Rgu Essay Contests

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Search for writing contests in your genre

Discover the finest writing contests of 2018 for fiction and non-fiction authors of short stories, poetry, essays and more. Updated weekly, these contests are vetted by Reedsy to weed out the scammers and time-wasters. Manage a contest? Submit it here

We found 218 contests that match your search 🔦

Quarterly Flash Fiction Contest


Can’t get enough science fiction, fantasy, and feminism? F-BOM is hosting a quarterly flash fiction contest! Topics will be released every February, May, August, and November, and submissions will be judged by the featured F-BOM author. Entries must be under 100 words.

Deadline: December 31st, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story,


Publication on F-BOM blog

Additional prizes

3 months of F-BOM e-book membership

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The Exeter Factor

Exeter Writers

Launched in 2009, the competition is for original, unpublished short stories on any theme. The maximum word length is 3,000 words. Any genre, except children’s is welcome. First prize is £500, second prize is £250 and third prize is £100.

Deadline: February 28th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: £6

Genre: Fiction, Short Story,

Inkitt Novel Competition


Do you have the next great novel? Submit it to Inkitt's Novel Competition for the chance to win their hefty prize basket including: a marketing campaign to get your novel in to Amazon's top 100, an investment of $6,000 into your book launch from Inkitt, professional cover design and editing, and 25% royalties. Each month a winner is selected for publication — so submit your story by the end of this month!

Deadline: December 31st, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fiction,



Additional prizes

Publication and 25% royalties

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Hippocrates Prize for Poetry


With a prize fund of £5500, the Hippocrates Prize is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem. The prize comprises a 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prize and 20 commendations. In its first 7 years, the Hippocrates Prize has attracted over 7000 entries from 61 countries, from the Americas to Fiji and Finland to Australasia.

Deadline: February 14th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: £7

Genre: Poetry,

Nelson Algren Short Story Award

Chicago Tribune

The 2018 Nelson Algren Literary Awards is sponsored by Chicago Tribune. Stories must be written in English, double-spaced, and no longer than 8,000 words. A total of 10 prizes will be made available during Contest: One Grand Prize: $3,500, Four Finalist Prizes: $1,000, Five Runner-up Prizes: $500.

Deadline: February 7th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fiction, Short Story,



Additional prizes

Publication in Printers Row

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The John Gardner Fiction Award

Binghamton University

$1,000 Award for the book of fiction written in English selected by our judges as the strongest novel or collection of fiction published in 2017.

Deadline: February 1st, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fiction, Novel,

The Milt Kessler Poetry Award

Binghamton University

$1,000 Award for a book of poems written in English, 48 pages or more in length, selected by our judges as the strongest collection of poems published in 2017.

Deadline: February 1st, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Poetry,

Michael Waters Poetry Prize

University of Southern Indiana

A prize of $3,000 and publication by SIR Press is awarded annually for a collection of poetry written in English. Michael Waters will judge. Submit up to 80 pages (no more than one poem per page) with a $25 entry fee ($5 for each additional entry) by February 1, 2018.

Deadline: February 1st, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: $25

Genre: Poetry,



Additional prizes

Publication by SIR Press

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Spring Competition: Play Scripts


This unique competition enables authors to create a lasting keepsake of their treasured work. All genres of plays are accepted and it doesn’t matter if your work has been previously published. Up to 5 plays will be accepted and produced in our studio and broadcast across the world to an existing listener base.

Deadline: March 31st, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: £2.99

Genre: Script Writing,


Recording Package

Additional prizes


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Young Writers' Short Story contest

Lune Spark Books

This is a contest for children in the age range of 10 years to 16 years, with the aim of helping parents identify writing talent early.

Deadline: April 22nd, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: $15

Genre: Short Story,



Additional prizes

Publication by Lune Spark Books

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Self-Publishing Literary Awards

The Black Caucus of ALA

The Black Caucus of ALA (BCALA) honors the best self-published ebooks by an African American author in the U.S. in the following genres: Fiction and Poetry.

