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University of the West of Scotland

2016 League Table Ranking 118
2016 Overall Score 429
View the 2016 league tables
Entry Standards 297 Help
Entry Standards
The average UCAS tariff score of new students entering the University.

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Student-Staff Ratio 21.1 Help
Student-Staff Ratio
The average staffing levels at the University.

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Research Quality 2.36 Help
Research Quality
A measure of the quality of the research undertaken in the University.

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Academic Services Spend 989 Help
Academic Services Spend
A guide to how much the University spends on supporting services such as libraries and IT.

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Student Satisfaction 3.96 Help
Student Satisfaction
A guide to how satisfied students are with the quality of teaching they receive.

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Facilities Spend 318 Help
Facilities Spend
A guide to how much the University spends on supporting facilities such as the careers service, health and counselling services and sport facilities.

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Graduate Prospects 57.9 Help
Graduate Prospects
A guide to the employability of graduates on completion of their courses at the University.

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Degree Completion 70.0 Help
Degree Completion
The proportion of students expected to successfully complete their studies and gain a degree from the University.

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Good Honours 63.2 Help
Good Honours
The percentage of graduates achieving a first or upper second class honours degree – the class of degree achieved can impact a graduate’s employment prospects.

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Green Score 25.0 Help
Green Score
This environmental & ethical ranking of the University is provided courtesy of the People & Planet Green League - the only comprehensive and independent green ranking of every UK university. Choosing a greener university can reduce your carbon footprint and improve your job prospects in a global low-carbon economy.

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  • Founded in 1897 to offer vocational courses, the university began offering degree studies in the early 1900s and matured to university status in 1992.
  • On 1 August 2007 the university merged with Bell College.
  • Name change to University of the West of Scotland 2007.

Location and Transport

  • There are four campuses at Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton and Paisley.
  • Paisley campus is 1.5 km (1 mile) from Glasgow Airport and 10 minutes by train from the centre of Glasgow. Hamilton is also a 10-minute train journey from Glasgow.
  • Ayr campus is 40 minutes from Glasgow by car or train. Dumfries campus is reached by bus from Dumfries centre.

Entry Standards

  • Traditional requirements for Business, Social Science and Arts-based courses are four Highers (BBBB), three A-Levels (Yr1 CCC / Yr2 BBB) or equivalent.
  • Science, Engineering and Computing generally expect four Highers (BBBC) including relevant subjects, three A-Levels (Yr 1 BCC / Yr 2 BBC) or equivalent.
  • Nursing degrees normally look for three Highers (BCC), two A-Levels (CC) or equivalent, applicants should have Standard Grade/GCSE English Language and English Literature (and normally Maths). Midwifery will look for four Highers (BBBB), three A-Levels (CCC), applicants should have Standard Grade/GCSE English Language and English Literature and Maths.
  • Primary Education is highly competitive and normally expects a minimum of four Highers at AAAB (including Higher English and Standard Grade Maths) or three A-Levels at BBB (A Level English, GCSE English Language and English Literature and Maths).
  • Further information on entry criteria for our courses can be found on our website.

A-Level and GCSE Requirements

  • Additional and up-to-date information on our entry criteria and admissions policies can be found on our website.

Student Mix

The 15,280 students enrolled in the academic year 2013/14 comprise:

Level of study
Mode of study
Full Time
Part Time
Student gender

Course Flexibility

  • Courses designed in collaboration with business, industry and the third sector.
  • Project work, sandwich placement and field experience available on many degrees, with students having worked with organisations such as Rolls Royce, IBM and the BBC among others.
  • Work-based learning forms an integral part of many courses, including compulsory placements on many courses such as Nursing, Social Work and Education.
  • Overseas study options through Erasmus and other opportunities available, designed to help students increase their mobility and develop as global citizens.

Teaching Standards

  • The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education recently awarded UWS the highest possible rating in their Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR).
  • The QAA noted that it is has complete confidence in the effectiveness of UWS’s management of academic standards.

Research Standards

  • Research at University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has received very positive ratings in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). UWS is ranked in the top 100 in the UK for research.
  • Every Unit of Assessment that UWS submitted was judged to have undertaken research that is world-class in nature (4* - the highest ranking category).
  • UWS’s research outputs were particularly highly rated, with more than half of the submissions being ranked as world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) research. This means that every aspect of our curriculum is underpinned by world-class research.
  • For detailed REF results see our website.

