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University of East London <a href="/content/Coat_of_Arms" style="color:blue">Coat of Arms</a>
University of East London Coat of Arms

University of East London (UEL) is a public university located in the London Borough of Newham, London, England, based at three campuses in Stratford and Docklands, following the opening of University Square Stratford in September 2013.[2] The university's roots can be traced back to 1892 when the West Ham Technical Institute was established. It gained university status in 1992.

As of February 2019 it had more than 17,000 students from 135 countries.[3]


UEL can trace its roots back to 1892, when the newly formed County Borough of West Ham decided to establish a West Ham Technical Institute to serve the local community. The Institute was to be, in the words of John Passmore Edwards speaking at the building's opening ceremony, a "people’s university". The college provided courses in science, engineering and art, and also established its own internal degree courses in science and engineering, which were ratified by the University of London. In addition, it had a women's department.[4]

As demand for technical education grew throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Essex County Council created two further colleges at Walthamstow and Dagenham.[5] In 1970 these three colleges[5] (West Ham, Walthamstow, Dagenham) were combined as a merger of higher education colleges, to create the North East London Polytechnic.[6] Campuses were modernised and revitalised by buildings such as the Arthur Edwards building on the Stratford campus, completed in 1982.[5]

In 1988 the North East London Polytechnic became a higher education institution, and was renamed the Polytechnic of East London in 1989.[6]

In 1992 the Polytechnic of East London became the University of East London, one of a number of "new universities". UEL's succession of founding institutions exemplify the developments that took place in British further and higher education policy throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries.[7] The University of East London consisted of the Barking Campus (closed 2006)[8] and the Stratford Campus. In 1999 the Docklands Campus was opened, the first new university campus built in London for over 50 years.[9]

In 2012, following previous opposition, UEL adopted the full increased tuition rates of £9,000 permitted by legislation enacted in 2010,[10][11] an increase from the previous rate of £3,290.[10] The university is a lead academic sponsor of Hackney University Technical College which opened in 2012, one of the first university technical colleges in England.

In April 2013 the university was granted armorial bearings by the College of Arms.[12]


UEL has three campuses, at Stratford and Docklands, the newest of which, University Square Stratford, opened in September 2013. The Barking campus was closed in 2006.[13]

UEL delivers programmes and short courses at the Barking Learning Centre in a nearby borough.[14] Off campus, there are students registered on programmes with UK and non-UK academic partners, such as the Women's Institute of Management in Malaysia.[15]

The Stratford Campus is close to the 2012 Olympic Park. It is centred around University House, a 19th-century listed building.[16] The campus is home to the Cass School of Education and Communities, the School of Health Sport and Bioscience and the School of Psychology. The Centre for Clinical Education was opened in January 2008. Operating in partnership with the National Health Service, the centre is London's only provider of podiatric education.[17]

In 2011 UEL appointed Make Architects to lead the design of a replacement library at the Stratford Campus. The project had a budget of £13 million and the library opened in June 2013.[18]

The Docklands Campus, opened in 1999, is the largest of the three campuses, It is in the redeveloped Docklands area of east London, at the Royal Albert Dock, closed to commercial shipping since the 1980s and now largely used as a water sports centre and rowing course, for example for the London Regatta Centre.

London City Airport is across the dock from the campus. The Cyprus station of the Docklands Light Railway is adjacent to the campus, and offers links to Canary Wharf and central London.

The campus was shortlisted for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' Building of the Year in 2001.[19]

New student accommodation opened in 2008 and the campus now has 1,200 student rooms, together with shops, cafés and a restaurant, launderettes and an open-air fitness suite. SportsDock, a £21 million sports and academic centre, opened in March 2012.[20] SportsDock served as the High-Performance Training Centre for Team USA during the London 2012 Olympic Games.[21] The campus library is housed in the Royal Docks Business School building.

A third campus, University Square Stratford (USS – not to be confused with University Square at the Docklands Campus), opened for the 2013–14 academic year. Co-owned with Birkbeck, University of London it is situated in Stratford and delivers part-time and full-time study for adults. The project was the first time two higher education institutions created a new shared building. The building provides shared teaching spaces for both higher education institutions and their partners. It is home to the School of Law and Social Sciences, as well as UEL's Institute of Performing Arts.[18]

The building was nominated for the 2014 Carbuncle Cup.[22]


Degree programmes and other courses are taught by one of the seven teaching Schools. In addition, the Graduate School provides support and administrative services for postgraduate research students.