Deadline: February 17th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fiction, Novel, Poetry,

The Paz Prize for Poetry

The National Poetry Series

The Center @ Miami Dade College will award one $2,000 prize every other year (in even years) for the publication of a previously unpublished book of poetry originally written in Spanish by an American resident.  The prize will recognize book-length manuscripts of poetry written in Spanish. Translations, works of literary criticism and scholarly texts do not qualify. Contest opens in May.

Deadline: June 15th, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: $30

Genre: Poetry,

Open Prize

The National Poetry Series

The National Poetry Series seeks book-length manuscripts of poetry written by American residents or American citizens living abroad.

Deadline: February 28th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: $30

Genre: Poetry,



Additional prizes

Publication of full-length manuscript

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Family Matters Contest

Glimmer Train Press

We are looking for stories about families of all configurations. It's fine to draw heavily on real-life experiences, but the work must read like fiction and all stories accepted for publication will be presented as fiction.

Deadline: January 12th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: $18

Genre: Fiction, Short Story,



Additional prizes

Publication in Glimmer Train Stories

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William Van Wert Award for Fiction

Hidden River Arts

$1,000 and publication in Hidden River Review of Arts & Letters is offered to the best unpublished short story or novel excerpt.

Deadline: June 30th, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: $17

Genre: Fiction, Novel, Short Story,



Additional prizes

Publication in Hidden River Review of Arts & Letters

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2018 Tusculum Review Poetry Chapbook Prize

The Tusculum Review

Each chapbook manuscript entered should consist of 20-30 pages of poems in a standard 12-point font. No more than one poem may appear on a page. You may enter more than one chapbook manuscript (as long as you include a $20 reading fee with each manuscript). A manuscript need not be thematically coherent or connected through narrative.

Deadline: March 1st, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: $20

Genre: Poetry,



Additional prizes

Publication in The Tusculum Review

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Dartmouth Poet-In-Residence Award

Frost Place

The aim of this program is to select a poet who is at an artistic and personal crossroads, comparable to that faced by Robert Frost when he moved to Franconia in 1915, when he was not yet known to a broad public.

Deadline: January 5th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: $28

Genre: Poetry,

2018 Ambroggio Prize

Academy of American Poets

The Ambroggio Prize is a $1,000 publication prize given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. The winning manuscript is published by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, publisher of literary works, scholarship, and art books by or about U.S. Hispanics.

Deadline: February 15th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fiction, Novel,



Additional prizes

Publication by Bilingual Press

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Enter Our Short Story Competition

We send you 5 weekly prompts, you submit your short story, and earn $50 if we feature it on our Medium page! Sign up to receive this week's prompts.

Robert Gordon University, commonly called RGU, is a public university in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. It became a university in 1992, and originated from an educational institution founded in the 18th century by Robert Gordon, a prosperous Aberdeen merchant, and various institutions which provided adult education and technical education in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is one of two universities in the city (the other is the much older University of Aberdeen).

According to the 2013 Times Good University Guide it is the best modern university in the UK, while according to The Guardian University Guide 2013 it is the best modern university in Scotland and 2nd-best in the UK.[8] It was shortlisted for Sunday Times University of the Year 2012 and was named Best Modern University in the UK for 2012 by The Sunday Times University Guide.[9] Analysis published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has indicated that of those who graduated from full-time undergraduate degrees in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 were in employment or further study within six months - one of the highest of any university in the UK. It was also measured that in undergraduate employability they had a 96.5% employment rate (Higher Education Statistics Agency 2016) and was rated the best Scottish university for graduate prospects (The Guardian University Guide 2017).

The university awards degrees in a wide range of disciplines from BA/BSc to PhD, primarily in (but not limited to) professional, technical and artistic disciplines and those most applicable to business and industry. A number of traditional academic degree programmes are also offered, such as in the social sciences. Disciplines available include the social sciences, life sciences, engineering, computing science, pharmacy, nursing, allied health professions, social work, law, accountancy, business administration, management, journalism, fine art, applied arts and design, and architecture. In addition, the university's academic and research staff produce world-class research in a number of areas.[10]

RGU is a campus university and its single campus in Aberdeen is at Garthdee, in the south-west suburbs of the city amid parkland on the banks of the River Dee. The university also operates an Administration Building in Aberdeen city centre, at Schoolhill. Until summer 2013 a second campus was also located here and at St. Andrew Street nearby, but this campus has now closed apart from the Administration Building, which is to be retained. Academic departments located there have moved to new buildings at the main Garthdee campus.Robert Gordon University has one international university at a separate building named Robert Gordon International University and offered various type of education online for international students.


