I have attended Sunderland University for two years now and overall I do enjoy it. There are both good and bad points to this university (referred to as SU from here on).
A good thing about SU is that it provides a free bus to take you from your university halls into the university itself. Now the bad thing about this bus is that it's small and is normally full. However, when you can get on the bus, it is a fantastic service.
SU is very welcoming for Freshers and it sends University students round to your halls and these students take you out and ensure that you get to know other people. The nightlife is fairly good in Sunderland and some pubs do sell alcohol cheaply.
The university has two campuses which aren't too far away from each other. The St Peter's Campus is much better and more modern than the campus in the City Centre. However, the library is better at the City Campus. The library is a huge building and is very modern inside.
Overall, I would recommend Sunderland University because it does provide a good student experience.
I am currently a student at Sunderland uni, doing psychology at the business school and I would definitely recommend it! The business school itself is LUSH, its got a 24/7 computer centre that has plenty of PC's so you'll never need to wait for one like you do in some of the other campuses although you need to set up a computer account with the informatics centre first (something that isn't done for you for some reason!?!) There is a campus bus service that is free to all students and it tours round the major halls and campuses twice an hour until tea time. There are *two* canteens in the St Peter's campus where I am based and they serve yummy food at a decent price too. The library services are fantastic as well, easy to use and (gasp!) helpful staff! Yes, lectures get cancelled, modules change but find me a university that doesn't do this! The only major criticism I have is that there are so many students and the admin side of it all is just queues, queues and more queues - you'd think them upstairs would stagger things like collecting your loan cheque and registration for modules but they dont. Another think they need to work on is their communication with students. Over the summer there was no letters from them to me at all, I had to find out when I started back for this year by word of mouth!
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make when considering what to do once you leave college is whether or not you’ll go to university. The next questions are which courses and which university? I looked at a number of universities in my final year at sixth form and they were all quite close to where I’m from (Middlesbrough). As well as looking at Teeside uni in Middlesbrough I also visited Leeds and Bradford and finally Sunderland. All of them where asking for similar grades to gain entry to the course I was interested in; but in the end I plumped for Sunderland. I chose this university for a couple of reasons really, firstly they were just about to start building a new dedicated school for my course promising the latest in computer technology and the course sounded really interesting. Another decider for me was proximity to home – I could get the train back to Middlesbrough very easily and it only took about 1 hour, so it was close to home but not too close. This university is spread all over the city and that is one of its first drawbacks. It’s so widespread that it could often be difficult to actually get to where you’re supposed to be on time. I knew quite a few people who would have to travel back and forth across the city for various lectures and seminars with not much time to spare. Luckily for me though I was always based in the same building so it didn’t really effect me – worth checking out beforehand though as it may effect you. In the first year I lived in a halls of residence. Whilst the building itself was safe and secure enough and the rooms of a pretty decent standard, the university, in their wisdom, decided to build the halls in one of the roughest areas of the city – great! I myself was attacked by a large gang of lads one evening when coming home and it’s something that still effects me to this day if I’m being honest, whenever I
see a group of people coming toward me I still feel a little edgy, its ridiculous I know but I can’t help it. The halls themselves are split up into flats and each flat comprises of the same basic facilities. You have your room (obviously) with a decent sized desk and bed and a good-sized wardrobe along with some shelves for books etc. We had a couple of shower rooms too along with a communal lounge and kitchen. Whilst they weren’t the greatest in the world they were nice enough, the great thing about halls though is that a real little community can often build up and I made some great friends in my first year. Rather like the standard of university teaching buildings varies wildly the same could be said of the halls of residence. Whilst our halls were OK, some were in a much worse state with poorly lit corridors and very small rooms, it didn’t exactly feel like a home, just somewhere you stayed. The building I was taught in was on the banks of the river Wear, on one side was our building and on the opposite were more halls of residence. These were much much nicer – as well as having a huge open plan kitchen and split level flats each person had a remote dial-in network connection to the university campus (which came as a free call, so basically you’re getting 24/7 free net access) as well as superb views of the city – I looked out onto just more houses from my window – a bit depressing like I say. My school was a brand new building and I cannot fault the teaching facilities however. They had over 700 PC’s all with net access in a huge open plan building (visit http://osiris.sunderland.ac.uk for a webcam view of this) Lecture theatres were all well lit and airy with good sound systems and projectors inside them too, plus you could download lecture notes etc. over the local intranet if you missed anything. Sadly however the same couldn’t be said of other buildings in
the vast university complex. To call them dilapidated would be putting it mildly. Sunderland used to be a polytechnic that had been upgraded to university status – the same cannot be said about the actual university buildings themselves though! University nightlife on the whole was very good though, there are a couple of student bars that aren’t very pricey (or they weren’t when I went there a few years ago) and the university ran a few shuttle busses to take you to different bars situated around the city. The main union bar was situated right opposite my school, which was handy really – many was the time we’d just skive off into the pub and put the world to rights. There would be a different themed night most evenings, including the most popular one on Wednesday evenings which was 60’s/70’s night. There was also an indie night and a dance night, so something for everyone. There are loads of decent pubs in the town but the actual nightclubs were very poor if I’m honest. If you want to head out for a few pints then fine, but if you want a nightclub then get through to Newcastle instead. In my other years though I moved out of halls and into houses owned by the university. These also varied in quality – remember, you’re not paying loads so don’t expect the Ritz! I lived in an area called Roker for my final three years, it’s nearer to the school I went to and it was right by the seafront, so very handy for the beach. Student services put me onto these places and they were very helpful. The student services building is where to go to get any help you may require on non-course related subjects. These people helped me out in trying to find somewhere to live, but also in suggesting where to go to look for a graduate job etc. once I left the place. By and large the staff were all very helpful and I had no complaints about them. Like I say, the quality in homes varies, but
if you get in quick (like we did) then you can get a really nice pad for yourself. The city itself isn’t too bad if I’m honest. I’ve been to bigger towns and the shopping in Newcastle is much better (and you can get the train to Newcastle very easily too if you want to go somewhere different for a night on the town). The shops offer the standard things you find in any town centre – WHSmiths, Our Price, HMV, Boots etc – like I say, everything you’d expect really. I’ll be honest and say I enjoyed the final two years at uni more than the first. I lived with a better bunch of people and really enjoyed my course. The level of teaching in those final two years did vary though. We all seemed to teach each other the majority of subjects better than the lecturers seemed to be able to, if you get in with the right people then you’ll be OK I guess. The combination of people and course made up for a great time for me all in all. There are worse places you could go to and I’m sure there are probably better to, but whatever university you go to I’d highly recommend you visit the place first, otherwise you could end up being miserable for three or four years! Like the title says, whilst the university was, for the most part OK, it was the friends that I made there which made my time as enjoyable as it was.
....I'd choose a different university. Uni of Sunderland is one of those places that could be fantastic if they made the effort. It's in a great location, has some fantastic purpose built facilities and accomodation, but rather than being brilliant in a couple of areas it's chosen to be average in all of them. Lectures, and even whole modules are frequently cancelled without warning, scheduling and organisation are extremely poor and as for the staff....what can I say? The staff are there but might as well not be. After three years there I still did not manage to get a degree pass because 2 of the compulsory modules of my course were cancelled. Why? The lecturer got pregnant and went on leave, they didn't hire a cover lecturer so we had to go without any tuition. It's a good place to study if you're Greek because bout 30% of the students are also Greek. If you aren't? Then forget it.