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University of the West of Scotland


(University of Paisley; Bell College)

The University of the West of Scotland formed from a merger of the University of Paisley and Bell College in Hamilton in 2007, and is now Scotland's fifth largest university with 19,500 students and 1600 staff (2009). It has four centres: a campus on Almada Street in Hamilton (South Lanarkshire), a 8 ha (20 acre) campus in the centre of Paisley (Renfrewshire), a 10 ha (25 acre) campus in Ayr (South Ayrshire) and a 32 ha (80 acre) campus on the former Crichton Estate in Dumfries (Dumfries and Galloway), the latter shared with the University of Glasgow.

Founded in 1897 as Paisley Technical College and School of Art, the University of Paisley gained university status in 1993, and subsequently merged with Craigie College of Education in Ayr. It also offered courses in Dumfries in collaboration with Dumfries and Galloway College. Bell College was founded in 1972 and also offered courses at the Crichton Campus in Dumfries

The university comprises eight schools (Business; Creative & Cultural Industries; Education; Health, Nursing & Midwifery; Social Sciences; Science; Engineering and Computing), arranged into three faculties. Specialisms include accounting, management, biosciences, nursing, teacher-training, sports, journalism, law and information systems, with a track record in applied research.


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