King's College London

King's College London (informally King's or KCL; formerly styled King's College, London) is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London. King's is arguably the third-oldest university in England, having been founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington in 1829, receiving its royal charter in the same year. St Thomas' Hospital, which is now a teaching hospital of King's College London School of Medicine, has roots dating back to 1173. In 1836, King's became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London. It has grown through mergers, including with Queen Elizabeth College and Chelsea College of Science and Technology (in 1985), the Institute of Psychiatry (in 1997), and the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals and Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery (in 1998).

King's is based in the centre of London, spread across four Thames-side campuses in central London and another in Denmark Hill in south London. Its academic activities are organised into nine faculties which are subdivided into numerous departments, centres and research divisions. King's is one of the largest centres for graduate and post-graduate medical teaching and biomedical research in Europe; it is home to six Medical Research Council centres and is a founding member of the King's Health Partners academic health sciences centre. King's has around 25,000 students and 6,113 staff and had a total income of £604 million in 2013/14, of which £172 million was from research grants and contracts.

King's is ranked 16th in the world (5th in the UK and 6th in Europe) in the 2014 QS World University Rankings, and 40th in the world (7th in the UK and 10th in Europe) in the 2014 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. There are currently 12 Nobel Prize laureates amongst King's alumni and current and former faculty. In rankings produced by Times Higher Education based upon the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, King's was ranked 6th overall for "research power" and 7th for GPA. King's is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association, the Russell Group and Universities UK. It forms part of the 'golden triangle' of British universities.

King's is a top destination choice of Marshall Scholars and its graduates are highly sought by firms across the globe; in a survey by The New York Times of leading companies business leaders (CEOs and Chairmen) when asked to name the top universities they like to recruit from, King's ranked 22nd in the world and 5th in the UK. King's was also 38th in the world and 7th in the UK for graduate employability in Emerging Associates and Tredence's Global Employability University survey of international recruiters. King's was also named The Sunday Times 'University of the Year' in 2010/11.


King's College London


King's College, so named to indicate the patronage of King George IV, was founded in 1829 in response to the theological controversy surrounding the founding of "London University" (which later became University College London) in 1827. London University was founded, with the backing of Utilitarians, Jews and non-Anglican Christians, as a secular institution, intended to educate "the youth of our middling rich people between the ages of 15 or 16 and 20 or later" giving its nickname, "the godless college in Gower Street".

The need for such an institution was a result of the religious and social nature of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which then educated solely the sons of wealthy Anglicans. The secular nature of London University was disapproved by The Establishment, indeed, "the storms of opposition which raged around it threatened to crush every spark of vital energy which remained". Thus, the creation of a rival institution represented a Tory response to reassert the educational values of The Establishment. More widely, King's was one of the first of a series of institutions which came about in the early nineteenth century as a result of the Industrial Revolution and great social changes in England following the Napoleonic Wars. By virtue of its foundation King's has enjoyed the patronage of the monarch, the Archbishop of Canterbury as its Visitor and during the nineteenth century counted among its official governors the Lord Chancellor, Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lord Mayor of London.

Rumours in the press of a competing institution in the tradition of the established church appeared in 1827, but the idea was first defined early in 1828 by George D'Oyly, Rector of Lambeth, in an open letter to Sir Robert Peel, the then Home Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons. A scheme emerged during the summer of 1828 and a public meeting to launch King's, chaired by the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, and attended by the Archbishops of York, Canterbury and Armagh, and two members of the Cabinet (Peel and the Earl of Aberdeen) was held on 21 June 1828. A committee of twenty-seven was appointed to raise funds and to frame regulations and building plans, but the sum raised by subscription was inadequate. The Crown granted a site lying between the Strand and the Thames to the College and building began in 1829.

A royal charter to incorporate King's College was granted by George IV on 14 August 1829, stating the intention of the new College:

...for the general education of youth in which the various branches of Literature and Science are intended to be taught, and also the doctrines and duties of Christianity... inculcated by the United Church of England and Ireland.

The government of the College was vested in a council consisting of nine official governors, five of whom were clergymen, eight life governors, a treasurer, and 24 other members of the Corporation. Several potential sites for the College were discussed including Buckingham Palace and Regent's Park, however eventually the Treasury provided a site between the Strand and the Thames, running parallel to the yet unfinished Somerset House at a peppercorn rent in perpetuity.

Duel in Battersea Fields, 21 March 1829

The Duke of Wellington's simultaneous support for an Anglican King's College and the Roman Catholic Relief Act, which was to lead to the granting of almost full civil rights to Catholics, was challenged by George Finch-Hatton, 10th Earl of Winchilsea, in early 1829. Winchilsea and his supporters wished for King's to be subject to the Test Acts, like the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where only members of the Church of England could matriculate, but this was not Wellington's intent.

Winchilsea and about 150 other contributors withdrew their support of the new College in response to Wellington's support of Catholic emancipation. Accusations against Wellington were published in a letter to the Standard on 14 March where Winchilsea charged the Prime Minister with insincerity in his support for the new College. In a letter to Wellington he wrote, "I have come to view the College as an instrument in a wider programme designed to promote the Roman Catholic faith and undermine the established church." Winchilsea also accused the Duke to have in mind "insidious designs for the infringement of our liberty and the introduction of Popery into every department of the State".

The letter provoked a furious exchange of correspondence and Wellington accused Winchilsea of imputing him with "disgraceful and criminal motives" in setting up King's College. When Winchilsea refused to retract the remarks, Wellington â€" by his own admission, "no advocate of duelling" and a virgin duellist â€" demanded satisfaction in a contest of arms: "I now call upon your lordship to give me that satisfaction for your conduct which a gentleman has a right to require, and which a gentleman never refuses to give."

