7 famous faces who studied at ‘the other Cambridge university’


The University of Cambridge isn’t the only educational institution in the city. 

There is another one that started from humble beginnings and is growing fast: Anglia Ruskin University.

Having it origins in the Cambridge School of Art, founded in 1858, it became a university in 1992.

Anglia Ruskin University, or ARU, now has facilities in four cities and plans to open a brand new building in Peterborough in September 2022.

Read on to learn more about the small but mighty institution, including some of the famous faces who wandered its halls.

Faculties and campuses

Anglia Ruskin University Nursing School in Cambridge lit up blue to support NHS on April 16, 2020
Anglia Ruskin University Nursing School in Cambridge lit up blue to support NHS on April 16, 2020

There are four faculties of study at the university:

  • Faculty of Business and Law
  • Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
  • Faculty of Science & Engineering

As a “mainstream” university, i.e. not specialised, Anglia Ruskin covers multiple specialisations. Its areas of study are:

  • Animal Studies
  • Architecture, Construction and Surveying
  • Art and Design
  • Business, Marketing and Finance
  • Computer Games
  • Computer Science and Digital Tech
  • Crime and Investigation
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • English Studies and Writing
  • Film and Media
  • Health and Medical Sciences
  • History, Philosophy and Social Studies
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Nursing and Midwifery
  • Optometry
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Sport
  • Theatre and Music

The university has facilities in four cities: Cambridge, Chelmsford, London and Peterborough.

Its Cambridge campus is a stone’s throw from the historic city centre and the vibrant cultural and social scene (in normal, non-Covid times).

In Chelmsford, the institution moved from the city centre to a new riverside campus in 1992. It is made up of modern buildings that house state-of-the-art facilities, including Essex’s first School of Medicine, which opened in 2018.

Guild House in Peterborough hosts the university’s health, social care and education campus since 2011, while ARU London, based strategically in Farringdon near the heart of the city, specialises in business, finance and law degrees since 2015.

Is Anglia Ruskin a good university?

Opinions on thestudentroom.co.uk vary from “we have amazing lecturers, great facilities and I absolutely love the university” to “avoid Anglia Ruskin University like you would coronavirus!!”

Being a small, vocational and arts-based university means that it doesn’t get a fair shot in league tables against some of the big-named universities.

The academic experience appears to be highly dependent on the course, with some possibly faring better than others.

Some of ARU’s recent achievements is ranking in the top 10 for graduate employment in the Graduate Outcomes Survey and in the top 40 UK universities according to Times Higher Education.

Famous alumni

Manish Bhasin when he presented Late Kick Off on BBC One
Manish Bhasin when he presented Late Kick Off on BBC One

Before Pink Floyd went on to become one of the most successful British bands, two of its members, Syd Barrett and David Gilmour, attended the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, which is now part of Anglia Ruskin University.

Barrett has a blue plaque dedicated to him on one of the school walls, while Gilmour was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university in 2009.

“The global face of the Premier League”, Manish Bhasin, graduated in 1997 from  Anglia Ruskin University with a degree in Communication Studies with English. Manish is a sports journalist and presenter for Premier League Productions, following a highly successful broadcasting career with the BBC and ITV.

Other famous alumni include geographer and author Nick Crane, evolutionary biologist and broadcaster Ben Garrod, businessman and politician Lord Michael Ashcroft, and former chairman of the NSPCC Mark Wood CBE.

Read more about Anglia Ruskin





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