Westminster, University of

 

Overall ranking: 87th out of 124 in the Complete University Guide for 2014.

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.

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

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. 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.

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. Investing heavily in its buildings and recreational facilities, with major refurbishment at Harrow due for completion in 2014. 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 2014 re-opening.

Teaching: 121st out of 124 for student satisfaction with teaching quality in the Complete University Guide..

Research: 64th out of 124 in the Research Assessment Exercise.

Graduate prospects: 84th out of 124 with 57 per cent finding graduate level employment.

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 at least £110 per week.

Transport links: Central London- a true hub.

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

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- 91st 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.

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