University of Westminster: Wikis


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University of Westminster
Motto Forward Thinking
Established 1838 - The Royal Polytechnic Institution
1992 - gained University Status
Type Public
Chancellor Lord Paul
Vice-Chancellor Professor Geoffrey E Petts
Students 24,710[1]
Undergraduates 17,850[1]
Postgraduates 6,860[1]
Location London, England, UK
Affiliations ACU, EUA, IAU
Universities UK

The University of Westminster is a University in London formed in 1992 as a result of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. Its antecedent institution the Royal Polytechnic Institution dates back to 1838.

The University serves more than 23,800 students from 132 countries and offers more than five hundred course offerings and a broad range of research study options. These range from Bachelor's degree combinations, and one-year intensively taught Master's degrees. MPhil and PhD degrees are also available in every academic department.



The University of Westminster's headquarters is situated on Regent Street in the West End of London where it has served as a centre for public education for over 150 years. Westminster is recognised as a world leader in Media and Communications and Art and Design research as measured by the UK Government Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).[2] With annual income of more than £146 million, it has nine top-rated subjects for teaching with a strong performance in languages. There are four internationally renowned research centres in law, linguistics, Asian studies and media studies.[3] Communications, cultural and media studies research at the University is ranked 2nd nationally, and Art and Design Research was judged 6th nationally.

It has the largest scholarship programme of its kind in the UK, with £4.3 million being awarded annually to over 500 students and the University having won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students in 2005.[3]

The University of Westminster is home to the Diplomatic Academy of London, which operates postgraduate degrees on international politics and diplomacy, the institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, the Centre for the Study of Democracy and the Policy Studies Institute.

In 2002 The University established the Westminster International University in Tashkent at the invitation of the government of Uzbekistan. There are currently plans to develop a campus in Turkey.


Memorial built in honor of Quintin Hogg, located at Portland Place.

The Polytechnic opened in August 1838 to provide (in the words of its prospectus of 1837) “an institution where the Public, at little expense, may acquire practical knowledge of the various arts and branches of science connected with manufacturers, mining Operations and rural economy”. Sir George Cayley (1773–1857) the father of aeronautical engineering became chairman of the provisional committee and later of the directors. The Institution received its charter of incorporation in 1839. The gallery housed a large exhibition hall, lecture theatre, and laboratories. Public attractions included exhibitions, working machines and models, scientific lectures, rides in a diving bell—a major attraction—and, from 1839, demonstrations of photography.[2] Early visitors included Prince Albert, under whose patronage the name changed in 1841 to the Royal Polytechnic Institution.

Professor Pepper, who became a director in the early 1850s, helped establish a series of evening classes in educational and trade subjects. The Polytechnic organised an educational programme around the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the combination of education and entertainment captured the Victorian imagination.

Quintin Hogg acquired the building at 309 Regent Street in 1881. His vision of The Polytechnic which reopened the following year, was to educate "mind, body and spirit". He expanded the established role in science and engineering to encompass arts and humanities in a full social mission. As a result, the "Regent Street Poly" developed an international reputation and became a model for technical education in London. The building at 309 Regent Street was rebuilt in 1910-12 to reflect the needs of a growing institution whose student members exceeded 15,000.

Quintin Hogg saw international awareness as an important part of the development of the individual. In the 1950s the institution became known nationally and internationally as the Regent Street Polytechnic and became a model for applied education.

The Polytechnic was the flagship of the post-war polytechnic movement and in 1970 amalgamated with the Holborn College of Law, Languages and Commerce to form the Polytechnic of Central London, followed in 1990 by integration with the Harrow College of Higher Education and its programmes in the creative arts and design. Degree-awarding authority resided with the UK council for national academic awards CNAA.

In June 1992 the Privy Council formally conferred university status with degree-awarding powers for taught courses and research degrees on the Polytechnic, whose name was changed to the University of Westminster. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II agreed to continue as the Patron of the University of Westminster. The University’s long-established reputation for innovation, academic excellence and the accessibility of its taught programmes and applied research underpins its traditions and its academic portfolio. The University now has more than 23,800 full-time and part-time students from London, other European countries and the global communities across the world. The University's mission remains that of “educating for professional life”.


The University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees via its departments:

  • School of Architecture and the Built Environment
  • School of Electronics and Computer Science
  • School of Law
  • School of Life Sciences
  • School of Media, Arts and Design
  • School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages
  • Westminster Business School

Fashion design

A number of notable fashion designers have graduated from the BA Fashion Design course at the University of Westminster. These include Vivienne Westwood and Christopher Bailey, who have each been awarded British Fashion Designer of the Year, Westwood in 1990 and 1991; and Bailey in 2005 and 2009. Other notable fashion alumni include Katie Hillier, accessories designer for Marc Jacobs; Stuart Vevers, the Creative Director of Loewe and Carri Mundane the Creative Director of Cassetteplaya.

