"UWE" redirects here. For other uses, see Uwe (disambiguation).
University of the West of England
Motto Light Liberty Learning
Established 1992 - University status
1970 - Bristol Polytechnic
Type Public
Chancellor Sir Ian Carruthers
Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven West
Students 30,390[1]
Undergraduates 24,405[1]
Postgraduates 5,985[1]
Other students 550 FE[1]

Bristol, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51°30′01″N 2°32′51″W / 51.50021°N 2.54749°W / 51.50021; -2.54749

Campus Semi-urban
Colours White, red and black
Affiliations EUA
Universities UK
Association of Commonwealth Universities
Website http://www.uwe.ac.uk/
File:Univ of the West of England logo.png

The University of the West of England, also known as UWE Bristol, or simply UWE (pronounced "you-we") is a university based in the British city of Bristol. Its main campus is at Frenchay in Bristol, about five miles (8 km) north of the city centre. UWE also has campuses at St Matthias and Glenside in north-east Bristol and Bower Ashton, near Ashton Court in south-west Bristol.

There are regional centres in Bath and Swindon, and an associate faculty specialising in animal behaviour and welfare, agricultural and sports related courses in Hartpury, Gloucestershire. This satellite college has staged the European Young Rider Championship, a horse riding competition.

With around 30,000 students and 3,000 academic staff, UWE is the larger of the two universities in Bristol (the longer established University of Bristol has approximately 18,000 students[2]). The library on the Frenchay site is called the Bolland Library, named after Dr Robert Bolland, the first director of Bristol Polytechnic from 1969 to 1974. The main Frenchay campus is situated close to the M32 motorway, twenty minutes walk from the well-connected Bristol Parkway railway station.

The Chancellor of UWE is Sir Ian Carruthers OBE.[3][4] Professor Steven West is the Vice-Chancellor.[5]


The University of the West of England can trace its roots back to the foundation of the Merchant Venturers Navigation School, which was founded in 1595. Part of this institution, to which the Universities of Bristol and Bath also partly owe their origins, became a technical college which, after merger with other colleges, in turn became Bristol Polytechnic in 1970. At the time, the main campus was at Ashley Down, now a campus of the City of Bristol College. Like the other former polytechnics, this gained university status and its present name as a result of the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992.[6]

The Bower Ashton site was formed in 1969 as the West of England College of Art which was formerly the art school of the Royal West of England Academy in Queens Road, Bristol. The St Matthias site was originally built in Victorian times and was a teacher training college. These campuses, together with campuses in Redland, Ashley Down, Unity Street and Frenchay became part of Bristol Polytechnic around 1976.

The Avon and Gloucestershire College of Health which is now the Glenside Campus and the Bath and Swindon College of Health Studies joined in January 1996. Hartpury campus joined in 1997.

An £80 million student village located at the Frenchay campus, which includes a sports centre and rooms for 2000 students, opened in 2006.

The university is a lead academic sponsor of Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy, a new university technical college which is due to open in September 2013.


Frenchay (north), Glenside & St Matthias (east) and Bower Ashton (south). Right: Bristol within England.

Frenchay campus

UWE's largest and primary campus is Frenchay, situated to the 4 miles to the north of Bristol city centre with Filton to the West and Stoke Gifford to the North.

As of September 2008 UWE have purchased the major part of neighbour Hewlett Packard's adjoining land, resulting in a 70-acre (280,000 m2) expansion to their current 80-acre (320,000 m2) campus. After consultation meetings it has been stated that the campuses of Glenside and St Matthias will be moved to the Frenchay campus.[7] Bower Ashton will be retained for a longer period, but may ultimately move.[7] It is the single largest development in the university's history.[8]

Bower Ashton campus

The Bower Ashton campus is home to the School of Creative Arts (formerly the Faculty of Art, Media and Design), which forms the major part of the Faculty of Creative Arts following the university reorganisation in 2007. Adjacent to the Ashton Court estate, on the edge of the city of Bristol,[9] the West of England College of Art was established here in purpose-built premises in 1969, moving from its previous location as the art school of the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton. In 1970 the college became part of Bristol Polytechnic, the precursor of the University.[10]

