In 1828, the University of Central Lancashire was founded in Preston as the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge. ‘Ex solo ad solem’, or in translation, ‘From the Earth to the Sun’, has been its motto ever since – helping talented people from all walks of life to make the most of their potential.
Today Central Lancashire is one of the UK’s largest universities with a student and staff community approaching 38,000. Internationally the University has academic partners in all regions of the globe and it is on a world stage that the first class quality of its education was first recognised. The University has an increasingly thriving campus in Cyprus delivering UCLan programmes and original research within a Central Lancashire environment and culture.
In 2010, the University became the first UK modern Higher Education institution to appear in the QS World University Rankings. In 2016, the Centre for World University Rankings estimated Central Lancashire to be in the top 3.7 percent of all worldwide universities, highlighting the progress the institution has made in providing students with real-world learning experiences and reflecting the institution’s broad pool of academic talent.
Amongst its programme portfolio of some 400 undergraduate and 200+ postgraduate courses, the University has been at the forefront of developing degrees in emerging disciplines such as Fashion and Forensic Science to an evolving portfolio of Dentistry programmes to meet emerging sector needs. Undergraduate Medicine has now been added to that list, a course being delivered in one of the UK's most modern and inclusive Medical Schools.
Aerospace Engineering is another new programme, part of the University’s commitment to grow its portfolio of engineering-related courses, and is coupled with the development of a £30 million+ Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC). The aim is to provide a rich source of new graduates that reflect the economic priorities of the North West, the UK and indeed the global economy.
The EIC forms a key pillar of the University’s multi-million pound Campus Masterplan which over the next five years will create a world-class educational environment that blends new facilities with the creation of public, green spaces to benefit the University, the City of Preston, and the economy of the North West. The EIC will create an integrated space for teaching, research and knowledge exchange, resulting in higher education provision in Lancashire which more closely reflects the economic priorities of the business community. The University’s plans are being informed by the local, regional, business and civic communities, with whom it continues to build close relationships.
Creating a remodelled campus environment will help drive Central Lancashire’s commitment to academic excellence, striving to ensure that its teaching and learning, research and knowledge exchange activities are all recognised as being of exceptional quality. The impact is perhaps best seen in the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework: all 16 subject areas in which the university’s research was assessed were judged to contain ‘world leading’ quality.
The University’s reputation as a regional economy powerhouse has been boosted through its strong track record in supporting graduate business start-ups; Central Lancashire is ranked as the leading UK university for incubated start-up businesses still active after three years of trading. It is ranked second in the UK for the number of graduate start-ups still active overall and ranked third in the UK for estimate turnover for active firms. In the last five years the University has helped over 1,000 students or graduates start a business or became self-employed, the second highest figure in the UK.
Looking forward to 2020, the University will continue to be a large, financially stable university, powered by highly skilled staff and motivated students. The fruits of its £200 million Campus Masterplan investment in Preston will transform the University as a place to learn, work and do business. It will enhance its standing as an institution with a world-class academic reputation firmly rooted in modern-day relevance.