Swansea University

Swansea University
Welsh: Prifysgol Abertawe
Former names
University College of Swansea, University of Wales Swansea
Motto Gweddw crefft heb ei dawn
(Technical skill is bereft without culture)
Type Public
Established 1920– University College of Swansea
1996 – University of Wales, Swansea
2007 – Swansea University
Endowment £5.7M (2015)[1]
Budget Total Income: £205 million (2013/14)[2]
Chancellor The Rt Hon. Rhodri Morgan
Vice-Chancellor Richard B. Davies
Administrative staff
Students 16,020 (2014/15)[3]
Undergraduates 13,465 (2014/15)[3]
Postgraduates 2,555 (2014/15)[3]
Location Swansea, UK
Campus Suburban/Coastal
Colours Academic: Red, silver and black
Athletic Union: Green and white
Affiliations University of Wales, EUA, ACU
Website www.swansea.ac.uk

Swansea University (Welsh: Prifysgol Abertawe) is a public research university located in Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom. It was chartered as University College of Swansea in 1920,[4] as the fourth college of the University of Wales and in 1948 became the first campus university in UK. In 1996, it changed its name to the University of Wales Swansea[4] following structural changes within the University of Wales. The title of Swansea University was formally adopted on 1 September 2007 when the University of Wales became a non-membership confederal institution and the former members became universities in their own right.[5]

Swansea University has two campuses located adjacent to the coast at the north of Swansea Bay. The Singleton Park Campus is set in the grounds of Singleton Park to the west of Swansea city centre. The Bay Campus which opened in September 2015, is located adjacent to Jersey Marine Beach to the east of Swansea city centre.

It is the third largest university in Wales in terms of number of students. It currently offers about 330 undergraduate courses and 120 post-graduate courses to 16,020 undergraduate and postgraduate students.[6]In 2014 Swansea was named University of the Year in the WhatUni.com Student Choice Awards and shortlisted in the same category in the Times Higher Education awards.[7]

In 2016, Swansea University was named as the best university in Wales by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 League Table. It was also awarded the inaugural Welsh University of the Year title. [8]


The university is divided between two campuses. The 46-acre Singleton Park campus, set in parkland two miles west of Swansea city centre, houses the colleges of Arts and Humanities, Human and Health Sciences, Medicine, Science and Law. It lies on the eastern approach to the Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is also home to the Taliesin Arts Centre.

The 65-acre, £450 million beachfront science and innovation Bay Campus opened up in September 2015 and houses the College of Engineering and School of Management, the Great Hall auditorium and a new library. It lies three miles east of Swansea city centre in the County Borough of Neath Port Talbot.[9]


Information Services and Systems has provided a combined library, IT and careers service for the university since 2011. In 2013, ISS received a renewed Customer Service Excellence award along with the university's Registry and Student Services. From September 2015 the service will be split across two buildings, the Library and Information Centre at the Singleton Park campus and a new library on the Bay Campus overlooking the Crymlyn Burrows Site of Special Scientific Interest. Visitors can access a wide range of electronic resources, including 23,000 e-journals, and 850,000 books and periodicals which are split across subject areas but can be transferred between campuses.

The main Library Information Centre on the Singleton campus has over 800,000 books and periodicals, along with access to a wide range of electronic resources including over 23,000 electronic journals. There are over 1,000 study spaces, almost half of which are equipped with networked PCs. LIS was awarded the Charter Mark in 2006, and received the new Customer Service Excellence award in 2009. In 2013 it received a renewed Customer Service Excellence award in combination with the university's Registry and Student Services. The library also houses the Richard Burton Archive which includes, among other treasures, the South Wales Coalfield Collection, several papers of Welsh writers in English and the Richard Burton Collection, a learning resource dedicated to the actor’s life and work which was donated by Burton's widow, Sally. Morriston Hospital Nursing Library is also housed there.

The Bay Campus library.

