University of the West of Scotland

  • Entry Standards Entry Standards

    The average UCAS tariff score of new students entering the University.

    Read more
  • Student-Staff Ratio Student-Staff Ratio

    The average staffing levels at the University.

    Read more
  • Research Quality Research Quality

    A measure of the quality of the research undertaken in the University.

    Read more
    2.36 / 4.00
  • Academic Services Spend Academic Services Spend

    A guide to how much the University spends on supporting services such as libraries and IT.

    Read more
  • Student Satisfaction Student Satisfaction

    A guide to how satisfied students are with the quality of teaching they receive.

    Read more
    4.08 / 5.00
  • Facilities Spend 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.

    Read more
  • Graduate Prospects Graduate Prospects

    A guide to the employability of graduates on completion of their courses at the University.

    Read more
    65.1 / 100.0
  • Degree Completion Degree Completion

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

    Read more
    79.0 / 100.0
  • Good Honours 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.

    Read more
    65.5 / 100.0


  • 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 in 2007.

Location and Transport

  • There are five campuses at Ayr, Dumfries, Lanarkshire, Paisley and London.
  • Paisley Campus is 1.5 km (1 mile) from Glasgow Airport and 10 minutes by train from the centre of Glasgow.
  • Lanarkshire is around 25 minutes on the train from Glasgow.
  • Ayr Campus is 40 minutes from Glasgow by car or train.
  • Dumfries Campus is reached by bus from Dumfries centre.
  • London Campus is just over 15 minutes’ walk from London Bridge underground and Borough Market, and close to Elephant and Castle and Borough tube stations. The campus provides a delivery point for UWS undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in London.

Entry Requirements

  • UWS Admissions Policy has been developed to provide transparency in the admissions processes and practices, ensuring that a quality service is given to all applicants.
  • Our priority for admissions is to match prospective students with the programme of study that best meets their academic needs, vocational needs and individual circumstances, while ensuring that our institutional strategic objectives are met.
  • In achieving this, we make a commitment that our approach to the admissions of students is transparent, fair, honest, consistent, accessible, personalised and timely.
  • Full information on entry requirements and admissions can be found on our website.

Student Mix

The 14,730 students enrolled in the academic year 2014/15 comprise:

Level of study

  • Undergraduate 88%
  • Postgraduate 12%

Mode of study

  • Full Time 73%
  • Part Time 27%


  • UK 94%
  • EU 4%
  • Other 3%

Student gender

  • Male 39%
  • Female 61%

Course Flexibility

  • Courses designed in collaboration with business, industry, the professions 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/work-related 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 are available, designed to help students increase their mobility and develop as global citizens.
  • Every year at UWS, we welcome students from further education colleges who progress to degree study.
  • Thanks to our close links with colleges, most of our courses offer you the opportunity to progress from HNC or HND qualifications directly into the second or third year of a related degree.

Teaching Standards

  • In the National Student Survey 2015, UWS came top in the UK for student satisfaction for a range of subjects.
  • The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education recently awarded UWS the highest possible rating in their Enhancement-Led Institutional Review (ELIR).
  • A number of our programmes are accredited and recognised by professional bodies such as the British Psychological Society, Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS), CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accounting), Institution of Chemical Engineers and Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).
  • Programmes are designed with business, industry and the professions; opportunities for placement/work-based/work-related learning are available as well as the chance to study abroad, ensuring our students gain globally relevant knowledge, skills and confidence to think critically and to challenge received wisdom.

Research Standards

  • We work with industry, government and partner organisations to tackle a wide range of exciting and diverse issues critical to developing technology, improving lives and creating a more equal society in our regions and beyond. We are working with a range of partners including organisations such as Mars, Celestica, Honeywell, Diageo, Philips Lighting, Dupont, Network Rail, the Scottish Government and the BBC.
  • Our research activity also informs our teaching and learning to enrich our students’ experience.
  • Research at UWS has received positive ratings in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • Every unit of assessment that UWS submitted was judged to have undertaken research that is world-class in nature (4* - the highest ranking category) (REF 2014).
  • 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 (REF 2014).
  • 100% of the impact case studies in communication, cultural and media studies and library and information management in our submission were judged to be world-class/internationally excellent (REF 2014).
  • 88% of the Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy research environment judged as world-class/internationally excellent (REF 2014).
  • 2nd in Scotland for electronic engineering, metalurgy and materials (REF 2014).
  • 12th in the Million+ UK group of universities.

