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West of Scotland University

UCAS Code: U40

Location: West of Scotland Show on Map

Site: Campuses at Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton & Paisley

A modern university; member of the million+ group of universities. 

Student Population

Total Students:14,845
FE Students:0%


Total undergraduates:13,300
Full Time:73%
Mature on Entry:41%
UK Students:96%
State school entry:98%

Teaching Staff

543 full- and part-time

Broad study areas

Business; education; engineering; science; social sciences; computing; design; sport; creative & cultural industries; languages, health, nursing & midwifery.


Admission Information:UCAS tariff not currently used. 
Points on Entry (Mean):195
Drop Out Rate:23%
Accommodation:Some first years housed.


Founded:1897; university status in 1992 as Paisley University and changed to present name in 2007
Site:4 campuses: Paisley Campus in Paisley town centre; Ayr Campus (brand new in 2011) close to Ayr town centre; Hamilton, 11 miles south of Glasgow; and Dumfries, 2 miles from centre of Dumfries.
How to get there:M8 motorway, rail to Paisley (10 mins from Glasgow), close to Glasgow airport; A77 for Ayr; M74 for Dumfries; Hamilton is well-served with travel links and is centrally located, fast and frequent train service from Hamilton to Glasgow. 
Special features:Career-focused courses developed in partnership with business and industry; well-established links with FE colleges; thriving international student community.

Student services & facilities

Student advice & services:Personal tutor system; mentoring system for new students; funding and advice service providing information on student support and how to manage your money; counselling; Employability Link (including careers service, placement opportunities, and Jobshop); disability support; advice for international students; spiritual care team.
Amenities:Students' association with a variety of affiliated clubs and societies across all 4 campuses. 
Sporting facilities:Paisley: Robertson Trust sports centre on outskirts of town (sports hall, fitness suite, gymnasium, 3G all-weather pitches, rugby and hockey pitches, jogging route and all-purpose training area). Hamilton: sports & leisure centre (multi-gym area, games hall and sauna). Dumfries:sports facilities (games hall, gym and fitness studio).  
Accommodation:Approximately 1000 places: 600 in Paisley (and more in 2012), 200 ensuite rooms in Ayr, 156 places in student flats in Hamilton; students in Dumfries may be able to get a place in Glasgow University accommodation. Rents approximately £65-£130 per week.

Study opportunities & careers

Library & information services:Libraries on all 4 campuses: 574,000 volumes, 12,000 periodicals (print and online), 685 study places (for group work and individual study places); 117 fixed IT workstations, wifi and laptop loan. Resources at Dumfries shared with Glasgow University and Dumfries & Galloway College; those at Ayr shared with Scottish Agricultural College. Information provision £89 pa spent per FTE student. Subject librarians provide induction and specialist help for all students. Other learning resources: Library online services provided via virtual learning environment and social media; reciprocal access arrangements with other local libraries.
Study abroad:Links with some 80 Erasmus partners across Europe. Opportunities for students to study in USA and Europe.  
Careers:Careers service across all 4 campuses.


Living expenses budget:Minimum budget of £6500 pa recommended by the university (excluding tuition fees). 
Term-time work:Some work available on campus eg as guides for open days, enrolment, university reps, in students' association etc; vacancies off campus advertised in careers service. 
University tuition fees:Scottish and EU students pay no fees during course; other UK students' fees not yet known. International students paid £10,000 pa (arts-based), £10,500 (science-based).


Academic features:

Practical courses developed with commerce and industry. Placement and work-based learning a feature of many programmes.  

Awarding body:

University of the West of Scotland.

Main undergraduate awards:

BA, BAcc, BEd, BSc, BEng

Length of courses:

3−4 years (full-time); 4−5 years (sandwich).

Main subjects offered:

