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Bath Spa University

Not to be confused with the University of Bath.
Bath Spa University
Established 2005 - Bath Spa University. (Gained University Status )
1997 - Bath Spa University College
1975 - Bath College of Higher Education
1852 - Bath School of Art
Type Public
Endowment £155,000[1]
Vice-Chancellor Prof.Christina Slade
Students 8,550[2]
Undergraduates 5,715[2]
Postgraduates 2,835[2]

Bath, Somerset, England
51°22′32″N 2°26′18″W / 51.37556°N 2.43833°W / 51.37556; -2.43833Coordinates: 51°22′32″N 2°26′18″W / 51.37556°N 2.43833°W / 51.37556; -2.43833{{#coordinates:51|22|32|N|2|26|18|W| |primary |name=

Campus Rural
Nickname Template:If empty
Affiliations Universities UK
Association of Commonwealth Universities

Bath Spa University is a university based in, and around, Bath, England. The institution was previously known as Bath College of Higher Education, and later Bath Spa University College. It gained full university status in August 2005. It is the UK's sixth biggest provider of Teacher Education.[3] In 2006 it was voted the 5th best modern university in the UK by The Sunday Times University Guide.[4] The university has been consistently ranked as one of the best creative universities in the UK by Which? every year since 2012.[5]


The institution can trace its roots back to the foundation of the Bath School of Art in 1852, following the impact of The Great Exhibition of 1851. In 1946 Bath Teacher Training College was opened on the Newton Park campus, as part of the post-war initiatives to fill wartime teaching shortages by a one-year course for ex-service people. The present institution was formed in 1975 as Bath College of Higher Education by the merger of Bath Teacher Training College and Bath College of Domestic Science. In 1983 Bath Academy of Art also merged into the college. In 1992, the college was granted degree-awarding powers and in 1997 adopted the name Bath Spa University College.[6][7] In March 2005 the institution was granted university status, becoming Bath Spa University in August 2005.[8]

Organisation and Academic Profile

(2016, national)
The Guardian[10]
(2016, national)
Times/Sunday Times[11]
(2015, national)

In 2005 and 2006 the university was named in the top 10 modern British universities by The Sunday Times, at positions no.8 and no.5 respectively.[12] It also made the top 10 again in 2008.

Bath Spa University is designated as a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

The university holds the QAA quality mark from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

It was named among the ten best creative universities in the UK by Which? in 2012, 2013 and 2014, amongst leaderboard topping universities such as The University of Oxford and The University of Cambridge.[13]

The university has held the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for 2 years running, and is one of 49 universities in the UK to do so. The Award is managed by Vitae, a group that supports researchers in their careers and helps them increase the standard of their research for the benefit of the students and the impact it may have on the wider world.

One example of the calibre of the research, in this case into current academic practices within music schools, allowed Bath Spa University to successfully pioneer a professional graduate degree in songwriting - the first in the world of its kind.[14]

Some courses at Bath Spa rank well amongst university subject league tables:

  • The 2015 Complete University Guide ranked the Art and Design courses 29th in the UK, and Music courses at 32nd.
  • The Guardian ranked Art courses at 27th in the UK in 2015.
  • The Guardian ranked the Business and Management studies courses at 26th, Education courses at 32nd and Media courses at 28th in the UK in 2014.[15]
  • The Guardian also rated the Business and Management studies courses No.1 in the country for student satisfaction in 2014.[16]
  • The Guardian ranked Film Producton and Photography at the university 23rd in the UK in 2016.

Schools of study

The University has six schools of study.

  • The School of Education teaches Education Studies as an academic subject, and also has responsibility for PGCE provision and for postgraduate studies in education. The School has links to over 400 schools in the region and further afield, and students taking teacher training courses can take their placements through these schools.[17] Graduates from the school are highly sought after, and the university the largest provider of teacher education in the region, the sole provider in the city of Bath, and the sixth largest provider in the country.[18]

Based at the Newton Park campus, the Bath Spa Institute for Education allows Bath Spa teachers, classroom teachers, education practitioners, academics, and anyone interested in education come together in a community of research and practice.[19] Plans originally called for a new campus to be constructed in Wiltshire but these have since been abandoned.