The university derives from Robert Gordon's Hospital, an institution set up in the mid-18th century to provide the poor with a basic education and reasonable start in life, and the various educational institutions which developed in Aberdeen to provide adults with technical, vocational and artistic training, mostly in the evenings and part-time.[11] Following numerous mergers between these establishments, it became Robert Gordon's Technical College in 1910, then following further developments became Robert Gordon's Institute of Technology in 1965 and began to conduct increasing amounts of research and provide degree-level education (by now mostly offering day classes to full-time students). Finally, it became a university in 1992. Unlike some modern universities in the UK which were created following the government reforms of 1992, it has never been a polytechnic (these were never part of the Scottish education system).

Founding institutions[edit]

Robert Gordon was a Scottish merchant, who had grown up in Aberdeen and graduated from Marischal College. Following a successful career, mostly in Danzig where he amassed a fortune, he retired to Aberdeen around 1720. In the last decade of his life, he prepared plans for a Hospital similar to that founded in Edinburgh by George Heriot. The purpose of Robert Gordon’s Hospital was “the Maintenance, Aliment, Entertainment and Education of young boys whose parents are poor and indigent… and to put them to Trades and Employment”. Gordon died in 1731, and left his entire fortune to the project. However, it took nearly two decades for buildings to be completed, with the first boys admitted in 1750. The aim was not a sophisticated education, but to provide the poor with a reasonable start in life. Boys were taken in between 8 and 11 years old and received food, accommodation and a basic education including English, Latin, writing and arithmetic. They left the Hospital between 14 and 16 years old as an apprentice in a trade or to a merchant. The Hospital expanded through the 18th and 19th centuries.[11]

Meanwhile, in the early 19th century, the Industrial Revolution led to a greater need for scientific and technical education for working-class adults, with “Mechanic’s Institutes” spreading through Scotland, patterned on that founded by George Birkbeck at Glasgow (he would later found Birkbeck College, the University of London’s night school). The Aberdeen Mechanic’s Institution opened in 1824 providing evening classes in subjects such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, book-keeping, maritime navigation and art. By 1855 it was receiving government funding as the School of Science and Art, with a Technical School founded two years later.[11]

Child and adult education combined: Robert Gordon’s College (1881)[edit]

Government education reforms in the 1870s saw the “Hospital” system fall out of favour and encouraged mergers with other educational establishments. As part of these reforms, the Aberdeen Mechanic’s Institute and Technical School merged with Robert Gordon’s Hospital in 1881. The resulting institution was known as Robert Gordon’s College. It provided an education for boys but as a day school only, and evening (and later day) classes for adults (male and female) in science, technology, commerce and general subjects. Art classes offered by the Mechanic’s Institution were transferred to a new, independent School of Art close by, paid for by local businessman John Gray and opened in 1885.[11]

Splitting child from adult: Robert Gordon’s Technical College (1910 on)[edit]

By the end of the 19th century, Robert Gordon’s College was a major provider of technical education, receiving large government grants. Following further reforms, in 1903 the adult education part of the College was designated a Central Institution along with Gray’s School of Art (which had become a Central Institution two years earlier), allowing the adult education activities to develop independently rather than under the control of the local School Board. However, even this was not sufficient to meet demand for technical education, and dedicated Technical Colleges were being set up in other Scottish cities. As a result, in 1910 adult education activities were split from the school and became Robert Gordon's Technical College.[11] Also merged into the new Technical College was the city’s School of Domestic Economy which provided classes in domestic science. The day school for boys continued as Robert Gordon's College, and the two institutions shared a campus, buildings and until 1981, a Board of Governors and administrative staff.[11]

