Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities.
Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, the University today combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research with its proud heritage of service and achievement.
The University's breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.
Read the university profile here.
There are 18 libraries with plenty of space for silent work, and also space allocated for group discussions.
There are many computer rooms available, of varying sizes. Four rooms are open 24 hours and it is very rare not to be able to find a free computer (possibly with the exception of lunchtimes).
Voyager is the online library catalogue which allows you to search for a book/journal across all of the libraries. You can reserve and renew books online.
Books can be taken out for varying amounts of time. Some copies may only be a 4 hour loan, others may be 4 weeks. Therefore, even if you leave your essay until the night before you should be able to get hold of that all important book!
There are fines in place if you do have overdue books.
Cardiff University currently seems to be subscribing to more online books, allowing you to search for the book for exactly the page you want!
This is the library primarily used by those studying Computing or Engineering based degrees as it is located down by the Queens/Trevithick Building just off Newport Road. This library is open 8:45am-9:30pm on weekdays, 10am-5:30pm on Saturdays, and 12-5pm on Sundays. There is a 24/7 IT room with lots of PCs, printers, etc. Trevithick Library has been completely redesigned to enhance the student experience. Key elements of the new design include a research lounge, open study spaces, group study rooms, wireless (once you've registered for it) and a modern 'computer bar'. To allow students total flexibility, self-service book issue and return units and an external 24 hour book return chute have also been installed. Although there's a growing use of mobile technologies in the library, talking on your mobile, chatting and general noise-making is not appreciated.
IT and computing
Cardiff uses a system called 'Learning Central' where notices relevant to you are put up about tutorials, lectures, coursework etc. Most lecturers also put up their powerpoint presentations here meaning that you can fill in the gaps which you missed, or even print out the slides beforehand so you can annote them during the lecture. Coursework is also put up on Learning Central, as well as (if you are lucky!) past papers. Newly released this year is the 'Cardiff Portal' (formally the MWE), which incorporates Learning Central, the university noticeboard, email and comprehensive online resources, in a widget/tab based format.
+44 (0)29 208 74000
city based university
Applicants per place:
There are three main sports sites:
Talybont Sports Centre
The Talybont Sports Centre contains two large sports halls, a five-a-side court, 6 badminton courts, a newly refurbished fitness suite and a martial arts dojo. Outside there are tennis and netball courts, an artifical pitch suitable for all weathers, and a grass training pitch. The centre is located in the middle of the Talybont residences, about a 15 minute walk from the main university.
Uni Fitness & Squash Centre
At the University Fitness & Squash Centre at Park Place there are six squash courts, a fitness suite and aerobics studio. A wide range of different classes are also held here during the afternoon and evenings. Classes include Legs Bums and Tums, Circuits, Hip Hop and Yoga.
Sport fields at Llanrumney
This is a huge sports field a few miles outside of the main campus.
Other facilities within the city
Whilst the university itself does not have a swimming pool there is a public one (Maindy) close to Talybont (about 10 minute walk away from the main University buildings). There is also a pool up at The Welsh Institute for Sport which is used by the Swimming and Water Polo club.
There are several gyms around Cardiff. Most people go to Maindy gym where there is no monthly fee. You pay a very reasonable charge each time you visit.
Hopefully you will never need to use the welfare systems in place at Cardiff, but neverthless it's always nice to know that they are there just in case!
Firstly all students are Cardiff are allocated a personal tutor. The tutor you get will largely affect how often you see them. Some tutors like you to meet them at least once a term to check everything is going ok, others prefer to just be there if you do need them.
There are also student support services on both the Heath and Cathays campuses.
- Advice centre. Staff here are able to advise you on a huge range of issues, from financial to personal to academic. There are also specialists there to help international students with their more specific needs, for example sorting out visas.
- Counselling is available either individually or in groups for those who need it. There is usually a short waiting list for this unless you are an urgent case.
- There are also people able to help students who have special needs due to disability or dyslexia.
Cardiff also has a Nightline service which is a telephone helpline. It is run by students but is completely confidential. It is open from 8pm until 8am.
Another very useful service is advice for student housing. It is in the main student union building and they can help if you have problems with poor housing, not getting your bond back or any other queries you might have.
For more information see the student support homepage
It is important when coming to Cardiff to register with a GP in the area. There are many good GP practices around (you can find a list in your student handbook, the health centre, the students' union, in halls of residence or here).
There is also a health centre next door to the Students' Union in Park Place. This service is meant to supplement the care provided by your GP rather than replace it. You can book appointments over the phone or turn up without one. It is open 9 until 4.30 weekdays.
The centre also runs several clinics including one on family planning on Wednesday afternoons.