The campus is undergoing a programme of redevelopment. Phase 1 was completed in 2008 and included a new building (F Block), which is now the main entrance to the campus. The tower block (B block) was also refurbished.[11] Workshops and resource centres are available to students as well as an art library. An art materials shop and stores provide discounted art materials and the UWE Students Union runs a licensed bar and shop. Every year in June the campus houses a Degree Show attended by Bristol residents as well as friends and families of the graduating students.[12]

Among its Principals and Deans were the war artist Jack Chalker, the Graphic Designer Paul van Der Lem, and Paul Gough RWA, a Fine Artist, who became the first Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty in its expanded form of over 2,600 students. Gough recently took up a new post and a new Dean will be recruited during summer 2010.

Glenside campus

Main article: Glenside, Bristol

Beaufort Hospital (Glenside) from 1915-16. The Faculty of Health and Social Care was created in 1996 when the former Avon and Gloucestershire College of Health and Bath and Swindon College of Health Studies joined with the existing Faculty of Health and Community Studies at UWE. The Glenside Museum is situated within the campus.[13]

The School of Health and Social Care is part of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and includes the following schools:

  • Department of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Department of Allied Health Professions
  • Department of Applied Social Sciences and Community Health

It is one of the largest faculties of its kind in the UK offering full- and part-time courses at all levels, from Avon, Gloucestershire & Wiltshire Strategic Health Authority area and in some case throughout the southwest of England.

Campus facilities includie:

  • Student One Stop Shop
  • Library
  • Interprofessional Simulation Suite
  • Human Analysis Laboratory (HAL)
  • Imaging Suite
  • Nursing Skills Simulation Suite
  • Information Technology suites
  • Learning Technologies Technical Unit
  • Catering Services

Research centres at the school are:

  • Centre for Public Health Research
  • Centre for Clinical and Health Services Research
  • Centre for Learning and Workforce Research

The school hosts the whole systems action research group Centre for Social and Organisational Learning as Action Research (SOLAR), and the Centre for Local Democracy which is a multifaculty research centre of the university.

St Matthias campus

Main article: St Matthias, Bristol

St Matthias (known colloquially as St Matts) is located in the suburb of Fishponds in Bristol. Built in the Victorian times by the Church of England, the campus has some Victorian Gothic buildings, set around a sunken lawn. The campus is currently home to some departments within the faculty of Creative Arts, Humanities and Education. The remaining departments are due to move to Frenchay in 2015.

UWE Stadium

As part of the masterplanning process, the University has identified an undeveloped area of 9.3 hectares which has the benefit of planning permission for office development. Potential uses for this site were considered, but it has subsequently been identified as an ‘opportunity site’ with the uses to be determined.[14]

It is part of this ‘opportunity site’ that has been identified for a new stadium by Bristol Rovers Football Club. The ‘UWE Stadium’, as it will be called, will be developed in a spirit of partnership between the University and Bristol Rovers, albeit privately financed.

The proposed stadium is well located in relation to the strategic road network and access to public transport. The development offers opportunities to share car parking with UWE (as a replacement for the main staff and student car park, east of Coldharbour Lane. The site also allows for overflow parking to use other UWE car parks) and for the stadium to house teaching rooms, facilitate internships and to provide facilities such as a gym and social spaces that will be available for use by the wider community. In providing these uses the stadium will assist in adding much needed social and cultural facilities to the area.[14]

The agreement represents a significant investment by BRFC of approximately £40m in first class facilities that will bring added value to the city and the region.

