Hatfield was also, in that year, one of eight polytechnics accredited for research degrees. After John Major announced in 1991 that polytechnics were to be abolished, Hatfield Polytechnic announced its intention to apply for university status.
In 1994 the St Albans Cathedral was chosen to hold the university's graduation ceremonies.
The same year saw the first publication of league tables and Hertfordshire was named as the top new university. Sir Ian Mac Laurin was appointed chancellor in 1996 and in 1997 the Learning Resource Centre opened.
By 1977 more than ten per cent of the 4000 came from more than forty different countries. In 1982 John Illston succeeded Sir Norman Lindop as the director.
A sports hall was built on the Hatfield Campus in 1984 and the number of students in that year was more than 5000.
The number of staff, in the same year, had increased to 824. The following year, Sir Ron Dearing and Buxton signed an agreement that gave the polytechnic accreditation from the Council for National Academic Awards.