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University of Wales

University of Wales
Welsh: Prifysgol Cymru
Coat of Arms of the University of Wales
Motto Goreu Awen Gwirionedd
(The Best Inspiration is Truth)
Established 1893
Type Confederal, non-membership university[1]
Chancellor The Prince of Wales
Vice-Chancellor Medwin Hughes
Pro-Chancellor The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Barry Morgan
Location Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Carmarthen, Lampeter, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham, Wales, UK
Campus Urban and rural and distance learning
Affiliations Alliance of Non-Aligned Universities
Association of Commonwealth Universities
Logo of the University of Wales

The University of Wales (Welsh: Prifysgol Cymru) was a confederal university based in Cardiff, Wales, UK. It was founded in 1893, and in 2011 it announced its intention to merge with University of Wales Trinity Saint David. In the meantime it has continued to function in its own right.

In its heyday it accredited institutions throughout Wales, and validated courses at institutions in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students.


  • History 1
  • Central services 2
  • Former accredited institutions 3
    • Former affiliated institutions 3.1
    • Former validated institutions 3.2
    • Former members 3.3
  • Notable alumni 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7
    • Official histories of the University 7.1
  • External links 8


The University of Wales was founded in Wales in 1893 as a federal university with three foundation colleges: University College Wales (now University of South Wales).

The university was composed of colleges until 1996, when the university was reorganised with a two-tier structure of member institutions in order to absorb the Cardiff Institute of Higher Education (which became the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), now known as Cardiff Metropolitan University) and the Gwent College of Higher Education (which became University of Wales College, Newport (UWCN)). The existing colleges became constituent institutions and the two new member institutions became university colleges. In 2003, both of these colleges became full constituent institutions and in 2004 UWCN received permission from the Privy Council to change its name to the University of Wales, Newport.

Cardiff University and the University of Wales College of Medicine (UWCM) merged on 1 August 2004. The merged institution, known as Cardiff University, ceased to be a constituent institution and joined a new category of 'Affiliated/Linked Institutions'. While the new institution continues to award University of Wales degrees in medicine and related subjects, students joining Cardiff from 2005 to study other subjects are awarded Cardiff University degrees.

At the same time, the university admitted four new institutions. Thus, North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI), Swansea Institute of Higher Education and Trinity College, Carmarthen (who were all previously Associated Institutions) along with the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (which was previously a Validated Institution) were admitted as full members of the university on 27 July 2004.

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama subsequently left the university in January 2007. More changes followed in September 2007 when the university changed from a federal structure to a confederation of independent institutions, allowing those individual institutions which had gained the status of universities in their own right to use the title of university – these institutions are Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Glyndŵr University (formerly the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI)), Swansea Metropolitan University and Swansea University.

In November 2008, Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities decided to exercise their right to register students to study for their own awarded degrees.

In 2011 it was announced that the University of Wales would be merged into University of Wales Trinity Saint David.[2][3][4] which itself merged with Swansea Metropolitan University[5] on 1 August 2013. At present, the University of Wales is still functioning in its own right.

Central services

The administrative office of the University of Wales is located in Cardiff's Civic Centre. In addition to its work with the accredited institutions in Wales, the university also validates schemes of study at some 130 centres in the UK and across the world, though it is currently in the process of bringing this current validation model to a close. It runs a highly rated research centre, the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (incorporating the Welsh Dictionary Unit), which is adjacent to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.[6] The first edition of Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (The University of Wales Dictionary), which has the same status for Welsh as the OED does for English, was completed in 2002, eighty-two years after it had been started. The University of Wales Press[7] was founded in 1922 and publishes around seventy books a year in both English and Welsh. The university also has a study and conference centre at Gregynog, near Newtown.[8]

Former accredited institutions

College Established Undergraduate students Postgraduate students Location Vice-Chancellor
Aberystwyth University 1872 8,450 2,570 Aberystwyth April McMahon
Bangor University 1884 9,500 Bangor John G. Hughes
Glyndŵr University 2008 7,695 Wrexham Michael Scott
University of Wales, Newport 1841[9] 7,525 1,850 Newport Peter Noyes
Cardiff University 1883 21,800 Cardiff Colin Riordan[10]
Swansea University 1920 Swansea Richard B Davies
University of Wales, Trinity Saint David 2010 Lampeter and Carmarthen Medwin Hughes

|University of Wales Institute of Cardiff

In September 2007, three universities applied for a change to their Royal Charters to give them the power to award their own degrees, instead of University of Wales degrees. Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, and Swansea University now all award their own degrees.[11][12]

The University of Wales: Trinity Saint David already has its own degree awarding powers, inherited from Saint David's College, Lampeter, which were put into abeyance when Lampeter joined the University of Wales in 1971. From then on, Lampeter awarded Wales degrees, but its own licences and diplomas. When the merger between the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David, Swansea Metropolitan and The University of Wales is complete, the new unified institution will award degrees under the historic 1828 Royal Charter of Saint David's College.

Former affiliated institutions

Cardiff was once a full member of the university but has now left (though it retained some ties) having previously merged with the University of Wales College of Medicine (which was also a former member). Cardiff has awarded its own degrees to students admitted since 2005, except in Medicine and related subjects which continued to be awarded University of Wales degrees until 2011.

Former validated institutions

A number of institutions were not accredited by the university, but had some of their courses validated by it.[13] There was some publicity and questioning of the quality of these external courses,[14][15][16][17] and in October 2011, in response to changes in Higher Education in Wales, including the University's merger, the University announced that it would launch a new academic strategy which would see the institution only award degrees to students on courses designed and fully controlled by the University. All existing students at validated institutions are able to continue the remainder of their studies for a University of Wales award and will have continuous support.[18][19][20]

Former members

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ "Registrar's Office". Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  2. ^ University of Wales effectively abolished in merger - BBC News, 21 October 2011
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Warning not to strip University of Wales assets". BBC News. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  5. ^ This is South Wales - Uni merger goes ahead after Met is dissolved
  6. ^ Wales Online (7 June 2012). "University View: Andrew Hawke, managing editor of Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, the University of Wales Dictionary of the Welsh Language". 
  7. ^ "UW Press Website". 
  8. ^ Abele Adamu Bouba (2011-10-21). "A sense of history and a new beginning". Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  9. ^ "History of the University". 
  10. ^ "Cardiff University: Prof Colin Riordan is new vice-chancellor".  
  11. ^ Swansea University – What's Happening Archived 28 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Second uni to award own degrees –". BBC News. 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  13. ^ "Institution Search – University of Wales". Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  14. ^ "Another worthless validation: the University of Wales and nutritional therapy". 
  15. ^ "BBC TV Wales, part 1". Youtube. 
  16. ^ "BBC TV Wales, part 2". Youtube. 
  17. ^ "". 
  18. ^ "University of Wales to stop validating other degrees". BBC News. 3 October 2011. 
  19. ^ Times Higher Education (4 October 2011). "University of Wales pulls in its tentacles". 
  20. ^ UW Website (6 October 2011). "University of Wales announces new academic strategy". 


Official histories of the University

  • The University of Wales: A Historical Sketch D. Emrys Evans, University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 1953. Published to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the University of Wales. It is illustrated with black-and-white photographic plates, and contains appendices listing 'Authorities and Officers of the University' and 'Professors and Other Heads of Departments' since 1872.
  • The University of Wales: An Illustrated History Geraint H. Jenkins, University of Wales Press, Cardiff. 1993. Published to mark the centenary of the University of Wales.

External links

  • Official website
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