Chester, University of


Tuesday 29 July 2014 16:58

Overall ranking: 93rd out of 126 in the Complete University Guide for 2016.

History: Established by the Church of England in 1839 as a teacher training college. Founding fathers included future prime minister W. E. Gladstone. In 2002, University College Chester took over the staff, students and campus of the higher education faculty of Warrington Collegiate Institute. Awarded taught degree awarding powers in 2004 and became a university in 2005. Research degree awarding powers were given in 2007.

Address: The 32-acre Chester campus is ten minutes walk from the centre of Chester and 25 miles from Liverpool. The 35-acre Warrington campus is a short bus ride away from Warrington town centre. There are nursing sites in Birkenhead, Chester, Crewe and Warrington.

Ambience: The Chester campus has a mix of Victorian and modern buildings, including a Victorian Gothic style 19th century chapel. The Warrington campus is home to the North West Media Centre. Both campuses have strong community atmospheres.

Who's the boss? Professor Tim Wheeler, an expert in applied psychology, is vice-chancellor.

Prospectus: Order one here.

UCAS code: C55

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Degree courses ask for a minimum of 240-300 UCAS entry points. Performing arts courses may involve auditions. Those from non-traditional backgrounds are also encouraged to apply. Popular joint honours programme permitting flexibility with course choice.

Vital statistics: Approximately 18,800 full and part-time undergraduates and postgraduate students. Around two thirds of the students are female and around one third come from within 30 miles of the university.

Added value: Investment and expansion is the order of the day. A £5m development at Chester has created a health and social care building, a students' union building and an additional site for arts and media at the former Kingsway High School. The multi-million pound Thornton Science Park hosts the country’s first Engineering faculty to launch in two decades, which opened to students in September 2014. The former Shell research facility boasts world-class equipment and laboratories alongside small and multi-national businesses, creating students who are work-ready in specialism's with skills gaps. New courses include Computational Engineering and Cyber Security.

The new self-contained Queen’s Park Campus in Handbridge, Chester will open in September 2015 and will house the University of Chester Business School.

Teaching: 22nd out of 126 in the Complete University Guide for student satisfaction with teaching.

Graduate prospects: 64th out of 126 with 65.3 per cent entering employment at graduate level.

Any accommodation? Yes. Self-catered, semi-catered and full-board accommodation is available at Chester, and self and semi-catered available at Warrington. Prices range accordingly, with self-catering rents starting at around £63.70 per week in Chester, and £81.20 per week in Warrington. Most bedrooms are single with a washbasin and communal living areas.

Cheap to live there? About average- about £85 a week in Chester and £60 in Warrington.

Transport links: Good motorway connections to Manchester, Liverpool and North Wales; as well as bus and train links.

Fees: £9,000 per year for full-time home and EU undergrads. Overseas students pay more depending on course choice. NHS funds cover nursing and midwifery fees.

Bursaries: The National Scholarship is worth £4,000 and will consist of £800 cash, £200 'in kind' benefit and £3,000 fee waiver, all given in Year 1. Students who do not received the National Scholarship can be automatically considered for a grant of £2,000 from the University of Chester Bursary.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: The students' union bars are the hub of social life on both campuses; otherwise, Chester and Warrington have their share of bars and nightclubs. Head to Cruise on Monday and Rosie's on Wednesday.

Price of a pint: £3 in Chester but drinks offers abound in the union bars with some lagers and shots for under £2.

Sporting reputation: Chester campus is in at 79th in the BUCS league, while Warrington lags behind at 144th.

Notable societies: Huge range of sports-based societies at both campuses. Push It! dance group is successful and popular, while Warrington's circus club is a great place to try something new.

Glittering alumni: Jim Bowen, Bullseye presenter; Rob Wotton, Sky Sports; 'Comedy' Dave Vitty, radio broadcaster; James Moore, professional rugby union player; Duffy, singer; Dave Brailsford, performance director, British Cycling.

Alternative prospectus: Check out how current and former students rate their university experience at Chester on What Uni?, from accommodation and courses to city life and eye candy!

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