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Westminster, University of



Overall ranking: 96th out of 123 in the Complete University Guide for 2015.

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 and boasts new study areas and computer labs, 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. Other recent developments in Harrow include new project rooms and social learning ‘hubs’, an enclosed gallery, and space for fashion shows, live gigs, exhibitions and catwalks. The Little Titchfield Street Campus has a new, state-of-the-art lecture theatre, as well as improved social areas, a café and library.

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.

Prospectus: 020 7911 5000 or download a prospectus here.

UCAS code: W50

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Depends entirely on the course but anywhere between 160 and 340 UCAS entry points are required. To apply on one of the courses in the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design, you may have to submit a portfolio and attend an interview. These take place between December and April for full-time and March to early September for part-time students.

Vital statistics: One of the most diverse student bodies of any UK university, with more than 22,000 students from over 150 different countries worldwide. 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. The Journalism and Mass Communication Department is rated top in the UK, and is the only British university media department in the world's top 20.

Added value: Westminster claims to teach the widest range of languages of any university in the UK. Investing heavily in its buildings and recreational facilities, with major refurbishment at Harrow recently completed. The project will create spaces for a gallery and catwalk, cafe, reception and new multimedia newsroom. The Regent Street Cinema, in the Regent Campus, is widely considered the birthplace of British cinema- a £6m refurbishment project is due to result in its re-opening this year.

Teaching: 117th out of 123 for student satisfaction with teaching quality in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: 108th out of 123 with 52.8 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Yes but a place in halls will cost you anything from £85 to £265.02 per week for premium accommodation. Six halls of residence, four in central London and two in Harrow and Wembley.

Cheap to live there? No- expect to pay anything up from £125 per week for a room in a private shared flat or house. See here for more information.

Transport links: Central London- a true hub.

Fees: Westminster charges £9,000 per year for home and EU full-time undergraduates and £11,750 for international students.

Bursaries: See here for details on financial support to help with tuition fees and living costs, based on your household income. 

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Intermission is the swanky new bar at Marylebone, with the Undercroft bar and Area 51 club at Harrow. Otherwise, plenty of clubs close at hand in Soho and central London.

Price of a pint: Expensive in Westminster, but the Students' Union is on your wallet's side,so head there instead. Loads of discounts and deals online too- see here.

Sporting reputation: Not great- 92nd in the BUCS league table.

Notable societies: Ice-Skating Society is particularly fun around Christmas time, while Smoke Media comprises of a TV station, a radio station, a magazine and a newspaper. Tons of campaigning and human rights groups.

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.

Alternative prospectus: Join in the discussions with current, former and prospective Westminster students on The Student Room here.