The proposed 21,700 seat stadium is to include retail units, a sports bar and club, a banqueting suite and venue space for hire.[15]

Organisation and Administration

Coat of arms

Echoing Bristol's long connection with the sea and the Merchant Venturers' Navigation School, the top of the crest depicts a ship's mainmast and rigging. The flaming fire basket indicates guidance, hope and the desire for learning.[16]

The shield at the centre is adapted from that of the College of St Matthias with the wavy line representing the rivers of Avon and Severn. The unicorn is taken from the arms of the City of Bristol and the sea stag from those of the former County of Avon. Both these creatures wear a crown of King Edgar around their necks. Edgar is regarded as a local monarch because he was crowned in Bath Abbey in 973.[17] The wavy lines enclosed in circles on the shoulders represent the fountain of knowledge and learning.[16]

The unicorn and sea stag each support an apple tree, known as the tree of knowledge and is taken from the coat of arms of the Council for National Academic Awards which used to authorise degrees awarded to students of Bristol Polytechnic.[16]

The motto Light, Liberty, Learning is a Disraeli quotation and corresponds directly to the symbolism of the coat of arms. The fire basket represents the Light, the Bristol and Avon supporters represent liberty, and the trees of knowledge and learning.[16]

Academic profile


The university is divided into four faculties which are then subdivided into departments:

League tables

UWE has consistently been ranked among the top ten new universities in the UK and has always scored 'excellent' in the teaching assessments carried out by the Quality Assurance Agency. It also features in the top 12 in student satisfaction in 18 out of 40 subject groups featured in the National Student Survey. More than a third of UWE's research is classed as world-leading or internationally excellent and over the past six years, five Bristol UWE lecturers have received prestigious awards from the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme for excellence in teaching.

Ofsted reports have rated UWE's primary, secondary and further education initial teacher training (ITT) courses as outstanding – the top grade available. The university is also rated the fourth best university in the UK for Architecture according to a survey in the Architects' Journal.

According to The Guardian Good University Guide 2013 Land & Property Management has been ranked 4th out of 18 other institutions[18] and Earth and marine sciences has been ranked 4th out of 33 other institutions in the UK.[19]

UK University rankings
2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993
Times Good University Guide 52[20] 55[21] 42[21] 57[22] 44 47=[23] 63[24] 58 60 61 61 63 59 59 66= 56 63= 61=
Guardian University Guide 54[25] 59[25] 62[25] 59[26] 66[27] 75[27] 86 52[28] 64[29] 63[30] 55[24][31]
Sunday Times University Guide 54[32] 57[32] 48[33] 43[34] 55=[34] 52[33] 51=[33] 43=[33] 52[33] 59[33] 56=[33] 59=[33] 55
Independent / Complete 58[35] 61[36] 68[37] 61[38] 62[39] 67[39]
Daily Telegraph 57[40] 35=
FT 46[41] 41[42] 48[43] 43[44]


UWE Bristol was one of the biggest winners following the financial outcome of the latest Research Assessment Exercise in 2008UWE increased its research funding allocation by 122%, one of the biggest increases in the country.[45]

In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise UWE averaged between 3* and 2* (where 1 is the lowest and 4* is the highest), stating that almost half of research originating from UWE is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour.[46]

The RAE 2008 results showed that over a third (37%) of research carried out at UWE was considered to be world-leading or internationally excellent. The results highlighted the significant presence of world-leading research in biomedical sciences, art and design and in communication, cultural and media studies.[45]

The results also show high levels of international excellence across a range of subjects including accountancy and finance, computer science, engineering, linguistics, town and country planning, plant science, nursing, history and architecture and built environment.[45]

In 2010, UWE launched a research repository in order to host electronic versions of the research of its academics. The UWE Research Repository is open access. This means that it is accessible to everyone - both within and outside the university - free of charge.

Bristol Robotics Laboratory

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), the largest robotics laboratory of its type in the UK was officially opened on 10 May 2012 by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science.

The Laboratory is a partnership between University of the West of England (UWE) and the University of Bristol. BRL strives to understand the science, engineering and social role of robotics and embedded intelligence.

