Stirling, University of



Overall ranking: 45th out of 123 in the Complete University Guide 2015.

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 (ABBB to 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. It is opening a centre to provide a range of academic and English language preparation courses for international students, with teaching due to begin in September 2014. Students are also 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 around 200 degree combinations, allowing students to study a wide range of subjects in the first two years. Although around 70 per cent of the students are Scottish, 23 per cent are from abroad, representing 115 nationalities. A whopping 94 per cent of students come from state schools.

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. Facilities on campus include a recently modernised library, a dedicated study zone and more than 700 computers for student use, many available 24 hours a day.

Teaching: 74th out of 123 in the Complete University Guide for student satisfaction with teaching.

Graduate prospects: 63rd out of 123 with 63 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? The accommodation ranges in price from £72 per week for a standard room in the Geddes Court Development, to £131 per week for an en-suite room in the brand new Willow court flats, to £199 per week for a family flat in Alexander Court. A new student residence project set to be completed in 2015 will see 800 bed spaces being replaced with state-of-the-art student accommodation, with many boasting en-suite facilities.

Cheap to live there? Very. Private local rents range from around £50 to £75 a week. Click here to find out more about renting in Stirling.

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. International students pay £10,750 for classroom-based courses and £12,900 for laboratory-based courses.

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 23rd 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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