New universities (United Kingdom)

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The term new universities, synonymous with post-1992 universities or modern universities, refers to former polytechnics and central institutions that were given university status through the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, as well as institutions that have been granted university status since 1992 without receiving a royal charter.[1]

Prior to its use in this sense, the term had been used historically to refer to various groups of universities that were, at the time, newly established or newly raised to university status. From the mid-19th century, the term "new universities" was used in England to distinguish the recently-established universities of Durham and London from the "old universities" of Oxford and Cambridge.[2][3] In the early 20th century, the term was used to describe the civic universities that had recently gained university status, such as Bristol University and others, afterwards known as the red brick universities.[4] The term was later used to refer to universities that gained their status in the 1960s, such as the former Colleges of Advanced Technology, which were converted to universities following the 1963 Robbins Report on higher education, and the plate glass universities, which were already in the process of being established at the time of the report.[1][5]

Post-1992 universities

Following the 1992 Act, 33 polytechnics in England, the Derbyshire College of Higher Education, the Polytechnic of Wales and three Scottish central institutions were granted university status, alongside another trio of central institutions in the years following.

All the categories of university award their own academic degrees, but universities created in England and Wales since 2004 may only have the power to award taught degrees, because the power to award research degrees has been removed from the criteria for university title. The Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education, which became the University of Gloucestershire in 2001, was the only institute to become a university in England between the polytechnics in 1992 and the relaxation of the criteria in 2004. Two new universities have subsequently been established in Scotland, where the old criteria still apply: Queen Margaret University, another former central institution, (2007) and the University of the Highlands and Islands (2011).

Post-1992 universities with polytechnic roots

Post-1992 universities with central institution roots

Post-1992 universities that are not former polytechnics or central institutions

Mergers of post-1992 and pre-1992 universities

These may not meet a strict definition of new universities as being universities under the 1992 act, but have elements of common heritage with new universities.


  1. ^ a b >Catherine Armstrong (10 June 2008). Archived from What is a University in the UK the original Check |url= value (help) on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ The Anomalous Position of the University of London. The Lancet. 2. 19 July 1851. p. 64. We are now only seeking to contrast the general powers conferred on the old and on the new Universities 
  3. ^ The Charitable Trusts Bill. The Lancet. 2. 27 August 1853. p. 193. the Solicitor General, by a piece of flimsy special pleading, endeavoured to establish a distinction between the cases of the old and the new Universities. 
  4. ^ Herklots, H, 1928, The New Universities – an external examination, Ernest Benn, London
  5. ^ "Chapter IV: Institutions of higher education in Great Britain". Higher Education – Report of the Committee appointed by the Prime Minister under the Chairmanship of Lord Robbins. 1963. Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "History of the University of South Wales – University of South Wales". 
  7. ^ "History – University of West London". 
  8. ^

See also

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