Stretching back almost 175 years, the University of Roehampton has a proud history in higher education. Its constituent colleges make up much of this story, including Whitelands College, the oldest and one of the first higher education institutions to admit women. Its character is built on community, engagement and partnership, and a belief that no matter what their background, students can realise their ambitions.
It also comprises Southlands College, which was founded in 1872 and developed its ethos from its Methodist foundation; Digby Stuart College, established in 1874 as a teacher training college for Roman Catholic women, and Froebel College, founded in 1892 to further the values of Friedrich Fröbel, the German educationalist who pioneered a holistic view of child development. It is now one of the UK’s major centres for initial teacher training.
All four colleges were created to address the need to educate poor and disadvantaged children. In 1975, the four colleges teamed up to form the Roehampton Institute of Higher Education.
Roehampton was formerly an equal partner in the now-dissolved Federal University of Surrey, along with the original University of Surrey in Guildford. Since August 2004, the University of Surrey Roehampton became Roehampton University, and in 2011, the university was branded University of Roehampton.
The University has a range of specialist facilities for use in teaching and research, including the biomechanics, physiology and sport and exercise psychology laboratories. It also opened a new £35 million library in 2017, featuring more than 350,000 books, as well as a collection of e-books and electronic journals.
Roehampton’s reputation largely lies in research, with 66% of the university’s research submissions being classed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework by Hefce (Higher Education Funding Council for England).
At this time, Dance was the top performing subject, with 94% of research rated 4* and 3* - making it the highest-rated department in its subject area in the UK. Roehampton was also ranked third in London for research quality in education, and fourth for English.
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In December 2014, according to Higher Education Funding Council for England, the university was recognised as the most research-intensive post-1992 university in the UK. It submitted work by more than two thirds of its academic staff in 13 subject areas, to Hefce's Research Excellence Framework programme.
Its notable alumni include: