Is the University of Winchester good? 5 important things you need to consider about UoW

university of winchester

Updated On: December 12, 2023 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

I was a student at the University of Winchester from 2016 to 2019 and I know that when I was trying to pick a university I researched arguably too much. Trying to pick the place you will be for the next 3 or 4 years of your life is tough, and so this article will hopefully give you some insight into the life and culture of being a student at the University of Winchester. I have split it into 5 different considerations which are:

  1. The University
  2. The City
  3. The Campus
  4. The Atmostphere
  5. Big University vs. Small University

The University

How old is the University of Winchester?

The University of Winchester opened its doors in 1840 as the Winchester Diocesan Training School and has been providing high quality education ever since.

The Ethos of the University of Winchester

The University of Winchester was started by the Church of England and still keeps its christian roots today, however, the university is eager to explore ways in which religion can be observed that is inclusive and not anti-intellectual. You don’t have to be a christian to study at Winchester as they accept students of all faiths, and none.

The University became a Stonewall Diversity Champion in 2010 and is the meet up point for Winchester’s Pride Parade every year. The pride parade held in Winchester is also the parade for all of Hampshire, their hashtag is #pridehantswide if you want to find out more.

Winchester University is also very aware of the Environment and aims to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The dorms have recycling programmes and initiatives where you can win prizes for your flat if you recycle correctly, as well as chewing gum recycling bins around the campus. The chewing gum is recycled by the company GumDrop and turned into reuseable coffee cups. The student union cafe’s have a 25p charge (affectionately called the latte levy) on drinks you can avoid by bringing a reuseable cup. The university had a drive giving out cups from GumDrop with the university logo which are perfect to avoid the latte levy. They also give out reuseable cups for a deposit if you forget yours.

Hedgehog Friendly Campus – The University also recieved a gold award for being a hedgehog friendly campus in 2021/2022. Their work raising awareness on hedgehog conservation issues and efforts to make the campus traversable by hedgehog have paid off. If you want to hear more about their efforts check out their twitter.

What Courses do Winchester Offer?

Winchester offer a varied range of courses which are all detailed in their course catalogue on their website, where you can find information on all three years of the course as well as any accreditations. Some courses at Winchester offer you things you can’t get at most universities or in some cases anywhere else here’s a few examples of that:

History at Winchester

Studying history in England’s medieval capital is a great way to shape your knowledge of history, especially if you are a medievalist or early modernist. Winchester’s history course is not just about Winchester, or just about England as their staff of lecturers and proffessors have varied specialisms which will be offered in modules. Winchester’s History programme has a student satisfaction rate of 90%.

Some examples of history modules at Winchester include:

  • Ancient Greek Drinking Culture
  • The Middle Ages in Computer Games
  • Imperial Japan
  • The Post-War Teenager

Law at Winchester

Winchester’s LLB Hons Law course is unique in its practical application of knowledge during the course of your studies. You will get the opportunity to work with charities and organisation as a lawyer later in your course but practical skills will be built from year one with seminars in mooting. Mooting being the ability to present an arguement in court to defeat an opponent.

Primary Education at Winchester

Winchester was first established in 1840 as a school for training teachers and this tradition continues today as Winchester is the top university for primary education training in the south of England. They have fantastic facilities including an entire section of the library set aside as a space for primary education students filled with learning aids and books. The university has links with over 450 schools giving students the opportunity to develop great experience during their degree.

What is the acceptance rate at uow?

Acceptance rate at the University of Winchester is 40-50%, making it middling on the range of difficulty to get in.

What is the gender split at the University of Winchester?

Due to the popularity of their Primary Education course, a female dominated course, the University of Winchester has a massive gap in male and female attendance with only 35% of students being male on average.

Is the University of Winchester a Good University?

It is hard to describe what makes a good university, is it the academic rankings?, the community?, the acclaim associated with the name on your CV?

The University of Winchester is not a Russell Group university, meaning they are not accredited by the Russell Group. This may sound like an automatic negative on the university if you are unaware of what it means to be a Russell Group university. RG accredited universities have met certain standards of research and academic excellence but must keep producing research to maintain that title. This focus on research over teaching may have an impact on tutors focus on you, the student. This isn’t to say that Russell Group universities are not excellent, just that the focus on research in an academic institution isn’t best for everyone.