During the 1920s, the first Ordinary and Higher Certificates and Diplomas were awarded, and by the 1930s Robert Gordon’s Technical College was made up of Schools of Engineering, Chemistry, Maths & Physics, Pharmacy, Art (including architecture), Domestic Science, and Navigation. Around this time the first students began to be prepared for external degree examinations – for the University of Aberdeen’s BSc in Engineering. A system of student governance also developed, with a Student Representative Council formed in 1931. In the closing years of World War II, candidates started to be prepared to sit exams for external degrees of the University of London, in subjects such as Chemistry and Engineering, but only via part-time and/or evening classes. After 1945, to aid with settling large numbers of returning soldiers into a career, the Government backed a Business Training Scheme which allowed the Technical College to introduce courses in Business Administration.[11]

Technical College to Institute (1965) to University (1992)[edit]

In 1955, the Technical College received a large gift of land. Local property developer and entrepreneur Tom Scott Sutherland purchased the Victorian manor and estate of Garthdee House in 1953, located by the banks of the River Dee on the outskirts of the city. Finding himself and his wife living out of only four rooms in the enormous mansion, he donated it and the estate in 1955 for a new school of architecture.[11] These classes had taken place at Gray's School of Art, but had been expanding in the 1940s and 50s and much more space was needed. Following completion of a modern extension to the house, the new Scott Sutherland School of Architecture opened in 1957. In 1966, Gray’s School of Art also moved to a large new building on this estate, freeing its Schoolhill building for administrative use. By 2013, all activities had transferred to Garthdee, with the addition of land immediately adjacent purchased from Aberdeen City Council in the 1990s.[11]

The 1963 Robbins Report on the future of UK higher education recommended major expansion, which led to the renaming of the institution to Robert Gordon’s Institute of Technology to suggest its increasing role in higher education rather than further education.[11] As well as new “plate-glass” universities, reforms following the report created the polytechnics in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It also created the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) to allow non-university institutions (like the polytechnics and Scottish central institutions) to run programmes that graduated students with CNAA degrees. The Institute’s first CNAA degree programmes began in pharmacy in 1967, then in engineering, chemistry and physics in 1969, and expanded at undergraduate and postgraduate level to all disciplines. Around this time, the government also began to transfer non-degree teaching (e.g. certificate courses in navigation) to local-authority colleges.

During the 1960s, an academic committee structure was set up, headed from 1969 by an Academic Council. During the 1970s, these committees underwent expansion and reform to improve participation by academic staff in decision-making. For the first time, a faculty structure was introduced, with Faculties of Art & Architecture, Engineering, Arts, and Sciences, led by deans. A department dedicated to providing computer services to the Institute was also established in 1974, and the first professorships were introduced in 1975. In 1981, the separation of the Board of Governors and administration staff from Robert Gordon’s College was completed, although the school and Institute continued to share some buildings. Beginning in the 1970s, the Institute also began to provide extensive consultancy and training for the North Sea oil industry, particularly in engineering and offshore safety and survival.[11]

The Robert Gordon University (1992 to present)[edit]

Following the reforms of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, the Institute was awarded university status as The Robert Gordon University on 12 June 1992.[12] The new university inherited numerous small campuses, and during the late 1990s and 2000s embarked on large building projects (primarily at Garthdee) to consolidate teaching at its City Centre and Garthdee campuses, assisted by a large purchase of land at Garthdee from Aberdeen City Council in the mid-1990s. As new Garthee facilities were completed, the majority of these previous campuses were sold as land for housing development (such as at Kepplestone and King Street), while City Centre facilities that were no longer required were often sold to Robert Gordon's College, with the sale proceeds paying for the expansion and new construction at Garthdee. In the 1990s and 2000s student numbers also increased considerably, requiring new and larger facilities. A merger with the University of Aberdeen was discussed in 2002, but was rejected in favour of remaining separate but working in closer collaboration. By 2000, the University had consolidated to two campuses, at Garthdee (the main campus today) and a City-Centre campus at Schoolhill and St. Andrew Street in central Aberdeen. However, it had been planned since the early 1990s to eventually move all facilities to a single campus at Garthdee, and during this time additional land was purchased to enable new state-of-the-art academic buildings to be constructed to house academic departments which had been at the City Centre campus. The first phase was completed in summer 2013 with the opening of the Sir Ian Wood building (then known as Riverside East, and formally opened and renamed in July 2015),[13] after which the City-Centre campus closed apart from the Administration Building on Schoolhill. RGU is now a single-campus university.


