Chester, University of



Overall ranking: 78th out of 123 in the Complete University Guide for 2015.

History: Established by the Church of England in 1839 as a teacher training college. Founding fathers included future prime minister W. E. Gladstone. In 2002, University College Chester took over the staff, students and campus of the higher education faculty of Warrington Collegiate Institute. Awarded taught degree awarding powers in 2004 and became a university in 2005. Research degree awarding powers were given in 2007.

Address: The 32-acre Chester campus is ten minutes walk from the centre of Chester and 25 miles from Liverpool. The 35-acre Warrington campus is a short bus ride away from Warrington town centre. There are nursing sites in Birkenhead, Chester, Crewe and Warrington.

Ambience: The Chester campus has a mix of Victorian and modern buildings, including a Victorian Gothic style 19th century chapel. The Warrington campus is home to the North West Media Centre. Both campuses have strong community atmospheres.

Who's the boss? Professor Tim Wheeler, an expert in applied psychology, is vice-chancellor.

Prospectus: Order one here.

UCAS code: C55

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Degree courses ask for a minimum of 240-300 UCAS entry points. Performing arts courses may involve auditions. Those from non-traditional backgrounds are also encouraged to apply. Popular joint honours programme permitting flexibility with course choice.

Vital statistics: Approximately 17,800 full and part-time undergraduates and postgraduate students. Around two thirds of the students are female and around one third come from within 30 miles of the university.

Added value: Investment and expansion is the order of the day. A £5m development at Chester has created a health and social care building, a students' union building and an additional site for arts and media at the former Kingsway High School. At Warrington, the latest phases of a £12m development have resulted in a refurbished students' union building, business centre and library. The university has a good reputation for sport and excellent indoor and outdoor facilities. A new 200 bedroom residence was completed in September 2013, while another 160 bedrooms have recently become available in the city centre. The university has established Thornton Science Park (formerly the Shell Thornton Research Centre), a 66-acre site with over 1,000,000 square feet of office, technical and laboratory floor space. Thornton Science Park is the university’s fifth campus, and is home to the new Faculty of Science and Engineering (Chester's eighth Faculty) which will welcome its first undergraduate students in 2014. The new North West Food Research Development Centre (NoWFOOD) (£4.8m) on the Parkgate Road Campus opened in 2014 to support food and drink businesses in the North West and now makes a vital contribution to the local and regional economy. The University of Chester is working in partnership with Shropshire Council to establish a new university in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, which will welcome postgraduate students in the autumn of 2014, and undergraduate students from September 2015.

Teaching: 28th out of 123 in the Complete University Guide for student satisfaction with teaching.

Graduate prospects: 46th out of 123 with 68.6 per cent entering employment at graduate level.

Any accommodation? Yes. Self-catered, semi-catered and full-board accommodation is available at Chester, and self and semi-catered available at Warrington. Prices range accordingly, with self-catering rents starting at around £76.30 per week in Chester, and £66.10 per week in Warrington. Most bedrooms are single with a washbasin and communal living areas.

Cheap to live there? About average- local rents average £70 per week.

Transport links: Good motorway connections to Manchester, Liverpool and North Wales; as well as bus and train links.

Fees: £9,000 per year for full-time home and EU undergrads. Overseas students pay more depending on course choice. NHS funds cover nursing and midwifery fees.

Bursaries: The National Scholarship is worth £4,000 and will consist of £800 cash, £200 'in kind' benefit and £3,000 fee waiver, all given in Year 1. Students who do not received the National Scholarship can be automatically considered for a grant of £2,000 from the University of Chester Bursary.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: The students' union bars are the hub of social life on both campuses; otherwise, Chester and Warrington have their share of bars and nightclubs. Head to Cruise on Monday and Rosie's on Wednesday.

Price of a pint: £3 in Chester but drinks offers abound in the union bars with some lagers and shots for under £2.

Sporting reputation: Chester campus is in at 90th in the BUCS league, while Warrington lags behind at 130th.

Notable societies: Huge range of sports-based societies at both campuses. Push It! dance group is successful and popular, while Warrington's circus club is a great place to try something new.

Glittering alumni: Jim Bowen, Bullseye presenter; Rob Wotton, Sky Sports; 'Comedy' Dave Vitty, radio broadcaster; James Moore, professional rugby union player; Duffy, singer; Dave Brailsford, performance director, British Cycling.

Alternative prospectus: Check out how current and former students rate their university experience at Chester on What Uni?, from accommodation and courses to city life and eye candy!

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