West of Scotland, University of the



Overall ranking: 119th out of 123 in the Complete University Guide for 2015.

History: Founded in 1897 to offer vocational courses, the institution began offering degree studies in the early 1900s and was awarded university status in 1992. Today, newly-titled the University of the West of Scotland, the institution has a reputation for innovation and excellence, and is widening the provision of higher education in the West of Scotland.

Address: Four campuses. One is in the centre of Paisley, seven miles from Glasgow; the second in the heart of Lanarkshire in Hamilton, 12 miles from Glasgow; the third is close to the centre of Ayr on the west coast, 30 miles from Glasgow; the fourth is a mile and a half from Dumfries town centre.

Ambience: Paisley campus, spanning 20 acres, is mainly concrete blocks linked by walkways. But you can feast your eyes on ancient buildings close by. The new union on campus was commended for its design by the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland.

Who's the boss? Professor Craig Mahoney has recently joined from the Higher Education Academy as principal and vice-chancellor.

Prospectus: 0800 027 1000 or request one here.

UCAS code: U40

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Accepts a high number of mature students and college leavers with Higher National qualifications. Standard entry requirements are between around 140 and 240 UCAS entry points, depending on the course. For more information on entry requirements, click here.

Vital statistics: The University of Paisley merged with Bell College in August 2007, creating one of Scotland’s largest modern universities, with over 15,000 students. On 30 November 2007 its name changed to the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). It is a four-campus regional institution and also has Scotland’s largest school of health, nursing and midwifery.

Added value: A £250m development programme is being carried out across the university to enhance teaching and learning facilities, research, IT infrastructure and campus developments. Students can spend up to a year on paid placements with companies, which have included Volkswagen and the BBC, or undertake work-based learning as part of their degree. Field work and project work with companies is also incorporated into a number of courses. A new £81m modern, environmentally-friendly campus opened in Ayr in September 2011, and recently won a prestigious SCONUL (The Society of College, National and University Libraries) design award. Plans are currently being developed for a £53million investment in the University’s Hamilton Campus. The university say the project will 'deliver some of the best university facilities in Scotland.'

Teaching: 101st out of 123 for student satisfaction with teaching quality in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: 94th out of 123 with 56.2 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Yes. Students have access to self-catering accommodation in Paisley, Hamilton and Ayr. There’s also priority places for first year students who live more than an hour’s travelling time away. There's no university accommodation at Dumfries, but students can get advice on finding private housing in the local area. University accommodation costs starts at £79 per week.

Cheap to live there? About average. Shared private accommodation costs approximately £320 per calendar month.

Transport links: Paisley campus is 10 minutes from the centre of Glasgow by train. Hamilton is 10 minutes south from Glasgow by train. Ayr campus is 40 minutes from Glasgow by car or train. Dumfries campus, on the edge of the town, is reached by bus from Dumfries centre.

Fees: Scottish and EU students pay £1,820 per year but this can be covered by the SAAS if you apply for funding by the deadline. Students from elsewhere in the UK pay £7,250 per year.

Bursaries: None offered to home students from the university itself, but it is regularly supported by organisations who offer scholarships/bursaries to eligible students. See here for more details.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: The Ayr Campus union holds a range of comedy, music and quiz events. Paisley union has a cyber-café, bars, a 450-capacity venue and games areas. Hamilton is up-and-coming, with a lot of busy pubs and clubs, and a cinema. A licensed bar and dance floor can be found in the students' union. Students in Dumfries have access to on campus cafés, a gym and games room, and are in close proximity to a wide range of local sports and recreational facilities.

Price of a pint: £2.75 is the average pint price in Glasgow but bars on each campus will offer more tempting deals.

Sporting reputation: Not great- 108th out of 145 universities and colleges in the 2013/14 BUCS league.

Notable societies: Plenty of student-led sports clubs including martial arts, indoors and outdoors sports. Rumour has it that there's a Hobbits society, a Lego club and a 'Pokemon Party Crew'. Something for everybody!

Glittering alumni: Gavin Hastings, former captain of the Scottish rugby team.

Alternative prospectus: Check into The Student Room to chat with prospective, former and current students about what life at the University of the West of Scotland is really like.