RGU operates a single campus in Aberdeen, in the south-western suburbs at Garthdee. As of August 2017 all academic and administrative departments are located at Garthdee.

Garthdee campus[edit]

Main article: Robert Gordon University - Garthdee campus

The Garthdee campus is the university's main campus, where all academic departments are located and teaching and research takes place. The campus is located in parkland on the outskirts of the city and noted for its modern architecture.

The Garthdee campus is situated in the south-west of the city, on the banks of the River Dee. For much of its history it was a greenfield site, with parts used as the gardens and estate of the Victorian manor of Garthdee House, farmland, and open meadows. The first university buildings were in use from the 1950s, with major additional developments in the 1960s, 1990s, 2000s and early 2010s. The design concept produced in the mid-1990s by architects Norman Foster + Partners was to separate the site into three zones; to the north, by the road, would be car parking; a central zone would contain the main buildings, and the southern boundary by the riverbank would be for parkland and wildlife. Ancient lines of beech trees and woodlands were retained in the concept. It also included a "university street" running east-west and connecting the buildings, which were to be "pavilions in the landscape".[14] These elements of the design concept have been more or less adhered to in subsequent developments by other architects.

The Garthdee campus has seen major investment in recent years, with numerous new buildings constructed since the late 1990s which include a "University Street", part of Norman Foster's design concept for the modern campus.[11]

The campus extends to 23 hectares (57 acres), although some of this is currently landscaped parkland, undeveloped, or under construction. In addition, the university owns a further 8 hectares (20 acres) of land to the west (primarily woodland) and 22 hectares (54 acres) at Waterside Farm on the opposite bank of the River Dee;[15] this former farmland is currently undeveloped. According to the university's masterplan for the campus, the Waterside Farm site is at a low level and lies in a 1:200 year floodplain, and may be developed at a future time.

The main buildings of the campus are:

  • Sir Ian Wood building (formerly Riverside East) - Houses the University Library and departments of pharmacy, life sciences, computing, architecture and engineering. The building was renamed at its official opening in July 2015 by the Princess Royal.[13]
  • Aberdeen Business School building, which houses the departments of Accounting & Finance, Communication & Media, Information Management, Law, and Management, and a large Study Centre which occupies the former library space.
  • Faculty of Health and Social Care building houses the Schools of Applied Social Studies, Nursing & Midwifery, and Health Sciences. The building also acts as a hub for student services, with the university's student helpdesk, careers service, disability and dyslexia service, accommodation office and counselling service located in facilities off the main atrium
  • The RGU SPORT building is a campus sports and fitness centre, designed by architectural firm Thomson Craig & Donald and opened in 2005 at a cost of £10.7 million,[16] including support from organisations such as sportscotland. It provides extensive facilities for sport, exercise and physical training, including several gyms with facilities for cardiovascular and resistance training, a 25-metre swimming pool, climbing wall, studios for group exercise classes, and a large sports hall for a wide range of indoor sports. The RGU SPORT Building also includes Union Way, the home of the RGU:Union offices, Deeview Student Store and social area.
  • The International College (ICRGU) building is a modular pre-fabricated two-storey building situated at the rear of RGU SPORT. It was constructed in 2011 to provide additional teaching space for the "International College at RGU" (ICRGU).
  • The Gray's School of Art building opened in 1966 to allow the art school to expand from its Victorian building next to the Aberdeen Art Gallery in the city centre (now used as the university's Administration Building).
  • Garthdee House is the location of the Principal's Office and also houses part of the School of Architecture. It is a Victorian manor house which formed the core of the Garthdee estate, which with later purchases of adjacent land became today's campus. The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture was the sole user of Garthdee House until 2013, when the Principal's Office also moved into the building.
  • Garthdee House serves as the Principal's Office

