The University of London is a federal public university based in London, United Kingdom. It comprises 18 constituent colleges, 10 research institutes and a number of central bodies. It is the second-largest university in the United Kingdom by number of full-time students, with around 135,000 campus-based students and over 50,000 distance learning students in the University of London International Programmes. The university was established by Royal Charter in 1836, which brought together in federation London University (now University College London) and King's College (now King's College London). Three of the universities colleges are currently ranked in the top 10 of UK universities, the highest ranked being the London School of Economics, which is currently placed at number two in the UK, after Cambridge .
For most practical purposes, ranging from admissions to funding, the constituent colleges operate as individual universities, and some have recently obtained the power to award their own degrees whilst remaining in the federation. The nine largest colleges of the University are Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, King's College London, the London Business School, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, the School of Oriental and African Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science and University College London. Formerly a constituent college, Imperial College London left the University of London in 2007.
Graduates of the University of London often use the post-nominal letters 'Lond.' or, more rarely, 'Londin.' (both from Londiniensis) after their degree abbreviations (see post-nominal abbreviations).
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