Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Creating a new university model

Exterior of new ARU Peterborough building

ARU Peterborough is a new kind of university, designed from the ground up to match the needs of local students, employers and the regional economy. Its creation realises a 40-year ambition to create a university in and for Peterborough.

Our mission is to transform lives through innovative, inclusive and entrepreneurial education and research. With this in mind we've worked in partnership with with Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority and Peterborough City Council to deliver a new university model – one that boosts skills across the region, and increases opportunities for local young people.

Why Peterborough

Peterborough is a higher education ‘cold spot’, where only 33% of the population have degree-level qualifications, compared to a national average of 42%.

Our aim is for ARU Peterborough to provide life-changing opportunities for young people across the region; boost social mobility and strengthen the local economy. It will do this by being an employment-focused university, offering a range specialist courses co-created with employers.

In 2020, we took the first steps toward establishing a new university in Peterborough.

Project milestones

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021-22 building work was completed on University House, ARU Peterborough’s first teaching centre.

Construction also started on a £16.7m Research and Development Centre to support tech businesses, and funding was approved for a second teaching building which will feature a Living Lab – a publicly accessible science resource in the city's new University Quarter.

ARU Peterborough is one of the largest start-up university initiatives and partnership working has been key to its rapid success.

With building work underway, ARU Peterborough staff worked with more than 170 employers to co-create a curriculum of 27 courses that reflect employer demand, including postgraduate degrees, short courses, and a portfolio of degree apprenticeships.

Welcoming our first students

We received more than 1,600 applications to start courses in September 2022 when ARU Peterborough opened its doors; 47% of applications came from those with a PE postcode.

Of this first group, 45% are healthcare students who are training in sector-leading nursing skills facilities at University House.

A university embedded in its community

We've always aimed to involve local people in the development of ARU Peterborough, and have been able to build interest and anticipation through a programme of consultations, open days and site visits.

Community response to the open campus, built on a previously derelict site, has been overwhelmingly positive. ARU Peterborough is set to play a pivotal role in transforming the city into a regional centre, raising aspirations and skills, and providing life-changing opportunities.

Award recognises local impact of ARU Peterborough

We were delighted to be named Social Mobility University of the Year, in recognition of the role ARU Peterborough is playing in advancing social mobility across the city and the wider region.