  • Faculty of Health and Social Care building

  • Garthdee House seen across lawn

  • Business School building at evening

City Centre facilities[edit]

Until recently the University continued to operated one non-academic facility in the city-centre. The building at Schoolhill is situated next to the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Robert Gordon's College, a prestigious private school which is no longer affiliated to the university but shares a common heritage and motto. The Administration Building is listed as an architecturally significant building,[17] constructed in the Victorian period of carved and ornamented granite, typical of Aberdeen's famous Granite City architecture. In August 2017 all non-academic staff completed the move to the main campus at Garthdee.

Also located here was the old City Centre campus. Many of these buildings were sold over the years to Robert Gordon's College for school use, while others are for sale or have been sold for redevelopment. In July 2014, the St. Andrew Street building (which had been replaced by the Sir Ian Wood building at the Garthdee campus) was sold to the Canadian hotel Sandman Hotels group to be converted to a 4-star hotel.[18] The 12,000 square- metre building was constructed around 1908 and had served as the Aberdeen College of Education until purchased in 1968;[19] the University claimed it to be the third-largest granite building in Europe, after the Spanish Escorial palace near Madrid, and Marischal College.[20] The university plans to retain the historic Administration Building for the foreseeable future.[21]

Administration building[edit]

The Administration Building has a frontage directly onto the public street of Schoolhill and was completed in 1885. It is a significantly larger building than the street frontage suggests. On completion, it housed Gray's School of Art and was designed by the prominent Aberdeen architect Alexander Marshall Mackenzie, who designed many of the city's grand granite buildings in the 19th century. The building is constructed of grey and pink Corrennie granite ashlar with Corinthian columns and was designed to match the Aberdeen Art Gallery adjacent to it,[22] and like these buildings, it is Category A listed by Historic Scotland. As the School of Art grew in size, the building was extended in 1896 and again between 1928 and 1931. However, it eventually became too small and when Gray's School of Art moved to a new modernist building at Garthdee in the 1960s (see above), the building was converted for administrative use.[23] From then until 2013 it housed the Principal's office (which moved to Garthdee House at the Garthdee campus).

Organisation and governance[edit]

Academic faculties[edit]

Academic activities at the university are divided into 11 schools. Each school is led by a head of school and is sub-divided into departments. There are also numerous administrative departments which support the university's activities. All academic Schools and Departments are based at the main Garthdee campus.


Under the terms of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992 and The Robert Gordon University (Scotland) Order of Council 1993, the university's governing body comprises a Board of Governors, consisting of 23 governors appointed to exercise the functions of management and control. The official head of the university is the Chancellor, although in practice he or she acts mainly in a ceremonial or symbolic role. At an operational level, most of the day-to-day management and control of the institution is delegated to the Principal and Vice Chancellor (commonly known simply as the Principal). The Board of Governors also delegates functions relating to the overall planning, co-ordination, development and supervision of academic affairs to the university’s Academic Council. Both the Board of Governors and the Academic Council are supported by a wide range of committees.

The Principal's Office is based at Garthdee House on the main Garthdee campus but many other administrative departments and staff are based at the Administration Building at Schoolhill in the city centre.


  • Sir Bob Reid (1992–2005)
  • Sir Ian WoodCBE (2004–present)

At Scottish universities, the Principal of the university is its general chief executive and is the administrative head of the institution, second in precedence only to the Chancellor. This means that the day-to-day running and leadership of the university is the responsibility of the Principal.

