About Kent

Essential Kent 2021

This web page is produced by Marketing, Outreach, Recruitment and Admissions (MORA) and updated regularly to reflect changes during the year. Please contact us to make any amendments to the information below.

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Kent in brief

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  • In June 2021, the University was awarded an Silver Athena SWAN award. By being part of Athena Swan, Kent is committing to a progressive charter, adopting the principles of Athena SWAN within University policies, practices, action plans and culture
  • The launch of the Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) and the opening of the Pears Building in 2020 builds on our high-quality clinical teaching and research strengths
  • New treatments that could give hope to thousands worldwide will be at the forefront of a new Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy, which will be based in existing facilities on the University’s Canterbury campus.
  • Achieved an ASPIRE gold rating for our accessibility statement and has therefore become the first UK university to achieve 100% compliance
  • Winner of the Guardian University Award 2020 for Digital Innovation for our innovative and highly acclaimed One Hour Degree.


  • Ranked 32nd out of 149 UK higher education institutions for our success rate in securing national research funding
  • Awarded £4.3m from the Cultural Development Fund towards the development of the Thames Estuary area as Europe's largest creative corridor
  • Awarded a €3.9m grant for a project that aims to provide an historical, cultural and social understanding of the roots of migration


See the courses pages of the website for further information about courses.

Global and European networks and opportunities

  • The University has a strong international impact, based on our external networks, partnerships with leading universities in Europe and around the world, and our staff, students and alumni.
  • Our community collectively informs an internationally relevant curriculum and globally positioned research agenda
  • A strong ongoing commitment to our mission as the UK’s European university and its regional networks in Europe and beyond
  • An extensive study abroad programme with over 170 universities in 39 countries. Most of our programmes offer opportunities to study or work in Europe
  • Recipient of an annual grant of over €1.1m to support student and staff mobility across Europe, under the Erasmus + scheme
  • Dual UK and European qualifications (international double awards) at Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral level
  • An increasing number of opportunities to study and collaborate online, irrespective of your location
  • The University has a long tradition of welcoming international students from around the world. Of our total student body, 21% are from outside of the UK, from 152 different countries, studying at our campuses and centres.

See the Global and European websites for further information.

Fast Facts

Total number of students 18,865
Undergraduate full-time students 14,530
Postgraduate full-time students 2,510
Undergraduate part-time students 765
Postgraduate part-time students 1,055
Student numbers (Canterbury campus) 15,645
Student numbers (Medway campus) 2,000
New enrolment 4,850 new undergraduates and 1,880 new postgraduates registered in the 2020/2021 academic year (as at 1 December 2020)
Student population 54% women, 46% men
Student profile Students from 152 countries are represented at the University: 80% (UK), 8% (Europe) 13% (overseas)
Retention rate 95% (OfS 2018/19)
2019-20 awards 4,470 undergraduate awards; 2,080 postgraduate awards (1,780 taught, 300 research)
Library holdings Two libraries containing over 1.1 m million books and journals, thousands of e-books, e-journals and databases with over 2,700 study spaces.
Student accommodation Over 5,300 bedrooms at Canterbury, 1,100 at Liberty Quays in Medway
Student employment rate Fifteen months after completing degrees in 2018, more than 80% of Kent undergraduates and 83% of postgraduates who responded to a national survey had found a job, or were undertaking full-time further study (Graduate Outcomes)
Staff numbers 4,592 members of staff (salaried, timesheet, full-time and part-time staff) of which 1,243 are academic staff
Staff population 57% women, 43% men
Staff profile 77% (UK), 23% from Europe and overseas. 39% of Kent's academic staff are from outside the UK
Student to staff ratio 17:1 (HESA benchmarking data, 2018/19)
Alumni 181,000 from over 180 countries
Enterprise and innovation 8,625 students and 154 companies engaged with the University's nationally-recognised Employability Points scheme in 2018-19. The Hub for Innovation and Enterprise continues to support student:business innovation across the University.
Partnerships Kent has links with over 400 institutions around the world
Fairtrade status Kent has been a designated Fair trade university since 2006
Recycling 42% Energy from Waste, 56% Recycling, 2% Reuse (February 2019 - March 2020)
Student support Since 2010 the University has raised £5,292,640 for the Kent Opportunity Fund which supports a broad range of scholarships and student projects to enhance extra-curricular activities at Kent, and bursaries to support students working through financial hardship.

