Bucks New University was originally founded in 1891 as the School of Science and Art. Back then the School offered evening classes to people in the local area – and was initially funded with a tax on beer and spirits!
In the 20th century, the School started to develop strong links with local crafts like furniture making and cabinetry. It was the beginning of our long association with furniture design and manufacture.
After the Second World War, the School expanded and became known as the High Wycombe College of Art and Technology. High Wycombe became a centre for the furniture making industry and estimates say that around 80% of all the nation’s wooden chairs were made in the town during the 1960s.
In 1999 we were awarded University College status by the Government and became known as Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College. It wasn’t until 2007 that we changed that to the snappier name of Buckinghamshire New University.
A period of development
Up until the 2000s, the University had been split across a number of sites. In 2009 we consolidated, creating three campuses, with the main facilities at our High Wycombe Campus. The late noughties saw a lot of development work as the campus was expanded, and our innovative Gateway Building was opened. This state-of-the-art integrated learning complex was ahead of its time and won a prestigious RIBA award in 2010.
We’ve now been providing education for over 125 years, and welcome around 9,000 students a year to our campuses.
Some famous alumni
- Noel Fielding – Noel is a well-known comedian and originally starred in The Mighty Boosh. You’ll now find him on Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off. Noel studied Graphic Design and Advertising while he was here.
- Naomi Riches – Naomi is an adaptive rower who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics and a gold at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Very appropriate perhaps, as she studied Designed Metalwork & Jewellery with us.
- Chloe Rogers – Chloe is one of the country’s best hockey players, and won an Olympic bronze medal at London 2012. She’s played for England and Great Britain an incredible 162 times.
Nowadays Bucks has three main campuses, High Wycombe, Uxbridge and Aylesbury. High Wycombe is where most of our courses are based. Uxbridge campus is home to our wide range of nursing and healthcare courses, while the University Campus Aylesbury Vale offers a host of courses that are geared towards careers and professional programmes.
Over the past ten years or so, we have invested over £100 million in our facilities to make sure they meet our staff and students’ needs. The Gateway, our flagship building, is a state-of-the-art complex that hosts media production studios, a library, sports facilities and a gym all under one roof. The Gateway was such an innovative space and so admired that it won a coveted RIBA award in 2010.
In 2016 we opened our multi-million pound Human Performance, Exercise and Wellbeing Centre, which is a beacon for premium sports and exercise science. The centre has a three-lane running track with 3D motion-capture technology, along with a sports injury and physiotherapy clinic. It has already become a hub for sports conditioning and treatment in the area.
We have also recently updated the south wing of our campus in Queen Alexandra Road, High Wycombe, to create dedicated and bespoke learning areas, along with informal spaces for students.
At the same time, our investment in Hughenden Park Student Village means there are now over 400 en-suite rooms available for students, all just a short walk from our High Wycombe campus.
Some stand out courses
We offer industry-leading travel and aviation courses, giving students the chance to study for a professional pilot’s licence while also carrying out university studies.
You’ll find some of the UK’s only music management courses here. We also offer film and television production and have forged rewarding partnerships with some high profile industry names in the media.
We are one of the very few universities that offer a degree in policing, giving graduates the chance to move onto a career in the police force.
Bucks is also one of the leading providers of nursing qualifications in the South-East, offering adult, child and mental health pre-qualifying nursing.
At Bucks, students are at the heart of all that we do. We have exciting plans for the future to make our facilities and service even more inspiring and rewarding for everyone who studies with us.
We will build on our excellent reputation to extend our role as a hub for learning, reaching out to local, national and international communities. And we also want to develop our reputation for research and enterprise, across academic and professional disciplines.
A new digital space
To inspire young people to move into exciting and rewarding careers, we are working in partnership with Aylesbury College to create a new centre to support start-up businesses in the digital sector. The facilities will include a cyber-security suite and a virtual reality engineering design studio. Businesses will be able to get advice, support and space to help them grow and thrive.
We want to see a transformative culture where innovation, creativity and enterprise flourish. Our graduates are going to change the world. They will have an exciting future, and so will Bucks.
Our vision is simple. We want to become a leading university for professional and creative education and applied research. That’s why we are carefully developing our course portfolios to make sure they are what students need, and will help them on the way to fulfilling employment.
There are three main strands to our vision: education, research and our people.
- For education, we are crafting accessible university learning to transform lives and nurture the abilities in our graduates to change the world. We want to stretch and challenge our students to succeed and will build strong partnerships with organisations to give our students unprecedented opportunities.
- In terms of research, we will increase and improve the amount of staff research to gain an even stronger reputation for excellence. Our research and enterprise activity will enrich and enhance our students’ experiences, and we will develop cross-disciplinary research to create innovative thinking.
- Our people will help to drive these changes. We will make sure that our employees have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. We will invest in an advanced digital infrastructure to encourage new and improved ways of working. Thanks to the continued dedication of all of our staff, we will make a real difference to our students’ lives.