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You won’t find any undergraduates or humanities students at Cranfield University; it is purely dedicated to the postgraduate study and research of science, engineering, technology and management subject areas. Research is the raison d’etre of Cranfield and it is proud of its industrial scale facilities and links with commerce. It’s got industrial research at its very core: straddling the gap between a traditional academic university and business and industry.
This unique institution has five schools: Applied Sciences, Defence and Security, Engineering, Health, and Management, which offer a variety of research and postgraduate study options. Major subject areas at Cranfield University include aerospace, automotive, energy and manufacturing.
Its subject strengths reflect its history: Cranfield University started out over 60 years ago as the College of Aeronautics. In 1969, it became The Cranfield Institute of Technology and new departments were set up to offer the breadth of subject areas that it now covers.
Half of Cranfield University’s 5,000 students are international and, unsurprisingly, male students far outnumber female students. There is a good staff to student ratio and, testament to its industry focus, a staggering 90% of its students are employed with a graduate job six months after leaving.
Cranfield University has two campuses: Cranfield in Bedfordshire and Shrivenham in Wiltshire. The facilities echo Cranfield University’s emphasis on “putting innovation into action” and so it should come as no surprise that both campuses are packed with industry standard research facilities. Cranfield University is the only university in the UK with its own sewerage plant and airport.
The Cranfield Campus is about an hour away from London and the nearest towns are Milton Keynes and Bedford. It offers a secluded and focused learning environment for students who really want to excel in their fields. Echoes of its specialised aeronautics past still resonates across the Cranfield campus which is a mishmash of aircraft hangars, former RAF barracks and 1960s architecture, interspersed with some cutting-edge modern facilities.
The Shrivenham Campus is the home of Cranfield Defence and Security and it is a joint venture between the MoD and Cranfield University. Military and non-military students study a range of postgraduate courses related to the defence sector. Shrivenham is situated in the Vale of the White Horse and the nearest town is Swindon, which is eight miles away.
Cranfield University does have some student accommodation on campus at its Bedfordshire site, with a range of residences for single students, couples and those with families available. You can find out more about the accommodation options here.
At Shrivenham, most of the civilian students lived in rented houses in nearby villages or towns, whereas the British military students have the option of living in single rooms on campus in the Officers’ Mess accommodation or in married quarters.
Cranfield University estimates that single students will need around £11,000 a year to cover living expenses, whilst couples will need about £15,000 a year. Of course, living expenses will vary student to student, with some expecting to get by on less, others more. You can view a breakdown of estimated expenses here.
Cranfield’s industry links means that it can offer bursaries and scholarships to some students on certain courses. For more information about the funding options available at Cranfield, check out this.
Cranfield University isn’t exactly located in the throbbing heart of UK’s hottest nightlife. Students at the Bedfordshire Campus might head into Milton Keynes or Bedford for clubs and bars. Most students are happy with a good old pint at the local pub or a drink at the student bar on campus.
The Officers’ Mess forms the centre of social life at Shrivenham. Students looking for clubs and bars will head into Swindon for a big night out.
Shrivenham has unbeatable sports facilities, including astro-turf pitches, a cricket ground, golf course, gyms, outdoor swimming pool, riding stables and tennis and squash courts. Cranfield campus’ sports facilities don’t quite match Shrivenham’s high standard, but it does have its own fitness centre.
Cranfield University organises various welcome events and inductions at the start of term, but if you’re expecting the heady freshers’ week of your undergraduate years you’ll be disappointed. Most students have outgrown UV raves and toga parties…
Cranfield University has its own Careers Service which provides students with careers advice and help with finding a job. They are available for appointments, have a wealth of careers information and resources, and also organise a big annual careers fair.