Oak and The Vale. All three villages are within a 20 minute walk of the main campus.
Accommodation fees range from £77.50 per week for self-catered, single bedroom study with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities to £133.50 for en-suite rooms. Catered accommodation ranges from £122.50 for standard rooms with shared bathroom facilities, to £165.50 for catered en-suite rooms.
If you’re looking to rent privately, most students look for houses around Selly Oak, Selly Park or Harborne. Weekly rent averages around £55 to £70 per week, not including bills.
The university will charge the maximum £9,000 permissible for undergraduate courses in 2012-13. This needn’t put you off: the government will provide you with a loan to cover the cost of the tuition fees and you won’t start paying back the loan until you start earning over £21,000 a year.
Students living in university-provided accommodation should budget for living expenses of £250 per week, while students electing to live in private accommodation should budget around £229 per week.
The main expenses for students in university accommodation are: housing (approximately £110 per week, inclusive of utilities, insurance for personal belongings and internet access); £35 for food and daily sundry expenses and £50 for entertainment/nightlife expenses.
The University of Birmingham has still yet to confirm the Birmingham Grants and Scholarships available for 2012/13. Up-to-date information can be found here.
Under the National Scholarship Programme, those who are eligible for free school meals or classed as a care leaver will receive a maximum of £4,750 to go towards Halls of Residence fees. Those with a residual income of under £16,190 will receive a fee reduction of £3,000 each year. Otherwise, those with a household income of less than £42,600 will be eligible for a non-repayable grant of £250 to £2,000 to go either towards tuition fees or living expenses.
The University of Birmingham has a number other scholarship opportunities too. Details about the different scholarships can be found here.
The Birmingham University Guild of Students, also known as BUGS, offers a variety of nights out, including regular weekly events such as Fab ‘N’ Fresh on Saturdays in the Guild building as well as hosting club nights on Mondays and Wednesdays in the city centre. Annual events include a Freshers’ Ball, Graduation Ball and Guild Awards nights.
The main BUGS’ club night venues are Joe’s Bar and Underground. Other bars on campus include the Bratby Bar in the Staff House, Raising the Bar in Munrow Sports Centre and The Hub in Vale Village.
Birmingham has its fair share of bars and clubs. From pure cheesy fun to cutting-edge clubs, Birmingham has it all. You can broadly split up nightlife into three city areas: Broad Street is one of Birmingham’s prime nightlife spots, The Mailbox is the place to go for a swanky night out, whilst Arcadian is chock-a-block with clubs.
For more sober entertainment, the city has ten cinemas, a great music scene and plenty of restaurants. If you love your curries, Birmingham is the place to go.
UBSport, the university’s sports division, has a solid national reputation, ranked among the top five universities in the varsity leagues. The Munrow Sports Centre houses extensive indoor sporting facilities.
Outdoor amenities include a variety of sports pitches and tennis courts; while the Raymond Priestly Centre at Coniston Water provides facilities for water and adventure sports such as canoeing, mountain biking, climbing and sailing.
The university boasts of over 40 sporting and 160 non-sporting clubs and societies, catering for multiple students’ interests and hobbies. There are also various student media outlets to get involved with: The Redbrick is a free weekly newspaper published by the Guild, while BurnFM and GTV are the radio and television stations.
Welcome Week events for freshers and returning students include various fairs, such as jobs fairs and society fairs. Commercial companies roam the campus handing out various goodies and freebies.
The Guild organises freshers’ events and parties throughout the Week, such as a carnage bar crawl and a Freshers’ Ball. Freshers’ Week 2011 saw Tinchy Stryder and Pendulum come and play at the Guild of Students.
The Careers and Employability Centre offers a wide range of services including short-term placements, internships with select employers, guidance and resources on future careers, employment skills’ training and an accredited personal skills programme.
Students and graduates planning on starting up their own business have access to advice and resources through the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Centre.