All figures refer to the 2019/20 financial year unless specified otherwise. Student and enrolment data taken from the annual student number return (1 December 2020).

Teaching excellence

  • The University has been awarded a gold rating, the highest, in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.
  • The TEF Panel reported that Kent ‘students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes. Very high proportions of students from all backgrounds continue with their studies and then progress to employment, notably exceeding the provider benchmarks. The metrics indicate very high levels of student satisfaction with teaching, academic support and assessment and feedback.’
  • Read Kent’s Statement of Findings

Research excellence

We attract internationally renowned subject specialists and have a reputation for research excellence that is designed to produce creative and practical solutions.

  • World-leading research in all subjects submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014
  • 97% of our research is of international quality, up from 87% in 2008
  • Number of research-active staff has increased by 40% since 2008

The University is an active member of the following research consortia and UK Research and Innovation Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs):

  • Eastern Academic Research Consortium (Eastern ARC) with the universities of East Anglia and Essex
  • South-east Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) (Economic and Social Research Council funded DTP)
  • Consortium for the Humanities and Arts South-East England (CHASE) (Arts and Humanities Research Council funded DTP)
  • Advanced Research and Innovation in the Environmental Sciences (ARIES) (Natural Environment Research Council funded DTP)
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (DTP training grant)
  • SGroup European Universities Network
  • The BBSRC DTP “SoCoBio” (South Coast Biosciences) is a consortium between the Universities of Kent, Sussex, Southampton and Portsmouth and the horticultural and agricultural research institute NIAB EMR.

The University has further developed the Global Challenges Doctoral Centre, which provides Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) funded training and PhD studentships, with several postdoctoral positions.

See the Research website for further information.


  • Canterbury: Kent’s original site is situated on beautiful parkland overlooking the city of Canterbury. All facilities are based on campus
    and the wide range of courses span the humanities, social sciences and sciences.
  • Medway: Professionally focused, research-led programmes with an emphasis on cultural and creative industries, health and management, supported by industry-standard facilities at two sites: Pembroke and The Historic Dockyard Chatham.
  • Brussels: The Brussels School of International Studies is close to our partner universities (Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université libre de Bruxelles). It offers postgraduate courses in Politics and International Relations, Law and Economics.
  • Paris: The Paris School of Arts and Culture is based in the Columbia Global Center (known as Reid Hall). Situated in the heart of Paris, it offers interdisciplinary postgraduate programmes in the arts and humanities.

International impact

  • The University has a strong international impact, based on our external networks, partnerships with leading universities in Europe and around the world, and our staff, students and alumn
  • We launched our Internationalisation Strategy in 2007. Since then, we have reinforced our reputation as the UK’s European university and further developed a network of international partnerships worldwide
  • The University has a long tradition of welcoming international students from around the world. Of our total student body, 21% are from outside of the UK, from 152 different countries, studying at our campuses and centres.

See the International website for further information.

Enterprise and innovation

The University has a long history of collaborative working with businesses, nurturing innovation to stimulate real growth in a local, national and multinational landscape. Our experienced and professional business and innovation gateway team provide access to world-renowned expertise, access to cutting-edge facilities and research specialists which provide practical and creative solutions to meet real business needs. Business projects benefit from this wealth of knowledge, through our tailored collaboration services, along with training, funding and partnering opportunities.