According to EE/Times, it is the largest robotics laboratory in Europe.[47]

The BRL is home to a community of 70 academics and businesses who are leading current thinking in nouvelle and service robotics, intelligent autonomous systems and bio-engineering. Over £1.65 million has been spent on the new facilities. The total area of the BRL is circa 2,400 sqm, with over 300 square metres of specialised laboratory space and two Flying Arenas. [48]

National College for Legal Training

The National College of Legal Training (NCLT) is a collaboration between UWE and Central Law Training, launched in January 2010 to provide postgraduate legal training. NCLT offers a two-year, part-time Legal Practice Course and Professional Skills Course. A full-time LPC, a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and a Top-up LLM will be launched soon.[49][50] NCLT Study centres are located at Coventry University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Southampton Solent University and University of Westminster.[51]

Student Life

Students' Union

Main article: UWE Students' Union

History and background

University of the West of England Students' Union ("UWESU"), formerly known as Bristol Polytechnic Students' Union (BPSU) until it changed its name in line with its parent establishment becoming a university in 1992, is based at Frenchay campus and was established in 1971. It is run by a team of four sabbatical officers, who are elected annually from the student population. The Students' Union operates bars at all main sites, "Escape" and "Red" at Frenchay, "Bar 75" at Glenside, the "St Matt's Bar" and "Faculty of Creative Arts Bar" - otherwise known as the FoCA Bar. There are also shops at Frenchay, Glenside, St Matthias and Bower Ashton.

UWESU Jobshop provides employment opportunites for students.

UWESU Student Lettings provides a comprehensive Lettings Agency exclusively for UWE students managed by Sally Jones, MARLA a professional property manager.

UWE facilities

At Frenchay campus a NatWest bank and Blackwell's book store operate on campus. The student radio station, Hub Radio operates out of a studio on campus.

The University House Services department operates three bars ("Core24", "OneZone Lounge" and "Street Café"), one canteen named "OneZone" (formally "Merchants' Refectory" before August 2006 and four coffee shops named "Cribs B", "Cribs Q", "Phaz" and "Sports Café". Staff only facilities at Frenchay include "Felixstowe Court", "Paninos" and "Café Severn". At each of the other campuses House Services operate canteens named "Traders". "Core24" at Frenchay was once a "Traders" in line with all the other satellite campuses before it was refurbished in 2004.

In August 2006, a new sports centre was opened at Frenchay, including a large main hall with a wooden sprung floor and two glass back squash courts. The hall has court markings for sports including, badminton, basketball, netball, 5-a-side football, volleyball and indoor hockey. There is a 70 station fitness suite, changing rooms and a hockey pitch. At St Matthias campus there is a small sports hall and outdoor pitches.

The Centre for Student Affairs offers advice, counselling and career development guidance to students and there is a university-wide multi-faith chaplaincy, based at the Octagon Centre at Frenchay.

Student accommodation

In September 2006 Frenchay Student Village opened providing on-campus accommodation for 1,932 students, adding to the 252 units already provided in Carroll Court. Campus accommodation is also provided at Glenside and St Matthias campuses. In partnership with UNITE Student Housing a further 1,500 places are provided in Bristol City Centre and UWE Accommodation services also places students in vetted private rentals.

The main halls of residence are

  • Brecon Court (part of the student village complex)
  • Cotswold Court (part of the student village complex)
  • Mendip Court (part of the student village complex)
  • Quantock Court (part of the student village complex)
  • Carroll Court ( on Frenchay Campus)
  • Glenside (on Glenside campus)
  • St Matthias (on St Matthias campus and consisting of two blocks Elsa Nunn and Bishop Monk)
  • The Hollies (opposite Glenside Campus)
  • Marketgate (in the city centre - owned by Unite Group)
  • Waverley House (in the city centre- owned by Unite Group)
  • Favell House (in the city centre- owned by Unite Group)

The student village, St Matthias and Marketgate are all en suite, however Marketgate has 12 studio flats that allow for single occupancy by a student. All other accommodation is shared bathrooms and shared kitchen facilities. All accommodation at UWE is self-catering.

Notable alumni

See also


External links

  • University of West of England website
  • LLM and Master of laws information for UWE
  • Research Repository
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