The 2,624 square-metre Bay Library is open round the clock to provide learning spaces for more than 650 students including 400 study spaces and silent study areas for a further 150 students. It holds 1,800m of library stock, focused on Engineering and Management titles and has dedicated postgraduate rooms, a 30-seat computing and teaching room and a café.[10]


Swansea University’s £20 million International Sports Village is five minutes’ walk from the Singleton Park campus on the western side of Sketty Lane. It has an eight-lane track, six-lane indoor track and training centre, floodlit playing fields including rugby, football, lacrosse and cricket pitches, two artificial hockey pitches, a sports hall, tennis and squash courts, a climbing wall and spin room. The University also owns training pitches in the north of the city, in Fairwood, which it has developed alongside Swansea City A.F.C..[11]

During the 2012 Summer Olympics, the University hosted the training camps for the Mexican and New Zealand Paralympic teams and the Ireland Triathlon team.[12] In 2014, it hosted the IPC Athletics European Championships. Furthermore, in 2015 it hosted the training camps of the Canada national rugby union team and the Fiji national rugby union team in preparation for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.[13]

Sports Science at the university leapt from 40th to 8th in the 2015 Guardian University Guide.[14] The department has links with Swansea City A.F.C., Ospreys and Welsh Athletics. Former scholars include Wales rugby union player Alun Wyn Jones, Olympic swimmer Georgia Davies, Paralympian swimmer Liz Johnson and Paralympian Boccia player David Smith. Swansea is in the top quarter of the British University’s sporting leagues.[15] It competes with Cardiff University in the Welsh Varsity tournament, the largest student sports event in Wales. This includes The Welsh Boat Race and the showcase rugby union varsity match which attracted 16,000 students to Swansea’s Liberty Stadium in 2015.[16][17]

Wales National Pool

The Wales National Pool, next to the International Sports Village, is a 50-metre pool built to FINA standards. The facility, which also has a 25m × 9.5m training pool and 1,200 spectator seats, is HQ of Wales Amateur Swimming Association.

The pool, one of five of British Swimming's Intensive Training Centres (ITC), was used to train swimmers for the London 2012 Olympics was built with funding from Sport Wales, Swansea Council and Swansea University.

It is home to the new Welsh Swimming National Performance Centre, a hub for elite and performance swimming in Wales including disability swimming under renowned coach Billy Pye who has trained several Paralympians in Swansea, including Ellie Simmonds and Liz Johnson. University sports science researchers provide back-up to the hub. The centre is also home to Swansea University Swimming and City of Swansea Aquatics.

360 Beach and Water Sports Centre

360 Beach and Water Sports Centre overlooking Swansea Bay.

The £1.4 million 360 Beach and Water Sports Centre is the only university-operated centre of its kind in the UK. It is on the prom a five-minute walk from the Singleton Park Campus. The centre, opened in autumn 2012, is a not for profit company set up by Swansea University offering a range of activities and training such as kite surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and beach volleyball. It houses a beachside bistro open to the public.[18]

Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (Egypt Centre)

Located in the Taliesin building, the Egypt Centre is open to the public. More than 4,000 items are in its collection.[19] Most were collected by the pharmacist and entrepreneur Sir Henry Wellcome. Others came from the British Museum, the Royal Edinburgh Museum, National Museums and Galleries of Wales Cardiff, the Royal Albert Museum and Art Gallery and private donors.

Staff lecture museum groups and other outside bodies on volunteering, social inclusion and how to widen community participation with university museums. School parties regularly visit for interactive events.[19]

Recent developments

The Digital Technium houses Britain's most advanced Virtual Reality cave

The University has restructured in recent years, expanding popular areas such as History, English, Geography and Computer Science.

Recent course additions include Aerospace Engineering as well as a partnership with Cardiff University to provide a four-year accelerated graduate-entry medical degree (MB BCh) in Swansea which was launched in 2004. In 2007, Swansea University was awarded the four-year course on its own.

