Good University Guide 2023

University of West London

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of West London

Contact details


St Mary's Road, Ealing, London , W5 5RF,

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Boasting the highest rates of student satisfaction in Britain, the University of West London (UWL) wins our University of the Year for Student Experience award — for the second time. In our analysis of the latest National Student Survey outcomes, UWL comes top for students’ evaluation of teaching quality and their wider undergraduate experience. 

In common with almost all universities, UWL lost ground on student satisfaction during the pandemic, falling eight places for teaching quality and 15 for the wider experience in our previous edition — but has bounced back in style. The university, based in Ealing and in Brentford, is underpinned by a commitment to the student experience that has helped transform it from the former Thames Valley University (which finished bottom of our league table in 2001) into today’s top 40 institution, after an impressive 34-place rise this year. 

Guided by the principles of the right to educational enhancement, inclusion and participation, Professor Peter John, the vice-chancellor, put student experience at the heart of recent campus developments. “You’ve got to design your campus system for the students rather than the opposite way round,” he commented when UWL won its Student Experience award in 2020. 

The student support building in Ealing is the first thing anyone entering sees, its “street” of services running right through the campus. At the Brentford campus, which occupies an 11-storey building, student services occupy a whole floor.  Also enhancing student health and wellbeing is the university’s new £13.8 million leisure centre in Gunnersbury Park, a partnership with two local councils that is now one of London’s largest outdoor facilities. There are ten grass pitches, two all-weather floodlit pitches, a cricket pitch and eight tennis courts among the facilities as well as a large gym and group exercise rooms. 

A campus in Ealing is opening in September 2023 next to a new cinema development. It will provide modern teaching rooms and social spaces, redoubling UWL’s commitment to on-campus teaching, which is the prevalent model of delivery this year. 

UWL has also been investing in research, creating more than 20 research centres and groups around the themes of problems faced by society today and creating solutions that will transform lives tomorrow. Two research centres opened last year: the Centre for Inequality and Levelling Up (which focuses on developing solutions for challenges relating to inequality in education, employment and opportunity) and the Institute for Policing Studies (which draws on UWL’s experience in police training in research that aims to help to shape the future of policing worldwide). 

The focus on research has translated to a huge 29-place leap into the top 100 of our research quality rating for UWL this year, based on results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. Nearly 80 per cent of the university’s work submitted for assessment was rated world-leading or internationally excellent (the top standards). 

UWL’s specialist learning facilities are designed to prepare graduates for the world of work. Among them is a Boeing 737 flight simulator with commercial airline software and a flight management system. In addition there is a mock courtroom and replica hospital wards. The new School of Biomedical Sciences has benefited from £1.5 million investment that has added specialist laboratories to aid practical teaching and learning in clinical research. 

The latest figures showed that 69 per cent of UWL graduates were in high-skilled work or postgraduate study 15 months after finishing their degree — resulting in a 19-place rise in our graduate prospects measure. Helping to lift these figures, graduates are given lifelong access to UWL’s careers service, which offers placement opportunities, industry workshops and careers counselling among its supports.

At UWL’s Brentford campus, the landmark Paragon building is the headquarters of one of the largest healthcare faculties in Britain. The university also has a Reading outpost, housing the Berkshire Institute for Health, and nursing and midwifery students.

UWL achieved silver in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). The panel complimented the university on its investment in high-quality physical and digital resources, with students fully involved in the design of the new facilities. It also commented favourably on peer mentoring and targeted financial support programmes to improve the engagement of those most at risk of dropping out.

Even so, UWL’s high dropout rate remains above the predicted level, based on the academic and social mix. Ranking 13th in our social inclusion index overall, at UWL seven in ten students are aged 21 or over when they enrol (the eighth-highest proportion of mature students) and more than half are the first in their immediate families to go to university (ranking UWL 22nd on this measure). Nearly all (94.7 per cent) students went to non-selective state schools and 52.6 per cent of students come from ethnic minority backgrounds. 

About half of full-time students qualify for some form of financial assistance. Provision includes 400 undergraduate bursaries of £500 per year of study to students from low-income households. Path to Success scholarships for those taking a four-year degree with a foundation year are worth £2,000, paid in instalments and on condition of progression criteria. Aspire cards provide £200 funds for use in the online student shop (£100 for part-time students), and core textbooks.

Applications were 16 per cent higher in the 2021 recruitment cycle, year-on-year. From the present academic year the curriculum gains nine degrees in subjects including biomedical informatics; human genetics; and popular music performance.

Most students "live out", so the 450 rooms endorsed or managed by the university provide enough space for all first-years to be guaranteed a spot.

UWL has an on-campus sports centre with two gyms, two large fitness studios and plenty of changing-room space, as well as the new development at Gunnersbury Park. 

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 40 (74)
Teaching quality 84.3 1st
Student experience 81.4 1st
Research quality 28.7 93rd
Ucas entry points 119 86th=
Graduate prospects 69 90th=
Firsts and 2:1s 77.3 66th
Completion rate 77.2 118th
Student-staff ratio 12.9 9th

Vital statistics











Applications/places 16,360/2,995
Applications/places ratio 5.5:1
Overall offer rate 59.1%


Places in accommodation 550
Accommodation costs £185 - £240
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,230
Fees (overseas year) Full fees
Fees (international) £12,750 - £9,750
Finance website
Graduate salaries £25,000

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 13
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 94.7%
Grammar school admissions 1.4%
Independent school admissions 3.9%
Ethnic minority students (all) 52.6%
Black achievement gap -20.5%
White working class males 2.5%
First generation students 55.7%
Low participation areas 7.4%
Working class dropout gap 4%
Mature 70.4%
EU students 17.4%
Other overseas students 7%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Accounting and finance 94.1%
Business, management and marketing 91.6%
Hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism 87.7%
Law 87.6%
Communication and media studies 87.2%
Civil engineering 85.7%
Art and design 85.3%
Nursing 84.9%
Psychology 83%
Drama, dance and cinematics 82.3%
Computer science 82.1%
Social work 80.2%
Archaeology and forensic science 76.5%
Information systems and management 75.6%
Criminology 74.7%
Music 67.3%