Westminster, University of
Wednesday 01 August 2012
University of Westminster
History: The university is the former Polytechnic of Central London. Founded as Britain's first poly in 1838 to teach science and engineering, it was taken over in 1882 by philanthropist Quintin Hogg. Within a year his Polytechnic Young Men's Christian Institute had 5,000 students.
Address: Regent Street is the HQ. Three other central London sites – one on Marylebone Road opposite Madame Tussaud's, another in New Cavendish Street and one on Little Titchfield Street, as well as another campus at Harrow.
Ambience: Four central London campuses are close together but have little to do with one another. Regent Street has a listed marble foyer, while Marylebone has had a £9.5m redevelopment of its teaching facilities and an £11m redevelopment of its student accommodation. Cavendish Street houses science and complementary therapies and has recently received a £35m redevelopment, and Harrow boasts high-tech facilities for students of communications, design and media, management and computer science.
Vital statistics: Nearly 25,000 students, of whom three-quarters are undergraduates. A diverse student body: around 4,000 international students come from more than 160 different countries. It’s a top-rated former poly with a decent reputation for research, it was the only new university to get a 5 (top rating) in the first research assessment exercise - for media and communications, the jewel in its crown.
Added value: Westminster claims to teach the widest range of languages of any university in the UK.
Easy to get into? Depends entirely on the course. Anywhere between 160 and 340 UCAS entry points required. For most courses you will need between 200 and 260 points and for some subject areas, specific A-levels are necessary. For popular subject areas, such as media, arts and design, you need to show still more evidence of ability.
Glittering alumni: Chris Wilkinson, Stirling Prize for Architecture winner 2001; Michael Jackson, former chief executive of Channel 4; Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham, the founders of sandwich chain Pret a Manger; Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer; Christopher Bailey, head of design at Burberry and British Fashion Designer of the Year 2005.
Transport links: Central London - a true hub.
Who's the boss? Environmental scientist Professor Geoffrey Petts, formerly of the University of Birmingham, where he led the Centre for Environmental Research and Training.
Teaching: 111th out of 116 in the Complete University Guide in 2011.
Research: 64th out of 115 in the Research Assessment Exercise in 2011.
Overall ranking: 73rd out of 116 in the Complete University Guide.
Nightlife: Intermission is the swanky new bar at Marylebone, plus the Undercroft bar and Area 51 club at Harrow. Otherwise plenty of clubs close at hand in Soho and central London.
How green is it? Not good at all – came 107th out of 145 universities graded by People and Planet for its 'Green League 2012', an assessment of environmental performance.
Any accommodation? Yes, but a place in halls will cost you anything from £90 per week to £230 per week for premium accommodation.
Cheap to live there? No – private rents average £110 per week.
Sports ranking: 117th in the BUCS league table.
Fees: As of 2012, Westminster will charge £9,000 per year.
Bursaries: £400 for first-time undergrads in receipt of a full maintenance grant. Fee waivers of up to £1,500 per year will be available for some courses as of 2012.
Prospectus: 020 7911 5000; www.westminster.ac.uk
UCAS code: W50
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