Our experienced team have established a number of initiatives to encourage students’ employability skills, including the nationally recognised Employability Points Scheme. Alongside this our Hub for Innovation & Enterprise connects students and businesses together to facilitate innovation around real world business challenges.

The University is proud to have been involved in a range of Knowledge Transfer Partnership projects. These projects enable companies and organisations to develop and sustain long term relationships with the University, are supported by an academic team, and employ a graduate or postgraduate student.

Visit Innovation and Enterprise for further information

Regional impact

  • The University is worth £0.9 billion to the south-east economy and directly or indirectly supports 9,448 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the region (2015/16)
  • The University is one of the largest employers in the region, employing 4,952 staff equating to 2,705 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs
    Kent students delivered a total of 77,000 volunteering hours with an estimated economic value of approximately £540,000, benefitting more than 130 local organisations
  • 11% of University of Kent graduates remain in Kent after graduation
  • The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences offers professional services to the public such as sport and exercise-testing, psychology, respiratory and nutrition consultations, rehabilitation gym and sports therapy
  • From June to September 2019, the University’s Conference Office hosted 4,660 events, contributing over 210,000 overnight stays to the tourist economy of the region
  • The University’s newsletter, Community, is delivered four times a year to 12,500 homes and businesses around the Canterbury campus and in the city centre
  • The University operates a multi-academy trust that sponsors two secondary schools in Medway, Brompton Academy and Chatham Grammar.
  • Gulbenkian, the University’s arts centre, has been awarded National Portfolio Organisation status with Arts Council England and supports projects runby, with and for children and young people, including the award-winning bOing! International Family Festival

See the Regional impact website for further information.

Student experience

Kent Extra

Graduate attributes

Graduate attributes are qualities that our students develop throughout their time at Kent. Through curricular and co-curricular activity (sports, societies, volunteering, paid employment), they develop skills which result in the development of particular graduate attributes that top employers are looking for: confidence, creativity and motivation, critical reflection, global/cultural awareness, integrity and accountability, intellectual curiosity and resilience

Kent Extra provides students with opportunities to enhance their knowledge, learn new skills and improve their CV. Students can do this through study pathways that broaden their degree programme; spending a year abroad, or on a work placement; attending a summer school; volunteering; or taking a Study Plus course. Some of the options are assessed and, if the degree programme allows, may contribute to the final degree. Others are extra-curricular and not assessed. Either way, it is an excellent way for students to get the most from their time at Kent.

Supportive learning environment

Each School has an Academic Adviser to provide individual advice and guidance to students to maximise their academic and personal development. Students can also enhance their academic achievements through workshops, one-to-one guidance, study skills sessions embedded in the curriculum, academic peer mentoring (APM) and online resources provided by the Student Learning Advisory Service.

Enhancing employability

The University and Kent Union provide a range of work opportunities for students. The University’s Student Ambassador Scheme has operated for more than ten years and employs undergraduate and postgraduate students to represent the University at on-campus events as well as in local schools, colleges and the community.

Student Unions

Kent Union is a registered charity run by students, for students. Its purpose is to support, represent and campaign for students so that they have a superb university experience. Kent Union provides the sports clubs and societies that ensure studying at Kent is special, and runs advice, employability and wellbeing services to support its members. Kent Union’s outlets — The Venue, Woody’s, The Library Café and two Co-op stores — provide fantastic experiences at student friendly prices, and help fund the work that it does.

All students at each of the University’s locations can join Kent Union. Medway students who join are also members of GK Unions, a partnership between Kent Union and the University of Greenwich Students’ Union. Every year, five Kent students are elected to run Kent Union full-time. These officers, along with over 1,000 other volunteers, work tirelessly to improve the experience of Kent students.