Academic Strengths

  • Largest provider of nurse education in Scotland.
  • Career-focused and professionally-recognised courses in biological, environmental, chemical, earth and physical sciences, engineering, media and culture, social sciences and business.
  • 92% of UWS graduates in work or further study within 6 months of graduating.
  • National Student Survey Results: 2014 overall satisfaction at 84%; Education, Journalism and Broadcast Production courses all came top in Scotland for student satisfaction.
  • Academic and professional partnerships with organisations such as Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice and Netball Scotland.
  • New postgraduate/post-experience programmes include DBA, Teaching English as a Second Language, Nursing, Psychology, Filmmaking, Screenwriting and Civil Engineering.

Student Facilities

  • Well-equipped library services at all four campuses. Wi-Fi access spots in residences and on campuses.
  • Microsoft Campus Agreement allows students access to the latest Microsoft products for use on personal computers, on or off campus.
  • Computing students have access, on Paisley Campus, to PlayStation games development lab sponsored by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe; animation and networking labs.
  • State-of-the-art nursing skills labs.
  • State-of-the-art materials testing and analysis labs and facilities.
  • Screening space, performance suite, TV studios, radio studios, rehearsal rooms, radio station.

Disability Services

  • The Disability Service at UWS provides information, advice and guidance to students.
  • Assistance with study-related support, such as note-takers and proof-readers, organising alternative exam arrangements and Appling for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) funding.
  • Approximately 1,065 students are registered with the Disability Service as of 2014.
  • Students can contact

Students' Union

  • A range of clubs and societies available including Amateur Dramatics, Anime, Chemical Engineering, Chess, Photography, International Students, Dance Club, Drama, Events, Film Making, Debating and many more. There are also a range of sports clubs available. See for details.
  • Ayr Campus Union holds a range of comedy, music and quiz events.
  • Paisley Campus Union has a cyber-cafe, a 450-capacity venue and games areas.
  • Hamilton Campus Union hosts a varied entertainment programme.
  • Students in Dumfries have access to campus cafe-bar and are close to wide range of local sports and recreational facilities.
  • Our Students’ Association, SAUWS, was named University Students’ Association of the Year at the NUS Scotland Awards 2013.


  • Hamilton Campus Leisure Centre was recently upgraded and includes games hall, sauna and fitness studio with cardiovascular and strength resistance machines.
  • Robertson Trust Sports Centre in Paisley includes a fully-equipped gym, fitness suite, and football and rugby pitches.
    • New conditioning facility at Ayr Campus.
  • UWS is a partner in the Winning Students initiative which gives financial support to talented athletes.
  • Team UWS targeting the top 100 in BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) for the first time, already up 8 places between 12/13 and 13/14.
  • Winner of Scottish Men's Hockey Cup 2014.
  • Two UWS students were Commonwealth Games 2014 finalists for Team Scotland.

Recent/Prospective New Builds

  • New £81 million campus and student accommodation at Ayr opened in 2011. The new Ayr Campus is one of the UK’s most modern, environmentally-friendly and sustainable Higher Education learning environments.
  • £13million development of new student accommodation in Paisley town centre opened in September 2012.
  • Paisley Campus undergoing significant improvements to provide students, staff and visitors with a more progressive, contemporary and sustainable learning and working environment including entrance Gateway projects.
  • £1million Employment Centre offering advice on part-time, summer, graduate work and placement at Paisley Campus.
  • Development of the Hamilton Campus will create an innovative 21st century learning environment which supports new teaching strategies, the use of emerging technologies and enhances our learner attainment.

Availability of Part-Time Work

  • The University's Careers and Employability Service offers advice not just on graduate work but also on summer and part-time jobs, and provides an outline system for course related vacancies.
  • The University's Careers Service offers an online system for course related vacancies.
  • There are opportunities for part-time work throughout the year in the University, in a variety of administrative, guide and presentation roles.

Careers Guidance

  • Our Careers and Employability Service include advice and support on career planning, graduate recruitment, placement, part-time work, summer jobs and volunteering.
  • We work with business and industry, developing initiatives and opportunities to best enhance students career aspirations.
  • Support continues for graduates in developing career ventures, job search strategies and e-guidance.

Notable Alumni

  • Les Hutchison, Vice Chair and a Director of the Canadian energy services company, ShawCor Ltd and part-owner of Motherwell FC.
  • Gavin Hastings, OBE.
  • Dr Shamshad Akhtar Detho, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

For further information

  • 0800 027 100 (outwith UK 0141 849 4101)
  • University of the West of Scotland,
    PA1 2BE
UCAS Code U40

Content was accurate at the time of compilation.

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