Stirling, University of


Overall ranking: 50th out of 124 in the Complete University Guide.

History: The only wholly new university in Scotland, built in 1967.

Address: A green field site on the fringe of Stirling, two miles from the city centre. Two other campuses: one in Inverness and one on the island of Stornaway, both of which are centres of excellence for the teaching of nursing and midwifery.

Ambience: One of the most stunning campuses in Europe, located at the foot of the Ochil Hills, wrapped around a loch and set in 310 acres of lush grounds complete with Airthrey Castle and a golf course. Hard to beat for beauty! Described by police as one of the safest British campuses.

Who's the boss? Professor Gerry McCormac, a leading scientist, is principal and vice-chancellor.

Prospectus: 01786 467 046 or download it here.

UCAS code: S75

What you need to know

Easy to get into? The university operates a system based on grades rather than the UCAS points tariff, with most courses making an offer of BBC at A-level (BBBB at Scottish Highers). There's a whole department dedicated to helping students without the grades get up to scratch, and the university has been commended for its efforts in widening access. Students are sometimes offered places without having met the conditions.

Vital statistics: A smallish university, with around 11,000 students, it is famous for its flexibility. It pioneered the semester system in Britain by dividing the academic year into two semesters of 15 weeks each. There is a choice of over 300 degree subjects at undergraduate level. Although around 70 per cent of the students are Scottish, 23 per cent are from abroad, representing over 100 nationalities. A whopping 93.7 per cent of undergrads come from state education.

Added value: Designated Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, it is home to the National Swimming Academy, National Tennis Centre, Sportscotland Institute of Sport, Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, Triathlon Scotland, and hosts golf and football academies. It runs the Winning Students programme for the most talented student athletes in Scotland and presently has 56 sports scholars training and studying on campus. Facilities are outstanding with 23 acres of playing fields, a sports hall, three squash courts and a state-of-the-art fitness centre. Its popular film, media and journalism department has introduced two masters degrees in financial journalism and public communications management. The £11.4 million library transformation was completed in summer 2010, while the MacRobert Arts Centre hosts a vibrant cultural programme.

Teaching: 57th out of 124 in the Complete University Guide for student satisfaction with teaching.

Research: 51st  in the Research Assessment Exercise.

Graduate prospects: 62nd out of 124 with 62.4 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Around 950 rooms. The University of Stirling offers a priority to all students in their first year of study for accommodation, provided an online application is received by the advertised date. Prices for 2013/14 range from £2,736 to £4,788 per year, with studio flats available at higher cost. There are chalets and flats available for returning students.

Cheap to live there? Very. You can get a room in a shared flat from around £70 per week, excluding utilities.

Transport links: Cheap bus service connects campus to city centre. Easy to reach Edinburgh (37 miles), Perth (35 miles) and Glasgow (25 miles) by car. Or try coach or train.

Fees: Fees are set at £6,750 per year for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scottish and EU students have their fees paid for them by SAAS, but must apply for this funding yearly.

Bursaries: The Young Students' Bursary is available for those whose parents' residual income is less than £34,195 per year. The lower the income, the greater the level of financial support given. Additional loans are also on offer. Scholarships for sport, with a focus on football, are up for grabs too.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Acclaimed and multiple award-winning entertainment facilities. Six bars in the Students' Union, one of which is a nightclub. The aforementioned MacRobert Arts Centre on campus boasts a cinema and a 500-seat theatre.

Price of a pint: Variable, but around £3.

Sporting reputation: Sporty- ranked 21st in the current BUCS league.

Notable societies: A lively debating group and law society, but plenty of scope to start something new.

Glittering alumni: Iain Banks, novelist; Dr John Reid MP, former home secretary; Dr Jack McConnell MSP, former first minister, Scottish Parliament; Richie Ramsay and Catriona Matthew, professional golfers.

Alternative prospectus: Check out how students rate various aspects of their university experience (eye candy included) at Stirling on What Uni? here.

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