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University College London Crest
University College London
Motto Cuncti adsint meritaeque expectent praemia palmae (Latin)
Motto in English Let all come who by merit deserve the most reward
Established 1826
Type Public
Chancellor HRH The Princess Royal (University of London)
Provost Prof. Malcolm Grant
Admin. staff 8,000 (4,000 academic staff)
Students 21,620[1]
Undergraduates 11,970[1]
Postgraduates 9,650[1]
Location London
Colours ______________________
Affiliations European University Association
Golden Triangle (UK universities)
League of European Research Universities
Russell Group
University of London
Universities UK

University College London (UCL) is a large university in London. It is the largest college of the federal University of London.[2] As well as undergraduate teaching, it is one of the largest research universities in the country.[3]

UCL has over 100 departments, institutes and research centres in eight faculties. Its main campus is in the Bloomsbury area of central London, with a number of institutes and teaching hospitals elsewhere in central London.

UCL was founded in 1826 as 'University College'. It was the first university institution to be founded in London and the first in England to be established on an entirely secular (non-religious) basis.[4] It admits students regardless of their religious beliefs. UCL was also the first admit women on equal terms with men.[5] University College became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London in 1836.


The original University College was based largely on ideas of Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), a lawyer, social philosopher and free-thinker. Bentham believed in libertarianism, utilitarianism, women's suffrage, and the separation of church and state. These are beliefs of liberalism. The college was unique in that it was secular, and was called "that Godless institution in Gower Street".[6][7]

University College was founded on 11 February 1826,[8] under the name London University, as a secular alternative to the strictly Anglican universities of Oxford and Cambridge. It was founded from the beginning as a university, not a college or institute.

However, its founders got such strong opposition from the Church of England that it prevented them from getting the Royal Charter needed for the award of degrees. King's College London was specifically founded to provide an Anglican rival to UCL.[7] It was not until 1836, when the latter-day University of London was established, that University College was legally recognised and granted the power to award degrees of the University of London.


UCL has over 4,000 academic and research staff and 648 professors, the highest number of any British university.[9] There are currently 36 Fellows of the Royal Society, 26 Fellows of the British Academy, 10 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering and 78 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences amongst UCL academic and research staff.[10]

UCL is a major centre for biomedical research; it is part of three of the 12 biomedical research centres established by the NHS in England and is a founding member of UCL Partners, the largest academic health science centre in Europe.[11]

For the period 1999 to 2009 it was the 13th most-cited university in the world (and the most-cited in Europe).[12] There has been at least one Nobel Prize winner from UCL every decade since the establishment of the Nobel Prizes in 1901. There are 21 Nobel Prize winners and three Fields Medalists amongst UCL’s alumni and current and former staff, the most recent being Sir Charles Kao, who received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2009.[10]

UCL is ranked 21st in the world (and 3rd in Europe) in the 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities,[13] 4th in the world (and 2nd in Europe) in the 2010 QS World University Rankings,[14] and 22nd in the world (and 5th in Europe) in the 2010 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[15]

UCL is a member of the G5, the League of European Research Universities, the Russell Group, and other national and international groups.[16] It forms part of the 'Golden Triangle' of British universities.[17]

  • UCL had a total income of £762 million in 2009/10, of which £275 million was from research grants and contracts.[18]
  • The UCL School of Energy and Resources is based in Adelaide, Australia.
  • UCL includes world-renowned centres for architecture (UCL Bartlett) and fine art (UCL Slade School)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Table 0a – All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2005/06". Higher Education Statistics Agency online statistics. Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-31.
  2. "Profile: University College London". Times Online. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  3. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education describes it as a "research university".
  4. At the time, both Oxford and Cambridge universities required all students and dons to be members of the Church of England.
  5. "UCL | Fulbright University Partners | US-UK Fulbright Commission". Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  6. Quotation was by Thomas Arnold, the Head of Rugby School and a religious zealot.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Crilley, Tony (2006). Arthur Cayley: mathematician laureate of the Victorian Age. JHU Press. pp. 18. ISBN 0801880114 .
  8. "{{{title}}}". Americanized Encyclopedia Britannica 10. (1890). Retrieved on 9 February 2011. 
  9. "Key Facts and Figures". University College London. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Nobel Laureates & Scholarship". University College London. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  11. Carvel, John (7 August 2008). "NHS hospitals to forge £2bn research link-up with university". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  12. "The Most-Cited Institutions Overall, 1999-2009". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  13. "Top 100". Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  14. "University College London". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  15. "Top 200". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  17. "Golden opportunities". Nature. 6 July 2005. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  18. "Wealth and Health: Financial data for UK higher education institutions, 2009-10". Times Higher Education. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011.