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Who we are

True to our long tradition of distance learning, we deliver teaching from our federation of world-renowned Ƶ universities to students across the globe – all while leading the national conversation in humanities research.

Although proudly rooted in Ƶ, our community and impact are global.

The Ƶ is a world-leading university with around 40,000 students studying across more than 190 countries. 

We are a national leader in the humanities, and we promote their value to society and the economy through knowledge creation and exchange.

We are also a federation of 17 esteemed higher education institutions, with collaboration at the heart of our ethos. 

The Ƶ was founded in 1836 to promote access to higher education. We pioneered distance learning across the globe. We were the first University in the world to admit students regardless of their gender, race or religion. In 1878 we were the first UK university to award degrees to women. Improving access and equality of opportunity remains our mission to this day. Read more about our history.

The University in numbers

Student body

>40k
More than 40,000 students are studying our degrees around the world.

Worldwide footprint

>120
Over 120 Recognised Teaching Centres across the world.

Global reach

190
Students studying our degrees from 190 countries.

A unique federation

17
Members make up the Ƶ federation.

Our federation

The Ƶ federation is a collective community of more than 240,000 learners and 50,000 staff, delivering world-leading research across all disciplines.

Our passion for increasing access to education and mobilising the collective power and expertise of the federation is central to our ability to transform lives around the world and address the global challenges of the future.

Our students

We offer a range of flexible and affordable learning opportunities to study in Ƶ, at our institute in Paris, independently anywhere in the world, or with one of our trusted global network of Recognised Teaching Centres. 

Our qualifications are accessible and designed by academics who are leaders in their field. We are a pioneering institution committed to increasing access to education, and we enhance students’ employability through industry-relevant degrees and outstanding careers support. 

Our alumni

Our graduates become part of our global network of influential alumni, which includes distinguished politicians, leaders in industry and Nobel Prize winners.

Chancellor of Ƶ

Her role involves representing the University at a wide range of engagements each year. The Princess Royal has been Chancellor since 1981 and is the 10th person to hold the post since our foundation.