The result was a duel in Battersea Fields on 21 March 1829. Winchilsea did not fire, a plan he and his second almost certainly decided upon before the duel; Wellington took aim and fired wide to the right. Accounts differ as to whether Wellington missed on purpose. Wellington, noted for his poor aim, claimed he did, other reports more sympathetic to Winchilsea claimed he had aimed to kill. Honour was saved and Winchilsea wrote Wellington an apology. "Duel Day" is still celebrated on the first Thursday after 21 March every year, marked by various events throughout the College, including re-enactments.

19th century

King's opened in October 1831 with William Otter, a clergyman, appointed as first Principal and lecturer in divinity. Despite the intentions of its founders and the chapel at the heart of its buildings, the initial prospectus permitted, "nonconformists of all sorts to enter the college freely". William Howley, the Archbishop of Canterbury, presided over the opening ceremony in which a sermon was given in the chapel by Charles Blomfield, the Bishop of London, on the subject of combining religious instruction with intellectual culture. The governors and the professors, except the linguists, had to be members of the Church of England but the students did not, though attendance at Chapel was compulsory.

The College was divided into a Senior department and a Junior department, also known as King's College School, which was originally situated in the basement of the Strand Campus. The Junior department started with 85 pupils and only three teachers, but quickly grew to 500 by 1841, outgrowing its facilities and leading it to relocate to Wimbledon in 1897 where it remains today, though it is no longer associated with the College. Within the Senior department teaching was divided into three courses. A general course comprised divinity, classical languages, mathematics, English literature and history. Secondly, there was the medical course. Thirdly, miscellaneous subjects, such as law, political economy and modern languages, which were not related to any systematic course of study at the time and depended for their continuance on the supply of occasional students. In 1833 the general course was reorganised leading to the award of the Associate of King's College (A.K.C.), the first qualification issued by King's. The course, which concerns questions of ethics and theology, is still awarded today to students and staff who take an optional three-year course alongside their studies.

The river frontage was completed in April 1835 at a cost of £7,100, its completion a condition of the College securing the site from the Crown. Unlike those in the school, student numbers in the Senior department remained almost stationary during the first five years of the College's existence. During this time the medical school was blighted by inefficiency and the divided loyalties of the staff leading to a steady decline in attendance. One of the most important appointments was that of Charles Wheatstone as professor of Experimental Philosophy.

At this time, neither King's, nor "London University" had the ability to confer degrees, a particular problem for medical students who wished to practise. Amending this situation was aided by the appointment of Henry Brougham, as Lord Chancellor, who was chairman of the governors of "London University". In this position he automatically became a governor of King's. In the understanding that the government was unlikely to grant degree-awarding powers on two institutions in London, negotiations led to the colleges federating as the "University of London" in 1836, "London University" thus becoming University College. The governors at King's were offended at the exclusion of divinity from the syllabus by the federal university which was founded as an examining body and advised students to take the Oxford or Cambridge examinations, however, the power of the university to confer degrees marked a period of limited expansion at the College.

In 1840 the College opened King's College Hospital on Portugal Street near Lincoln's Inn Fields, an area composed of overcrowded rookeries characterised by poverty and disease. The governance of the hospital was later transferred to the corporation of the hospital established by the King's College Hospital Act 1851, and eventually moved to new premises in Denmark Hill, Camberwell in 1913. The appointment in 1877 of Joseph Lister as professor of clinical surgery greatly benefited the medical school, and the introduction of Lister's antiseptic surgical methods gained the hospital an international reputation. In 1855 the College pioneered evening classes in London. In 1882 the King's College London Act amended the constitution, the objects of the College extended to include the education of women.

20th century

See also Contribution of King's College London to the discovery of the structure of DNA and Photo 51

The King's College, London Act 1903, abolished all remaining religious tests for staff, except within the Theological department. The end of the World War I saw an influx of students, which strained existing facilities to the point where some classes were held in the Principal's house. A government proposal to relocate the College premises to Bloomsbury was considered, but finally rejected in 1925. During the Second World War most students and staff were evacuated out of London to Bristol and Glasgow. The College buildings were used by the Auxiliary Fire Service with a number of College staff, mainly those then known as College servants, serving as firewatchers. Parts of the Strand building, the quadrangle, and the roof of apse and stained glass windows of the chapel suffered bomb damage in the Blitz. During reconstruction, the vaults beneath the quadrangle were replaced by a two-storey laboratory, which opened in 1952, for the departments of Physics and Civil and Electrical Engineering.

One of the most famous pieces of scientific research performed at King's were the crucial contributions to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953 by Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, together with Raymond Gosling, Alex Stokes, Herbert Wilson and other colleagues at the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics at King's.

Major reconstruction of the College began in 1966 following the publication of the Robbins Report on Higher Education. A new block facing the Strand designed by E. D. Jefferiss Mathews was opened in 1972. The College underwent several mergers with other institutions, including Queen Elizabeth College and Chelsea College of Science and Technology in 1985, the Institute of Psychiatry in 1997, and the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals were reincorporated in 1998 after becoming independent of the College at the foundation of the National Health Service in 1948. In 1998 Florence Nightingale's original training school for nurses merged with the King's Department of Nursing Studies as the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery. The same year the College acquired the former Public Record Office building on Chancery Lane and converted it at a cost of £35 million into the Maughan Library, which opened in 2002.

2001 to present

In July 2006, the College was granted degree-awarding powers in its own right, as opposed to through the University of London, by the Privy Council. This power remained unexercised until 2007, when the College announced that all students starting courses from September 2007 onwards would be awarded degrees conferred by King's itself, rather than by the University of London. The new certificates however still make reference to the fact that King's is a constituent college of the University of London. All current students with at least one year of study remaining were in August 2007 offered the option of choosing to be awarded a University of London degree or a King's degree. The first King's degrees were awarded in summer 2008.

In 2007, for the second consecutive year, students from the School of Law won the national round of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The Jessup moot is the largest international mooting competition in the world. The King's team went on to represent the UK as national champions.

