Good University Guide 2023

University of Cumbria

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Cumbria

Contact details


Fusehill Street, Carlisle, CA1 2HH,

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Cumbria is expanding its foothold in Barrow-in-Furness, where operations have until now focused on delivering nursing and health practitioner courses in partnership with Furness College. The planned Barrow Learning Quarter — a collaboration with partners including BAE Systems, Lancaster University and Barrow borough council — will establish a Cumbria campus in its own right. 

Adjacent to the BAE Systems Submarine Academy for Skills and Knowledge, the new campus is due to welcome its first students in 2024. The Barrow site will house Cumbria’s Institute for Engineering, Computing and Advanced Manufacturing, with degrees including project management, digital and cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics. Creating a full university presence in Barrow, home to one of the few shipyards in the world capable of designing and building nuclear submarines, is expected to attract and retain high-skilled graduates pursuing careers in the new campus’s specialised fields. 

The institution has seven campuses, reaching from Ambleside, on Lake Windermere in the Lake District National Park — which offers the UK’s biggest programme of outdoor education courses plus conservation and forestry degrees — to its newest campus in Canary Wharf, east London, its base for health, education and business courses.

The main campus in Lancaster is set in parkland a short walk from the city centre and caters for courses in education, health, sport and business. The £9 million Sentamu teaching and learning building has a 200-seat lecture theatre and the restaurant has panoramic views towards Morecambe Bay. The library has bookable study rooms, individual booths and laptops for loan. Teaching facilities include sport performance labs, ambulance simulators and teacher training rooms.

The Workington campus provides graduate courses in decommissioning, reprocessing and managing nuclear waste and has specialist facilities. The university is a partner in the National College for Nuclear and the Project Academy for Sellafield. 

The Fusehill campus in Carlisle is in a former First World War military hospital and offers courses in health, science, conservation, education, business, law and policing. A second site in Carlisle, close to Hadrian’s Wall, is home to the university’s Institute of Arts.

Applications increased by about 13 per cent in 2021’s admissions round, after six consecutive years of decreasing demand for places at Cumbria. New student enrolments also rose in 2021, by 7 per cent, to reach their highest level in five years. 

Eight new degree options launched in the 2022-23 – including psychology with counselling and psychotherapy, outdoor education (accelerated degree), and graphic design with a work placement. Four more options join the curriculum from September 2023: animation and visual effects, commercial photography, education studies with placement (accelerated degree), and youth work in the digital age.

Cumbria was one of a small number of universities rated bronze in the Teaching Excellence Framework in 2017. It was marked down for a low graduate employment rate in high-skilled jobs, but the university pointed out that such roles are in short supply in the northwest compared with the national average.  The new Barrow campus should in time contribute to improved employability in the region. 

The university ranked in the middle reaches of our graduate prospects measure in 2021 but has fallen 25 places to 98= in our latest analysis of the numbers in highly skilled work or undertaking further study 15 months after graduation. 

Cumbria's portfolio of degree apprenticeships has grown to 14, with about 1,700 trainees on courses in health, business and industry. Cumbria delivers degree apprenticeships and a supply chain academy for BAE Systems, and project management programmes for Sellafield Ltd. Other partners include Defra, the NHS, the BBC and Rolls-Royce. 

Cumbria has maintained its 124th place in our research rankings. Work submitted on history of art, art and design, and geography produced the best results. 

In our measures of student satisfaction — derived from the National Student Survey — Cumbria has fallen 15 places to 99= for teaching quality and 111th for the wider undergraduate experience. 

Cumbria is in the top 50 according to our analysis of measures of social inclusion (47th). About one in five admissions in 2021 met one or more of the eligibility criteria to be made a contextual offer — at the lower end of the Ucas tariff range for the course. As Cumbria broadens its contextual data to include carers, estranged students and those who qualify for free school meals, it expects 25-30 per cent of offers to qualify for lower entry requirements in September 2023. 

Sports facilities are available at the Lancaster, Carlisle and Ambleside campuses — ranging from a fitness suite, sports hall and swimming pool in Lancaster to a large sports hall and fitness facilities in Carlisle and a gym with classes and small group training in Ambleside.

Accommodation is guaranteed to first-years within Cumbria’s stock of about 500 bed spaces — some housed within attractive stone cottages at the Ambleside campus.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 129 (125)
Teaching quality 72.7 99th=
Student experience 67.5 111th
Research quality 13.6 124th
Ucas entry points 121 77th=
Graduate prospects 68.2 98th=
Firsts and 2:1s 66.6 127th
Completion rate 82.8 88th
Student-staff ratio 18.7 105th

Vital statistics











Applications/places 4,790/1,565
Applications/places ratio 3.1:1
Overall offer rate 74.5%


Places in accommodation 500
Accommodation costs £80 - £120
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £6,125 (Foundation) - £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,650
Fees (overseas year) £1,650
Fees (international) £13,250 - £16,000
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,500


Sport points/rank 28, 124th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 47
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 95.3%
Grammar school admissions 2.3%
Independent school admissions 2.4%
Ethnic minority students (all) 12.7%
Black achievement gap -17.6%
White working class males 4.1%
First generation students 55.2%
Low participation areas 16.3%
Working class dropout gap -6%
Mature 64.9%
EU students 1.6%
Other overseas students 1.3%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Psychology 90.7%
Law 87.3%
Social work 82.1%
Animal science 79.8%
Drama, dance and cinematics 76.3%
Radiography 75.8%
Education 73.8%
Business, management and marketing 72.3%
Art and design 69.7%
Subjects allied to medicine 69%
Nursing 67.3%
Sports science 64.7%
Criminology 62.6%
Geography and environmental science 60.2%
Biological sciences 59.5%
Physiotherapy 54.4%