University of Wales
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 Professor Marc Clement
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 Online distance learning
Affiliations Alliance of Non-Aligned Universities
Association of Commonwealth Universities
Logo of the University of Wales

The University of Wales (Prifysgol Cymru in Welsh) is a confederal university founded in 1893. It has accredited institutions throughout Wales, ranging from the universities Newport, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff and Glyndŵr University, to Lampeter the oldest university in Wales, and other nineteenth-century establishments like Aberystwyth and Bangor. It also accredits courses abroad and has over 100,000 students.

It is possible to study with the university via:


Distance Learning


Online Learning

The Chancellor of the University of Wales is HRH the Prince of Wales and the Pro-Chancellor is the Archbishop of Wales, Dr. Barry Morgan. The Vice-Chancellor is Professor Marc Clement.


The University of Wales was founded in Wales in 1893 as a federal university with three foundation colleges: University College Wales (now Aberystwyth University), which had been founded in 1872 and University College North Wales (now Bangor University) and University College South Wales and Monmouthshire (now Cardiff University) which were founded following the Aberdare Report in 1881. Prior to the foundation of the federal University, these three colleges had prepared students for the examinations of the University of London. A fourth college, Swansea (now Swansea University), was added in 1920 and in 1931 the Welsh School of Medicine was established in Cardiff. In 1967 the Welsh College of Advanced Technology entered the federal University as the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST), also in Cardiff. In 1971 St David's College (now University of Wales, Trinity Saint David), Wales' oldest degree-awarding institution, suspended its own degree-awarding powers and entered the University of Wales. A financial crisis in the late eighties caused UWIST and University College Cardiff to merge in 1988, forming the University of Wales College Cardiff (UWCC). In 1992 the University lost its position as the only university in Wales when the Polytechnic of Wales became the University of Glamorgan.

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)) 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 August 1, 2004. The merged institution, known as Cardiff University, ceased to be a constituent institution and became 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 July 27, 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, Glyndwr University (formerly the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education), 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.

Future PlansEdit

In February 2011, plans were announced to transform the University of Wales into a new super university by merging the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, Swansea Metropolitan University and Trinity Saint David.[2] However, in June 2011, a report commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government said the University had become too reliant on income from validating degrees awarded by overseas colleges. It recommended that the University should “change radically”, and that if the planned merger does not go ahead then it should either be reduced to a service provider for the rest of the Welsh higher education sector, or wound down completely.[3] In the same month, the University was advised by the Quality Assurance Agency to review its partnerships with foreign colleges following an investigation by BBC Wales which suggested shortcomings in its system of validation.[4]

Central servicesEdit

The administrative office of the University of Wales is located in Cardiff's Civic Centre. Outside 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. 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. 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 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.

Accredited institutionsEdit

College Established Undergraduate students Postgraduate students Location Vice-Chancellor
Aberystwyth University 1872 8,450 2,570 Aberystwyth Noel G. Lloyd
Bangor University 1884 9,500 Bangor Professor Merfyn Jones
Glyndŵr University 2008 6,000 Wrexham Professor Michael Scott
University of Wales, Newport 1841[5] 7,525 1,850 Newport Dr Peter Noyes
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff 1865 9,275 Cardiff Professor Antony J Chapman
Swansea Metropolitan University 2008 Swansea Professor David Warner
University of Wales, Trinity Saint David 2010 Lampeter and Carmarthen Dr Medwin Hughes

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.[6][7]

The University of Wales, Trinity Saint David already has its own degree awarding powers, which were put into abeyance when it joined the University of Wales in 1971. At present, UWTSD awards Wales degrees, but its own Licences and Diplomas.

Affiliated institutionsEdit

Cardiff was once a full member of the University but has now left (though it retains some ties). When Cardiff left, it merged with the University of Wales College of Medicine (which was also a former member). Cardiff awards its own degrees to students admitted since 2005, except in Medicine and related subjects where University of Wales degrees continue to be awarded.

Validated institutionsEdit

These institutions are not accredited by the University, but do have some of their courses validated by them:

Former membersEdit

Notable alumniEdit

Fictional AlumniEdit

The main character of Helen Fieling's bestseller, Bridget Jones attended Bangor University


  • The University of Wales: A Historical Sketch written by D.Emrys Evans in 1953 by the University of Wales Press. It is illustrated with black-and-white photographic plates, and contains an Appendix listing 'Authorities and Officers of the University' and 'Professors and Other Heads of Departments' since 1872.[8]

See alsoEdit



  1. Registrar's Office
  2. ['Radical' Welsh 'super university' merger agreed - BBC News]
  3. [ Achievement and accountability, Report of the independent review of higher education governance in Wales
  4. University of Wales must review link-ups, advises QAA - BBC News
  5. "History of the University". 
  6. Swansea University – What's Hapening
  7. Second uni to award own degrees – BBC News
  8. Detail obtained from a copy The University of Wales" with the date of 1953

External linksEdit

Template:University of Wales Template:Universities and colleges in Wales Template:Universities in the United Kingdom Template:University Alliance

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