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About the Project

“Christianity and the University Experience in Contemporary England” was a 3-year project studying the beliefs, values and social lives of Christian undergraduate students. It was driven by a desire to know how students live out their faith identities while at university.

University is an important time in many young people’s lives. It is often where their attitudes and values, including religious ones, are most radically developed and challenged. In the UK, Christians are the largest student faith group, and Christian groups (including Christian Unions, university chaplaincies and Catholic and Student Christian Movement groups) have long been present on university campuses.

The study has drawn on two major sources of data: a national survey of undergraduate students across England, and interviews with Christian students and the staff who work with them at 5 case study universities. We administered our survey in 2010-11 at 14 universities with the aim of achieving a representative sample from across the five major categories of Higher Education Institutions in England:

- - Traditional/elite universities

- - Inner-city civic or 'red brick' universities established early in the twentieth century

- - Campus universities established during the 1960s

- - Post-1992 universities

- - Cathedrals Group universities which are in origin, church-founded teacher-training colleges

The questions cover basic demographic information, university study and educational background, family background, social and moral values, attitudes towards religious matters, Christian devotional practice and Christian beliefs. Our case study interviews were held with students and staff at one university from each of the five categories listed above, and probed further these themes, while exploring exactly how individuals have experienced university in relation to their Christian identity.


The following map shows the universities that participated in the CUE national survey in 2010-11.

They are Durham, Cambridge, UCL, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, Kent, Salford, Derby, Kingston, Staffordshire, Canterbury Christ Church, Chester and Winchester.