The University of Westminster is a public university in London, United Kingdom. Its antecedent institution, the Royal Polytechnic Institution, was founded in 1838 and was the first polytechnic institution in the UK. Westminster was awarded university status in 1992 meaning it could award its own degrees.
Its headquarters and original campus are in Regent Street in the City of Westminster area of central London, with additional campuses in Fitzrovia, Marylebone and Harrow. It operates the Westminster International University in Tashkent in Uzbekistan.
Westminster’s academic activities are organised into seven faculties and schools, within which there are around 45 departments. The University has numerous centres of research excellence across all the faculties, including the Communication and Media Research Institute, whose research is ranked in the Global Top 40 by the QS World University Rankings.
Westminster is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Association of MBAs, EFMD, the European University Association and Universities UK.
The Royal Polytechnic Institution was built by William Mountford Nurse in 1837 and opened at 309 Regent Street on 6 August 1838 to provide (in the words of its prospectus of 1837) “an institution where the Public, at little expense, may acquire practical knowledge of the various arts and branches of science connected with manufacturers, mining operations and rural economy.”
In September 1881, the Royal Polytechnic Institution closed making a transition to new ownership and a new era of educational development. Philanthropist Quintin Hogg (1845–1903) acquired the lease to the building in December 1881 for £15,000. Hogg had already established a Ragged School and Boys Home in the Covent Garden area of London to provide a basic education for some of London’s poorest children. In 1873, he established the Youths’ Christian Institute and Reading Rooms to provide educational, sporting and social opportunities for young working men. Membership fees paid for free use of a library, social rooms, gymnasium and entertainments for members; a small additional fee was required from students for technical classes which included Science and Art classes from 1878.
From 1882 an expanded programme of classes began, including science, engineering and art classes held in conjunction with the Science and Art Department (of the Board of Trade), and a scheme of technical and trade education, related to the City and Guilds of London Institute of Technical Instruction and to the London Trades Council. The building housed classrooms, a swimming bath, gymnasium, and a refreshment room. Activities included Parliamentary debating, a Reading Circle, music and drama societies and several sports clubs.
In the early 1880s the Institute attracted much favourable attention from the technical education lobby. Following the City of London Parochial Charities Act in 1883, it became clear that funds would be available to endow the Polytechnic and to found and support institutions on the same model across London. A public appeal was launched in 1888 to raise the required matching funding. The Scheme was finalised under the auspices of the Charity Commissioners in 1891, when the Institute was reconstituted as the Polytechnic-Regent Street, managed by a newly created governing body.
During World War Two the school was evacuated to Minehead in Somerset under the capable headship of Dr Bernard Worsnop. The school remained evacuated for the duration of the war and afterwards was unable to return to 309 Regent Street due to the lack of space. Space problems, together with the 1944 Education Act, meant that change was inevitable and discussions began which eventually led to the transfer of governance of the school from the Polytechnic to the London County Council. As part of the transfer, the school was renamed the Quintin School and in 1956 it relocated to St John’s Wood. In 1969, the school merged with its neighbour Kynaston Technical School, becoming the Quintin Kynaston School. In 2001 the school became a Specialist Technology College and in November 2011, it became an Academy, changing its name to Quintin Kynaston Community Academy.
The building at 309 Regent Street was rebuilt in 1910–1912 to reflect the needs of a growing institution whose student members exceeded 15,000.
In 1960 the London County Council announced a plan to turn Regent Street into a tri-partite federal college by adding a new College of Architecture and Advanced Building Technology (CAABT) and also a College of Engineering and Science (CES). The existing commercial subjects would remain centred on no 309 Regent Street. CAABT was allocated the Luxborough Lodge site in Marylebone Road and CES a site in New Cavendish Street. Both schemes suffered prolonged delays and the new buildings were not finished until 1970. Holborn College of Law, Languages and Commerce was merged with Regent Street Polytechnic to form the Polytechnic of Central London (PCL).