Another thing to remember is that in Wales all prescriptions are free.
Unlike many areas of the country it is still possible to register with an NHS dentist in Cardiff. For a list of practices see here. And don't forget, here in Wales all those under 25 get free check-ups so no excuses now!
Alternatively you can register with the Dental School up in the Heath where the dental students will treat you for free. Don't worry though, the qualified staff check everything thoroughly so you don't get a bodge job!
If you aren't registered with a dentist and you need emergency treatment, you can go to the Dental school or Riverside Health Centre in Canton. I think that you need to be in pain though for them to be able to treat you so don't go with a broken tooth unless it's actually hurting.
There are of course many opticians around Cardiff, but there is also the The Cardiff School of Optometry and Vision Science which offers free eye tests and contact lens trials when you are seen by a student. Everything is checked by qualified staff. Be warned: These tests will take longer than your average paid-for eye test, but, the end result is that you get a thorough explanation of what's going on with your eyes, and even the most minute problems are brought up.
The largest supermarket is a Tesco Extra. It is north of the Talybont residences but not particularly easy to get to after the first year unless you have a car (or you can get the bus). It is easy to get to from the Talybont residence.
In the main student housing area there is a decent sized Co-op although this is nowhere near as cheap as Tesco, and a Lidl which is great for cheap basics and the occasional ready meal. There are also several Tesco Expresses dotted about, plus plenty of convenience stores.
In the town centre there is a Sainsbury's Central. This is ideal for those staying in Senghennydd Court/Hall or Gordon Hall in the first year, but is generally quite convenient for all but the Talybont residents (for whom Tesco is much more convenient), as it is on the edge of the city centre. Other supermarkets if you have a car are the main Sainsbury's (off Newport Road) and an Asda near Cardiff Bay.
Cardiff has most if not all of the main chain stores. There is the main shopping street, Queen Street which is pedestrianised, as well as three shopping arcades (St. David's Centre, St David's 2 - a fantastic new no-expense spared centre, Queen's Arcade and the Capitol Centre). There are also several Victorian arcades running from St. Mary's Street which contain really lovely smaller independent shops. They are great for Christmas shopping!
Out of town shopping
There are several out of town shopping parks including Newport Road, Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff Gate and Cardiff Bay.
Being a vibrant, bustling city, Cardiff isn't short of its selection of restaurants and eateries of varying shapes, sizes, and styles. Just taking in St Mary's Street, one can go from the humble fast-foodery of McDonalds, to the more civilised surroundings of The Louis, and even to multinational chains like Hard Rock Cafe.
With such a diverse array of restaurants, the average student is left spoiled for choice. On nights out, the obvious choice if peckish is to head for either McDonalds, Burger King, or the mysterious wonder that is Caroline Street (not for the faint-hearted). For more special occasions, it really depends on what your wallet will stretch to. Cardiff University students can get a half-decent meal in The Taf or in Talybont Social without having to break the bank; even lunch at the Woodville once in a blue moon isn't stretching too far. Special occasions, however, warrant a trip to the Brewery Quarter, where a student can quickly be overwhelmed by the choice of chowing down in Nando's, Bella Italia, La Tasca, Chiquito, or Hard Rock Cafe. If your wallet doesn't stretch as far as a £100 bill between six of you (as has been the case in my experiences there), then head on up St Mary's Street and drop into The Louis, where you get all the high-class of a true waiter service restaurant (and the beer is served by a different person to the rest of your meal...), but you don't seem to spend more than £6 a head.
The moral of the story is: Shop around. Some places are better than others; some more expensive; and some are definitely diamonds-in-the-rough, but, you just have to find out for yourself.
Cardiff has several theatres including the New Theatre, the Millennium Centre, and St. David's Hall. Many musicals from the West End tour to Cardiff, for example Guys and Dolls, Starlight Express, Joseph and High School Musical!
There are the normal selection of banks in Cardiff city centre, as well as student branches of Barclays and Natwest on opposite ends of the main campus.
There are plenty of jobs available for students and the Jobshop at the Students Union always has many vacancies. (See separate entry)
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Bars, pubs and clubs
Each student group, depending on where they live will find out about different pubs and clubs at different times in the first year. Those who live in Cathays in student houses will quickly discover Gassy Jacks, The Crwys and The George to be friendly locals. Those living on Colum Road and in Senghenydd Hall or Court will find The Woodville to be their own slice of pub life (plus it's £1 a pint on Mondays).
Other pubs in Cardiff tend to be found in the centre of town and include, to name but a few, The Borough, The Goat Major, O Niell's (Big and Little versions), The Owain Glyndwr, Y Tair Pluen, and a host of Wetherspoons - the Great Western, The Prince of Wales, the Gatekeeper and The Central.