In 2010 the College announced that 205 jobs were put at risk in response to government funding cuts. Among the proposed cuts was the UK's only chair of palaeography, two leading computational linguists, and the department of Engineering, believed to be the oldest in the UK (established in 1838), sparking an international campaign from academics.

In November 2010, King's launched a fundraising campaign to raise £500 million by 2015 for research into five areas: cancer, global power, neuroscience and mental health, leadership and society and children's health. Over £400 million has been raised as of March 2013. In 2011 the Chemistry department was reopened following its closure in 2003.

In April 2011 King's became a partner in the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, subsequently renamed the Francis Crick Institute, committing £40 million to the project.

In March 2013, Rick Trainor announced that he would step down as Principal of King's in October 2014, after serving for ten years.

In June 2014, King's became the centre of further controversy, when it once again announced plans for large-scale redundancies, potentially affecting up to 15% of staff in biomedical sciences and at the Institute of Psychiatry. Commentators noted that many senior academics as well as students were highly critical of the plans, on the grounds that they were being rushed through without adequate consultation, threatened to leave students without adequate teaching staff, and would weaken the research capacity and damage the reputation of the university. A spokesperson for King's argued that the numbers of planned redundancies were fewer than critics claimed, but in so doing came in for further criticism, because staff had not been told of this information. It was subsequently noted that the redundancy plan also went against explicit advice in a commissioned report on the university's finances. Around the same time as these developments, an article in the Times Higher Education noted that, in an apparently unrelated development, King's was contesting a freedom of information request for details of salaries of its top professors.


King's College London

Strand Campus

The Strand Campus is the founding campus of King's. It is located on the Strand in the City of Westminster, sharing its frontage along the River Thames. Most of the Schools of Arts & Humanities, Law, Social Science & Public Policy and Natural & Mathematical Sciences (formerly Physical Sciences & Engineering) are housed here. The campus combines the Grade I listed King's Building of 1831 designed by Sir Robert Smirke, and the Byzantine Gothic College Chapel, redesigned in 1864 by Sir George Gilbert Scott with the more modern Strand Building, completed in 1972. The Chesham Building in Surrey Street was purchased after the Second World War. The Macadam Building of 1975 houses the Strand Campus Students' Union centre and is named after King's alumnus Sir Ivison Macadam, first President of the National Union of Students.

Marble statues of Sappho and Sophocles were bequeathed by Frida Mond in 1923, a friend of Israel Gollancz, Professor of English Language and Literature at King's. They were placed in the lobby of the King's Building, where they have remained ever since. The nearest underground station is Temple, on the District and Circle lines.


The original college chapel was designed by Sir Robert Smirke and was completed in 1831 as part of the College building (later known as the King's building). Given the foundation of the university in the tradition of the Church of England the chapel was intended to be an integral part of the campus. This is reflected in its central location within the King's Building on the first floor above the Great Hall, accessible via a grand double staircase from the foyer. The original chapel was described as a low and broad room "fitted to the ecclesiological notions of George IV's reign." However, by the mid nineteenth century its style had fallen out of fashion and in 1859 a proposal by the College Chaplain Reverend E. H. Plumptre that the original chapel should be reconstructed was approved by the College Council, who agreed that its "meagreness and poverty" made it unworthy of King's.

The College approached Sir George Gilbert Scott to make proposals. In his proposal of 22 December 1859 he suggested that, "There can be no doubt that, in a classic building, the best mode of giving ecclesiastical character is the adoption of the form and, in some degree, the character of an ancient basilica." His proposals for a chapel modelled on the lines of an classical basilica were accepted and the reconstruction was completed in 1864 at a cost of just over £7,000.

Somerset House East Wing

In December 2009, the College signed a 78-year lease to the East Wing of Somerset House. It has been described as one of the longest-ever property negotiations, taking over 180 years to complete. Since the College was built it has been in various discussions to expand into one of the wings of Somerset House itself, however, the relationship between the College and HM Revenue and Customs that occupied the East Wing were sometimes difficult. Sir Robert Smirke's design of King's was sympathetic to that of Somerset House which is situated adjacent to the Strand Campus. Indeed, a condition of the College acquiring the site in the 1820s was that it should be erected "on a plan which would complete the river front of Somerset House at its eastern extremity in accordance with the original design of Sir William Chambers" which had for so long offended "every eye of taste for its incomplete appearance".

In 1875, a dispute arose when new windows were added to the façade overlooking the College. Following a complaint by the College Council at the loss of privacy, the response of the Metropolitan Board of Works was that "the terms under which the college is held are not such as to enable the Council to restrict Her Majesty from opening windows in Somerset House whenever she may think proper". By the end of World War I the College began to outgrow its premises which led to rekindled efforts to acquire the East Wing. There was even a suggestion that the College should be relocated to new premises in Bloomsbury to alleviate space concerns, however, these plans never came to fruition. Instead, a new top floor was added to the King's Building to house the Anatomy Department and other buildings along Surrey Street were purchased.

Following the publication of the Robbins Report on Higher Education in 1963 a further attempt was made to acquire the East Wing. The Report recommended a large expansion in student numbers accommodated by a new building programme. The "quadrilateral plan" was to create a campus stretching from Norfolk Street in the east to Waterloo Bridge Road in the west. Plans were also drawn up for modern high-rise buildings along the Strand and Surrey Street to house a new library and laboratories. A contemporary report stated that the redevelopment would provide "London with a university precinct on the Strand of which the capital could be proud". The plans were revisited in the early 1970s by the then Principal, Sir John Hackett, however, progress was prevented by funding problems and the unwillingness of the Government to re-house its civil servants. In 1971 the Evening Standard led a public campaign for Somerset House to be transformed into a new public arts venue for London. Proposals were also aired for the relocation of the Tate Gallery to the site. In the 1990s the eventual vacation by government departments and a comprehensive restoration programme saw the opening of the Courtauld Gallery, the Gilbert and Hermitage collections and the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court.

