Central Lancashire, University of



Overall ranking: 90th out of 123 in the Complete University Guide for 2015.

History: Founded as the Preston Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge in 1828, it was transformed into the Harris Institute in 1882, the Harris College in 1956, Preston Polytechnic in 1973, Lancashire Polytechnic in 1984, and at long last, a fully-fledged university in 1992.

Address: Main campus in Preston, slap-bang in the middle of Lancashire. There are further campuses at Westlakes in West Cumbria, Llangollen in North Wales, and the newest university campus at Burnley opened in September 2009.

Ambience: Situated in the city centre, the Preston campus is a mix of old and new. A massive building programme has produced more residences, a refurbished students' union, a library and modern teaching facilities. A ground-breaking new Young Scientist Centre - the first of its kind outside London - is also being built on the Preston campus, in collaboration with Royal Institution of Great Britain. The facility will aim to introduce young people to explore all aspects of science and technology outside the classroom. The university also just announced plans to build an Engineering Innovation Centre, which aims to support close integration between teaching, research and knowledge exchange. It will also work to increase collaboration with industry on advanced manufacturing technology.

Who's the boss? Vice-chancellor is Professor Gerry Kelleher, who was previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Prospectus: 01772 892400 or request one here.

UCAS code: C30

What you need to know

Easy to get into? It all depends. Requirements range from 180 to 320 UCAS entry points but average at 300. Journalism is pretty competitive.

Vital statistics: One of the biggest of the new universities, with around 35,000 students in total. Very high proportion of UK students, but the university also has a sizeable international student presence. It was the first modern university in the UK to be included in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, recognising the institution's success in specialising in all aspects of international provision.

Added value: Great for sports with a £12m outdoor sports arena in Preston. The university's Foster Sports Centre accommodates a wide range of sporting activities including an extended weights room. A new £16 million indoor sport centre has been completed. UCLan has a strong record of student success in various national and international competitions including the Nationwide Mercury Prize Art Competition and Graduate Fashion Week. The university recently spent £120 million on new buildings and facilities to enhance teaching, learning and leisure activities. The recently-opened £15m Media Factory includes theatre spaces, available for student performances and visiting theatre companies, a digital television studio with control galleries, a film and photographic studio, video editing rooms, music practice and ensemble studios, and a studio for theatre, film and dance.

Teaching: 80th out of 123 for student satisfaction with teaching quality in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: 101st out of 123 with 53.6 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Yes. The university offers around 2,200 rooms. Prices range from £79.03 for non en-suite to £99.47 for en-suite -  including all bills and wi-fi. Each private hall has its own arrangements for wi-fi – so it’s available, but not necessarily included in the rent.

Cheap to live there? More or less. Private halls from from £82.50 to £99.47 for en-suite rooms.

Transport links: Good road and rail access. It takes two and a half hours by train to London and Glasgow, and one hour to Manchester.

Fees: £9,000 per year for home and EU full-time undergrads.

Bursaries: Various means-tested bursaries and excellence-based scholarships to help those in need of financial support. See here for further information.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: There are lots of pubs and reasonably priced places to eat next to Preston campus. The £6.5m students' union building has three bars and the 53 degrees venue for live music, comedy and club nights.

Price of a pint: Just over £2 on average in Preston, depending on where you go.

Sporting reputation: Not bad- 53rd out of 145 in the 2013/14 BUCS league.

Notable societies: Poker, Rock Soc and Grub Club stand out.

Glittering alumni: Joe Lydon, former rugby league international; Simon Kelner, former editor of The Independent; Victoria Derbyshire, Radio Five Live Presenter; Tjinder Singh, lead singer of the band Cornershop; Phil McIntyre, manager of comedian Peter Kay.

Alternative prospectus: Check into The Student Room to chat with former, current and prospective UCLan students about what the university experience is really like.


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