In July 2007 the £52 million Institute of Life Science (ILS) opened as the research arm of the university's school of medicine. The ILS is based in a six-storey building housing laboratories, business incubation suites and an IBM Blue C supercomputer. The supercomputer is used for projects including numerically-intensive analysis of viral genomes, epidemiological modelling, large clinical databases and analysis of the genetics of disease susceptibility.[20] In July 2009, an expansion of the ILS was announced with a £29m investment from Swansea University, the Welsh Assembly Government, the European Union and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.[21] ILS2 was completed in November 2011.[22]

Campus renovation and expansion

The Farr Institute and Data Science Building nearing completion in May 2015.
Fulton house, student services building

Recent expansion meant the 46-acre Singleton Park Campus was no longer big enough for the needs of Swansea University. In September 2015 doors opened on the £450 million science and innovation Bay Campus.

In December 2010 outline planning permission for the new campus was granted by Neath Port Talbot Borough Council. The final tranche of funding was guaranteed by the Welsh Assembly Government in March 2011. Work began in spring 2013 and the first phase will be completed by January 2016.

The Bay campus has been developed on a 65-acre beachfront site between Fabian Way and Jersey Marine beach at Crymlyn Burrows. It initially houses the College of Engineering and School of Management, a Great Hall seating 800, a library offering views over a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and student accommodation. Projects moving on to campus include the UK’s first Energy Safety Research Institute, and the Institute of Structural Materials, home to the University Technology Centre for Rolls Royce materials testing. The campus has created significant additional student places principally in Technology and Engineering, addressing a deficiency in STEM research in Wales.

The transfer of College of Engineering and the School of Management to the Bay Campus will allow the transformation of the original Singleton Park Campus. Fulton House, the Students' Union and the Faraday Building have already been renovated while the Talbot, Amy Dillwyn and Vivian buildings (including the Sports Science Motion Lab), and the Taliesin Annexe are earmarked for demolition upon completion of the new campus.

In Summer 2015, the £9.3 million Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research and the £8 million Administrative Data Research Centre Wales opened on the Singleton Park campus allowing researchers and NHS and industry staff to work together on a suite of supercomputers. Other recent projects include the £80 million Institute of Life Science, the £21.6 million Centre for NanoHealth and a state-of-the-art facility to house the Richard Burton Archive.

Organisation and administration


Singleton Abbey: The administrative building of the University

Swansea received its royal charter in 1920 and like many universities is governed by its constitution that is set out in its statutes and a charter. The governing body of Swansea University is its Council, which is supported by the Senate and the Court.

James Callaghan building, home to the History and Politics departments


Swansea University's academic departments are organised into seven colleges:

College of Arts and Humanities

The college offers courses in American Studies, Ancient History, Applied Linguistics, Chinese, Classics, Cymraeg/Welsh, Egyptology, English, English Literature, French, German, History, Italian, Medieval Studies, Media Studies (with Film and PR options), Politics and International Relations, Spanish-Hispanic Studies, Translation, and War and Society.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, the research performance of the English department was ranked 7th in the UK. More than half its research was judged to be world leading and it was first in the UK for the impact of its research.History and Modern Languages were both classed in the UK top 30 for research excellence while the Politics department came 20th for research impact. Celtic Studies came second in the UK for research excellence and research impact, according to submissions made to the Celtic Studies REF sub panel.

In spring 2006, M Wynn Thomas and Dai Smith established the Library of Wales series as an offshoot of the college which has influenced Welsh Government policy to benefit the creative industries, cultural tourism and education.[23]

Faraday Tower, home to the Department of Computer Science

School of Management

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014 the school was ranked in the top 30 for Research Excellence and in the top 20 for Research Impact. Postgraduate programmes include Business Management, Management Consultancy, Business Analytics, Banking, Accounting and Finance.

College of Law

The College has four departments: Department of Legal Studies which offers courses such as the LLB, Department of Shipping and Trade Law, Department of Professional Legal Studies which offers the Graduate Diploma in Law as well as the Legal Practice Course, and the Department of Criminology.