Principal and Vice-Chancellors[24]

Academic profile[edit]

Reputation and rankings[edit]

In the subject league tables from The Guardian, it is first in Scotland for four subjects (Health Professions; Journalism; Architecture; and Pharmacy), while securing three subjects in the UK top 10. [33]

The Sunday Times awarded RGU the title of Best Modern University in the UK for 2012 in its University Guide 2012. The title had previously been won by Oxford Brookes University for each of the preceding ten years.[34] RGU received the 2012 award partly due to ratings of the quality of teaching and research, but also due to its employment record which was judged the best of any UK university. The citation read: "With just 3.8% of graduates unemployed six months after leaving, a degree from the Robert Gordon University (RGU) is as near to a guarantee of a job after graduation as you can get.....RGU's graduates don't just get jobs, they get good ones, with 84.9% securing jobs commensurate with their qualifications...with starting salaries at an impressive £20,897".[9] RGU was also named as Best Modern University in the UK in The Times Good University Guide 2013. The university was also shortlisted for Sunday Times University of the Year 2012 (the only post-1992 university on the shortlist), but the title was awarded to the University of Bath.

Graduate employment[edit]

For at least two years, the Robert Gordon University has had the highest rate among the UK universities of graduates in employment or postgraduate study six months after graduation. In July 2012, the Higher Education Statistics Agency released figures for graduate employment for those who graduated in 2011. Six months after graduation, 97.1% of RGU graduates from full-time undergraduate degree programmes were in employment or further study, the highest level of graduate employment of any UK university (although a small number of higher education institutions specialising in only one discipline, such as the Royal Academy of Music, Harper Adams University and the Institute of Education, scored higher). Other universities scoring highly were the University of Northampton (95.6%), King's College London (95.2%) and the University of Glasgow (94.9%).[35]

This result was repeated in the statistics for 2012,[36] with 97.7% of RGU's 2012 graduates in work or further study within six months. As the previous year, only specialised institutions such as the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance had a higher percentage of graduate employment than the Robert Gordon University. Other universities scoring highly in 2012 were Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln (97.0%), the University of Buckingham (96.9%), Glasgow Caledonian University (96.2%) and the University of Derby (96.1%).

In 2013, HESA announced that 97.7%[37] of RGU graduates were in work or further education within six months of graduating. Only specialised institutions such as Royal College of Music, Institute of Education and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance scored higher than Robert Gordon University. Other universities scoring highly in 2013 were University of Buckingham (97.3%), St Mary's University College (97%) and University of Surrey (96.9%).

In 2014, HESA announced that 97.2%[37] of RGU graduates were in work or further education within six months of graduating.

Symbols and Corporate Identity[edit]

See also: Academic Dress of Robert Gordon University

The university's logo and corporate identity make frequent use of the colour purple and the "Gordon" font, all of which appear extensively on campus signage, printed material and online. The current logo was unveiled in February 2013. From 2009 to 2013, the logo consisted of a roundel derived from the university's coat of arms.

Most universities in the UK are designated by order of the Privy Council; unusually for a university named after an individual, according to Robert Gordon University (Scotland) Order of Council 1993[38] the official name of the university includes the prefix "The" (as with The George Washington University, The Ohio State University and The College of William & Mary). However, current university branding typically leaves it out although it is still used for graduation.

Coat of Arms[edit]

The coat of arms derives from the one issued by the Lord Lyon King of Arms (the state official responsible for heraldry in Scotland) to Robert Gordon's Institute of Technology in 1982, which in turn derives from that first used in 1881 by the governors of Robert Gordon's Hospital when it became Robert Gordon's College.[11] The arms consist of a shield only and are used infrequently, usually at formal occasions such as graduation, and can also be seen over the main entrance to the university's Administration Building at Schoolhill and various academic buildings at the main campus at Garthdee. The shield also formed the previous logo which still features on some older signage.

On the left side of the arms, the three boars on a blue background edged in gold are taken from the arms of the Gordon family, while on the right the castle on a red background is taken from the arms of the City of Aberdeen. This symbol of the city is shared with the arms of the University of Aberdeen. A black wavy band divides the two sides, and features heraldic symbols in gold representing technology (a mechanical cog), learning (a flaming torch) and commerce (a gold coin).[11]


The university's motto is Omni Nunc Arte Magistra, which translates literally from Latin as "Now by all your mastered arts...", as if to suggest making use in everyday life of knowledge and skills gained. It is sometimes translated as "Make the best of all your abilities", although this is a somewhat more liberal rendering of the Latin. It comes from Virgil's Aeneid, Book VIII, line 441, as the god Vulcan encourages his workers at the forge.[11] It shares this motto with Robert Gordon's College, who use it more frequently. Unlike some universities, the motto is not seen frequently, although it has appeared in graduation materials and is engraved on the shaft of the university's ceremonial mace.

