University College London, which operates as UCL, is a public research university in London, England. It is a member institution of the federal University of London, and is the second-largest university in the United Kingdom by total enrolment and the largest by postgraduate enrolment.
Established in 1826 as London University (though without university degree-awarding powers) by founders inspired by the radical ideas of Jeremy Bentham, UCL was the first university institution to be established in London, and the first in England to be entirely secular and to admit students regardless of their religion. It was also among the first university colleges to admit women alongside men in 1878, two years after University College, Bristol. Intended by its founders to be England’s third university, politics forced it to accept the status of a college in 1836, when it received a royal charter and became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London, although it achieved de facto recognition as a university in the 1990s. It has grown through mergers, including with the Institute of Ophthalmology (in 1995), the Institute of Neurology (in 1997), the Royal Free Hospital Medical School (in 1998), the Eastman Dental Institute (in 1999), the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (in 1999), the School of Pharmacy (in 2012) and the Institute of Education (in 2014).
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