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University of London

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University of London
Latin: Universitas Londiniensis
Established 1836
Type Public
Chancellor HRH The Princess Royal
Vice-Chancellor Professor Geoffrey Crossick
Visitor The Rt Hon Nick Clegg
As Lord President of the Council
Students 135,090 internal (2005-2006)[1]
50,000 International Programmes[2]
Location London, England, UK

The University of London is a federal mega-university made up of 31 affiliates: 19 separate university institutions, and 12 research institutes.[3]

Its headquarters, Senate House, is in Malet Street in the Bloomsbury area of Camden. This is near University College London and the British Museum.

The University of London is the largest university in the UK by number of full-time students, with 135,090 campus-based students and over 45,000 in the University of London International Programmes.

The university is not responsible for the teaching, the research or the individual students and staff of the constituent colleges. They are the responsibility of the colleges. The university is an administrative body responsible for standards, degree examinations and certification.

The university was first established by a Royal Charter in 1836, which brought together in federation London University (now University College London) and King's College (now King's College London).

Graduates of the University of London may use the post-nominal letters 'Lond.' or 'Londin.' (both from Londiniensis) after their degree abbreviations.


The London University as drawn by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd and published in 1827/28. This was the original name of University College London, which still occupies the site.

Founded in 1836, the University at first comprised just two colleges. They were University College London (founded in 1826), which did not apply religious tests to its students, and King's College (founded in 1829), which admitted only members of the Church of England. Therefore, both University College and King's pre-date the University of London, which initially served solely as an examining body for the constituent colleges.

In 1858 the University expanded its role by offering the University of London International Programmes to candidates outside the colleges, the first of its kind in the country. A new headquarters at 6 Burlington Gardens, providing the university with exam halls and offices, was built to accommodate the new role.

In 1878 the University became the first university in the UK to admit women on equal terms with men. 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.[4]


  1. Combined total of "Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2005/06". Higher Education Statistics Agency online statistics. Retrieved 2007-07-15. The individual totals are Birkbeck, University of London 19020, Central School of Speech and Drama 950, Courtauld Institute of Art 395, Goldsmiths, University of London 7615, Imperial College London 12665, Institute of Cancer Research 235, Institute of Education 7215, King's College 21755, London Business School 1455, London School of Economics 8810, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 975, Queen Mary, University of London 11625, Royal Academy of Music 730, Royal Holloway, University of London 7620, Royal Veterinary College 1610, School of Oriental and African Studies 4525, School of Pharmacy 1355, St George's, University of London 3785, University College London 21620, Central institutes & activities 430. Heythrop College is privately funded and does not appear in HESA statistics. It gives its total number of students as 700. "Prospective Students". Heythrop College website. Retrieved 2007-07-15. Imperial College London has left the University since the year 2005-2006.
  2. "About us". University of London International Programmes website. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
  3. "University of London: Colleges/Institutes". 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
  4. "University of London: Brief history". Retrieved 2010-04-13.