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.
  • 94% of UWS graduates in work or further study within 6 months of graduating.
  • Top in the UK for student satisfaction in a range of subjects (National Student Survey 2015).
  • 91% of students who participated in the survey stated that they would recommend UWS to a friend or relative (National Survey of Student Engagement 2015).

Undergraduate Courses

Type of Qualification:

Mode of study:

Student Facilities

Ayr Campus

  • Some of Scottish higher education's finest facilities with suites, studios and labs for performance, music, broadcasting, education and healthcare.
  • Industry-standard recording facilities.
  • A student-run digital radio station.
  • Student union, with an excellent events and entertainment schedule.
  • A library housing an impressive range of resources and facilities.
  • Brand-new student accommodation composed of 200 en-suite bedrooms grouped in student flats, with shared lounge, kitchen and dining areas and with communal lounge and laundry facilities.
  • New fitness suite.
  • A range of student services featuring careers and funding advice; job shop; counselling; and disability support.
  • Community garden and access to extensive riverside walkways and cycle paths.

Dumfries Campus

  • Set in the beautiful Crichton estate.
  • Shared campus with University of Glasgow and Dumfries & Galloway College.
  • State-of-the-art nursing skills labs.
  • Access to new sports facilities at Dumfries & Galloway College.
  • Student Services support with the information you need about careers, funding, employability and general guidance.
  • Small class sizes, low staff/student ratios and a friendly study environment.


Our current campus in Hamilton* is home to:

  • State-of-the-art simulation wards for nursing and midwifery training.
  • Sport and exercise labs.
  • Refurbished library.
  • Centre for Engineering Excellence.
  • Sport and leisure centre.
  • Wi-fi access.
  • Student Link, including financial and welfare advice; careers service; job shop; counselling service.
  • A range of catering facilities, including two student dining rooms and a coffee bar.
  • Self-catering halls of residence.
  • Students’ union which offers a programme of entertainment throughout the year.

* Following a comprehensive options appraisal on the future development of our Lanarkshire Campus, the university determined in December 2015 that the off-site location at Hamilton International Technology Park presents the best opportunity to provide a campus that is an inspirational focal point and international centre of higher education excellence. This option is now being developed as a full business case. See our website for updates.


  • On-campus facilities include science labs; computer games, animation and music technology labs; industry-standard design and engineering facilities; and nursing and midwifery labs.
  • 2015 saw the opening of a vibrant, technology-rich reception area at the University’s Paisley Campus High Street entrance. The project included a larger and more welcoming reception, new social learning and meeting spaces, and a coffee shop.
  • Our £13.2 m Paisley Campus student residence opened in September 2012, offering stunning new accommodation on campus. 336 en-suite rooms, including 13 accessible rooms are available.
  • Students' union.
  • Robertson Trust Sports Centre (on outskirts of town).
  • Student Link including a range of student services.
  • Robertson Trust library and learning centre.
  • Wi-fi access.


  • Our London Campus, in the heart of one of the world’s most exciting cities, opened in 2015 and offers options in business, education, health, management and creative industries, with a growing range of other disciplines planned for future delivery.
  • Located in a vibrant part of the city centre, just over 15 minutes’ walk from London Bridge underground and Borough Market, and close to Elephant and Castle and Borough tube stations, the campus provides a delivery point for UWS degree and postgraduate programmes in London to our growing international student population.

Disability Services

  • The Disability Service at UWS provides information, advice and guidance to students with a disability, long-standing medical condition or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.
  • We can assist with study-related support, including assistive technology and human support as well as alternative exam arrangements and applying for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) funding.
  • Approximately 1,100 students are registered with the Disability Service as of 2016.
  • Students can contact for advice or to book an appointment with an adviser.