The School of Business and Law (RDBSL) is a combined school which offers undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD degree programmes, as well as non-degree executive education for individuals and companies. The School's main location is at the Stratford Campus but it also offers programmes at the Docklands Campus.[23] Its programmes are recognised by professional bodies including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, (ACCA), the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, (CIPD).[24]

The school also offers a range of business support, enterprise development services and conferencing facilities. Knowledge Dock helps students start their own companies by supplying help and business start-up incubators.[25] Knowledge Dock is accredited by the European Business Network as a Business Innovation Centre (BIC) and is the only BIC in London, and one of only 12 in the UK.[25]

The School of Social Sciences offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in disciplines including international development, politics and NGOs, sociology, psychosocial studies, social enterprise and innovation studies.[26][27]

The School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering was established in 2011.[28] It delivers undergraduate programmes in architecture, computing, civil engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, mathematics and product design.[29]

The Cass School of Education and Communities delivers teaching and supports research in comparative education, early childhood, diversity and language, multilingualism, professional education, race and community, social work, teacher education and technology-enhanced learning.[30]

The School of Health, Sport and Bioscience supports research and delivers teaching in nursing, health studies, physiotherapy, microbiology, biomedical science, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, forensic science, sports science, conservation and ecology.[31]

The School of Psychology delivers programmes such as BSc (Hons) Psychology, accredited by the British Psychological Society, and a qualification in counselling training, BSc (Hons) Counselling and Mentoring.[32]

The School of Arts and Digital Industries delivers courses that cover fashion, film, design,[33] fine art and media, digital arts and communications, games design and animation, music, theatre and dance, creative writing, cultural and heritage studies, journalism, advertising and performing arts.[34]

The Graduate School provides support for postgraduate research students, research and scholarly activities.[35]

Academic profile

UEL offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In addition, extended degree programmes are available for many of the single honour programmes. In these programmes, students add a preliminary foundation year to the usual three-year programme. UEL offers a range of postgraduate degrees, including taught master's degrees, professional doctorates and research degrees including MPhils and PhDs.[40]

UEL has an MBA programme in Malaysia via collaboration with Women's Institute of Management Malaysia.[41][42]

UEL has student exchange programmes with numerous universities abroad, including financial support for those who participate through the Erasmus programme.[43][44][45]

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

UEL's campuses are in Newham, the host borough of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, close to two Olympic venues; the Olympic Park in Stratford and the Excel Centre in Docklands. UEL has had Olympic and Paralympic projects including research, student involvement and sporting partnerships underway since it was announced that London's bid to host the Games was successful in 2005.

ASICS had a five-year partnership with UEL, and provided bursaries and scholarships to support research athletes at the university. During the 2012 Games, ASICS played host to athletes, ambassadors and business partners in their brand centre at UEL's Stratford campus[46][47]

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games(LOCOG) was a Games-time partner with UEL and students volunteered as Games-makers during the Games.[46]

British Swimming has had a partnership with UEL since the London Olympic Games in 2005. British Swimming used UEL residencies during the Games.[48][49]

The United States Olympic Committee's Team USA used SportsDock as its training centre during the Games. UEL sites acted as a base for USOC's sports performance services, logistical operations and media relations.[50][51] Michelle Obama addressed the Team USA athletes at the SportsDock facility on Friday, 27 July 2012, speaking of the pride and excitement that the Games bring to people.[52]

UEL students volunteered with Team USA in a number of roles during the Olympic season, including writing for the team's Games-time publication.

Team Singapore (SSC)'s recovery centre was based at UEL, providing high-performance athletic services including an athletes’ lounge. UEL also provided accommodation for SSC's medical team.[46][53]

In the seven years to 2012, UEL produced around 70 pieces of research work, including the Westfield Transport Observation, Newham Impact Evaluation and LOCOG Impact Evaluation.[54]

Student life

The University of East London Students' Union (UELSU) is the university-wide representative body for students at the university. It exists to represent UEL students in university decision-making, to act as the voice of students in the national higher education policy debate, and to provide direct services to the student body. It is affiliated to the National Union of Students, which represents students nationwide. Elections are held every year to elect a new executive committee.[55] The Students' Union runs a number of clubs and societies, campaigns and entertainment. There is also a social meeting space, on the Docklands campus and another, the Dome, on the Stratford campus

There are over 50 societies at UEL.[56] There is a student e-zine called Your Universe, a joint partnership between UEL and student writers.[57]

UEL's sports clubs participate in the British Universities and Colleges Sport leagues and sports activities are managed by UELSports.[58] In 2011, UEL was named the most improved university for sport at the BUCS awards, having jumped 43 places in the league table.[59]

A sports centre at the Docklands campus, Sportsdock, opened in 2012. This was used by Team USA for their training during the 2012 Summer Olympics. The centre features a gym and fitness suite, two large indoor sports arenas, ten badminton courts, two competition basketball courts, volleyball and netball courts, cricket bays, two five-a-side football pitches, a sports café and covered seating for 400 people.[60]

Notable alumni

UEL and its predecessor institutions have a number of notable academic staff and alumni, including politicians, business people, authors, actors, musicians and sports people.

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