A potted history A potted history


After getting the go-ahead to build in 1960, the Earlham golf course on the outskirts of Norwich was chosen as the site of the permanent campus and work began in 1961.The university was originally based in the present-day University Village - with teaching space for about 1200 students - and admitted its first cohort of 87 students in 1963. UEA welcomed its first Vice-Chancellor, Frank Thistlethwaite, at this time.

Distinctive architecture

Denys Lasdun designed the university's core buildings, including the iconic Ziggurats. His vision was for a campus university, with everything a student could need in close proximity. The first permanent buildings opened in late 1966. Continuing as architect in 1968, Bernard Feilden added ‘the Square' to the growing site – creating a large central gathering place. 

UEA Broad and the Sainsbury art collection

In 1973 work began on the picturesque lake opposite the Ziggurats, known as UEA Broad, and also on the construction of Union House (including the LCR and Union Pub). This same year Sir Robert and Lady Lisa Sainsbury donated their vast collection of world art to the university and the Norman Foster-designed Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts opened its doors to the public in 1978. The student newspaper Concrete was also founded at this time, to be re-launched in 1992 with a current circulation of around 5000 copies.

Sportspark and INTO

Opened in 2000, UEA's state-of-the-art Sportspark boasts an Olympic-sized swimming pool and regularly hosts international events. The INTO centre opened in 2007, offering high quality preparation for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the UK. 

Distinctive teaching methods and ethos

UEA's academic thinking has been distinctive from the word go. With its motto of ‘do different' and focus on interdisciplinarity across subjects, UEA has continued to be academically innovative throughout its development. With its top 5 position in the National Student Survey every year since the survey began, the university continues to build on its reputation as a first-class education provider.

Research excellence

UEA’s richly diverse research base is embedded in our outstanding teaching and connects our world-leading academics with society, government and industry. Specialisms range from health and nutrition, to the environment and responses to climate change, exploring issues of family and child policy, investigating competition and regulation through to creativity and enterprise. We have strong collaborative research links across Norwich Research Park - one of Europe’s largest concentrations of researchers in the fields of environment, health and plant science. In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), UEA was placed 10th in the UK for the quality of its research output and 21st overall amongst mainstream British institutions.

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