College of Engineering

The Engineering department is ranked 10th in the UK for the combined score in research quality across the Engineering disciplines according to REF 2014 and 94 per cent of Swansea’s engineering research is classed as world leading and internationally excellent.[24]

Materials Engineering is 1st in the UK for student satisfaction (National Student Survey) and 5th in the UK (The Guardian University Guide). Civil Engineering is ranked 9th in the UK (The Times Good University Guide) and is recognised as one of the top 200 departments in the world (QS World Subject Rankings). Sports Science is ranked 15th in the UK according to REF 2014 and 10th in UK for research impact.

The college also offers courses in Aerospace, Chemical and Biological, Electrical and Electronic, Environmental, Information, Communication and Computing Technology, Mechanical, Medical, Product Design, Engineering and Technology.[25]

College of Human and Health Science

The college offers courses in Health and Social Care, Audiology, Cardiac Physiology, Nuclear Medicine or Radiotherapy Physics, Respiratory and Sleep Sciences, Medical Sciences and Humanities, Midwifery, Nursing (Child, Adult and Mental Health), Osteopathy, Paramedic Science, Psychology (including Psychology and Criminology), Social Policy and Social Work. It also offers post-graduate programmes in Ageing, Childhood Studies, Education, Health and Social Care, Management, Psychology and Social Research Methods and a range of work-based learning and continuing professional development programmes.

The Psychology Department is ranked in the top 30 in the UK for research excellence – 100% of the research impact for psychology was ranked as world-leading. Social Work is ranked 14th in the UK, and first in Wales for research quality. Swansea is ranked ninth in the UK for allied health professions research – 100% of the research impact for nursing is of world-leading international excellent quality.

Medical School

Swansea University Medical School - Data Science building

Swansea University Medical School is ranked as the 6th best medical school in the UK. It also ranked joint first in the UK for Research Environment, according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014, and second in the UK out of 94 in the Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy (Unit of Assessment 3).[26]

Established in 2004, the Medical School works closely with government, industry and the NHS, in particular Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, over teaching, research and innovation. It is home to four research council centres: the EPSRC National Mass Spectrometry Facility, the MRC Consortium for Medical Microbial Bioinformatics, the ESRC Administrative Data Research Centre Wales and the MRC Centre for Improvement in Population Health through E-records Research (CIPHER). It also has two Institute of Life Science research centres, equipped with clinical trials, medical imaging, research and business development facilities and a Centre for NanoHealth.

College of Science

Swansea's Department of Biosciences is ranked 7th in the UK for its research excellence.

The Geography department and it is ranked joint 6th in the UK for research impact.

The Computer Science department is ranked 18th in the UK according to REF 2014 and 80 per cent of its research was judged to be internationally significant and world leading.

The College of Science offers courses in Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Geography, Mathematics and Physics.

The university also provides Welsh medium courses delivered by Academi Hywel Teifi, named after Hywel Teifi Edwards, which offers subjects across all colleges. Academi Hywel Teifi was established in 2010 in memory of Hywel Teifi Edwards, a former Professor of Welsh at the university, and father of broadcaster Huw Edwards.


Swansea is a research-led university with 61 centres of research.[27] The Research Excellence Framework (2014) ranked Swansea 26th in the UK for research excellence.[24] It looked at the work of nearly 400 staff across 18 subject areas. A third of research is now classed as world-leading, 90 per cent as internationally excellent across all disciplines. Swansea University was ranked 22nd in the UK for delivering research that has genuine impact on global issues.

For every £1 million of funding awarded in the research grant by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Swansea University raised another £2.5 million from other bodies.[28] It has received the Athena SWAN Bronze award for advancing women’s careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine.[29]

Swansea academics in the area of Computational Fluid Dynamics and Aerodynamic Design are part of the Bloodhound Supersonic Car land-speed world record attempt which is due to take place in Hakskeenpan, South Africa in October 2016.[30][31] The university was also a key partner in the successful Thrust SSC and-speed record attempt which currently holds the world land-speed record.