PCL was re-designated as the University of Westminster following the Higher and Further Education Act (1992), which created a single funding council, the Higher Education Funding Council, for England and abolished the remaining distinctions between polytechnics and universities. The newly established university was re-dedicated at Westminster Abbey as the University of Westminster on 1 December 1992. As a university, Westminster gained the power to grant its own degrees.
In recent years, the university has established Westminster Business School, the institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, the Centre for the Study of Democracy and the Policy Studies Institute. In 2002 Westminster established the Westminster International University in Tashkent at the invitation of the government of Uzbekistan.
The University of Westminster is incorporated under the Companies Act as a charity and company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital. It is also an exempt charity under the Charities Act 1993. Westminster’s academic activities are organised into seven faculties and schools, within which there are around 45 departments. Westminster had an income of £170.4 million in 2012/13, of which £4.5 million was from research grants and contracts.
Prior to 2013, Westminster was organised into seven schools; Law (School of Law), SSHL (School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages), ECS (Electronics Engineering and Computer Science), LSS (School of Life Sciences), MAD (School of Media, Arts and Design), WBS (Westminster Business School), and ABE (School of Architecture and the Built Environment). Within the schools were 45 departments and 65 research centres. However, a new faculty system was put in place at the start of the new academic year (2013/2014). Among these, two former schools from the previous system have remained, and left unintegrated into the faculties.
- Faculty of Science and Technology (Cavendish)
- Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design (Harrow)
- Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (Regent)
- Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (Marylebone)
- Westminster Law School (Regent)
- Westminster Business School (Marylebone)
The University of Westminster is internationally recognized for the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design (MAD) based in north London, which offers one of the most extensive portfolios of media degrees in Europe. The university has numerous centres of research excellence across all the faculties, including the Communication and Media Research Institute, whose research is ranked in the Global Top 40 by the QS World University Rankings.
For many courses for up-to-date information can be found on their website or on the UCAS website via the course entry profile.
They will need to meet one of the following sets of standard entry requirements:
Two GCE A level passes plus three GCSEs at grade C or above including English Language and Mathematics.
Three GCE A level passes plus two GCSEs at grade C or above including English Language and Mathematics.
Five passes in the Scottish Certificate of Education, of which three are at Higher grade including English Language and Mathematics.
Four passes in the Scottish or Irish Certificate of Education, all at Higher grade including English Language and Mathematics.
A pass in Edexcel BTEC National Certificate/Diploma or HNC/HND (the distinction/merit/pass profile will be stipulated in the conditions of our offer).
A pass in Foundation course.
An International or Welsh Baccalaureate.
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 45 credits at Level 3 with a minimum number of Level 3 credits at Merit or Distinction.
The university’s National Student Survey Satisfaction (NSS) scores are steadily increasing year on year, including the categories of learning and teaching, assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources and personal development.
The University of Westminster also offers the largest range of languages of any university in the UK.
They understand the importance of critical thinking, discipline and responsibility, and they expect the very highest standards of their staff and their students.
The University of Westminster has over 950 full-time teaching staff, supported by over 700 visiting subject specialists. Their academics are experts in their field and professionals in their own right, bringing current knowledge and new ways of thinking to the courses they teach. Together with their students, their staff make them what they are – an inclusive and diverse University with a passion for learning that makes a difference in the real world.
The University of Westminster’s Career Development Centre is committed to increasing the employability of their students and graduates, and to enhancing the reputation of the university in the wider business community in line with the Westminster 2020 vision.
The University of Westminster has dedicated career service – the Career Development Centre. A team of career professionals are able to give students advice on finding a job.
The Career Development Centre offers a wide variety of services:
- One-to-one careers coaching
- CV and application advice
- Careers information (in person and online)
- Help finding work
- Online vacancy listings
- Employer events
- Talent Bank
The Career Development Centre is available to all students, as well as graduates for the three years after the graduation.
Each faculty at all of the campuses has their own work placement team, too. These teams can help assist students in finding work experience whilst on the course, as well as CV advice and practice interviews.