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The University of the West of England is a modern university, having gained university status in 1992, but, arguably, you can trace its history back over 400 years to the foundation of the Bristol Society of Merchant Venturers' Navigation School.
It’s a huge university with over 30,000 students. UWE is keen to widen access to higher education and so makes a point of considering other qualifications as well as A Levels. Still, some of its courses, like law and physiotherapy have quite high entry requirements. A generous bursary scheme, amongst other things, contributes to a student body from a wide range of backgrounds.
UWE Bristol is a “partnership university”; it’s big on working with business and community organisations. Strategic relationships with industry partners aim to boost students’ learning experience and, alongside with the Graduate Development Programme, help develop employability skills.
The four faculties at UWE offer over 600 courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and short course levels meaning most students will find a course to suit them. Previous alumni include the Prime Minister’s wife, Samantha Cameron, comedians Miranda Hart and Russell Howard, and artist Richard Long.
Bristol, where the University is based, is a flourishing city on the Avon River in southwest England. Renowned for its great music scene, Bristolians are considered amongst the friendliest people in the UK. From its redeveloped Habourside and grittily independent Stokes Croft, to the rambling lanes of the Georgian Clifton Village, Bristol is a hugely student friendly city.
The University of the West of England has four campuses located in and around Bristol and a further two situated further afield. Frenchay Campus is its main site, located four miles from the city centre on the outskirts of the city. The Campus’ location means that UWE can stuff a whole range of state-of-the-art facilities into one site. There’s the brand new Student Village, new cinema facilities, a health centre, the impressive Centre for Sport, plenty of catering outlets, a Student Union bar and supermarket. If you tire of the campus, the city centre is only a bus ride away.
Closer to town is St Matthias Campus with its gothic buildings and sunken lawns. It’s located in Fishponds, a popular student area three miles from the city centre. Nearby is another of UWE’s campuses, Glenside, which is home to the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. The Department of Art’s Bower Ashton Campus is only two miles away from the city centre located on the edge of the picturesque Bower Ashton Estate.
UWE also has a campus in Gloucester and the Hartpury College in the surrounding countryside is the location of its land based and equestrian courses.
UWE has six halls of residence located in and around its four campuses in Bristol. At the Frenchay Campus, there is the swanky Student Village with a huge number of en-suite rooms and the much smaller Caroll Court which is made up of rooms divided up into two storey houses. Rent for the Student Village is between £5,380 and £5,509 for the academic year, rent for Caroll Court is cheaper at £4,257.
There is also accommodation located on UWE’s Glenside and St Mathias campuses. Mathias Campus accommodation consists of en-suite rooms at £4,174 for the academic year, whilst Glenside Campus accommodation has 288 single study rooms at £4,146 to £4,426 for the year.
The Hollies residence is suitable for students at all of the campuses. It has 179 rooms and rent for the year comes in at £4,039 to £5,188. Alternatively, there is a privately owned student hall located in the centre of Bristol with 480 en-suite rooms. Rent is more expensive at £5,218 to £6,594 for the year.
Students who don’t want to stay in halls can apply for a room in one of UWE’s university managed (but privately owned) shared houses. Rent for a room in one of these is between £3,811 and £4,460 for 42 weeks.
From 2012, the University of the West of England will be charging £9,000 a year in tuition fees for undergraduates. The important thing to remember is that you can get a tuition fee loan from the government to cover the cost of your tuition fees and you won’t have to start repaying the loan until you earn over £21,000. For more information on the tuition fee rise, check out this article.
Students living in UWE’s accommodation will be paying between around £4,000 and £5,500 in rent a year. Add on other living expenses such as food, entertainment and travel and students will probably need between £8,000 and £10,000 a year to cover living costs. Obviously the amount you spend will depend on your lifestyle, some students will be aiming to get by on less, and others will spend much more.
UWE plans to award over 1,000 bursaries in 2012 as part of the UWE Bursary Programme. This will consist of 500 awards of £1,000 cash bursary and £2,000 off accommodation and 500 awards of just a £1,000 cash bursary. These will be allocated on the basis of financial need and students must have a household income below £25,000.
UWE awards a number of sports bursaries of up to £3,000 to promising sportsmen and women. They also have 20 Study Abroad Bursaries of £1,000.
Bristol is packed with great pubs and bars. The Habourside is a particularly popular spot with a mixture of commercial and artier bars and clubs. If clubbing is your thing, then there’s plenty of super clubs, underground clubs, clubs on boats, clubs in warehouses and the odd rave.
Music is big in Bristol, with a crop of new music venues springing up across the city amongst the more established ones, like O2 Academy Bristol. There’s great theatre to be found at the Old Vic and comedy at various places like the Hen and Chicken, Jongleurs, Jesters, Hatchet and Tobacco Factory.
There are over 30 societies at UWE and they are an ideal way to explore an interest and meet like-minded people. UWESU student media comprises of a student newspaper and radio station and they are always looking for students to contribute.
On the sports side, there are over 40 sports clubs, from football and netball, to gliding and sailing. Sporting life at UWE is centred around the £5.5million Centre for Sport on Frenchay Campus. Facilities include fully equipped fitness suites, a water based astro pitch, a large sports hall, a climbing wall and squash courts.
Freshers’ Week is big in Bristol. Clubs, pubs and bars throw open their doors to the influx of first years descending on the city. UWESU keeps freshers entertained with plenty of freshers’ fairs, pub crawls, themed parties and a big live music event.
At UWE’s career service students can book appointments to see careers advisers, get help with their job applications, or explore their career options. UWE Careers runs a vacancy service with details of graduate jobs and volunteering options, holds careers events and maintains a library of career resources.