Research centres and institutes

A side profile of the Institute of Life Sciences 2

Academic profile

Rankings and reputation

(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2017, national)
The Guardian[37]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[38]
(2017, national)

The university is listed as one of the top 400 universities in the World University Rankings.[39] Swansea is placed 45th in the 2016 Complete University Guide.

Swansea University's best departments are Medicine and Engineering, ranked 2nd and 15th respectively 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Overall, Swansea University is ranked 26th in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.[40]

National Student Survey results show Swansea’s score for "overall satisfaction" is 87%, up from 82% last year, and higher than the Wales and UK average.[41] Swansea improved in each of the 22 questions in the survey. Swansea is now in the top third of institutions for levels of student satisfaction, and are 42nd out of 136, a jump of 38 places compared to last year and the biggest improvement in Wales.

In May 2014, Swansea was voted University of the Year based on student reviews carried out by Whatuni[42]

International partnerships

In recent years, Swansea University has established many partnerships with leading universities in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

Swansea University has a strategic partnership with Wuhan Union Hospital in Wuhan, China.[43] The hospital was originally founded by Swansea missionary Reverend Doctor Griffith John. As a result of this partnership, in 2015, the College of Medicine hosted the 2nd UK-China Medical Forum at Singleton Hospital. Swansea University has also established a joint medical centre at the Wuhan Union Hospital to engage in clinical collaboration.

in 2013, Swansea University established a partnership with Rice University and Texas A&M University.[44] The universities will have their European office in Swansea while Swansea University has established an office in Houston, Texas. The universities will collaborate on research as well as exchange visits by academics and students.

Additionally in 2013, Swansea University established a partnership with the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France with the aim of beginning joint degree programmes, collaborative bids for European funding and student and staff exchanges particularly in the subject areas of Medicine, Computer Science and Engineering.[45][46]

In 2007, the university set up a programme along with the local NHS trust, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, to establish a partnership with the School of Medicine at the University of the Gambia in The Gambia. The purpose of this partnership is to improve health care outcomes as well as collaborate on clinical care, health service delivery, teaching and research. This programme also provides opportunity for local doctors and medical students to pursue a placement in either the Gambia or Swansea Bay.[47] In December 2014, this programme was awarded a United Nations Gold Star for its contribution to the improvement of Gambian health outcomes.[48]

Swansea University collaborates with Navitas with an International College – International College Wales Swansea to provide foundation, 1st year degree and Pre-Masters programmes on campus.[49][50]

Student life

Swansea University Students' Union (Welsh: Undeb Myfyrwyr Prifysgol Abertawe) is the students' union for Swansea University. The Union supports more than 140 student clubs including Afro Caribbean, Chinese, Hellenic and Indian societies, among others. The Union runs student bars and nightclubs, a travel shop offering trips around the UK and Europe, a radio station, nursery, launderette and shops. Profits are reinvested into improving the student experience, including supporting students through its Advice and Support Centre.

Services include Money Advice and Support Office, Student Counselling, a Health Centre, Dentist, Chaplains, an Academic Success Programme, Specialist Tuition and Residential Services.


The Athletics Union caters for sports from rugby and hockey to Ultimate Frisbee.

Swansea and Cardiff University compete in an annual varsity competition, known as the Welsh version of the Oxbridge event, which includes the Welsh Varsity rugby match and The Welsh Boat Race.

Xtreme Radio

Xtreme Radio is the radio station of the University, run by students. It was founded in November 1968 as Action Radio, making it the third oldest student radio station in the UK and oldest in Wales.[51] It broadcasts to various areas around campus and is available worldwide on the internet. The station plays a wide variety of music, as well as having a number of specialist programmes including talk and sports shows.

Student accommodation

Swansea University provides approximately 3400 places in University halls and aims to offer accommodation to over 98% of new Undergraduate students who request it. Accommodation is also available for all International Postgraduate students.

