University of London
|Students||213,270 (161,270 internal|
and 52,000 external)
|92,760 internal (2016/17)|
|68,500 internal (2016/17)|
|Deputy Vice Chancellor|
|Chair of the Board of Trustees||Sir |
The University of London (abbreviated as Lond or more rarely Londin in
The university was established by
For most practical purposes, ranging from admissions to funding, the constituent colleges operate on an independent basis, with many awarding their own degrees whilst remaining in the federal university. The largest colleges by enrolment as of 2016/17 are
As of 2015, there are around 2 million
|“||All universities are different, but some are more different than others. The University of London is the most different of them all.||”|
|— Negley Harte, Historian|
In 1830, UCL applied for a royal charter as a university which would allow it to confer degrees. This was rejected, but renewed in 1834. In response to this, opposition to "exclusive" rights grew among the London medical schools. The idea of a general degree awarding body for the schools was discussed in the medical press. and in evidence taken by the Select Committee on Medical Education. However, the blocking of a bill to open up
In 1835, the government announced the response to UCL's petition for a charter. Two charters would be issued, one to UCL incorporating it as a college rather than a university, without degree awarding powers, and a second "establishing a Metropolitan University, with power to grant academical degrees to those who should study at the London University College, or at any similar institution which his Majesty might please hereafter to name".
Following the issuing of its charter on 28 November 1836, the new University of London started drawing up regulations for degrees in March 1837. The death of
The university established by the charters of 1836 and 1837 was essentially an examining board with the right to award degrees in arts, laws and medicine. However, the university did not have the authority to grant degrees in theology, considered the senior faculty in the other three English universities. In medicine, the university was given the right to determine which medical schools provided sufficient medical training. In arts and law, by contrast, it would examine students from UCL, King's College, or any other school or college granted a royal warrant, effectively giving the government control of which colleges could affiliate to the university. Beyond the right to submit students for examination, there was no other connection between the affiliated colleges and the university.
In 1849 the university held its first graduation ceremony at
The list of affiliated colleges grew by 1858 to include over 50 institutions, including all other British universities. In that year, a new charter effectively abolished the affiliated colleges system by opening up the examinations to everyone whether they attended an affiliated college or not. This led the
The expanded role meant the university needed more space, particularly with the growing number of students at the provincial
In 1863, via a fourth charter, the university gained the right to grant degrees in surgery. This 1863 charter remains the authority under which the university is incorporated, although all its other provisions were abolished under the 1898 University of London Act.
In 1878, the university set another first when it became the first university in the UK to admit women to degrees, via the grant of a supplemental charter. Four female students obtained Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1880 and two obtained Bachelor of Science degrees in 1881, again the first in the country.
In the late 19th century, the university came under criticism for merely serving as a centre for the administration of tests, and there were calls for a "teaching university" for London. UCL and KCL considered separating from the university to form a separate university, variously known as the Albert University, Gresham University and Westminster University. Following two
An illustration of
|“||The London University should stand to the British empire as the great technological institution in Berlin, the Charlottenburg, stood to the German empire.||”|
The reforms initiated by the 1898 act came into force with the approval of the new federal statutes in 1900. Many of the colleges in London became schools of the university, including UCL, King's College,
The previous provision for colleges outside London was not abandoned on federation, instead London offered two routes to degrees: "internal" degrees offered by schools of the university and "external" degrees offered at other colleges (now the
UCL and King's College, whose campaign for a teaching university in London had resulted in the university's reconstitution as a federal institution, went even further than becoming schools of the university and were actually merged into it. UCL's merger, under the 1905 University College London (Transfer) Act, happened in 1907. The charter of 1836 was surrendered and all of UCL's property became the University of London's. King's College followed in 1910 under the 1908 King's College London (Transfer) Act. This was a slightly more complicated case, as the theological department of the college (founded in 1846) did not merge into the university but maintained a separate legal existence under King's College's 1829 charter.
The expansion of the university's role meant that the Burlington Garden premises were insufficient, and in March 1900 it moved to the Imperial Institute in South Kensington.
However, its continued rapid expansion meant that it had outgrown its new premises by the 1920s, requiring yet another move. A large parcel of land in
The latter half of the last century was less eventful. In 1948, Athlone Press was founded as the publishing house for the university, and sold to the Bemrose Corporation in 1979, subsequent to which it was acquired by
The 1978 University of London Act saw the university defined as a federation of self-governing colleges, starting the process of decentralisation that would lead to a marked transference of academic and financial power in this period from the central authorities in Senate House to the individual colleges. In the same period, UCL and King's College regained their legal independence via acts of parliament and the issuing of new royal charters. UCL was reincorporate in 1977, while King's College's new charter in 1980 reunited the main body of the college with the corporation formed in 1829. In 1992 centralised graduation ceremonies at the
There was also a tendency in the late 20th century for smaller colleges to be amalgamated into larger "super-colleges". Some of the larger colleges (most notably UCL, King's College, LSE and Imperial) periodically put forward the possibility of their departure from the university, although no steps were taken to actually putting this into action until the early 21st century.
Despite this failure, the trend of decentralising power continued. A significant development in this process was the closing down of the
On 9 December 2005, Imperial College became the second constituent body (after Regent's Park College) to make a formal decision to leave the university. Its council announced that it was beginning negotiations to withdraw from the university in time for its own centenary celebrations, and in order to be able to award its own degrees. On 5 October 2006, the University of London accepted Imperial's formal request to withdraw from it. Imperial became fully independent on 9 July 2007, as part of the celebrations of the college's centenary.
Since 2010, the university has been outsourcing support services such as cleaning and portering. This has prompted industrial action by the largely
Following good results in the
In 2016 reforms were proposed that would see the colleges become member institutions and be allowed to legally become universities in their own right. A bill to amend the university's statutes was introduced into the House of Lords in late 2016. The bill was held up by procedural matters in the House of Commons, with MP