Ceremonial mace[edit]

A ceremonial mace is used at many universities as a symbol of authority and independence. The RGU mace appears mainly at graduation ceremonies, where it is placed prominently on the stage in front of the Chancellor and Principal and in full view of the audience. It may also be seen occasionally at other important university events. The mace is a modern design in silver and black,[39] designed and crafted in 1993 by Gordon Burnett (a member of staff at the university's Gray's School of Art), and paid for by the City of Aberdeen as a gift to the new university. It was presented to the university at a ceremony on 26 June that year during which the first chancellor of the university, Bob Reid, was installed.[40] The mace is primarily jet-black, with wavy fins edged in silver that run vertically down the full length of the mace's head (reflecting the wavy black band in the university's coat of arms). The coat of arms of the university is inset into the head of the mace, along with golden symbols taken from it - the castle representing the city of Aberdeen, flaming torch, coin, and mechanical cog. The shaft of the mace is inlaid in gold with the university's motto, Omni Nunc Arte Magistra.


Like most Scottish universities, RGU has its own tartan; it mirrors the university's official colours of Royal Blue, Red and Gold which appear on the coat of arms (although purple is now used more frequently day-to-day). The tartan was designed by Michael King in 1997.[41] Some students on their graduation day choose to wear a tartan kilt.

Student life[edit]

In 2015/16 there were 16,878 students enrolled of which 63% were undergraduates and 35% were postgraduates with 2% in postgraduate research.[42]

As well as full-time and part-time on-campus study, the University provides a range of distance learning facilities over the internet via its virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle.

Student Association[edit]

The first Student Representative Council was organised at Robert Gordon's Technical College in 1931, with activities such as sports clubs and societies following in the 1940s. A Student Union building opening in 1952 at Rubislaw Terrace in the city's West End. In 1969, the shop and bakery next to Gray's School of Art (now the Administration Building) on Schoolhill came on the market and were purchased by Robert Gordon's Institute of Technology. The Student Union building opened there in 1974 and remained until its closure in July 2014 as the campus relocated to Garthdee. RGU:Union is now located on Union Way inside the RGU SPORT building.

The students’ union represents the views of the student community, and works to improve the student experience at the university. RGU:Union is run by an Executive Board

Main plaza at Garthdee campus (2013)
Administration Building on Schoolhill in Aberdeen city centre.
Bust of John Gray, whose philanthropy founded Gray's School of Art
Plate-glass windows reflect the colours of autumn at Gray's School of Art building, Garthdee campus.
Atrium of Sir Ian Wood building at Garthdee campus.
Autumn at Garthdee campus, showing Faculty of Health and Social Care building (left) and University Library (tower) and Sir Ian Wood building (centre and right).
Main plaza at Garthdee campus
Parkland at Garthdee campus
Round Tower student residences (left) and Central Services administration building (right)
Gray's School of Art building
Former building at St. Andrew Street, due to be converted to luxury hotel
Administration Building at Schoolhill. This building was constructed around 1885 as Gray's School of Art, then converted to administrative use in the 1960s.
Side elevation of Faculty of Health and Social Care building.
Rockery at "University Street".
Library tower (right) and riverbank path. Faculty of Health and Social Care building also visible.
Daffodils in bloom on Garthdee Road, close to entrance to Garthdee campus
University Library, Sir Ian Wood building.
The new RGU logo (2013-present)
Coat of arms of Robert Gordon University
Robert Gordon University's official tartan
Making the most of the sun in the quadrangle at Gray's School of Art, Garthdee campus
The RGU Student Union offices are located in the RGU Sport building
Copies of Radar, RGU's student magazine.
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