University of Westminster
Welcome to University of Westminster
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.
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Courses and fees
Would vary depending on course, but a typical requirement will be 300 UCAS points – BBB or above.
For undergraduates, fees will be £9,000 per year for 'home' students – and £12,000 for those from outside the EU.Postgraduates - For postgraduates, fees vary by course, but start at £6,250 per year for home students, and £12,500. You can find a complete list here.
Bursaries and scholarships
The university has links with key universities abroad There are dozens of scholarships available, and the range of awards ranges from small cash sums to full fees. There are several categories of scholarship, and you can find the full list here.If you already have an honours degree from the university, then you are entitled to a 15% discount for masters and doctorates if you took that first degree at least three years ago. This reduces to a 10% discount if you took the first degree within five years. You can find full details here.
However, for undergraduates, there are nine individual awards, and students are free to apply to one or more of them. They range from cash awards of £750 to full fees for the Professor Moorad Choudhry Scholarship for students at Westminster Business School. The full list is here.
For postgraduates, there are six category of scholarships offering full fees, another three offering half fees and three further for part fees. Some cover specific topics, others are designed for those who have been in care. The full list is here.
Several more scholarships are available, for international students, for travel grants, for joint scholarships, and six scholarships for joint scholarships for places shared with various countries listed here.
There are more than 3,500 Macs and PCs dotted around the various campuses. Many are based in the campus libraries, many others at various points around the university buildings. Each building has a central IT help desk.
There is also access to audio-visual equipment and printing services. Wireless networks are available, in addition to places you can plug in your computer for internet. However, as you are likely to be in central London, there is free city-wide wifi, and many cafes and restaurants have higher-capacity wifi too.
The university has deals with Adobe, Viglen, Apple, Dell and Microsoft to offer deals for various pieces of hardware and software.
The main Regent Street university building was also the birthplace of the visual arts. Europe's first photographic studio was build in the roof, and it was the birthplace of British cinema, the place the Lumiere brothers chose to display their collections of films. Films included the famous train coming into a station, waves crashing against rocks and people playing cards.
A new centre based on this old cinema will open in April 2015, open to students and members of the public, to compliment the university's highly regarded and modern film, television and music studios.
Library and Study Facilities
In total, the university has four libraries, one at each campus. All have basic library facilities such as private study work spaces, photocopying facilities and general lending services and recently underwent a £125 million refurbishment, so the facilities really are state-of-the-art.
Marylebone Campus has the Westminster Business school library and study spaces which you can book to use and are open 24-hours for reference and study. The Financial Markets Suite (FMS), uses Bloomberg terminals to find the latest market data and give students as realistic as possible access to the technology used by major financial centres.Harrow also has group study spaces which you can book to use and are open 24-hours for reference and study. Harrow also includes music and television studios, and radio production facilities.
Cavendish library in Fitzrovia is open until 9pm on weekdays with earlier closing on Fridays and at weekends. The main Regents Campus Library is open until 11pm weekdays and 6pm weekends.
Welfare and Financial Aid
Almost every student concern imaginable is catered for at the university. This ranges from standard student concerns like problem landlords to faith and spirituality, LGBT support, counselling and disability learning support.In addition, there is an academic support centre where you can find help for your academic work, such as writing assignments, help with exam technique, managing your time and so on.
Employability varies from faculty to faculty, but the course with the highest employability is, unusually, history. The university works on the principle that academic performance is good, but so is practical experience.
The university takes a lot of effort to find employment for all of its students. The career development centre is there to place students in internships and placements with employers or potential employers. They also have a 'talent bank' which is run something like a recruitment agency, enabling students to work at the many events and open days in addition to running recruitment fairs.
The talent bank can help find holiday work, suggest ways to match skills to what employers need, and help with practical essentials like building a CV and working on applications and interviews. Their website is here.
Undergraduate students can book a full guidance interview, or a quick 20-minute 'query' session. Their website can be found here, but it's also worth reading through their annual report, linked on that same page, to see how the service benchmarks its performance and aims to find students more placements, and found more than 4,000 experiences students could add to their CVs last year.
Employers who have used university students include British Airways, Google ATP, Warner Brothers, GlaxoSmithKline, Burberry, British Museum, Chanel, Commonwealth Games, Disney Europe, Dior, Ericsson, European Commission, Fawcett Society, Fujitsu, Heinz, Lufthansa, Microsoft, Nokia, Amnesty UK, Volkswagen, Hewlett-Packard
Students will need to be registered with a GP where they live, but there is also a nurse who runs a clinic for most problems in both Harrow and at Marylebone. The service includes information on issues like sexual health, contraception, anxiety, nutrition and dental issues.