In early 2010 a £25 million renovation of the East Wing was undertaken and took 18 months to complete. On 29 February 2012, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the building. It is home to the School of Law, a public exhibition space called the Inigo Rooms curated by the King's Cultural Institute as well as adding a further entrance to the Strand Campus.

Strand Lane 'Roman bath'

A Stuart cistern and later eighteenth century public bath protected by the National Trust and popularly known as the 'Roman bath' is situated on the site of the Strand Campus beneath the Norfolk Building and can be accessed via the Surrey Street entrance. Hidden by surrounding College buildings, the bath was widely thought to be of Roman origin giving its popular name, however it is more likely that it was originally a cistern for a fountain built in the gardens of Somerset House for Queen Anne of Denmark in 1612. Evidence of its first use as a public bath was in the late eighteenth century. The 'Roman bath' is mentioned by Charles Dickens in chapters thirty-five and thirty-six of the novel David Copperfield.

Moreover Aldwych tube station, a well-preserved but disused London Underground station, is integrated as part of the campus. A rifle range used by the College is located on the site of one of the platforms since the closure of the station in 1994.

The nearest Underground stations are Temple, Charing Cross and Covent Garden.

Guy's Campus

Guy's Campus is situated close to London Bridge and the Shard on the South Bank of the Thames and is home to the School of Biomedical Sciences (also at the Waterloo Campus), the Dental Institute, and the School of Medicine.

Thomas Guy, the founder and benefactor of Guy's Hospital established in 1726 in the London Borough of Southwark, was a wealthy bookseller and also a governor of the nearby St Thomas' Hospital. He lies buried in the vault beneath the eighteenth-century chapel at Guy's. Silk-merchant William Hunt was a later benefactor who gave money in the early nineteenth century to build Hunt's House. Today this is the site of New Hunt's House. The Henriette Raphael building, constructed in 1903, and the Gordon Museum are also located here. In addition, the Hodgkin building, Shepherd's House and Guy's chapel are prominent buildings within the campus. The Students' Union centre at Guy's is situated in Boland House.

The nearest Underground stations are London Bridge and Borough.

Waterloo Campus

The Waterloo Campus is located across Waterloo Bridge from the Strand Campus, near the South Bank Centre in the London Borough of Lambeth and consists of the James Clerk Maxwell Building and the Franklinâ€"Wilkins Building.

Cornwall House, now the Franklin-Wilkins Building, constructed between 1912 and 1915 was originally the His Majesty's Stationery Office (responsible for Crown copyright and National Archives), but was requisitioned for use as a military hospital in 1915 during World War I. It became the King George Military Hospital, and accommodated about 1,800 patients on 63 wards. The College acquired the building in the 1980s and today it is home to the School of Biomedical Sciences (also at the Guy's Campus), parts of the School of Social Science & Public Policy (also at the Strand Campus), Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division (part of the School of Medicine) and LonDEC (London Dental Education Centre), part of the Dental Institute (also at Guy's and Denmark Hill). The building, one of London's largest university buildings, underwent refurbishment and was reopened in 2000. The building is named after Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins for their major contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA.

The James Clerk Maxwell Building houses the Principal's Office, most of the central administrative offices of the College and part of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery.

The nearest Underground station is Waterloo.

St Thomas' Campus

The St Thomas' Campus in the London Borough of Lambeth, facing the Houses of Parliament across the Thames, houses parts of the School of Medicine and the Dental Institute. The Florence Nightingale Museum is also located here. St Thomas' Hospital became part of King's College London School of Medicine in 1998. The Department of Twin Research (TwinsUk), King's College London is located in St. Thomas' Hospital.

The nearest Underground station is Westminster.

Denmark Hill Campus

Denmark Hill Campus is situated in south London near the borders of the London Borough of Lambeth and the London Borough of Southwark in Camberwell and is the only campus not situated on the River Thames. The campus consists of King's College Hospital, the Maudsley Hospital and the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP). In addition to the Institute of Psychiatry, parts of the Dental Institute and School of Medicine, and a large hall of residence, King's College Hall, are situated here. Other buildings include the campus library known as the Weston Education Centre (WEC), the James Black Centre, the Rayne Institute (haemato-oncology) and the Cicely Saunders Institute (palliative care).

The nearest Overground station is Denmark Hill.

Redevelopment programme

King's is currently undergoing a £1 billion redevelopment programme of its estates. Since 1999 over half of the College's activities have been relocated in new and refurbished buildings. Major completed projects include a £35 million renovation of the Maughan Library in 2002, a £40 million renovation of buildings at the Strand Campus, a £25 million renovation of Somerset House East Wing, a £30 million renovation of the Denmark Hill Campus in 2007, the renovation of the Franklin-Wilkins Library at the Waterloo Campus and the completion of the £9 million Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care in 2010. The College chapel at the Strand Campus was also restored in 2001.

The Strand Campus redevelopment won the Green Gown Award in 2007 for sustainable construction. The award recognised the "reduced energy and carbon emissions from a sustainable refurbishment of the historic South Range of the King's Building". King's was also the recipient of the 2003 City Heritage Award for the conversion of the Grade II* listed Maughan Library.

Current projects include a £45 million development for the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, £18 million on modernising the College's learning and teaching environments, a sports pavilion at Honor Oak Park. In April 2012 a £20 million redevelopment of the Strand Campus Quad was announced and will provide an additional 3,700 square metres of teaching space and student facilities.

Organisation and administration

King's College London


The College's formal head is the Principal and President, currently held by Ed Byrne. The office is established by the Charter of the College as "the chief academic and administrative officer of the College" and the College Statutes require the Principal to have the general responsibility to the Council for "ensuring that the objects of the College are fulfilled and for maintaining and promoting the efficiency, discipline and good order of the College". The Charter and Statutes granted in 2009 created the additional title of President. As such the full title of the head of the College is the Principal and President. Senior officers are called the Principal's Central Team. Six Vice-Principals have specific responsibilities for Education; Research and Innovation; Strategy and Development; Arts and Sciences; International (developing the College's global research networks); and Health (where there is also a Deputy Vice-Principal).