  • The School of Humanities and Cultural Industries has responsibility for undergraduate courses in English Literature and in Creative Writing (including Writing for Young People) and the MA in Creative Writing (MACW). It also teaches subjects such as history, cultural studies, the study of religions, media communications, and film studies.
  • The School of Music and the Performing Arts is responsible for courses in music, music technology, dance, drama, creative arts, performing arts and acting. The university is one of the ten largest providers of music degrees in the country and receives on average 10 applications for every place available on its music courses.[20]
  • The School of Society, Enterprise and Environment is responsible for the teaching of biology, environmental science, food nutrition, geography, tourism management, psychology, sociology, health-care and business and management studies.
  • The School of Research and Graduate Affairs is responsible for postgraduate level qualifications and offers funding for PhD/MPhil level qualifications. The PhD in Creative Writing has a reputation of being one of the UK's leading doctoral programmes in this area.[21]

Partnership and collaboration

The University has formed partnerships with a number of regional Further Education Colleges and institutions. Under the Partnership, students take the first year of their Higher Education course in their local college and, if successful, the rest of their course at Bath Spa University. The British and Irish Modern Music Institute campus in Bristol has all of its courses verified by Bath Spa University.[22]

The partners are:


Newton Park

The 18th century Georgian manor house at Newton Park

The Newton Park campus, located to the west of Bath near the village of Newton St Loe, is the largest of the university's three main campuses. It is here that courses from all schools are taught, with the exception of Art and Design and most post-graduate courses. The campus is based in Newton Park in grounds designed by English landscape architect Lancelot "Capability" Brown and leased from the Duchy of Cornwall. The campus features buildings from a mixture of ages including many listed buildings, all still used as teaching or administration spaces, such as the Grade I Listed Main House building built between 1762 and 1765 by Stiff Leadbetter for Joseph Langton,[23] the remnants of the 14th century Newton St Loe Castle, a scheduled monument holding a Grade 1 listed building status[24] and several other grade 2 and 2* listed stable buildings, gardens and walled gardens. It is the only campus to house student accommodation on its premises. The campus is home to the Students Union, which operates out of the union building at the top of the campus. The site has a lake, nature reserve, woodlands and arable farmlands. The campus is currently undergoing an enormous development program (see Plans) that will transform the campus in phases over the coming years.[25]

"Commons" Academic Building

In the summer of 2012 work began on the development of a new academic building, now called "Commons", roughly in the centre of the Newton Park campus. This 8000 square metre building provides, according to the university, the best resources for teaching digital media-related courses in the south-west, equal to anything found at cutting-edge commercial organisations and broadcast companies. Situated next to the academic building is an outside amphitheatre primarily for use by the School of Music and Performing arts. The building was handed over to the university at the end of January 2014, and was officially opened on 5 June, 2014, by Academy Award-winning film producer Lord Puttnam CBE.[26]

Michael Tippett Centre

Located at Newton Park is the Michael Tippett Centre, which is the only purpose built concert hall in Bath.[27] The building features a large number of teaching rooms and spaces, and the hall itself is used for lectures mainly by the School of Music and Performing Arts. The hall is routinely used for exhibitions, musical performances and plays from student performers as well professional acts from around the country.

University Theatre

The University Theatre is also situated on the Newton Park campus and was part of a £5.7m scheme designed by Fielden Clegg Bradley Architects LLP and was completed in 2006. It comprises a 186-seat auditorium with full backstage and technical facilities, including three large teaching studios. The venue is used by the School of Music and Performing Arts for teaching, student actors, directors, production managers, choreographers and dancers.

File:Sion Hill Campus.jpg
The Bath School of Art and Design

Bath School of Art and Design, Sion Hill, Bath

The Sion Hill campus is in the north of Bath, in the Lansdown district. This campus houses the Bath School of Art and Design and the majority of Art and Design courses are taught here. Its history extends to the original Bath School of Art which was founded in 1852. One of the earliest Masters of the school Anthony Carey Stannus, an Irish painter noted for marine scenes and who later helped establish a society which evolved into the Royal Ulster Academy.[28] Until 2009, the University also owned the nearby Somerset Place. The sale of this listed Georgian crescent was intended to finance a new campus in the city centre. This development, alongside the Dyson School of Design Innovation, did not proceed due to planning issues relating to the chosen riverside site.

