We believe that universities have a role to play in a fair and democratic society, and we measure success not just by our awards and league table results but also by the contribution we make to society.

About our University

We have almost 22,000 students based in our University of Sunderland campuses on the North East coast, in London and Hong Kong and with our international partners in 14 countries around the world.

We are proud of our long-established commitment to widening participation, world-leading and relevant research, public and private sector collaborations and our track-record for providing graduates who become the tomorrow-makers of our societies and economies. Our values are explicit in our Strategic Plan and set out the kind of organisation we are, including the principles that guide our activities, decisions and behaviours.

At Sunderland we believe that universities have a role to play in a fair and democratic society, and we measure success not just by our awards and league table results but also by the contribution we make to society.

We are the UK’s most inclusive university, according to The Times Good University Guide 2018, and our widening participation record is testimony to our long-standing commitment to raise aspirations and promote social inclusion within the North East region. 

We received a Silver rating in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework. The TEF assessors applauded our “institutional culture that facilitates excellent teaching through a comprehensive professional development programme and funding commitments to support pedagogical research” and recognised our students’ exposure to professional practice which enhances their personal development and overall experience.


Our campuses

In Sunderland our University operates from two campuses – the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s on the banks of the River Wear and another in the centre of the city.

Significant and ongoing capital investment has transformed the City Campus, which includes CitySpace, a sports and social facility. Our new Sciences Complex supports areas such as Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Science, Nursing, Cosmetic Science, Paramedic Practice and Sports Sciences and will incorporate the new School of Medicine. Within Sciences, Living Lab is a unique, purpose-built environment where University researchers, staff, students and healthcare and life sciences partners can test, monitor and collaborate on new technologies and treatments in real world settings, raising the quality of care and improving patient safety.

Hope Street Xchange is our flagship centre for enterprise and innovation and offers inspirational space for business-to-business engagement and innovative fledgling enterprises. The first FabLab in the region is also based here and provides open access to the latest digital fabrication and rapid prototyping technologies.

Our award-winning Sir Tom Cowie Campus is adjacent to St Peter’s Church - a seat of learning since 674AD - and is now host to our extensive facilities in Media, Film Production, Engineering, Computing, Business and Law. We have invested in the refurbishment of National Glass Centre, a notable visitor attraction and home to the University’s Glass and Ceramics programmes, where students have access to the best facilities in Europe. The popular centre is also the new home of the acclaimed Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, bringing new art and exhibiting artists to Sunderland’s riverside.

Plans for future investment were shared with staff at a recent briefing hosted by the University’s Executive Team, including the ten-year ‘One Campus’ vision to seamlessly integrate the two campus sites in Sunderland with a series of strategically placed capital projects.

Over £4m has been invested in our University of Sunderland in London – situated at Canary Wharf in the heart of the City’s business and financial district – to ensure the rapidly increasing numbers of students on campus have a comparable excellent experience.

Our campus in Hong Kong is located at the heart of the Central trading district overlooking Victoria Harbour. It was opened in March 2017 by the British Consul General for Hong Kong and delivers Business, Finance and Tourism programmes as well as operating as the University’s South East Asia Hub for recruitment and partnership development in the region. We have almost 6,000 active alumni in Hong Kong and over 20 years of operational experience in this region.


Our recruitment and global reach

UK recruitment for 2017/18 was up by 16.4% with EU student numbers maintaining a steady state. This growth is due to changes to our portfolio which included new foundation level programmes and the introduction of Nursing and Paramedic Science. This expansion follows several years of sustained growth in transnational education markets.

We are acknowledged as one of the UK’s top providers of transnational education with over 6,000 students studying for University of Sunderland academic awards with 21 quality-assured partners across the world including Malaysia, Singapore,

Hong Kong, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Trinidad, Uzbekistan, and Tashkent.


Our teaching

Our excellent teaching is informed by research and engagement with employers, ensuring our graduates are equipped with the skills required to succeed in their chosen career or path to further study. In recent years several of our academics have been recognised as National Teaching Fellows in acknowledgement of their outstanding impact on student learning and teaching and we have established a centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching to support our academics in their continuous professional development.

Our Academic Deans are engaged with new developments in the area of inter-disciplinary learning as we work to deliver programmes of relevance for our graduates of the future.

At the start of the 2017/18 academic year the Board of Governors endorsed our new Student Success Strategy, a set of integrated initiatives to ensure the best possible success and progression outcomes for graduates. The strategy has specific objectives to improve student retention and completion   rates, the proportion of students achieving good honours, the levels of student engagement to build student confidence and graduate employability outcomes.

A set of challenging key performance indicators underpin the ambitions outlined in the strategy.


Our research

Research inspires and drives our academic community: it delivers outstanding outcomes for the student experience and plays an influential supporting role in developing economies, societies and cultures regionally, nationally and globally.

Researchers at the University have been challenging themselves and their subject specialisms in order to improve society across all its facets – from the early days of pharmacy to the support for heavy industry at its height, through to today’s new sciences and advanced technologies.

We have a strong focus on applied research that meets the needs of live issues in the economy, culture and society. What makes our research stand out is that it’s relevant and responsive; inclusive and collaborative.

In June 2017 we announced a new Research and Innovation Strategy with the launch of research institutes closely aligned to our academic departments. These institutes lead and develop faculty research ensuring it is relevant, informing our curriculum, and that researchers are working closely with business and public sector partners. Each Institute brings together a number of research themes, encouraging multidisciplinary collaborations as well as innovation around the boundaries of specific subjects.

For more information visit the research pages on our website.


Our engagement with industry

Our commitment to equipping the workforce of the future has led us to collaborate with industry in the development and delivery of Degree and Higher Level Apprenticeships, we have ambitious plans for growth in this sector. We also have a track-record of delivering Knowledge Transfer Partnership programmes (KTPs) with many companies across a range of sectors including Software Development, Pharmacy, Engineering and Technology with our outcomes assessed as ‘outstanding’ by Innovate UK.

Our University is also lead partner in University Technical College (UTC) South Durham and university partner in Newcastle’s Northern Futures UTC.

As well as being home to established and fledgling businesses, our centre for enterprise and innovation - Hope Street Xchange – is also home to the University’s FabLab. As well as providing access to digital equipment and support for prototyping new products this inspiring space is also a great entry point to technology and innovation for schools and community groups.

With a sustainable and robust financial plan we are well placed to take advantage of investment opportunities that will improve our offer for learners and partners, while enhancing our standing within our community, the North-East region, nationally, and as a global player.


Our history

With its long distinguished history, and a record of adaptability and agility, the University of Sunderland is recognised as one of the great, modern, civic universities. Our modern roots lie with Sunderland Technical College, which opened in 1901 in order to develop high-quality vocational programmes to support the regional skills needs for the 20th Century. Pharmacy, a flagship area for the University, was introduced in 1921, and in 1934 Sunderland Technical College was recognised for its exemplary Bachelor of Engineering programme, the first in the country to offer placements as an integral part of the curriculum.

By 1959 ambitious plans for expansion were underway and in 1969 The Technical College, The School of Art, and Sunderland Teacher Training College were brought together and became Sunderland Polytechnic. In 1992 the Polytechnic was awarded university status and became the University of Sunderland.


Our ambitious plans for the University are detailed in the Strategic Plan 2016 - 2021.