The Council is the supreme governing body of the College established under the Charter and Statutes, comprising 21 members. Its membership include the President of KCLSU (as the student member), the Principal and President, up to seven other staff members, and up to 12 lay members who must not be employees of the College. It is supported by a number of standing committees. The current Chairman of the Council is Charles Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington.

The Dean of King's College is an ordained person, which is unusual among British universities. The Dean is "responsible for overseeing the spiritual development and welfare of all students and staff". The Office of the Dean co-ordinate the Associateship of King's College programme, the Chaplaincy and the Chapel Choir, which includes 25 Choir scholarships. One of the Dean's roles is to encourage and foster vocations to the Church of England priesthood.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the College Visitor by right of office owing to the role of the Church of England in the College's foundation.

Faculties and departments

King's is made up of nine faculties, which are subdivided into departments, centres and research divisions:

  • Dental Institute
  • Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Faculty of Arts & Humanities
  • Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine
  • Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences
  • Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy
  • The Dickson Poon School of Law

Additionally, there are several global institutes with country-specific and regional focuses which offer postgraduate teaching, organise topical events, and make links between the university and cultural and political organisations:

  • Global Institutes & Centres

The Department of War Studies is unique in the UK, and is supported by facilities such as the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, the Centre for Defence Studies, and the King's Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR).

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) is administered through King's, and its students graduate alongside members of the departments which form the Faculty of Arts & Humanities. As RADA does not have degree awarding powers, its courses are validated by King's.

Academic year

King's academic year runs from the last Monday in September to the first Friday in June.

Graduation ceremonies are held in June or July, with ceremonies held in Southwark Cathedral for the School of Medicine and the Dental Institute and in the Barbican Centre for all other Schools. Since 2008 King's graduates have worn gowns designed by Vivienne Westwood.


In the financial year ended 31 July 2014 King's had a total income of £603.67 million (2012/13 â€" £586.95 million) and total expenditure of £605.81 million (2012/13 â€" £577.38 million). Key sources of income included £201.08 million from tuition fees and education contracts (2012/13 â€" £174.58 million), £171.55 million from research grants and contracts (2012/13 â€" £164.03 million), £122.43 million from Funding Council grants (2012/13 â€" £130.67 million) and £5.77 million from endowment and investment income (2012/13 â€" £6.4 million). During the 2012/13 financial year King's had a capital expenditure of £105.9 million (2012/13 â€" £73 million).

At 31 July 2014 King's had total endowments of £162.6 million (31 July 2013 â€" £154.09 million) and total net assets of £828.37 million (31 July 2013 â€" £810.05 million). King's has a credit rating of AA from Standard & Poor's.

In October 2010 King's launched a major fundraising campaign fronted by former British Prime Minister John Major, with a goal to raise £500 million by 2015.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms displayed on the College Charter is that of George IV. The shield depicts the royal coat of arms together with an inescutcheon of the House of Hanover, while the supporters embody the College motto of sancte et sapienter. No correspondence is believed to have survived regarding the choice of this coat of arms, either in the College Archives or at the College of Arms, and a wide variety of unofficial adaptations have been used during the history of the College. The current coat of arms was developed following the mergers with Queen Elizabeth College and Chelsea College in 1985, and incorporates aspects of their heraldry. The College's coat of arms, in heraldic terminology, is:

The arms:

Or on a Pale Azure between two Lions rampant respectant Gules an Anchor Gold ensigned by a Royal Crown proper on a Chief Argent an Ancient Lamp proper inflamed Gold between two Blazing Hearths also proper.

The crest and supporters:

On a Helm with a Wreath Or and Azure Upon a Book proper rising from a Coronet Or the rim set with jewels two Azure (one manifest) four Vert (two manifest) and two Gules a demi Lion Gules holding a Rod of Dexter a female figure habited Azure the cloak lined coif and sleeves Argent holding in the exterior hand a Lond Cross botony Gold and sinister a male figure the Long Coat Azure trimmed with Sable proper shirt Argent holding in the interior hand a Book proper.



In 2013/14 King's had a total research income of £171.55 million, of which £47.64 million was from UK charitable bodies; £38.26 million from Research Councils; £32.97 million from UK central government, local authorities, health and hospital authorities; £21.38 million from EU government and other bodies; £17.09 million from overseas ex. EU; £13.11 million from UK industry, commerce and public corporations; and £1.11 million from other sources.

King's submitted a total of 1,369 staff across 27 units of assessment to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment (compared with 1,172 submitted to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008)). In the REF results 40% of King's submitted research was classified as 4*, 45% as 3*, 13% as 2* and 2% as 1*, giving an overall GPA of 3.23. In rankings produced by Times Higher Education based upon the REF results King's was ranked 6th overall for research power and 7th for GPA (compared to 11th and joint 22nd respectively in the equivalent rankings for the RAE 2008).


The Sunday Times has ranked King's as the 6th most difficult UK university to gain admission to. According to the 2008 Times Good University Guide approximately 30% of King's undergraduates come from independent schools.

Admission to King's is extremely competitive. Courses are heavily oversubscribed and some, such as English, Law and Business Management, typically have 15 or more applicants per place.

The undergraduate acceptance rate for 2011/12 was 32%.


King's is the largest centre for healthcare education in Europe. King's College London School of Medicine has over 2,000 undergraduate students, over 1,400 teachers, four main teaching hospitals â€" Guy's Hospital, King's College Hospital, St Thomas' Hospital and University Hospital Lewisham â€" and 17 associated district general hospitals. King's College London Dental Institute is the largest dental school in Europe. The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery is the oldest professional school of nursing in the world.

