Adam Girsault, International Admissions Consultant
The University of Birmingham is a Russell Group University that is situated, rather unsurprisingly, in the English city of Birmingham. Located on a beautiful red brick campus chartered in 1900, Birmingham prides itself on being the first civic university in England, welcoming students of all economic backgrounds.
The University is part of a rich cultural scene, being home to the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, displaying works by Van Gogh, Picasso and Monet, the Cadbury Research Library, which houses the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts, and finally, the Shakespeare Institute, dedicated to its world-famous namesake and to Renaissance literature.
There are 3 campuses at the University, the original and main one being the Edgbaston campus, which is situated 3 miles from the city centre. The most notable building on this campus is a campanile called the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower which draws its inspiration from the Torre del Mangia, a medieval clock tower Siena, Italy.In fact, it has been described as ‘the intellectual beacon of the Midlands’ by the Birmingham Post. It is one of the top 50 tallest buildings in the UK,and the tallest free-standing clock tower in the world.
The campus has a wide diversity in architecture, with a big building project in the 1960’s having greatly expanded the campus. As a further sign of its commitment to building a student-friendly campus, the University of Birmingham recently completed its redesigned its main entrance, effectively creating a ‘Green Heart’ in the midst of campus.
The second of the 3 campuses is called ‘Selly Oak’. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the main campus and is where the Old Library, George Cadbury Hall 200 seat theatre, and Department of Drama and Theatre Arts are based.
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The university traditionally focused on science, engineering and commerce, as well as coal mining. Nowadays, it teaches a full range of academic subjects and has five-star rating for teaching and research in several departments. Impressively, it is regarded as making a prominent contribution to cancer studies, hosting the first Cancer Research UK Centre,and making notable contributions to gravitational-wave astronomy, as it is home to the Institute of Gravitational Wave Astronomy.
Birmingham is not only known for its science, however, ranking highly in many other fields. For instance, the Department of Philosophy ranked 3rd in the 2017 Guardian University League Tables,below the University of Oxford and above the University of Cambridge, the first being the University of St Andrews. Clearly, the University of Birmingham holds its own when compared to the top universities in the UK!
With a student population of 22,440 undergraduate and 12,395 postgraduate students, which is the fourth largest in the UK, it is a vibrant and bustling campus community. Birmingham is extremely international, with students coming from over 150 different countries to study there. In fact, in the 2016-17 academic year, the university had a domicile breakdown of 76:5:18 of UK:EU:non-EU students, respectively, with a female to male ratio of 56:44.
The Students’ Union offers over 250 different clubs and societies, ranging from the mundane to the insane, such as ‘Harry Potter Society’ and ‘Skydiving Club’. You’ll be sure to find your niche! !
The city itself is modern and diverse, being home to over 650 churches, mosques, synagogues and temples. Not only this, but it is the youngest city in Europe, with under-25s accounting for nearly 40% of its population, making it a lively and fun place for students. Only two hours away from London, it is well-connected and an extremely up-and-coming city.
How do I apply?
What are the different stages of the application?
There are several steps:
The details of these steps are covered below.
How to begin an application:
Candidates apply via the British online platform UCAS, and upload a letter of motivation (Personal Statement), their predicted exam marks, and a letter of recommendation from one of their teachers. Students may only submit one Personal Statementfor all the universities they apply for (maximum of 5 choices). The Personal Statement, no more than 4,000 characters, should explain why students want to study their chosen course, what aspects particularly interest them, what steps they have already taken to engage with the subject (reading, conferences, internships etc), and, if possible, what aspects they are looking forward to studying.
Conditional offer and acceptance:
If students succeed in all these stages, in January they will receive a ‘conditional offer’ of admission. This means that they will be accepted if they attain the required marks (most often a high grade in your end of high school studies, and in a standardized English exam: 7.5 in the IELTS for example).
What is the deadline for applying?
The deadline for applications to the University of Birmingham is 15th January of a students’ final year of secondary school or sixth-form college (Year 12).
When do you have to start preparing for the University of Birmingham?
It is strongly recommended that students begin preparing from the end of Year 11 or beginning of Year 12. If possible, start any reading and thinking about what to write about in a Personal Statement as early as possible. Some candidates, particularly those with a weaker level of English, need to consider preparing even earlier.
It is recommended that students try to find aspects of their chosen course that genuinely interest them and to think deeply about why they wish to study this subject – after all, students are applying to study this subject full time for at least 3 years.
Is it possible to visit the campus?
The open day at Birmingham is the 19th October 2019. Registration is not necessary. For more information see this website.