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University of Cumbria

University of Cumbria
File:University of Cumbria logo.svg
Established 1 August 2007
Type Public
Chancellor The Rt DisHon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Strike
Students 12,410[1]
Undergraduates 9,695[1]
Postgraduates 2,715[1]
Location Carlisle
Tower Hamlets, London
, England 23x15px
Nickname Template:If empty
Website University homepage

The University of Cumbria (UoC) is a university in Cumbria. Its headquarters are in Carlisle.[2][3] Other major campuses are at Lancaster, Ambleside, Barrow-in-Furness, and London. It was established in 2007, following the merger of St Martin's College, the Cumbria Institute of the Arts and the Cumbrian campuses of the University of Central Lancashire. Its roots extend back to the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts established in 1822 and Charlotte Mason teacher training college in the 1890s.[4][5] The university is based upon the idea of a "distributed learning network", so that teaching takes place both at the university's main campuses, and at remote colleges of further education around Cumbria, a rural county that includes the Lake District.


The University of Cumbria was formed by the merger of St Martin's College, Lancaster, the Cumbria Institute of the Arts (CIA) (formerly Cumbria College of Art & Design (CCAD)), and the Cumbrian campuses of the University of Central Lancashire on 1 August 2007.[3][6] These institutions formerly ran degree programmes accredited by Lancaster University and the University of Central Lancashire. In order to facilitate the change, St Martin's College applied for independent degree-awarding powers in March 2005 and was successful in July 2006 after nine months of scrutiny by the Quality Assurance Agency.[7] In January 2007 official university status was granted by the Privy Council.


File:UoC BramptonRoad.jpg
Brampton Road campus, Carlisle.

The university is based upon the findings of a report by Sir Martin Harris.[6] This plan envisaged a university based upon a "distributed learning network", so that teaching will take place both at the University's main campuses, and at colleges of further education around the county. This solved a problem for remote areas that did not previously have direct access to higher education.

The headquarters of the university are in Carlisle. Its other major campuses are at Ambleside, Lancaster (formerly St Martin's College) and the 'Energus' facility in Blackwood Road, Lillyhall, Workington. The university previously also had sites in Penrith (formerly University of Central Lancashire in Cumbria and before that Newton Rigg Agricultural College) and London. Newton Rigg has since been transferred to Askham Bryan College and the Tower Hamlets provision has moved to East India Dock Road. Furness College in Barrow-in-Furness has developed close links with the university and they share some facilities.

Carlisle campus, Fusehill Street

The site started its life as The Carlisle Union Workhouse in 1863. During World War I, from October 1917 to June 1919, the buildings were used as a military hospital, in which time nearly 10,000 soldiers were treated. In 1938, it was converted into a municipal hospital, then a military hospital once more during World War II, after which it became City General Hospital, until it closed in 1999.[8]

Brampton Road

The Brampton Road campus was formerly the Cumbria Institute of the Arts, founded in October 1822 as the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, later Carlisle Art College and College of Art and Design.

Lancaster campus, Bowerham Road

The site was formerly Bowerham Barracks, the depot of the King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster). In 1962, it became a teaching college.[9]


On 1 December 2009, it was announced that the Ambleside campus would be 'mothballed' at the end of July 2010, and would no longer take new undergraduate students. The action by the University of Cumbria interrupted over 175 years of heritage and a protest was held on the 1 December 2009 by the student body.[3] The closure was in the face of fierce opposition from the Ambleside students,[10] the townspeople of Ambleside, and in spite of support pledged from Tim Farron MP for the campus and its students. The timing of the closure had led many to believe that the decision had been made some time ago.[11][12][13]

In July 2011, the university announced a plan to reopen the campus and increase student numbers at the Ambleside campus beginning in 2014.[14]


Degree programmes including Forestry, Conservation, Outdoor Studies, Outdoor Leadership and Applied Sciences were taught from the Penrith campus based at Newton Rigg.[15] The National School of Forestry was set up here in the 1960s and has a long history of educating forest managers, which continues to the present day. Programmes moved to their new home in Ambleside in 2013 (Outdoors programmes) and 2014 (Forestry, Conservation, and Applied Sciences).

Further education provision and assets of the Newton Rigg campus were transferred to Askham Bryan College in March 2011, but the university continued to run higher education courses there for 3 years.[16]


The university has a campus at the Energus facility in Blackwood Road, Lillyhall, Workington. The facility opened in June 2009 and was the university’s first presence in West Cumbria.[17]

Organisation and structure

Previous vice-chancellors have included; Professor Chris Carr (Jan 2007-Apr 2009), Dr Peter McCaffery (July 2009-May 2010) and Professor Graham Upton (May 2010-Jul 2011). The current vice-chancellor is Professor Peter Strike, formerly deputy vice-chancellor of University of Sunderland.[18][19][20]

At one stage the university had debts totalling £13,000,000 and in March 2010, it received a cash advance from HEFCE to enable it to pay staff.[21][22] It has since pulled itself out of debt and is profitable.[23]

Academic profile

The University has two faculties, encompassing within each a breadth of subjects. The Faculty of Health and Science comprises the Departments of Nursing and Midwifery, Rehabilitation and Social Work, Medical and Sport Sciences, Lifelong and Interpersonal Learning, and Science, Natural Resources, and Outdoor Studies which includes Conservation, Forestry, and Forensics.[24] The Faculty of Education, Arts, and Business includes undergraduate and postgraduate teacher training, Business subjects (including Computing and Accounting), Law, and Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities.[25]

The University of Cumbria has a strong track record in interdisciplinary research. Its emerging research profile has excellent recognition and impact across several key fields including Medical Imaging, Sports Development, Education, Leadership and Economic Development, Conservation, Forestry, and the Uplands, and Mental Health and Wellbeing.[26]

Student life


The majority of University of Cumbria campuses have sports teams which represent them in the BUCS leagues. Teams include: Cricket, Netball, Football, Hockey, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Badminton and Pool. All teams play their home games on Wednesdays afternoons at various University's sport venues.


  1. ^ a b c "Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2009/10" (MICROSOFT EXCEL SPREADSHEET). Higher Education Statistics Agency. 
  2. ^ MacLeod, Donald (1 February 2005). "Green light for University of Cumbria plans". The Guardian. 
  3. ^ a b c "County university opens its doors". BBC News. 1 August 2007. 
  4. ^ "Cumbria Institute of the Arts". University website. 
  5. ^ "Charlotte Mason". University website. 
  6. ^ a b "Proposal for a new University of Cumbria welcomed by HEFCE". The National Archives. 
  7. ^ MacLeod, Fiona (19 July 2006). "College wins right to award own degrees". News and Star. 
  8. ^ Eve, Kelly (29 September 2009). "Memories wanted of Carlisle's former City General Hospital". News and Star. 
  9. ^ "St Martin's College". University website. 
  10. ^ "Facebook Petition Group". Facebook. 
  11. ^ "MP recruits new students in fight to save Ambleside campus". Tim Farron MP. 22 September 2008. 
  12. ^ "MP takes Ambleside campaign to Westminster". Tim Farron MP. 10 November 2008. 
  13. ^ "MP asks new Vice Chancellor of University Cumbria to scrap plans to downgrade Ambleside campus". Tim Farron MP. 18 March 2009. 
  14. ^ Eve, Kelly (28 September 2011). "Cumbria university plan to reopen mothballed Ambleside campus". News and Star. 
  15. ^ "Courses by location - University of Cumbria at Newton Rigg College, Penrith". University website. 
  16. ^ Eve, Kelly (9 December 2011). "£500,000 paid to pair who 'rescued' Cumbria university from cash problems". News and Star. 
  17. ^ "Secretary of State opens Energus". Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. 19 June 2009. 
  18. ^ "Debt university executive leaves". BBC News. 19 May 2010. 
  19. ^ "Cumbria university appoints acting vice-chancellor". News and Star. 21 May 2010. 
  20. ^ Morgan, John (3 February 2011). "Cumbria chooses new v-c". Times Higher Education. 
  21. ^ "Cumbria University got cash advance to pay staff". BBC News. 19 April 2010. 
  22. ^ Newman, Melanie (15 April 2010). "Cumbria admits 'unacceptable' financial results". Times Higher Education. 
  23. ^ Eve, Kelly (3 December 2011). "University of Cumbria makes 'profit' for first time". News and Star. 
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External links

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