King's is a major centre for biomedical research. It is a founding member of King's Health Partners, one of the largest academic health sciences centres in Europe with a turnover of over £2 billion and approximately 25,000 employees. It also is home to six Medical Research Council centres, the most of any British university, and is part of two of the twelve biomedical research centres established by the NHS in England â€" the Guy's & St Thomas'/King's College London Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre and the South London and Maudsley/KCL Institute of Psychiatry Biomedical Research Centre.

The Drug Control Centre at King's was established in 1978 and is the only WADA accredited anti-doping laboratory in the UK and holds the official UK contract for running doping tests on UK athletes. In 1997, it became the first International Olympic Committee accredited laboratory to meet the ISO/IEC 17025 quality standard. The Centre was the anti-doping facility for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


King's library facilities are spread across its campuses. The collections encompass over one million printed books, as well as thousands of journals and electronic resources.

Maughan Library

The Maughan Library is King's largest library and is housed in the Grade II* listed 19th century gothic former Public Record Office building situated on Chancery Lane near the Strand Campus. The building was designed by Sir James Pennethorne and is home to the books and journals of the Schools of Arts & Humanities, Law, Natural & Mathematical Sciences, and Social Science & Public Policy. It also houses the Special Collections and rare books. Inside the Library is the octagonal Round Reading Room, inspired by the reading room of the British Museum, and the former Rolls Chapel (renamed the Weston Room following a donation from the Garfield Weston Foundation) with its stained glass windows, mosaic floor and monuments, including a Renaissance terracotta figure by Pietro Torrigiano of Dr Yonge, Master of the Rolls, who died in 1516.

Other libraries

  • The Foyle Special Collections Library at Chancery Lane houses a collection of over 150,000 printed works as well as thousands of maps, slides, sound recordings and some manuscript material.
  • The Tony Arnold Library at Chancery Lane houses a collection of over 3000 law books and 140 law journals. It was named after Tony Arnold, the longest serving Secretary of the Institute of Taxation. In September 2001 the library became part of the law collection of King's College London.
  • The Franklin-Wilkins Library at the Waterloo Campus is home to extensive management and education holdings, as well as wide-ranging biomedical, health and life sciences coverage includes nursing, midwifery, public health, pharmacy, biological and environmental sciences, biochemistry and forensic science.
  • The New Hunt's House Library at Guy's Campus covers all aspects of biomedical science. There are also extensive resources for medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy and health services.
  • The Weston Education Centre Library at the Denmark Hill Campus has particular strengths in the areas of gastroenterology, liver disease, diabetes, obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics and the history of medicine.
  • The St Thomas' House Library holdings cover all aspects of basic medical sciences, clinical medicine and health services research.
  • The Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) Library is the largest psychiatric library in Western Europe, holding 3,000 print journal titles, 550 of which are current subscriptions, as well as access to over 3,500 electronic journals, 38,000 books, and training materials.


Internationally, King's is consistently ranked among the top 100 universities in the world by all major global university rankings compilers, having been placed between 16th by the 2014 QS World University Rankings and 38th worldwide by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

According to the 2009 Times Good University Guide, several subjects taught at King's including Law, History, European Studies and War Studies (both categorised under politics), Classics, Spanish, Portuguese, Music, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Food Science (specifically Nutritional Sciences) are among the top five in the country.

According to the 2010 Complete University guide, many subjects at King's including Classics, English, French, Geography, German, History, Music, Philosophy and Theology, rank within the top 10 nationally. The College has had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5 or 5* for research quality, and in 2007 it received a good result in its audit by the Quality Assurance Agency. It is in the top tier for research earnings. In September 2010, the Sunday Times selected King's as the "University of the Year 2010â€"11".


See Category:Fellows of King's College London

The Fellowship of King's College London (FKC) is the most prestigious award the College can bestow. The award of the Fellowship is governed by a statute of the College and reflects distinguished service to the College by a member of staff, conspicuous service to the College, or the achievement of distinction by those who were at one time closely associated with the College.

Student life

Students' Union

Founded in 1873, King's College, London Union Society which later developed into King's College London Students' Union, better known by its acronym KCLSU, is the oldest Students' Union in London (University College London Union being founded in 1893) and has a claim to being the oldest Students' Union in England. The Students' Union provides a wide range of activities and services, including over 50 sports clubs (which includes the Boat Club which rows on the River Thames and the Rifle Club which uses the College's shooting range located at the disused Aldwych tube station beneath the Strand Campus), over 200 activity groups, a wide range of volunteering opportunities, two bars/eateries (The Waterfront and Guy's Bar), a shop (King's Shop) and a gym (Kinetic Fitness Club). Between 1992 and 2013 the Students' Union operated a nightclub, Tutu's, named after alumnus Desmond Tutu.

The former President of KCLSU Sir Ivison Macadam, after whom the Students' Union building on the Strand Campus has since been named, went on to be elected as the first President of the National Union of Students, and KCLSU has played an active role there and in the University of London Union ever since.

Reggie the Lion (informally Reggie) is the official mascot of the Students' Union. In total there are three Reggies in existence. The original can be found on display in the Macadam Building in the Students' Union student centre at the Strand Campus. A papier-mâché Reggie lives outside the Great Hall at the Strand Campus and a small sterling silver incarnation is displayed during graduation ceremonies.

Student media

KCLSU Student Media won Student Media of the Year 2014 at the Ents Forum awards and came in the top three student media outlets in the country at the NUS Awards 2014.

Roar! News is a tabloid newspaper for students at King's which is owned and funded by KCLSU. It is editorially independent of both the university and the students' union and its award winning website is read by tens of thousands of people per month in over 100 countries. In 2014 it had a successful awards season, scooping several national awards and commendations.


