After graduation, the prospects are good for UEA students. In our analysis of the latest Graduate Outcomes survey, tracking the proportion in highly skilled work or further study within 15 months of finishing their degree, UEA is 24th, a rise of 15 places.
UEA, founded in 1963, occupies a 360-acre self-contained campus just outside Norwich. Modern teaching facilities include Productivity East, a £7.4 million interdisciplinary hub for engineering, technology and management that opened in 2021. It followed the 2019 launch of the £30 million New Science Building, featuring four floors of cutting-edge equipment. A media suite in the arts and humanities faculty and the Enterprise Centre, dedicated to supporting entrepreneurial skills, are among further contemporary resources that blend with listed buildings from UEA’s 1960s origins, including the iconic Denys Lasdun-designed Ziggurat accommodation blocks.
UEA has become the first university to offer 360-degree virtual reality headsets to all medical students, who benefit from resources at the university’s £19 million Biomedical Research Centre. When awarding UEA gold (the top rating), assessors from the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework noted that investment in high-quality physical and digital resources has had a “demonstrable impact on the learning experience”. UEA also drew praise for its “strategic approach to personalised learning, which secures high levels of commitment to studies”.
Focusing on the wider student experience, UEA’s Student Information Zone is a new base in the heart of the campus, while a 24/7 online student wellbeing service is also offered. Weekly pulse surveys have been introduced, to capture how students are feeling about topics such as teaching, learning, wellbeing and sense of belonging.
The university is likely to hope the student-facing services will improve rates of student satisfaction. In our analysis of the latest National Student Survey results, East Anglia plunges 52 places year-on-year to 97= for the wider undergraduate experience, and falls 27 places to 99= for teaching quality.
From September 2023 the curriculum gains a suite of six education degrees as well as Bachelor of Science in mathematics with statistics. Placement years have been added to established degrees in philosophy; modern history; English literature; and history of art with gallery and museum studies. New student enrolments dipped by about 12 per cent in the 2021 admissions round but remain more than 15 per cent higher than they were a decade ago.
Most degrees have opportunities for work experience built into the course structure and recent graduates can tap into UEA’s Gateway to Growth internship programme, taking placements at businesses in the eastern region. UEA has embraced degree apprenticeships, and has about 700 student apprentices on eight programmes — soon to grow to ten, with the addition of social worker and psychological wellbeing practitioner options.
Environmental science is one of UEA’s flagship subject areas. Its Climatic Research Unit and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research based on the Norwich Research Park, funded by a consortium of universities and the Chinese government, are among the leading investigators of the global challenge of our times. On the same site the £75 million Quadram Institute has the remit of improving health and preventing disease through innovations in microbiology, gut health and food.
On the main campus the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts houses a priceless collection of modern and tribal art in a building designed by Lord (Norman) Foster of Thames Bank. More recently the crime author Lee Child donated his archive of work to UEA.
UK students do not need to formally apply for university bursaries because all are automatically considered using household income information from Student Finance England. Bursaries are mainly received in the form of fee waivers, although accommodation discounts or cash grants are available. Bright Spark scholarships of £3,000 over three years are awarded to new entrants who have gone above and beyond their entry requirements, such as by completing the Extended Project Qualification in the summer holidays. The number of Bright Sparks available is uncapped. In 2021-22 East Anglia awarded 23 per cent of home students a bursary or scholarship, a proportion likely to remain similar going forwards.
UEA’s outreach programmes work with schools in disadvantaged areas across Norfolk and North Suffolk. There are also programmes for 16-19-year-olds, providing support into medicine, health and social science subjects. In 2021, 5 per cent of admissions received contextual offers (a proportion the university hopes to increase in future years), reducing grade requirements. Medicine with a Gateway Year is a programme aimed at widening access to UEA’s medical school. UEA gains one place in our social inclusion index to rank 83rd.
UEA’s Sportspark and Colney Lane Sports Pavilion have extensive on-site facilities including an Olympic-sized swimming pool and fitness centre, five sports halls, an ultimate frisbee pitch, a climbing wall and pitches for rugby, cricket and football. Students can get fit off-site with facilities for sailing, scuba, rowing and golf. Sports scholarship packages are offered to student athletes from developing to elite level.
There are more than 250 societies. Even if students do not feel like committing to one, they can attend dinners, street markets and other taster events to meet the people involved. UEA has signed the Students’ Minds new University Mental Health Charter Programme, a knowledge sharing enterprise that recognises institutions that promote good mental health and demonstrate best practice.
Accommodation is guaranteed to first-years who apply by the end of July and prices start at £86.38 a week for a space in a standard twin Ziggurat room.
UEA’s bucolic setting has earned Green Flag status for five years running. Named as the best place to live in the East of England by The Sunday Times in 2022, Norwich is a student-friendly city. Beaches, the Broads and rural idylls are within easy reach.