There are no important official or legal differences between popular universities in Great Britain. However, it is possible to put them in four broad categories, such as: the early nineteenth-century English universities; the older civic ('redbrick') universities; the campus universities; and the newer civic universities.
The early nineteenth-century English universities. Durham University was founded in 1832 Its collegiate living arrangements are similar to Oxbridge, but academic matters are organized at university level. The University of London started in 1836 with just two colleges. Many more have joined since then and scattered widely around the city. In this case, they made each college as almost a separate university. The central university organization is responsible for the exams and the rewarding of degrees.
The older civic ('redbrick') universities. During the nineteenth century various institutes of higher education appeared in the new industrial cities, such as Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Their buildings were of local material, often brick, in contrast to the stone of older universities. That's why they were called "redbrick universities". They functioned only for local people. At first, they prepared students for London University degrees. Later, they were given the right to award their own degrees and so became universities themselves. In the mid twentieth century they started to accept students from all over the country.
The campus universities. These institutions are located in the countryside, but close to such towns as: East Anglia, Lancaster, Sussex and Warwick. They have accommodation for most of their students on site. The campus universities tend to focus on relatively "new" academic disciplines, for example, social sciences, and teach in small groups, known as “seminars”.
The newer civic universities. These were originally technical colleges set up by local authorities in the second half of the twentieth century. Their upgrading to university status took place in two waves. The first wave occurred in the mid 1960s, when the colleges of Aston in Birmingham, Salford near Manchester and Strathelyde in Glasgow were promoted. Then, in the early 1970s, another thirty colleges became 'polytechnics'. They were allowed to teach degree courses. In the early 1990s most of the colleges became universities. Their most notable feature is flexibility with regards to studying arrangements. Nowadays, the newer civic universities, all financed by central government.
collegiate — университетский, коллегиальный
to scatter — разбрасывать, рассыпать
the rewarding or degrees — награждение учеными степенями
redbrick — красный кирпич
to accept students — принимать студентов
the campus universities — университеты, имеющие студенческие городки
an upgrading — повышение, подъем
the most notable feature — самая отличительная черта
flexibility — гибкость