The University of the West of Scotland is a public university with four campuses in south-western Scotland, in the towns of Paisley, Blantyre, Dumfries and Ayr, as well as a campus in London, England. The present institution dates from August 2007, following the merger of the University of Paisley with Bell College, Hamilton. It can trace its roots to the late 19th century, and has undergone numerous name changes and mergers over the last century, reflecting its gradual expansion throughout the west of Scotland region.

Holding a regional reputation for vocational undergraduate and post-graduate courses the university currently has 16,105 students, with approximately 1300 staff, spread across six schools of learning. The Crichton Campus in Dumfries is maintained in partnership with a number of other institutions, including the University of Glasgow.

University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has been named the top young higher education institution in Scotland in the prestigious THE World University Rankings 2020 league table. The university retains its place with in the 101-150 division of the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings.

UWS is Scotland’s leading university for widening access to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

UWS is also a sector leader in course articulation, and is committed to articulating over 1,200 students with advanced standing each year.

The university has the 4th highest level of student satisfaction in Scotland in the 2020 Complete University Guide

National rankings
Complete (2022) 104
Guardian (2022) 114
Times / Sunday Times (2022) 92
Global rankings
THE (2022) 401–500

The university is ranked second in the United Kingdom for Education in the 2020 Complete University Guide.