Corsham Court, Corsham

The University has a specialist centre for postgraduate research and teaching in Corsham Court, Corsham, Wiltshire. The university developed this centre in 2008 after an absence of more than 20 years from the site.[29] Corsham Court became the home of the Bath Academy of Art (now Bath School of Art and Design and part of the University) when its premises were destroyed during the Second World War. Walter Sickert, who taught in that School was also a mentor to Lord Methuen RA, owner of the Court. The centre handles the majority of postgraduate courses, and includes development support for research projects, postgraduate workshops, studios and seminar rooms providing facilities for the academic Schools, specialist facilities for music, photography, film and textiles, a library and dedicated librarian, shared quiet study and social learning spaces for Masters and PhD research students, a common room space, a university research office which works with schools on the development of funding bids to external agencies, and a gallery space - managed by the Bath School of Art & Design in support of undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum activities.[30]

Rush Hill, Bath

This campus is located in the Southdown area of Bath. It is situated next to Bath Community Academy (formerly Culverhay School) and was formerly the school's Humanities block. The campus is the home to most of the University's Postgraduate Certificate in Education Secondary and Middle Years Education courses, including History, Music, English, Geography, Mathematics and Religious Education. Facilities at the campus are not as extensive as those found in Newton Park but there are IT facilities and a common room.

Other Teaching Sites

The University maintains some smaller satellite teaching spaces around Bath for use by students on certain courses, often those that require large amounts of space that are simply not available at the other campuses.

  • Dartmouth Avenue, Bath, was developed as a series of painting and media studios as well as a project space for year two students by the Bath School of Art and Design. This was to offset the loss of space incurred with the sale of Somerset Place. The site has been expanded into an adjoining building to accommodate creative studios and a second, larger, project space (the first now being predominantly used for life drawing classes).
  • Burdall's Yard, Bath, is an Arts Centre for the School of Music and Performing Arts. The centre is used as a teaching, rehearsal and performance space and also hosts cultural events. These have included, Party in the City (Bath Festival) and a UK Songwriting Festival gig with singer/songwriter Eddi Reader.
  • Ashman's Yard, Bath, is home to the Theatre Production Centre for the School of Music and Performing Arts. Located between Newton Park campus and Bath City centre, this facility was formally opened by Vice Chancellor, Professor Christina Slade, in 2012. Students based here undertake practical work on the BA (Hons) Theatre Production course. Facilities include a construction workshop, costume workshop, prop making workshop, production office with Mac editing suite, and a student common room.

Student life

Student accommodation

The University currently offers accommodation to 1518 students in several locations around the Bath area, as well as on its main Newton Park campus. Homestay and independent housing options are also available for students through local letting agents and families, and are managed and routinely inspected by the university.[31][32]

Newton Park Campus

The Newton Park Campus currently houses 868 students in single, shared and en-suite study bedrooms. The accommodation forms two groups of buildings at either end of the campus, known as Commons and Gardens. Bus stops by the library and Commons accommodation service the numbers 15 and 15a buses. Both groups of accommodation have access to laundrette facilities. Because of the limited availability of parking, students living on campus are not permitted to bring a car, however bicycle racks and some motorcycle parking spaces are available.[33]

In June 2013 work began on the development of a new "student village" in the main Newton Park campus, known as Gardens, which houses 561 first year students in separate "houses" of up to 10 students.[34] Building work was completed during the summer of 2014 in time for the start of the academic year in October. Work on the surrounding landscaping and car parks was completed during early 2015 with works ongoing to demolish parts of the old temporary car park.

City Accommodation

  • Waterside Court: Offers 316 en-suite bed spaces and is run by student accommodation company Unite Students. It is next to the Charlton Court accommodation on the Lower Bristol Road, and is only a short distance from the centre of bath and has a nearby bus stop with buses running to the centre as well as the university itself.[35]
  • Charlton Court: Offers 294 en-suite bed spaces and is run by Unite Students. It is located next to the Waterside Court accommodation on the Lower Bristol Road.[36]
  • Bankside House: Situated 10 minutes from the Sion Hill campus, and compromises 10 flats making a total of 40 student bed spaces. It is located in a way that it is ideal for people who are studying at the Sion Hill campus, the Circus, Dartmouth Avenue and City of Bath College[37]
  • Independent Housing and Homestay: The Independent Housing is located in, or very close to, Bath's popular student residential areas: Oldfield Park, Newbridge and the city centre. Getting to and from Newton Park Campus and the city centre is easy, thanks to the accommodations' position near to the First Bus service 15 route.[32] The university maintains links with a number of families situated around Bath who rent rooms to students. These premises are routinely inspected by the university before and during the time the students live there. Rooms vary depending on the houses of the hosts, with food and bills being included in the rent.[31]

