A University of firsts

Crest detailBirmingham has a long history of innovation. While our buildings and campus might exude a sense of tradition, the University has never been conventional and we are always keen to adopt new ideas.

It is widely accepted that Birmingham was the first English civic or 'redbrick' university – established to support the ambitions of its home city, but we have a string of other ‘firsts’ under our belt.

Birmingham was the first university to...

  • Build on a campus model – occupying a 276-acre green parkland around the University, only three miles from the heart of the city 
  • Create a purpose-built students’ union building – student voice remains at the heart of our decision-making 
  • Incorporate a Medical Schoolnow part of our College of Medical and Dental Sciences 
  • Open a Faculty of Commerce – which makes our Business School the longest established in the country 
  • Provide a women’s hall of residence – far-sighted in the early 1900’s; Birmingham continues to welcome students from all backgrounds, nations and religions 
  • Offer a sporting option for all students – sport and sporting excellence, along with music, are the cornerstones of Birmingham's cultural life