Sheffield Hallam University, not to be confused with Sheffield University, is one of the largest in the UK, with around 30,000 students. There is a broad range of courses offered, but generally they are based around vocational subjects, at least partly because of the school’s technical background. Currently rated as 62 (out of 116) for 2012 by The Complete University Guide, it has strong potential to rise higher in the ratings thanks to the high standards of teaching and the amount of investment that is being pumped into the university. Over the past ten years, an approximate £100 million has been spent on updating it.
The university has two campuses; City Campus is in the city centre, within walking distance of the train station and Collegiate Campus is about two miles away. Apart from its proximity to the railway, other transport links are excellent, with the M1, a major motorway going to London, not far away, as well as a plethora of other major roads. Bus and coach routes are also easily accessible.
Sheffield Hallam University is a fairly new university; it was only given university status in 1992. However, there was a college on the site as early as 1843, when the Sheffield School of Design was founded. That then became the Sheffield School of Art and Design, which merged in 1969 with the College of Technology in Sheffield to become a Polytechnic (an institute of higher education focused on technical subjects).
Courses and partners
A wide range of courses is offered at Sheffield Hallam University. There are a number of courses for which it has a good reputation, including health-based subjects, engineering, law and management. One of the advantages of the courses is that they usually involve a work placement for a year, ensuring that students get plenty of work experience as part of the course. A number of distance learning courses are available and the university has been recognised as a Centre of Excellence for e-learning. Entry standards differ according to the course.
There are a number of companies with which the university works on a regular basis, including Microsoft, Sony and IBM. The university also has strong links with Chinese technical universities for research purposes, including Tsinghua (Qinghua) University’s Research Institute, Beijing University of Chemical Technology and Chengdu University.
For the 2011-2 academic year, full-time undergraduate students are paying £3,375, but fees are about to increase substantially; The Guardian cites an average cost of £7,500 for universities across the UK. Of course, bursaries are available, as are the usual government grants for those born in the UK.
Accommodation is guaranteed for first year students, either on campus or in private accommodation. After that, students are encouraged to find their own accommodation. However, in Sheffield, there is no shortage of rented properties, especially around the university area, and the prices are reasonable. There is a service available to help international students find accommodation.
The university is relatively news, so facilities are therefore very up-to-date. Libraries and sport facilities are excellent. All students have access to free healthcare under the NHS while in full-time education and there is a health centre at the university. There is a great Student Union, which provides entertainment facilities, as well as an advice centre for any students with issues.
The university is generally well-designed for disabled students and there are services available to cater for special needs.
There are 44 men for every 56 women and international students make up 12% of the student body. The percentage of mature students is high at 49%, which is great news for those planning to go back to school after a period of time out of the education system. 32% of students are part-time.
Sheffield Hallam University may not be at the top of the rankings, but for those looking for vocational courses, with excellent facilities in a relatively cost-effective part of the country, it is well worth considering.