Good University Guide 2023

University of Central Lancashire

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Central Lancashire

Contact details


Preston, PR1 2HE,

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The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is opening the UK’s 11th veterinary school. Based at the university’s Preston campus, it is offering courses at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level from September 2022. As well as veterinary medicine, options include bioveterinary science, veterinary clinical practice, veterinary sciences, veterinary physiotherapy and rehabilitation and clinical animal behaviour and training. 

The vet school’s first intake of UK and international students will begin veterinary science degrees and foundation courses, while the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (BVMS) degree course will begin in 2023. 

Under the university’s £200 million masterplan, a £35 million Engineering Innovation Centre opened in 2019. UCLan’s £60 million student centre, at the Preston campus, opened in 2021. Featuring a rooftop garden, the centre houses all student services from mental health provision to careers advice and housing assistance. A large pedestrianised public square has been developed alongside, forming a new gateway into Preston.

The student-centric facility should help to improve UCLan’s satisfaction scores in future National Student Surveys (NSS). In our analysis of the results of the latest NSS, the university has slipped further outside the top 100 for satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience this year (102nd), while it has improved slightly to 84= for satisfaction with teaching quality. 

 One of Britain’s bigger universities, with nearly 16,000 undergraduates and about 3,400 postgraduate students, UCLan operates on multiple sites — including its Larnaka campus in Cyprus, offering UK degrees in a Mediterranean setting. Students on a wide range of UK-based courses have the opportunity to spend a year there.

Courses based at UCLan’s Burnley campus promise small class sizes, and the Pennine site has a students’ union hub, a moot court and science laboratories. The Westlakes campus in West Cumbria focuses on nursing and other health subjects. 

Enrolments in the 2021 admissions cycle dipped by about 17 per cent, but applications to study at UCLan reached their highest since 2017. International relations and education and English were among seven new courses to begin in September 2022. 

Rated silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework in 2019, UCLan was commended for embedding employability skills across the curriculum and for extensive engagement with local employers. All students can take advantage of work placements and other opportunities to boost their work-readiness upon graduation and the university has links with the NHS, BBC, Lancashire Constabulary, Wigan Warriors and Royal Mail, among other organisations. Graduate prospects have improved by 16 places year-on-year, ranking 66th, based on the proportion in highly skilled jobs or postgraduate study 15 months after leaving UCLan.

Extensive degree apprenticeship provision at UCLan spans 30 subject areas across the fields of engineering, professional services and health and wellbeing. The university expects to increase its number of earn-as-you-learn programmes from 1,800 to about 2,500. Youth worker and fire safety engineer courses are set to begin in September 2022.

Physics, maths and astronomy research at UCLan has longstanding research links with Nasa. Under the partnership, UCLan scientists unveiled in December 2020 the highest-ever resolution images of the Sun from Nasa’s solar sounding rocket mission. Two-thirds of UCLan’s submissions to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) were rated world-leading or internationally excellent, the top two categories. Creative writing, social work, criminology, and social policy produced some of the best results. The university has done well to gain four places in our research quality index (82=) against sector-wide improvements compared with the previous national assessment in 2014.

UCLan remains in the top 50 in our social inclusion index (43=). Of its student population, 40.2 per cent are aged over 21. The university’s six-week, part-time Return to Study taster courses cover a range of subject areas and target over-21s who have demonstrable skills in a particular area but who may not have formal level 3 qualifications. The university also runs a number of widening participation initiatives to promote engagement in Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, including the Lancashire Science Festival for children aged 5-14 and the Young Scientist Centre, a collaboration with the Royal Institution that offers practical experience in laboratory space.

Foundation years are offered in a wide range of subjects, while about 30 per cent of applicants benefit from UCLan’s contextual offers, which cut grade requirements by eight Ucas points for disadvantaged students. 

The university’s portfolio of 14 undergraduate bursaries and scholarships includes medical scholarships — two for East Lancashire and Cumbria-based students and two for northwest students from underrepresented backgrounds — which cover all tuition fees for the duration of the five-year course. Other awards include bursaries of £1,000 a year for young people leaving care or estranged from their parents. For those from low-income households, a bursary of £2,000 is available, spread across three academic years.

The Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre at the Preston campus and the UCLan Sports Arena two miles away provide facilities such as grass rugby and football pitches, floodlit tennis/netball courts, artificial pitches, an eight-lane athletics track and a 1.5km cycle circuit. Cycle hire is also offered.

 Students are drawn to Preston’s generally safe environment and lower cost of living than nearby Liverpool or Manchester. Accommodation is guaranteed for first-years and there are 377 rooms costing £79 per week — among the lowest rent for halls of residence in the country.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 107 (108=)
Teaching quality 74 84th=
Student experience 68.9 102nd
Research quality 30.4 82nd=
Ucas entry points 125 63rd=
Graduate prospects 72.9 66th
Firsts and 2:1s 73.3 96th
Completion rate 74.8 124th
Student-staff ratio 16.2 65th=
World ranking - 801= (801=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 21,575/4,925
Applications/places ratio 4.4:1
Overall offer rate 68.9%


Places in accommodation 1,356
Accommodation costs £79 - £135
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £6,000 (Foundation) - £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,000
Fees (overseas year) £1,385
Fees (international) £10,000 (Foundation) - £14,250
Fees (international, medical) £46,000
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,000


Sport points/rank 454.5, 63rd
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 43=
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 97%
Grammar school admissions 1.5%
Independent school admissions 1.4%
Ethnic minority students (all) 34.6%
Black achievement gap -27.5%
White working class males 6.7%
First generation students 51.9%
Low participation areas 14.2%
Working class dropout gap -3.6%
Mature 40.2%
EU students 2.4%
Other overseas students 10.2%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Creative writing 93.5%
History 87.5%
Archaeology and forensic science 86.9%
Chemistry 86.4%
Physics and astronomy 85.2%
Hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism 84.1%
Business, management and marketing 82.4%
Architecture 81.4%
Sports science 81.2%
Art and design 81.1%
Drama, dance and cinematics 81.1%
Communication and media studies 81%
Education 80.8%
Dentistry 80.4%
English 78.7%
Social work 78.4%
Building 77%
Subjects allied to medicine 76%
Law 75.4%
Accounting and finance 74.4%
Biological sciences 73.7%
Physiotherapy 72.8%
Psychology 72.8%
Sociology 72.6%
Criminology 70.6%
Computer science 68.1%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 65.4%
Civil engineering 64.1%
General engineering 64.1%
East and South Asian studies 63.7%
Nursing 63.6%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 62.6%
Mechanical engineering 61.2%
Social policy 60.9%
Music 53.4%