Most of London Met life takes place at the university’s largest campus, on Holloway Road in north London, where the angular, steel-clad graduate centre designed by Daniel Libeskind is a standout feature. The School of Art, Architecture and Design is nearly four miles east in Aldgate. The university was created by the merger of London Guildhall University and the University of North London in 2002, although its parent institutions date from the mid-19th century.
London Met’s School of Art, Architecture and Design dropped “Sir John Cass” from its title in 2020 because of the 18th-century politician and philanthropist’s early links to the slave trade. The university has also established an Education for Social Justice Framework which aims to reflect the diversity of London Met students and create an inclusive curriculum.
The Science Centre’s Superlab on Holloway Road is among the largest teaching laboratories in Europe, with audiovisual systems that can transmit 12 practical lectures simultaneously for different groups of students. A social learning hub at the centre has high-spec classrooms and a café.
Responding to the capital’s jobs market, the university is launching a School of the Built Environment, focusing at first on quantity surveying, building surveying and construction management. The university is also preparing to introduce nursing courses to the curriculum.
Such developments should improve the prospects for London Met graduates. It is fourth from bottom in our graduate outcomes measure, derived from the results of the 2022 Graduate Outcomes survey, which records the proportion of graduates in professional jobs or further study 15 months after finishing their degree. A Careers Education Framework has been set up to enhance employability, enabling students to find a work placement.
The low rates of graduate employment contribute to London Met’s 28-place tumble in our overall academic league table this year, having risen to its highest rank yet — 100th — in 2021. In the Teaching Excellence Framework, London Met was rated bronze in light of student achievement “notably below benchmark across a range of indicators”. Assessors recognised a range of positive strategies to improve student satisfaction, but expressed concern that comparatively few students carried on to postgraduate study.
Completion rates are a sticking point for London Met, with more than two in ten students (22.6 per cent) projected to drop out — a higher rate than the 21.5 per cent benchmark based on the social and academic backgrounds of the student intake.
There was much better news for London Met in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). Sixty per cent of the university’s research was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent, the top two categories. The proportion of staff whose research was assessed increased by almost a third compared with the previous assessment in 2014. Maths produced the best results and the university gains 21 places in our research quality index to rank 90th, thanks to its REF 2021 improvements.
Cybersecurity is a strong subject and the university’s research centre was the first of its kind in the UK when it opened in 2018, bringing together students and businesses.
Applications increased by 9 per cent in 2021 but enrolments fell by about 18 per cent to their lowest number yet. An architecture degree apprenticeship began in March 2022 and London Met also offers a teaching apprenticeship programme.
The university is in the top 40 overall for social inclusion, with almost all (96.8 per cent) of students drawn from non-selective state schools and more than half (56.4 per cent) from ethnic minority backgrounds. London Met also has the second-highest proportion of students aged over 21 when they enrol (78.4 per cent).
Outreach programmes to support disadvantaged students from underrepresented groups include national Saturday clubs, which offer 30 weeks of workshops for 12 to 16-year-olds covering topics such as art and design, writing and talking, and developing confidence. The Upward Bound programme on alternate Saturdays targets key stage 3-4 pupils and aims to raise their GCSE attainment.
Membership of the university’s modern gym and sports hall is free for students and staff. London Met does not own halls of residence but works with private accommodation providers to find new entrants somewhere affordable to live in the capital.