Swansea University maintains on-campus and off-campus halls of residence and the purpose built Hendrefoelan Student Village. Several new halls of residence were completed in 2004, 2008 and 2015.

There are also a number of university managed properties in the Uplands and Brynmill areas of the city.[52]

Bay Campus halls

The Bay Campus halls have 1462 rooms and have replaced the student accommodation which was based in the Hendrefoelan Student village.[53] The Hendrefoelan estate was 2.5 miles from the Singleton Park campus, just off the main Swansea to Gower road, set amongst mature woodland with open grassy areas. The student village is now being redeveloped through the construction of 3 and 4 bedroom family homes.[54]

Singleton Campus halls

Penmaen and Horton buildings seen from Singleton Park

There are nine halls that make up the campus residences providing accommodation to around 1226 students. The halls offer a combination of part and self-catered rooms and a choice of standard or ensuite study rooms. Three of these halls (Caswell, Langland and Oxwich) were completed in 2004 and the original halls (Kilvey, Preseli, Rhossili and Cefn Bryn, formerly known as Sibly, Lewis Jones, Mary Williams Annexe and Mary Williams respectively) have undergone some refurbishment in recent years. Penmaen and Horton are the newest addition to the campus residences providing 351 self-catered, ensuite study rooms. Many rooms have views over the bay or across the park.[55]

Tŷ Beck / Beck House

Tŷ Beck consists of six large Victorian town houses situated in the Uplands area of Swansea, approximately a mile from the Singleton campus. It predominantly provides rooms for postgraduates and students with families, as well as overseas exchange students.[56]

Notable alumni and academics



Science, engineering and technology



Welsh Assembly
Houses of Parliament




Public Transport

Southbound ftrmetro Northbound
Singleton Hospital   Swansea University   Brynmill Lane

See also


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  4. 1 2 "library.wales.org: Home". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
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  8. http://www.swansea.ac.uk/
  9. "Swansea University, Bay Campus". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  10. "Bay Library". www.swansea.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  11. "Teamwork - Swansea City FC and University sign deal for training facility". www.swansea.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  12. "Wales.com - Sport". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  13. "Rugby World Cup". www.rugbyworldcup.com. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
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  17. Welsh Varsity
  18. "'360' – at the centre of beach and water sports in Swansea Bay.".
  19. 1 2 setup
  20. ILS – Blue C's capabilities
  21. "Up to 650 jobs could come to city". Wales politics. Wales: BBC NEWS. 18 July 2009.
  22. Ministers unveil architect plans for Institute of Life Science Phase Two
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  24. 1 2 "REF 2014". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  25. "Accredited status". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  26. "Research centres and institutes".
  27. "Introduction". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  28. "Recipients of prestigious Athena SWAN award announced - Equality Challenge Unit". Equality Challenge Unit. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  29. "Swansea University and BLOODHOUND". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  30. "The BLOODHOUND Project". BLOODHOUND SSC. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
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  42. "Links grow between Swansea University and Chinese medical centre". walesonline. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  43. "Swansea University forges links with Texan counterparts". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  44. "Swansea staff make the French connection | Université Joseph Fourier - Grenoble". www.ujf-grenoble.fr. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  45. "Swansea University reaches agreement with French counterpart". South Wales Evening Post. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  46. Links, Wales for Africa - Health. "Wales for Africa - Health Links - Swansea University and University of the Gambia and ABM". www.wales.nhs.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
  47. "UN Gold Star Award for Swansea-Gambia Partnership". www.swansea.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
  48. Business News Western Australia
  49. Euro Studies - International Student Advisor
  50. "Xtreme Radio 1431AM". media.info. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  51. Swansea University – Swansea Accommodation Services
  52. "Bay Campus". www.swansea.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  53. "Former Swansea student village to be transformed into housing". walesonline. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  54. Swansea University – Singleton Campus Residences
  55. Swansea University – Ty Beck House

Coordinates: 51°36′35.00″N 3°58′50.00″W / 51.6097222°N 3.9805556°W / 51.6097222; -3.9805556

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