Students' Union

  • The union is run by the Students’ Association (SAUWS) for students, by students. It provides a wide range of services and is the collective voice for our student population and the recognised channel of communication between students and the University.
  • The union bars stream major sporting events; host regular stand‐up comedy gigs as well as quiz nights.
  • SAUWS won NUS Scotland’s HE Students’ Association of the Year award in 2016.

Availability of Part-Time Work

  • UWS Careers and Employability Service can offer advice on summer and part-time jobs.
  • The university's Careers Service offers an online system for course-related vacancies.
  • There are opportunities for part-time work throughout the year in a variety of roles within the university.
  • Part-time, summer, voluntary and graduate vacancies and placement opportunities can be found on our online vacancies service.

Careers Guidance

  • The university's Careers and Employability Service provides advice, guidance and information to students and recent graduates on all careers and employability related matters.
  • The service offer one-to-one guidance, embedded careers education, workshops, seminars and an online student portal which includes a CVbuilder, careers elearning modules, and an interview simulator.
  • The service advertises graduate, placement and part-time opportunities through our vacancy portal. There are also opportunities for part-time work throughout the year in the university, in a variety of administrative, guide and presentation roles.

Recent/Prospective New Builds

  • 2015 saw the opening of a vibrant, technology-rich reception area at the university’s Paisley Campus High Street entrance.
  • New £81m 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.
  • £13.2m 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.
  • The university’s Lanarkshire Campus development project aims to create a campus that is an inspirational focal point and a key driver in the economic, social and cultural development of the region, as well as an international centre of higher education excellence that Lanarkshire and Scotland will be proud of.
  • The university has begun a project to develop a central student information point where students can access all student-facing services on Paisley Campus. The service will provide a single gateway to a range of student services and consist of an information desk which will offer friendly, professional and efficient support and guidance. A key aim of the project is to enhance the student experience and ensure that our students are at the heart of all of what we do.

Notable Alumni

  • Les Hutchison, 1974 HS Control Systems and Maths 1975 – retired Vice Chairman of ShawCor Ltd, Canada and Motherwell F.C., owner Electrical Engineering
  • Kirsty Gilmour – BA Creative Industries Practice 2015 – world no. 19 badminton player
  • Darryl Broadfoot – Journalism, Communication 2000 – Head of Communications at Scottish Football Association
  • Aileen Neilson – BEd (Hons) 1993 – Scottish wheelchair curler
  • Willie Rennie – BSc Biology 1989 – Leader of Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Shamshad Akhtar – Assistant Secretary General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Senior Advisor to SG, United Nations
  • Gavin Hastings OBE – former Scotland rugby union player
  • Sheelagh McLaren – PgDip Broadcast Journalism – sports reporter at STV News
  • Ali Hunter – PgDip Broadcast Journalism 2006 – assistant editor, political programmes, BBC Scotland
  • Euan McEwan – BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering 1980 – Group Chief Executive Officer, Currie and Brown
  • Irene Barkby MBE – BA Nursing 1998 EMBA, 2011 – Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, NHS Lanarkshire
  • Steve Callan  – Mechanical Engineering, 1984, EMBA, 2002 – Managing Director of Goodrich Aerostructures
  • Lesley Dalzie – MBA 2005 – Group Finance Director, Axle Group Holdings
  • Tracey Forbes Rice – BA Information Systems 1994 – Vice President, Software Business Development, SunGard Availability Services
  • Angela Boyle – Vice President at Scottish Development International
  • Heather Smith – Business Economics 1987 – Marketing Director, direct insurance Aviva UK
  • Kevin Clancy – BSc Mechanical Engineering 1977 – Senior Director, Strategic Sourcing, Microsoft Corporation

Further Details

Address University of the West of Scotland Paisley Scotland PA1 2BE
UCAS Code U40
The most comprehensive, definitive and complete university guide