The University of the West of Scotland, formerly the University of Paisley, is a public university with four campuses in south-western Scotland, in the towns of Paisley, Hamilton, Dumfries and Ayr, as well as a campus in London. 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 15,555 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.
The university's highest ever ranking for UK Institutions came in 2009 when the Complete Universities Guide placed UWS 62 out of 113 universities. In 2017, UWS was ranked 100th out of 129 universities in the same league table.