  • Accountancy
  • Acting
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Animation
  • Art
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Broadcasting
  • Business Administration
  • Business Economics
  • Business Studies
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Childhood Studies
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce
  • Communication Engineering
  • Community Arts
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Technology
  • Computing
  • Construction
  • Creative/Performance Writing
  • Criminal Justice
  • Cultural Studies
  • Drama
  • E-business
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Electronics
  • Engineering (General)
  • English as a Foreign Language
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Health
  • Environmental Science
  • European Studies
  • Events Management
  • Film Music
  • Film Studies
  • Finance
  • Forensic Science
  • French
  • Geology
  • German
  • Health
  • Hospitality Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Immunology
  • Information Science
  • Information Studies
  • Information Systems
  • Information Technology
  • Interactive Games Production
  • Interactive Multimedia
  • International Business
  • Internet Technology
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Leisure Studies
  • Management
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Media Studies
  • Media Technology
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Medicinal Physics
  • Microbiology
  • Midwifery
  • Motor Sport Engineering
  • Multimedia
  • Music
  • Music Technology
  • Music Theatre
  • Nuclear Science
  • Nursing
  • Operational Research
  • Performance Arts
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy
  • Photography
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Politics
  • Popular Music
  • Product Design
  • Production Engineering
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Recreation Studies
  • Social Administration
  • Social Policy
  • Social Science
  • Social Studies
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Software Engineering
  • Spanish
  • Sports Studies
  • Statistics
  • Structural Engineering
  • Surveying
  • Systems Analysis
  • Teacher Training
  • Theatre Studies
  • Tourism
  • TV Studies
  • Veterinary Nursing
  • Video
  • Virtual Design
  • Web Development/Design
  • Zoology

Student view

David Devlin, President (BA Psychology)


What's it like as a place to live? The University has Campuses around the former Strathclyde region of Scotland. The main campuses are in Ayr, Hamilton Paisley and Dumfries.  The Towns are lovely and the areas surrounding the University campuses are safe. However as always common sense is advisable.

How's the student accommodation? The university's student accommodation is not the best, however this is being reviewed at the moment and new residences in 2011. Private lets are generally ok, however the quality and price varies across our different campuses.

What's the student population like? The student population is extremely friendly. However the population is extremely varied across our campuses. In the Hamilton campus you will experience more mature, Scottish students. In Paisley you will find possibly the most diverse set of students, ranging from mature to school leavers and home students to international. Ayr has possibly one of the best student atmospheres across UWS. The smaller nature of the Campus means that you get to know everyone very quickly and have a laugh in the Union building.

How do students and locals get on? This information varies from time to time and differs across the different campuses. In general there are few no-go areas, however if that changes at any time the Students' Association will alert the students to this change. 


What's it like as a place to study? The University is a great place to study. Investment has begun to make our teaching spaces the most advanced in Scotland. The Dumfries campus now has a new modern building and facilities and our Ayr campus is scheduled for redevelopment to begin shortly. Currently the Paisley and Hamilton teaching spaces are adequate and are also scheduled for redevelopment at some point after 2010.

What are the teaching staff like? The lecturers are the best that anyone could ask for. You never need to be afraid to ask for help outside of class time. 


What are student societies like? UWS has a good number of Sports clubs and Societies. We are also looking for more to be set up. We have a fair number of people involved and the number increases all the time.

What's a typical night out?A typical night out will involve the Students going to the Union for a Drink then maybe on to a night club. However in general our International Population prefer to stay within the Students' Union buildings.

And how much does it cost? A good night out can be had for about £20−£30.

How can you get home safely? The Students' Association in Paisley offers a free bus service that returns students to the halls of residence. In Ayr and Hamilton the Residences are on campus and are within walking distance from the Union. If you travel outside of the Unions, the best way to return home is by Taxi. But remember do not get into any unregistered taxis!


Is it an expensive place to live? Not really. I would say that it's about average for everyone else in Scotland.

Average price of a pint? £2.10 (but £1.80-£1.95 in the unions).

And the price of a takeaway?  £2−£3, however some places are far more expensive than others.

What's the part-time work situation? Jobs are readily available around the different areas of the University. Glasgow is close by to both the Hamilton and Paisley campuses and in the city it should be fairly easy to find a job.  The pay for different jobs varies from minimum to extremely well-paid, depending on the company you work for. In general call centres pay far more than other places and are more flexible for students.  The University has just opened a Job shop to help students find part-time work. They are very supportive of students who work part-time with their studies. 


What's the best feature about the place? The people and the Students. We are a very friendly bunch!

And the worst? The weather. The west coast of Scotland is not famed for sunshine.

And to sum it all up?The best modern University that Scotland has to offer (in my opinion).

Past Students

Gavin Hastings (Scottish/British Lions rugby football international); Douglas Dryburgh (junior world curling champion), Craig Brown (Scottish national football coach), James Grady (footballer).  

More info?

Contact the SA President, tel 0141 849 4161, for advice and SA Students' Handbook, or check out the website www.sauws.org.uk



University of the West of Scotland
Paisley Campus


0141 848 3000





Student enquiries:

Student enquiries 0141 848 7044



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