It is the second largest of three universities in the city, the other two being the Aston University and University of Birmingham. Initially established as the Birmingham College of Art with roots dating back to 1843, it was designated as a polytechnic in 1971 and gained university status in 1992.
The university has seven campuses serving six faculties, and offers courses in art and design, business, the built environment, computing, education, engineering, English, healthcare, law, the performing arts, social sciences, and technology. A proposed £125million extension to its campus in the city centre of Birmingham, part of the Eastside development of a new technology and learning quarter, is to open in two stages, with the first phase opening its doors in 2013. The university is a designated Skillset Media Academy, a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning for health and social care, and a member of the million+ group of New Universities.
Birmingham City University is the West Midlands’ largest provider of higher education for undergraduate study, and its portfolio of part-time courses is among the biggest in the UK. Roughly half of the university’s full-time students are from the West Midlands, and a large percentage of these are from ethnic minorities. The university runs access and foundation programmes through an international network of associated universities and further education colleges, and has the highest intake of foreign students in the Birmingham area.