University of Westminster guide
Ask students in New York, Rio or Tokyo where they would like to study, and the answer will usually be London.
At the University of Westminster, you are not just in London, but in its beating heart. The main student building is across the road from BBC Broadcasting House. Soho is on your doorstep. The world is your oyster.
Originally the Royal Polytechnic Institution, it was founded in 1838 at the same Regent Street address it occupies today, where it showcased technical innovations of the day new technologies to the public. Charles Dickens mentioned it in Household Words, written in 1850 and it became the birthplace of British Cinema in 1896. It morphed into a noted place of learning in the 1880s under educational entrepreneur Quintin Hogg. Finally, it became a university in 1992, adopting the name University of Westminster.
The university retains that entrepreneurial spirit, expanding overseas (winning the Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2000 and in 2005), with a new campus in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and partnerships with over 20 countries including Australia, Sri Lanka, China and the USA. A £125 million refurbishment programme has included new faculties such as the financial Bloomsburg Market Suite at Westminster Business School, the institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, and the new cutting-edge Regent Street Cinema.
There are three further campuses – one a short walk away in well-to-do Marylebone. Another, the Cavendish campus, is even closer in fashionable Fitzrovia. The last is in Harrow, a tube journey away to Northwick Park on the Metropolitan Line or Kenton on the Bakerloo or Overground.
Sitting slap-bang in the West End, the university takes full advantage to its proximity to politics, culture and big business. Former and current staff include poet Ezra Pound, human rights lawyer Cherie Blair (wife of former prime minister Tony Blair), noted ceramicist Edmund de Waal and inventor of the steam engine Charles Parsons.
Notable alumni include journalists Jon Ronson and Charlie Brooker, writer Quentin Crisp and the grand dame of punk, fashion grandee Vivienne Westwood. Musicians who attended Westminster include Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright, and Rolling Stone Charlie Watts. More recent attendees include producer Shux who has worked with Jay-Z and Lana Del Rey and Senna director Asif Kapada.
"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” said Samuel Johnson, according to his biographer Boswell in 1777. The sentiment remains true, truer than ever, today.
“Living in London means you can never be bored. There are plenty of museums, art galleries, attractions, pubs, bars and clubs to explore. Even if you don’t set out to go and see something specific in the city, it is always great just to go for a walk around the different areas. I’ve lived here for nearly three years now and I still haven’t seen everything there is to see in the city.”
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At a glance
What you need to know about the University of Westminster
Complete (2015, national): 73
The Guardian (2015, national): 87
Times/Sunday Times (2015, national): 106
For undergraduates, fees will be £9,000 per year for home students, £12,000 for international students.
For postgraduates, fees vary by course, but start at £6,250 per year for home students, and £12,500 for overseas students.
Green score: 99 out of 151. High 'Third Class' score.
Total students: 23,590
Full time: 76%
Part time: 24%
Postgraduate: 4,656 (19.7%)
International students: 23.6%
Mature students: 25% are aged 25 or over
Male to female ratio: 44% male, 56% female
Student to staff ratio: 20:1
Typical number of offers: 17,000 per year
Applicants per place: 6
University of Westminster website
University of Westminster Student Union website
Open days at the University of Westminster
University of Westminster open days
The university has regular open days, for both anyone interested in coming, and specific days for those considering particular subjects. You can find a full list here.
How to find it
University of Westminster
309 Regent Street
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7911 5000
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