Clubs in Cardiff are, for most students, centered on Greyfriars Road and Castle Street. Vodka Island @ Tiger Tiger is the big night out on a Monday, and it also vies for Thursday's top spot., while Vodka Revolution (or Revs for short) is Tuesday (Chic Beat) and Wednesday (Shotgun Rules). Still on Greyfriars, Oceana is a week-long party spot, though on weekends the dress code becomes a lot stricter. Glam Nightclub has the most popular Friday Student night run by Climax Promotions, Saturday has comeplay at the Student Union. Cardiff has a strong student nightlife and is home to many bars, pubs and clubs. An extensive venue and events list can be found at What's on in Cardiff guide and Student Cardiff. Most clubs and bars are situated in the city centre, especially St. Mary's Street.
In the centre of town, the big student night is Thursday in Walkabout, with possibly the strangest mash of DJ requests ever, and the biggest array of fancy dresses ever. Other clubs that most new students will shrug at include Embargo, Liquid, Life, and Platinum, all along St Mary's Street.
For those who want to mix it up a little, and get a bit of a club atmosphere, with the pub mentality, head to Varsity, which is technically a bar but when it fills out for Karaoke or Christmas parties, you'd swear you were in a club. Another such mix, I'd say, would be "The Welsh Club" ( Clwb Ifor Bach ) on Womanby Street, just up from the Gatekeeper - expect queues, and expect music, but expect a half decent pint too.
And that's just skimming the surface of the "known", without going into the details of other pubs, clubs and bars that exist in Cardiff, regardless of their draw to the 'average' Joe or Jane Student.
During Freshers the biggest Freshers Ball open to students at all universities in Cardiff (UWIC, Glamorgan, RWCMD and of course Cardiff) is held at Oceana on the first Sunday in October, there is also a website which lists all the student events in Cardiff: http://www.studentcardiff.com
Clubs and societies
Cardiff Uni's clubs and societies exist to cater for a wide range of tastes and backgrounds, from Traffic, the DJ-ing society, to Cardiff Wind Band; from Cardiff's Anime Society, to the Custard Wrestlers, it's all here and can all be found at:
Membership prices range from 'free' to £10, but once you're a member you can attend as many or as few socials as you would like - be they film showings, day trips, pub golf, or Christmas parties.
Student Volunteering Cardiff
Cardiff Uni is also home to one of the largest student-run volunteering organisations in the UK. Projects range from working with children and young people to the elderly and the homeless, educational, recreational, environmental and befriending schemes. Time commitments range between projects, usually only a couple of hours a week (so easy to fit in with your studies!). SVC is a great way to socialise and help the local community, as well as looking great on your CV! Go to www.svcardiff.org/ for more information.
All first years who are offered a place during the normal admissions cycle are guaranteed a room. There is a small amount of flexibility if you get here and absolutely hate where you are. You can put your name down on a list for a transfer after 2 weeks because rooms become free due to people moving back home/dropping out etc.
A variety of accommodation is available at Cardiff University at different prices. The majority is self-catered, such as the larger residences University Hall and Talybont but some also offer part-catered or catered. Similarly, some offer en-suite facilities, whereas others have shared bathrooms.
Check out Cardiff Accommodation for guides to some of the accommodation.
After your first year in residences, most students move into private sector accommodation. The Student Union has its own letting agency, but there are also several other local letting agencies. Some agencies have better reputations than others and the SU likes to give out a lot of advice every year about what to look for when viewing houses.
Most students seem to live in the Cathays area, which is something of an unofficial student village! There are non-students in the area, too, though. A slightly further walk and you'll be in Roath, where there are also quite a few students. Even if its slightly further from the main campus area, Roath shouldn't be dismissed when looking for houses as rent could be cheaper. Further again away from the Cathays Campus, is the Heath. The is less studenty than the other areas, but you still find lots of people on health based courses as it is near the university hospital.
The quality of private accommodation is fairly good. Most houses have rooms with only double beds and the standard house size tends to be around 5 people (although there are houses around for up to 12 people!!). You can expect to pay about £240 per month + bills (about £25 per month). The are absolutely LOADS of houses out there though so don't panic about not finding anywhere to live!
Most people start looking for houses in about February time.
If you do have problems with housing you can go to the students union who offer a service for checking contracts, helping to get your bond back, helping to sort out poor housing etc. We had to use them last year and they were great and our problem was sorted in no time!