There are over 50 sports clubs, many of which compete in the University of London and British Universities & Colleges (BUCS) leagues across the South East. The annual Macadam Cup is a varsity match played between the sports teams of King's College London proper (KCL) and King's College London Medical School (KCLMS).

Student-led think tank

In November 2011, KCL students founded London's first student-led think tank, the KCL Think Tank. With a membership of around 2000, it is the largest organisation of its kind in Europe. This student initiative organises lectures and discussions in seven different policy areas, and assists students in lobbying politicians, NGOs and other policymakers with their ideas. Every September, it produces a peer-reviewed journal of policy recommendations called The Spectrum.

Economics & Finance Society

In September 2014 the university's large student-run Economics and Finance societies merged to form one of the largest and best funded student bodies on campus. Supported by the Department of Political Economy and commercial sponsors, the society organises lecture-series with high-profile economists and publishes the termly 'Perspectives' economic journal. In 2014-2015 the society hosted Evan Davis, Martin Wolf, Deirdre McCloskey, John Kay, Ann Pettifor, Philippe Legrain, Adrian Wooldridge and Alan Collins.

Rivalry with University College London

Competition within the University of London is most intense between King's and University College London, the two oldest institutions. Indeed, the University of London when it was established has been described as "an umbrella organisation designed to disguise the rivalry between UCL and KCL." In the early twentieth century, King's College London and UCL rivalry was centred on their respective mascots. University College's was Phineas Maclino, a wooden tobacconist's sign of a kilted Jacobite Highlander purloined from outside a shop in Tottenham Court Road during the celebrations of the relief of Ladysmith in 1900. King's later addition was a giant beer bottle representing "bottled youth". In 1923 it was replaced by a new mascot to rival Phineas â€" Reggie the Lion, who made his debut at a King's-UCL sporting rag in December 1923, protected by a lifeguard of engineering students armed with T-squares. Thereafter, Reggie formed the centrepiece of annual freshers' processions by King's students around Aldwych in which new students were typically flour bombed.

Although riots between respective College students occurred in central London well into the 1950s, rivalry is now limited to the rugby union pitch and skulduggery over mascots, with an annual Varsity match taking place between King's College London RFC and University College London RFC.

Rivalry with the London School of Economics

On 2 December 2005, tensions between King's and the London School of Economics (LSE) were ignited when at least 200 students from LSE (located in Aldwych near the Strand Campus) diverted off from the annual "barrel run" and caused an estimated £32,000 (The Beaver, LSESU student newspaper, 26 September 2006) of damage to the English department at King's. Principal Sir Rick Trainor called for no retaliation and LSE Students' Union were forced to issue an apology as well as foot the bill for the damage repair. While LSE officially condemned the action, a photograph was published in The Beaver which was later picked up by The Times that showed LSE Director Sir Howard Davies drinking with members of the LSE Students' Union shortly before the barrel run and subsequent "rampage" began. King's appears to have been targeted, however, principally owing to its close proximity to LSE rather than by any ill-feeling. There is also somewhat of a sporting rivalry between the two institutions, albeit to a lesser extent than with UCL.

Student residences

Halls of residence

King's has a total of eight halls of residence located throughout London. Priority is given to students whose home address is outside the M25 motorway.


  • Brian Creamer House at St Thomas' Campus
  • Great Dover Street Apartments at Guy's Campus
  • Hampstead Residence in Hampstead
  • Moonraker Point in Southwark (nominated residence run by Unite Group)
  • Stamford Street Apartments at the Waterloo Campus
  • The Rectory at St Thomas' Campus
  • Wolfson House at Guy's Campus
  • Champion Hill in Southwark (still under construction as of late September 2014)

Intercollegiate halls of residence

In addition to halls of residence run by King's, full-time students are eligible to stay at one of the Intercollegiate Halls of Residence offered by the University of London. King's has the largest number of bedspaces in the University of London Intercollegiate Halls. The halls are:

  • Canterbury Hall, College Hall, Commonwealth Hall, Connaught Hall, Hughes Parry Hall and International Hall near Russell Square in Bloomsbury
  • Lillian Penson Hall (postgraduates only) in Paddington
  • Nutford House in Marble Arch

Additionally, students can apply to live in International Students House.

Notable people

Notable alumni

King's has educated numerous foreign Heads of State and Government including two former Presidents of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos (Law, 1955), and Glafcos Clerides (Law, 1948), Prime Minister of Jordan Marouf al-Bakhit (War Studies, 1990), President of the Seychelles France-Albert René (Law), Prime Minister of the Bahamas Sir Lynden Pindling (Law, 1952), President of Uganda Godfrey Binaisa (Law, 1955), Prime Minister of Iraq Abd al-Rahman al-Bazzaz (Law, 1938), Prime Minister of Grenada Maurice Bishop; Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis Sir Lee Moore (Law & Theology), Governor General of Ghana William Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel (PhD, 1932), Governor General of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Sir Sydney Gun-Munro (Medicine, 1943), and Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands Martin Bourke (War Studies, 1970). At ministerial level King's alumni include Deputy Prime Ministers of Canada (Anne McLellan), Singapore (S. Rajaratnam), Egypt (Ziad Bahaa-Eldin) and Moldova (Natalia Gherman); Vice Presidents of Kenya (Michael Kijana Wamalwa) and Sierra Leone (Francis Minah and Abdulai Conteh); Foreign Ministers of Bulgaria (Nikolay Mladenov), Japan (Hayashi Tadasu), Malaysia (Rais Yatim), Pakistan (Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan), Ghana (Obed Asamoah), Kenya (James Nyamweya), Sierra Leone (J. B. Dauda), Jamaica (Marlene Malahoo Forte) and Guyana (Sir Shridath Ramphal and Frederick Wills); and Irish Finance Minister Michael Collins.