Kent Union aims to:

Stand up for students

  • 21% of our members took part in our democratic process by casting 41,331 votes in elections throughout the year
  • It campaigns on behalf of students, bringing about positive changes such as new study spaces, more seats in the library, and a new Kent Sport membership structure

Help them have the best time at Kent

  • It runs 175 societies and 52 sports clubs
  • Hosts events include Varsity, Kent Student Awards and the Summerball
  • It enabled Kent students to log 85,969 volunteering hours this year, positively impacting their university experience

Prepare them for life after Kent

  • Kent Union’s Jobshop advertised over 2,100 jobs in the last year, helping students find part-time work
  • This year Kent Union employed 620 students across the organisation, putting money back into student’s pockets
  • Its Advice Centre helped more than 5,000 students in the last 12 months

Figures taken from Kent Union Impact Report 2018-19

Watch the GK Unions Impact Report

Collegiate structure

The University has a collegiate structure and has eight colleges: Eliot (the oldest, founded 1965), Rutherford, Keynes, Darwin, Woolf, Medway, Turing, and Park Wood College (the youngest, founded 2020).

All students become a member of a college when they join Kent, and retain their affiliation throughout their study and beyond. Each College and the students who form their membership, living on and off our Canterbury and Medway campuses, are supported by the College and Community Life team, who focus on student welfare, and support a Student Committee made up of students nominated by their peers.

  • Jacqui Double Head of Colleges and Community Life
  • Jodie Innes College Life Officer
  • Miriam Zapp College Life Officer
  • Bethany Chater College Life Officer
  • Ellie Bainbridge Community Life Officer

See the Student Guide - College page for further information.

University history

1965 Royal Charter granted
  First 500 students enrol
  Kent Union started, run by volunteers
1965 – 70 Elliot, Rutherford, Keynes and Darwin Colleges open (Canterbury)
1969 Opening of the Gulbenkian Theatre and Cinema (Canterbury)
1980 Opening of Park Wood (Canterbury)
1982 Opening of the Tonbridge Centre
1993 Park Wood village completed (Canterbury)
1995 Tyler Court Block A accommodation opens (Canterbury)
1998 University of Kent, Brussels established
2004 Launch of the Medway School of Pharmacy at Chatham Maritime, a joint project for the Universities of Kent and Greenwich
Tyler Court Blocks B and C accommodation opens (Canterbury)
2005 The first students are welcomed to the new Medway campus
Park Wood flats open (Canterbury) and the Medway Building opens (Medway)
2006 The Pilkington and Gillingham Buildings open (Medway)
2008 Woolf Postgraduate College opened (Canterbury)
Kent Graduate School is established
2009 University of Kent, Paris launched
First Liberty Quays student accommodation opens (Medway)
2011 New accommodation at Keynes College opens (Canterbury)
Specialist postgraduate programmes at Athens launched
2012 Colyer-Fergusson Music Building opens (Canterbury)
New and refurbished facilities for the School of Music and Fine Art open at The Historic Dockyard Chatham (Medway)
2013 Specialist postgraduate programmes in Rome launched
New student residences open at Liberty Quays (Medway)
Refurbished Sports Centre opened (Canterbury)
2014 Turing College opens (Canterbury)
Kent Union Student Media Centre opened (Canterbury)
2015 New and refurbished facilities for Kent Business School open at The Historic Dockyard Chatham and the Royal Dockyard Church is refurbished as a lecture theatre (Medway)
2016 Galvanising Shop Café opens at The Historic Dockyard Chatham (Medway)
Wigoder Law Building opens (Canterbury)
2017 The new GK Unions Student Hub opens (Medway).
The Sibson Building, a new building for Kent Business School and the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science, opens (Canterbury).
Templeman Library extension and refurbishment is completed (Canterbury)
2018 Kent Union Park Wood Student Hub opens (Canterbury)
2019 Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) established. Canterbury Christ Church University and University of Kent in collaboration
The Kennedy Building for the School of Economics opens (Canterbury)
2020 The Pears Building for Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) opens at the Canterbury campus.


Corporate Communications

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 1227 764000

Last Updated: 22/09/2021