A number of Fashion Designers have also been awarded honorary doctorates from the University. These include Christopher Bailey in 2006, Jeff Banks in 1992, and Zandra Rhodes in 1999.


With the creation of the University in 1992, the studio pottery course formerly taught at Harrow School of Art was developed into a BA degree. In line with the requirements of study at degree level, the course was expanded to examine the studio approach within broader contexts and critiques.[4] Teachers on the course include three professors – Christie Brown, Nigel Wood and Edmund de Waal. The BA Ceramics course is still referred to as 'The Harrow Course' among some studio potters.[5] In March 2009, the University stated its intention of closing the course by 2013.[6]

Campuses and students' accommodation

The University has recently completed a ten-year £130 million investment in its teaching and residential buildings. The University has four main sites, three in central London: Regent Street, New Cavendish Street and Marylebone and the fourth in Harrow. The nearest Tube station to the Harrow site is Northwick Park, on the Metropolitan Line, which takes 18 minutes from Baker Street. The site includes a Business School, Computer School and Media School. Each site has its own library, IT and catering facilities.

The University’s Marylebone site is home to a vast new underground exhibition space for the creative industries, called P3. Since opening in 2007, it has already hosted the opening of London Fashion Week, Architecture Week and a range of student degree shows.

There are several Halls of Residence dispersed throughout London, including Furnival House in Highgate, and Alexander Fleming situated near Old Street; one hall is based at the Marylebone site, Wigram House in Victoria,International house near Waterloo and as of September 2005 there are two based at the Harrow site.

Students' Union

Smoke Radio
Broadcast area UK
Frequency Live Stream Quicktime
First air date 2004
Format Contemporary
Owner UWSU & University of Westminster

The University of Westminster Students' Union[7] provides a range of activities for its members. It is based at the Marylebone site, next to Baker Street tube station, where Inter:Mission, a social venue costing £750,000, was launched in 2006.[8] The Union also operates another bar, The Undercroft, and a night club, Area 51, located on the University's Harrow site.[9]

The Union was founded in 1966 as The Polytechnic Students' Union. Its first President was Owen Spencer-Thomas (1966–1967),[10]

Smoke Radio is a student-run radio station at the University of Westminster. The station broadcasts online, from a studio located in the Media Arts and Design campus of the university, located in Harrow. Smoke Radio is a member of the Student Radio Association.

Smoke Radio was established in 2004 by then students: Joe Haddow, Tim Pryor, Sam Gregory and Mark Jackson with additional help from others throughout the University of Westminster - including Radio Production Lecturer, Matthew Linfoot. After the intake of new students in September 2005 the station took to running a 24 hour playout system and began a broadcasting a schedule of live programmes during the week.

In 2006 Smoke Radio had won awards at the Student Radio Awards, including the Gold Award for "Best Journalistic Programming" and two Bronze Awards for "Best Marketing and Station Sound" and "Best Station 2006". At the 2008 Student Radio Awards, Smoke Radio also picked up a Bronze Award for "Best Interview", for an interview with British humorist, Danny Wallace; and the Gold Award for "Best Newcomer" was awarded to the first-year work of Dan Roberts.

In 2007 Smoke Radio won the Silver Award for "Best Station 2007" at the Student Radio Awards, and then won the award again in 2008, making Smoke Radio the UK's second best Student Radio Station for two consecutive years.

At the 2009 Student Radio Awards Smoke Radio won two Gold Awards for "Best Marketing and Branding" and "Best Outside Broadcast".

The Smoke Newspaper is the official newspaper of the University of Westminster's Students' Union. It was originally printed in 1992 as a magazine. In 2006, The Smoke was switched to a newspaper format, initially being published fortnightly during term time. The newspaper currently features News, Comment, Politics, Media Business, Film, Music, Arts and Culture, Fashion, Sports, Science and Technology, Listings and Comic Strips. The Smoke newspaper archive is currently being built on its new minisite:


Sport has always played an important part of life at the University of Westminster. The athletic club - the Harriers - was established in 1883 and was for many years the largest athletics club in the country. In 1908, the Polytechnic organized the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympic Games.[11]

From 1898, the polytechnic awarded the Studd Trophy, an annual trophy for the best sports performance. Over the years, the award was given to sportsmen from various disciplines, such as swimming, boxing and cycling, but the majority of awards have been given to athletes.

Noted award holders include: Willie Applegarth (1912/13), Olympic medallist sprinters Albert Hill (1919/20), Olympic gold medallist and middle-distance runner Harry Edward (1922), Olympic sprint bronze medallist Alan Pascoe (1971/72/73/74/75), hurdler

The other sports with which the University has a strong association are football, rugby, cycling and water polo.

Notable alumni and academics




External links

Video clips

Coordinates: 51°31′01.20″N 0°08′34.70″W / 51.517°N 0.142972°W / 51.517; -0.142972


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