A wellbeing clinic opened in 2014, offering complementary health services for staff and students.
Both services are available on weekdays and in termtime only. In the case of a medical emergency, University College Hospital is a fifteen minute walk away from the West End campuses.
The university has been highly successful at attracting students from overseas, with almost a quarter of students coming from outside the 'home' nations. The university is rightly proud of this, and boasts of students from 150 or so countries.
Consequently, for those coming from overseas the university is highly organised and geared-up to those who may lack language skills or may simply be unfamiliar with the way things are done in the UK.
The Welcome Programme helps those from abroad with life in London, with advice on doing some of the more bureaucratic but essential tasks, like opening a bank account.
Language courses are held in the summer before classes for those who may have weaker English. This is open to all students, not just international students. Students also have access to the Polylang clinic to learn a choice of Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese Russian and Spanish alongside their course.
Finally, a student exchange scheme operates with partners in Sweden, Turkey, USA, Australia.
There are half a dozen halls of residence dotted around London. Some are in Harrow, some in the city centre.
Alexander Fleming - Is in fashionable Hoxton, the centre of the London's digital and start-up scene. 186 rooms can be rented from £158.34 per week.
Harrow Hall - In leafy Harrow, with almost 600 units including double studios. Prices range from £115.01 per week in a shared flat ad £210 per week in a double studio.
International House - Right on the South Bank near Lambeth North station, not too far from Waterloo. 73 units popular with overseas students from £85.05 per week in shared flats to £118.02 per week in standard flats.
Marylebone House - On Marylebone High st, close to Baker st tube. 212 rooms with weekly rents ranging from £199.01 to £265.02 per week.
Raffles House - At Wembley, located near the famous Wembley Stadium and managed by Prodigy Living, designed for first year students, rents are £166 per week for standard and £208 for studios.
Wigram House - There are 169 rooms in Victoria, close to Buckingham Palace and Westminster Cathedral. Rents from £128.03 to £160.01 per week.
Victoria Hall - Another hall in Wembley close to Wembley Stadium with 200 rooms for £172.50 per week.
Living in London, there is an efficient network of tube, train, bus, taxi and now bike hire.
- Cavendish Campus is nearest to Goodge Street, Great Portland Street and Warren Street tube stops
- Harrow Campus is nearest to Northwick Park
- Marylebone Campus is nearest to Baker Street
- Regents Campus is nearest to Oxford Circus
Oyster cards are useful, but any card with a contactless symbol can be used on the underground, trains or buses. Season tickets can be better value. If you can get over the traffic chaos and sometimes frightening traffic, London can be a wonderful place to cycle.
London's train stations can take you to almost every corner of the UK, while St Pancras takes regular trains to Paris and Brussels.
Four major airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and London City can take you anywhere in the world.
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.
The next open days for both postgraduates and undergraduates take place on:
- Wednesday 2nd December 2015
- Undergraduate open day for Media, Arts and Design students, at the Harrow Campus
- Thursday 3rd December 2015
- Undergraduate open day for Fine Art Mixed Media BA, at the Harrow Campus.
“Some of the lecturers still have good links with the companies they used to work for and contacts with lots of people in the industry, so we had plenty of people from industry coming in to give us lectures or talks on particular areas of the course, as well as a site visit in our final year.”
“For me, Westminster has honestly been the best choice I could have ever made. The University is great at providing the utmost comfort and ease for students, whatever their financial background is. It’s great that all my books are available online, I don’t need to print loads of things out, and I can renew books online so I can do my work from home when I need to – there’s just an incredible amount of flexibility. I’ve been able to pick modules along the way that I’ve found incredibly interesting, and the seminar leaders in those modules have perhaps added to the reason why I’ve enjoyed the modules so much.”
“The social life at Westminster is extremely ‘happening.’ From the large number of societies you can join, to the various events organised by the Students’ Union, the University is always buzzing with activity. It’s a great stress buster after all the hard work being put on your course.”
“I was in University accommodation at Wembley Park, and as a first year that’s definitely a great place to be. You get to know a lot of people in the first few weeks, and there’s always something going on. We all went out together quite a lot, and the atmosphere was great. And London’s a big city, but because of the transport network it’s quick and easy to get anywhere.”
“My main advice to anyone thinking of coming to Westminster would be go to the Open Day, speak to students and lecturers, and find out what the University is really like – don’t just rely on the league tables to tell you. I’m so glad I came here, and really grateful to the University.”
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