Students' Union

The Student Union's logo as of 2013

The main Students' Union facilities are at the Newton Park campus, although the Union maintains a presence in all campuses. The Main union building runs a bar, café, gym and shop, and hosts regular events throughout the academic year. There are 20 sports societies, 40 interest societies and 10 sports clubs run by the union, many of which compete in the BUCS.[38] The sports facilities include rugby and football pitches at the top of the campus, as well as a netball court and changing facilities inside the walled garden adjacent to the union building. The walled garden itself is also a social space, featuring BBQs, games tables, seating and tables, a small pond, greenhouses and small allotment style areas. The Union is in charge of organising the Freshers events, as well as the Winter and Summer balls. It also has facilities to run health campaigns and give academic advice to students, volunteering and skill development opportunities, travel opportunities, and it liaises directly with the University and organisations nationally and in the local area to campaign about and discuss issues that affect students.[39]

The Union also has its own student card called Student Zest, founded by students in 2012 which offers discounts on goods and services offered in over 100 local businesses. There is a dedicated website that deals with matters concerning this card.[40]

In 2013, the Union created a dedicated Facebook page, and re-launched its website which features all information and news concerning the Union, its members, an online shop for everything available from the Union.[41]

The Students Union building at Newton Park campus was refurbished during the summer of 2014, doubling the size of shop, reconfiguring the bar/cafe area, improving the gym, and updating the toilet facilities. There is also a new walk way around the front entrance of the building improving access. The Students' Union is also working with the University, the student body, and architects, to produce a long term plan to completely rebuild the Union.[42]

Alumni Association

Bath Spa University’s growing Alumni Association is a network of over 40,000 former students and staff. The association publishes a magazine, SPARTAN, which is published twice a year and features all alumni related news. It promotes raising philanthropic income for a wide range of important projects for the university, particularly the Bath Spa Students Fund and bursaries. The president of the Alumni Association is Mary Berry, who is a former student of the Bath College of Domestic Science and is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the university.

Oak Tree Day Nursery

Oak Tree Day Nursery was established in 1995 and operates from two adjoining houses in the parkland grounds of the university's Newton Park campus. It is a full day-care nursery offering both full and part-time places for the children of university staff and students as well as the local community.[43] It has won numerous awards, including The Baby Quality Award in 2011, the Children's and Young People's Rights Gold Award in 2012, and the Director of Public Health Award in 2013.[44]


Bath Spa railway station is on the Great Western and Wessex Main Lines, with train services to various stations in the south of England, including London Paddington, Reading, Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff Central, Southampton Central and Portsmouth Harbour. The lesser Heart of Wessex Line also serves Bath Spa and in addition Oldfield Park railway station, close to the main off-site Halls of Residence. Most services at both stations are operated by First Great Western.

Newton Park is served by bus service 15 (operated by First and formerly known as the SPA1, and before that 418), which runs between the campus and the city centre every 15 minutes during term-time, and 15A, which services the Lower Oldfield Park area of Bath, a popular location for student rented properties. The number 15 service runs until 3am during term-time for the benefit of students travelling to and from the city's nightclubs. Services 338, 339 and X39 offer an alternative to those who are able to walk the University's driveway.

Sion Hill is served by the infrequent service 700, operated by local independent CT Coaches. Other services, including service 1 and Park & Ride service 31, operate on the nearby Lansdown Road.

In March 2015 the university began running free shuttle services between Combe Down and Newton Park, as well as a free inter-site shuttle link between Newton Park and the Sion Hill campus.


Since 2012 massive development has been undertaken at the Newton Park campus and plans exist for further development in the future subject to being granted planning permission. However, development of other sites is also happening, most notably the building of new accommodation at Green Park House in Bath city centre. The existing buildings in the main Newton Park campus will be refurbished and modified to deal with the influx of students expected in the next few years.[45] The Duchy of Cornwall, the university's landlord, raised some objections to these plans.[46]

Student Accommodation

In January 2015 the University exchanged contracts to buy Green Park House, the high-profile regeneration project in Bath city centre, for student accommodation. The re-development of the derelict former Green Park residential care home opposite Green Park station will create accommodation for 460 students along with a café and management suite. Construction work is already underway by Berkeley Homes, part of the Berkeley Group, which acquired the gateway site for development at the end of 2013. The accommodation is planned to be completed by summer 2016 in time for the 2016/2017 academic year.[47]

Notable people

Academic staff



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External links