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Choose Sunderland

We welcome students from all corners of the globe and have a number of events and activities to help you make new friends and settle in. Don't just take our word for it – we were shortlisted as University of the Year for 2021 in the Times Higher Education Awards. Sunderland was also recently named University of the Year for Social Inclusion (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021) and our We Care programme picked up the Widening Access Initiative (Retention and Progression) Award at the 2020 NEON awards.

You can be confident you'll always get a warm welcome and all the support you need at Sunderland.

Our Students’ Union offers a buddies scheme and a peer support scheme so if you want make some new friends, we can connect you with other students to help and guide you through your first weeks and months of university life.

There are also over 50 Sports Clubs and Societies for you to join, covering everything from feminism, football, games, and hockey, to snow sports, debating and rugby. Whatever your interests, we’ll help you find friends and have a happy and fulfilling student experience.

Woman wading in the sea at Roker beach

Making friends at University

Making friends at University Making friends at University Making friends at University
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City of Sunderland

Sunderland has the perfect combination of city and seaside living and is a friendly, diverse and affordable place for you to live and study. It's the UK’s 3rd most affordable city to buy a house in according to a 2021 Open Property Group survey and has also been named as the best place to live for the under 30s due to low living costs, high job satisfaction, and general happiness and wellbeing.

There’s something to suit all tastes and budgets in Sunderland. You’ll find high street favourites in The Bridges Shopping Centre, the beautiful Mowbray Park, an international-class airshow, the award-winning National Glass Centre, the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art and independent venues such as Frankie and the Heartstrings’ Pop Recs – a record shop, art space and live music venue.

Sunderland is establishing itself as a national centre for arts, heritage and culture, building on momentum from the bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

A 2019 report by financial firm Paymentsense singled out Sunderland as one of the best places in the UK to start a new business. The report ranked towns and cities around the country based on the local labour market, business demography and the cost of living for the past five years. Sunderland was ranked as the third best city in the UK for start-ups.

More recently, Sunderland was named Smart City of the Year 2020 (Digital Leaders UK), meaning you'll benefit from free ultrafast public WiFi with download speeds surpassing the first 5G cities and significant investment in ambitious plans for digital connectivity to all Sunderland premises. By 2030, Sunderland will have attracted £2.1bn of public and private investment resulting in more than 17,000 new jobs. Boasting the second-fastest growth in digital turnover outside of London, Sunderland is the ideal city to study and set up a business.

Find out even more about what the City of Sunderland has to offer by visiting the My Sunderland website, or explore the rest of the North East via the Visit North East England website.

Safety on campus

The University has a number of support services to help you study and socialise in a safe environment. Our free campus bus provides safe and reliable transport between the two campuses and all student housing, and a night service provides safe travel to popular social spots.

A Crime Prevention team with a dedicated Campus Police Officer run drop-in sessions to help you stay safe and also provides UV pens and an engraving tool for marking property.

The University of Sunderland does not tolerate any form of hate crime on or off campus, and we have strong links with ARCH, an organisation that supports the victims of racism, homophobia, transphobia, religious hate incidents or disability hate incidents.


The University's facilities have benefited from multi-million pound investment over recent years. Whatever your course, you can be sure you'll be provided with everything you need to succeed.

The University invested millions in the creation of our new Living Lab, which is 1,000 sq metres and includes a mock ward, point of care centre with consulting rooms, OSCE suite, dispensing pharmacy and patient home setting. The Living Lab opened in 2016 and is an integrated facility, supported with IT connectivity that enables a range of patient journeys and scenarios to be modelled.

The Sciences Complex is a dedicated facility with research and teaching laboratories, testing equipment for pharmaceutical, biomedical, environmental and sports sciences.

The David Goldman Technology Centre is set on a stunning riverside location and is one of the venues on The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peters. The building has 3 lecture theatres seating up to 100 delegates. Two of the lecture classrooms open up into one large room to seat 200 delegates theatre style.

The David Puttnam Media Centre has a 200-seat HD cinema, TV studios, a green room and six radio stations.

The Reg Vardy Centre features a mock courtroom and moot court for law students and high-spec IT equipment in all of its 24 lecture and seminar rooms.

Our two fully-stocked libraries have a wealth of books, journals, online resources and a dedicated subject specialist for every course we offer

Student studying in library.
Woman exercising at CitySpace
Man lining up his ten pin bowling shot
Lighthouse in dusk light.
Brigita graduation wave
Students in holy smokes.
Shopping in the Bridges Sunderland.


Surfing at Roker beach
Archery lessons at City Space
Playing cricket

Sunderland has some fantastic facilities, including an aquatic centre with a 50m pool, a dry ski slope, an LTA accredited tennis centre, an athletics track, rugby and cricket grounds, and a marina and watersports centre on the beach.

If you prefer to watch sport, we have football with Sunderland AFC, county and international cricket at nearby Durham County Cricket Club, rugby fans can watch Newcastle Falcons or Gateshead Thunder, and for basketball lovers we have the Newcastle Eagles.

We also have our own University sports teams. Over 20 teams compete in the British Universities College Sports (BUCS) leagues every Wednesday as well as other competitions throughout the year. So if you want to play, coach, study or watch sport, the University can cater to all of your sporting needs.

Healthy eating and living

Maintaining good health and wellbeing will give you the best chance of succeeding at university. Our confidential Health and Wellbeing service offers advice and support on mental health, depression, drug and alcohol issues, contraception, eating distress and much more. A Counselling service is also available to all students.

There are several cafés and places to eat on campus, all offering a range of healthy and vegetarian options at reasonable prices. For fitness lovers, our multi-million fitness suite features 70 stations, cardio, strength, free weights and flexibility areas, body stats tests and a huge range of courses and classes. 

If the gym isn’t for you, being so close to the coast means there is never a bad time to take a walk along the beach.

Music & Nightlife

Home to nationally-acclaimed musicians, The Futureheads, Hyde and Beast, Frankie and the Heartstrings and The Lake Poets, Sunderland’s music scene is eclectic and electric.

Student favourite INDEPENDENT hosts art exhibitions and craft markets and every Friday and every Saturday you’ll find DJs and bands playing everything from nu-jazz and house to funk, soul and indie. As well as a thriving independent scene, we’ve also hosted some of the world’s biggest bands and artists at the Stadium of Light such as Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé, Spice Girls, Foo Fighters, and Rihanna.

You’ll find everything you want in Sunderland, from cheesy clubs and student-friendly bars to real-ale pubs and sophisticated restaurants.

With endless sands and miles of beautiful coastline, Sunderland’s Seaburn and Roker beaches and their long promenades are ideal for summer walks and taking in the raw beauty of the North East.

Both beaches have once again been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag status in 2022 for their cleanliness and facilities.

Thrill seekers are well catered for as well – Adventure Sunderland is based on the Roker seafront and offers a range of activities from kayaking and canoeing to abseiling and surfing.