See the separate TSR wikipedia article: Cardiff University Students’ Union
Cardiff is a capital city, but it’s also quite compact. Most places are in walking distance, or there are buses or trains. Being the capital of Wales, there’s an obvious Welsh element, too! For those coming from England or other countries, seeing bilingual road signs can be a bit strange at first, but it’s easy to get used to, especially as the English is written above the Welsh. Saying that, it’s best not to wear an England football or rugby shirt about town when there’s a Wales match on! (although I have only ever experienced friendly banter!)
One of the great things about Cardiff is the area which it is in! So much money has been invested in the area in recent years that it really is an up and coming place. The city centre is not one of these grey oppressive places but almost like a big town with all the conveniences of a city. There is also stunning scenery around with the Brecon Beacons not far to the north. The sea is also nearby if you fancy a day building sandcastles!
The Welsh Language
Do you need to speak Welsh? NO! I have been here for over 2 years and still only know one word. You will encounter welsh everyday though - all the signs are bilingual, most of the letters/documents the university send you are bilingual and you may suddenly realise that you don't understand the conversation the two people sitting behind you are having. However, it will cause you no problems at all if you don't know any welsh. Of course if you want to learn a bit of welsh the School of Lifelong Learning offer evening courses.
If you speak welsh and you are keen to get to know other Welshians, you can request to be put in an all Welsh flat in the first year student residences.
Cardiff has its very own castle in the middle of the city. It is well worth a visit at some point during your time in Cardiff. There are many other castles just outside of Cardiff including Castell Coch (one of the walks Rambling club makes finishes here) and Caerphilly Castle.
Cardiff is the home of the Millennium Stadium, of course. It’s used primarily for football and rugby union home internationals, and is the third largest stadium in the UK now that Wembley has been completed.
Cardiff Bay is Europe’s largest waterfront development. These days it might be a little more famous for being home to the team from the BBC’s Torchwood, with the team based beneath the Roald Dahl Plas (yes, you can even stand on the ‘invisible lift’ if you want!). The distinctive water tower is opposite the Millennium Centre. Yes, it does look a bit like an armadillo.
The Red Dragon Centre is also down in the Bay, where you can find an Odeon cinema, a bowling alley, restaurants, casino and - just in case seeking out the ‘public’ entrance to the Torchwood base wasn’t enough, there’s also the Doctor Who exhibition to check out, too.
Cardiff is a very compact city so most places are within walking distance. Some people also cycle, although the roads aren't exactly great for this, so you will develop a millitant attitude towards car drivers. However, there is an extensive network of buses which can get you to pretty much anywhere in the city. However, it is not cheap! The buses only accept the exact money so try to keep a bit or spare change in your pocket! Cardiff Bus is also a bit of a pain if you are over 6ft tall, as you won't fit in the seats. However you do get to watch BBC news 24 on the tv, but normally either the picture or sound is not working.
A car in Cardiff is not really necessary as a student. Parking is difficult/expensive within the city centre meaning that unless you are going to use it for trips to other towns or home you won't really use it. The only exception to this is if you are a student on a course with placements. For medical students, a car is really useful from the third year onwards.
There are also local trains with a stop by the main university buildings, one one end of town, and one the other end of town. Local trains are by and large cheaper than the buses. The main station, Cardiff Central has trains running to many cities including Newport, Bristol, Birmingham, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Southampton, Portsmouth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Trains leave about every 30 minutes to London (which takes 2 hours).
Taxis aren't cheap but you will only really need to use them when coming back after a night out. It works out about £6 back to Talybont/most student houses (obviously depends where you live) but when you divide this between the 4 or so people sharing the taxi it often works out cheaper than the bus!
The Megabus leaves from outside the main University building and if you book far enough in advance can be as cheap as £1 to London!
Cardiff also has an airport with flights Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Dublin, and many international destinations.
Applying to Cardiff
Thinking of applying to Cardiff University? Why not read some Personal Statements which were used for applying here?
If you are from Wales you will not pay top up fees at Cardiff University (saving £1800 per year) as you will be eligible for a £1800 free GRANT. However, if you are from elsewhere in the UK I am afraid the top up fees of £3000 per year still apply and you do not get this grant.
If you are from elsewhere in the EU you also do NOT have to pay top up fees and will instead pay approximately £1225 per year.
Cardiff University gives bursaries of up to £1000 per year to those with a household income of less than £38,000.
Cardiff University offers scholarships in the following subject areas:
- Chemistry (9)
- Computer Science (14)
- Earth Sciences (20)
- Engineering (18)
- Mathematics (16)
- Physics (11)
- Archaeology (2)
- German/Italian (4)
- Music (2)
- Welsh (4)
You will automatically be considered for a scholarship if your course is eligible and you get an offer. The scholarship does not consider you household income and is worth a total of £3000.
The next open day is on Wednesday 21st April 2010
Other Cardiff University Articles
Why not read these other Cardiff University Articles?