History and heritage

our people our city

At Leeds Beckett University we are proud of our heritage and our place within the community.

As a modern university we have almost 200 years of history, our activities and endeavours over many years have not only had positive impacts on us as an institution but have also been transformative to the world around us. As an education provider we have a strong history of creating graduates for the future which have been crucial to the economic lifeblood of the city of Leeds. Today we have over 24,000 students in Leeds and 185,000 alumni worldwide. Throughout our history, it is people who have shaped us and who continue to do so today. 

We are located across two campuses in Headingley and the city centre. The history of Headingley Campus can be traced back to the Cistercian monks of Kirkstall Abbey in the mid-12th century, through to the landowner and Leeds banker William Beckett, before it became the City of Leeds Training College in 1913. The founding of Leeds Mechanics Institute in 1824 was once housed in what is now the Leeds City Museum, which marks the origins of the modern-day Leeds Beckett University.

our Alumni

Over the years, our graduates have changed the world. They've helped to shape our society. They've come from 148 countries around the world to learn and grow.

Among our 185,000-strong alumni community, we’re proud to boast some truly outstanding individuals, including:

  • Britain’s most determined female Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey
  • 80s band Soft Cell’s singer, Marc Almond OBE
  • Game of Thrones cinematographer, Fabian Wagner
  • Designer of the London Olympic Torch, Edward Barber OBE

Chelsea smiling outdoors

Chelsea Galpin

Class of 2015 - Public Relations with Marketing

Chelsea has been a Communications Officer at the Motor Neurone Disease Association since September 2015. 

Image of Paul Heckingbottom in Barnsley jacket during training

Paul Heckingbottom

Class of 2013 - Sports Coaching

Within four months of being appointed caretaker boss of Barnsley in February 2016, Paul had guided the Tykes from 12th place in League One, to promotion to the Championship League.

Jenni outside the Commonwealth Games in Australia

Jenni Rishworth

Class of 2012 - Sports Event Management

Jenni Rishworth put her knowledge and skills to use on the world stage when she worked as a Spectator Services Venue Manager in the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Jennifer in front of her Jerk Chicken sign

Jennifer Ardene

Class of 2016 - Accounting & Finance

Just two years after graduating, Jennifer was running her own business based in Leeds.

Simon smiling looking at the camera

Simon Hill

Class of 2010 - Music Technology

After graduating in 2010 with a first from Leeds Beckett University, Simon has worked on projects including Les Miserables.

our university campus developments

With a population of 28,000 students and 3,200 staff, we're one of the biggest employers in Leeds. We play a vital role in transforming the lives and prospects of thousands of individuals and organisations every year.

Our graduates bring much-needed skills to the local economy, from teachers and nurses to lawyers and engineers. Our mission is to ensure we use our knowledge and resources to make a positive and decisive difference to people, communities and organisations.

Creating inspirational teaching and learning environments for our students and staff is key to this.

Over the next five years, we'll be investing £200m in campus developments, which covers a wide range of projects across our campuses. These are significant developments. They'll enhance and improve the infrastructure, and provide state-of-the-art facilities for our students, staff and partners.

Leeds Beckett University's new £80m Leeds School of Arts building - Architects fly-through Leeds Beckett University is currently developing a new Leeds School of Arts building which will be home to many of our courses in the Leeds School of Arts. The £80m development features a host of world-class facilities, including a theatre, a Dolby Atmos movie cinema, and specialist studios for fashion, music, film and television.