The University of the West of Scotland is a public university with four campuses in south-western Scotland, in the towns of Paisley, Hamilton, Dumfries and Ayr, as well as a new campus in London. The present institution dates from August 2007, following the merger of the University of Paisley with Bell College, Hamilton. It can trace its roots to the late 19th century, and has undergone numerous name changes and mergers over the last century, reflecting its gradual expansion throughout the region.
The university’s highest ever ranking for UK Institutions came in 2009 when the Complete Universities Guide placed UWS 62 out of 113 universities. In 2016, UWS was ranked 110th out of 127 universities in the same league table.
Although classified as a new university, the University of the West of Scotland has a rich, diverse history inherited from the various institutions that preceded it, including the University of Paisley, Bell College of Technology, Craigie College of Education and Dumfries and Galloway College of Nursing.
The Philosophical Institution, helped establish the School of Arts in 1836, which become a Government School of Design in 1846, one of twenty similar institutions established in UK manufacturing centres from 1837-1851. They were set up to improve the quality of the country’s product design through training in design for industry. Peter Coats was director of both Paisley Philosophical Institution and the Government School of Design. Later, the Design schools were renamed Schools of Art, and once again as Schools of Art and Science.
The establishment of the University of Paisley prompted a merger with Craigie College of Education in Ayr in 1993, and led to the incorporation of Nursing colleges in the town. The Ayr Campus was operated by the University of Paisley before the merger that established UWS.
The Crichton University Campus in Dumfries is the result of a joint project between the University of Paisley (now University of the West of Scotland), the University of Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway College and the Open University.
The Hamilton campus was founded in 1972 as the Bell College of Technology. The main campus was constructed in Almada Street, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire. A “Memorandum of Understanding” between the College and the University of Strathclyde was signed in 1993 to allow the College to offer degree level courses. In 1995, the Lanarkshire and Dumfries & Galloway Colleges of Nursing & Midwifery were amalgamated into Bell College.
Between 2008 and 2010 UWS opened offices in Glasgow, with a focus on the creative industries. The School of Media, Culture & Society has offices in Film City Glasgow and the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA). This forms a metropolitan base for research, performance, events and exhibitions, work with industry, and knowledge exchange activities, connecting the university’s four campuses with the city where the media and arts sector is most concentrated in the west of Scotland.
On 1 August 2007, the University of Paisley merged with Bell College, a higher education college based in Hamilton. On 30 November 2007, the Privy Council approved the name University of the West of Scotland for the merged institution.
The University of the West of Scotland is organised into six schools:
- School of Business and Enterprise
- School of Computing & Engineering
- School of Education
- School of Health, Nursing & Midwifery
- School of Media, Culture & Society
- School of Science & Sport
The university offers over 100 degree courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and has a rapidly growing number of doctoral students. It also carries out research and consultancy work for industry, and is ranked second in Scotland for the number of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with businesses. The University attained Skillset Media Academy status in August 2010. Many courses at the University of the West of Scotland have an emphasis on vocational skills and offer students the option of spending a year working in industry at home or abroad.
The University has also worked with NHS Ayrshire and Arran resulting in a partnership in 2012 in the renaming of Ayr Hospital to University Hospital Ayr and Crosshouse Hospital to University Hospital Crosshouse. Its partnership with the Gaiety Theatre, Ayr has established Scotland’s first ‘Learning Theatre’.
UWS Admissions Policy has been developed to provide transparency in the admissions processes and practices, ensuring that a quality service is given to all applicants.
Their priority for admissions is to match prospective students with the programme of study that best meets their academic needs, vocational needs and individual circumstances, while ensuring that their institutional strategic objectives are met.
In achieving this, they make a commitment that their approach to the admissions of students is transparent, fair, honest, consistent, accessible, personalised and timely.
Full information on entry requirements and admissions can be found on their website.
Largest provider of nurse education in Scotland.
Career-focused and professionally-recognised courses in biological, environmental, chemical, earth and physical sciences, engineering, media and culture, social sciences and business.
94% of UWS graduates in work or further study within 6 months of graduating.
Top in the UK for student satisfaction in a range of subjects (National Student Survey 2015).
91% of students who participated in the survey stated that they would recommend UWS to a friend or relative (National Survey of Student Engagement 2015).
In the National Student Survey 2015, UWS came top in the UK for student satisfaction for a range of subjects.
The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education recently awarded UWS the highest possible rating in their Enhancement-Led Institutional Review (ELIR).
A number of their programmes are accredited and recognised by professional bodies such as the British Psychological Society, Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS), CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accounting), Institution of Chemical Engineers and Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).
Programmes are designed with business, industry and the professions; opportunities for placement/work-based/work-related learning are available as well as the chance to study abroad, ensuring their students gain globally relevant knowledge, skills and confidence to think critically and to challenge received wisdom.
The university’s Careers and Employability Service provides advice, guidance and information to students and recent graduates on all careers and employability related matters.
The service offer one-to-one guidance, embedded careers education, workshops, seminars and an online student portal which includes a CVbuilder, careers elearning modules, and an interview simulator.
The service advertises graduate, placement and part-time opportunities through their vacancy portal. There are also opportunities for part-time work throughout the year in the university, in a variety of administrative, guide and presentation roles.