Notable King's alumni to have held senior positions in British politics include the British Foreign Secretary Lord Owen, two Speakers of the House of Commons in Lord Maybray-King (English) and Lord Ullswater, and the former Cabinet Ministers Lord MacGregor (Law, 1962), Lord Watkinson (Engineering), Lord Passfield, and Lord Wilmot. As of the current Parliament there are 17 King's graduates in the House of Commons, and 15 King's graduates in the House of Lords.

Notable alumni in the sciences include Nobel laureates Peter Higgs (Physics, 1954), Michael Levitt (Physics, 1967), Max Theiler and Sir Frederick Hopkins; polymath Sir Francis Galton; pathologist Thomas Hodgkin; pioneer of IVF Patrick Steptoe; discoverers of Hepatitis C Michael Houghton and Qui-Lim Choo; DNA researchers Raymond Gosling and Herbert Wilson, and the botanist David Bellamy.

Alumni in academic administration include Vice-Chancellors of Cambridge, Imperial, Durham, Bristol, Manchester, Lancaster, Loughborough, City, British Columbia, Western Australia, India, Aston, Roehampton, South Africa, Pakistan, Natal, Bradford, Ibadan, Sunderland and Melbourne.

In Law, King's alumni include the Senior President of Tribunals Sir Jeremy Sullivan (Law, 1967); current High Court Judges Sir David Foskett (Law, 1970) and Dame Geraldine Andrews (Law, 1982); Judge of the International Court of Justice Patrick Lipton Robinson (Law, 1972); former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation Lord Carlile (Law, 1969); Law Lord Lord Edmund-Davies, and the Chief Justice of Western Australia Wayne Martin (Law, 1975).

King's alumni in religion include the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu (Theology, 1966), former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey (Theology, 1962), Head of the Church of Ireland Richard Clarke (Theology & Religious Studies, 1975), former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Lord Sacks (Theology & Religious Studies, 1981), Archbishops of Cape Town Njongonkulu Ndungane and Joost de Blank, Archbishop of New Zealand Churchill Julius, and the Ethiopian cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel.

Notable King's alumni in poetry and literature include the poet John Keats (Medicine), and the writers Thomas Hardy (French), Sir Arthur C. Clarke (Mathematics & Physics), Virginia Woolf, Alain de Botton (Philosophy), Michael Morpurgo (French & English), W. Somerset Maugham, Charles Kingsley, C. S. Forester, John Ruskin, Radclyffe Hall, Susan Hill, Hanif Kureishi (Philosophy), Maureen Duffy, Khushwant Singh, Sir Leslie Stephen, and the Booker Prize winner Anita Brookner (History). In addition, the dramatist Sir W. S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan graduated from King's.

King's alumni in the arts include the impressionist Rory Bremner (Modern Languages, 1984); Queen bassist John Deacon; Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House Alex Beard; Oscar winners Greer Garson and Edmund Gwenn; Grammy Award winners Boris Karloff, Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Music) and Peter Asher (Philosophy); Emmy Award winning director Sacha Gervasi (History, 1988), and the Golden Globe winning composer Michael Nyman (Music, 1971) and the Air Commander Australia, Air-Vice Marshal Mel Hupfeld DSC.

King's alumni in the military include the former head of the British Army Lord Harding, head of the Singapore Armed Forces Neo Kian Hong (Engineering, 1988), head of the Nigerian Armed Forces Ola Ibrahim (War Studies), head of the Maltese Armed Forces Martin Xuereb (International Relations), head of the Czech Army Petr Pavel (International Relations, 2006), and head of the Malaysian Army Md Hashim bin Hussein (War Studies, 1991); three Commandant General's of the Royal Marines, Ed Davis (Defence Studies), Andy Salmon (Defence Studies), and Sir Robert Fry (War Studies, 1987); Commander of Land Forces Sir Adrian Bradshaw (Defence Studies & International Relations); Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Stuart Skeates (History & Defence Studies), and two recipients of the Victoria Cross, Ferdinand Le Quesne and Mark Sever Bell.

King's is also the alma mater of the founder of Bentley Motors, Walter Bentley; Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai; CEO of Coutts Rory Tapner (Law, 1982); journalists Martin Bashir (Religious History, 1985), Sophie Long (War Studies), Jane Corbin (English, 1975), David Bond, Sean Fletcher (Geography) and Anita Anand; and the Olympic gold medalists Katherine Grainger (Law, 2013), and Kieran West (War Studies, 2005).

Nobel laureates

There are 12 Nobel laureates who were either students or academics at King's.

Notable academics

See also Category:Academics of King's College London

King's has benefited from the services of academics at the top of their fields, including:

In popular culture

In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Resident Patient", Dr Percy Trevelyan describes himself as a "London University man" who joined King's College Hospital after graduating.

In the Sherlock episode "The Blind Banker", King's College London can be seen listed in Watson's curriculum vitae.

King's Department of Theology's library plays a widely fictionalised part in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

In Philip Roth's novel The Professor of Desire, the main character David Kepesh spent a certain period of time studying comparative literature at the College on a Fulbright Scholarship.

The Neo-Classical facade of the College, with the passage which connects the Strand to Somerset House terrace has been utilised to reproduce the late Victorian Strand in the opening scenes of Oliver Parker's 2002 film The Importance of Being Earnest. The East Wing of the College appears, as a part of Somerset House, in a number of other productions, such as Wilde, Flyboys, and The Duchess.

See also



Further reading

  • Hearnshaw, F. J. C. (1929). The Centenary History of King's College, London, 1828â€"1928. George G. Harrap & Co. 
  • Huelin, G. (1978) King's College London, 1828â€"1978.
  • Jones, C. K. (2004) King's College London: In the service of society.
  • Taylor, Claire; Williams, Gwyn; Kenyon-Jones, Christine (2006). King's College London Contributions to biomedicine A continuing story. King's College London School of Medicine. ISBN 978-0955262005. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Virtual Tour of King's College London
  • King's College London lists of students who graduated over 80 years ago, 1836â€"
  • King's College London military personnel, 1914â€"1918

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