Despite not being a Russell Group university Winchester ranks very well academically and in 2019 ranked in the top 100 universities in the world.

Open Days at the University of Winchester

The University of Winchester have a yearly schedule of open days designed to give you a feel for life in Winchester and provide you with all the information you might need. Take a tour of the campus, course specific facilities, and accomodation options.

Winchester’s student blog have an entire post about making the most out of your open day.


Please do not pick your university based on how beautiful and ceremonial your graduation will be, there are far more important things to think about. However, if you did Winchester would be a great choice. Graduations for students of WInchester take place in the stunning Winchester Cathedral making for fantastic scenery and acoustics for the ceremony. Robes in Winchester for undergrads are black with purple stripes, just incase you want to colour co-ordinate early.

Following the graduation ceremony graduates exit through the ceremonial doors of the cathedral, an honour reserved for those who have graduated from the university.

Alumni Benefits

If you choose the University of Winchester and manage to secure your degree, you join the hallowed (imaginary) halls of the Winton Club. Alumni of Winchester gain invitations to special events, use of the library for life (just in case you haven’t had enough of it yet), and discounts on West End theatre performances in London.

The City

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The city of Winchester is a bustling one with various activities to keep you busy including pubs and restaurants such as The Stable sourdough pizza and cider, as well as museums and other heritage sites. The City centre of Winchester is a short walk from campus (10 minutes from the main campus to the Westgate at the top of the highstreet).

Is Winchester safe?

Winchester is known as one of the safest places to live in the country with very low crime rates.

Is Winchester expensive?

Winchester cost of living is expensive, second only to London in the south of England due to its desirability. However, with the provision of student finance it is possible to live a comfortable life in Winchester while studying there. Accomodation at the University is around £84-219 per week which can be paid on a schedule with your finance payments (every three months). Moving out into private student accomodation in Winchester costs on average £163 per week. Studies on the cost of renting in general in Winchester may be scary but a recent study showed that students spend £10,000 less a year than Winchester residents do on rent.

What Nightlife is there in Winchester?

The majority of nightlife in Winchester takes place in their award winning student union venue, The Vault. In the city center Winchester has only one night club, a three story venue called Vodka. Beyond this bars such as O’Neill’s, Pitcher and Piano, and Alfies also host late night music and dancing, some to as late as 3am.

For more of a club scene some students take the train to Southampton, but this can be difficult arranging transport back as trains stop at 1:30am. Winchester does have nightlife but if a bustling club scene is very important to you, Winchester is not the university for you.

Culture & Heritage in Winchester

Winchester is full of historic buildings, from the oldest bar in England (opened 1002), to the iconic Winchester Cathedral. Take a walk down the anglo-saxon high street and experience Winchester’s bustling market open four days a week. Or take a trip to one of the many museums or heritage sites such as the ruins of the bishops palace.

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Winchester City Museum

Transport Links

Winchester is very well connected by train or bus, if you want a taste of bigger city life for the day trains can take you to Southampton or Basingstoke in 10-15 minutes, and London in 40 minutes to an hour. These links to London also mean that as a student in Winchester you can plan day trips for West End shows, concerts, or other cultural events.

The Campus


The University of Winchester guarantees each first year student accomodation on campus, which is great for your peace of mind and means you can choose between their varied dorm offerings.

Café’s & Shops

On campus Winchester has two student union shops, one at West Downs and one on the bottom floor of the student union building (The King Alfred Centre). These shops give you discounts and offers arranged by NUS (The National Union of Students) and sell everything from frozen pizzas to university hoodies. They also sell meal deals for those long study sessions in the library.

If you are looking for a quirky place to study and grab something to eat Cyber Italia is an internet cafe on campus which serves fresh pizza’s and great coffee.

Chapel on Campus

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One of the unique features of the University of Winchester’s campus is the chapel in the middle of the main terrace. This is one of seven sacred spaces on campus for worship and reflection, including a muslim prayer room.


The campus holds a state of the art gym facility at the ground floor of the Burma Road accommodation block.

Laundry Services

At some point as a student you will have to learn how to do laundry. There are three laundrettes on campus which run on paid Circuit Laundry machines. You pay a small fee to wash and dry your clothes and at some point you will probably pay £2 to wash your clothes and then realise once the machine locks you forgot to put detergent in, this is normal. There are guides on how to use the machines online and if you download the University of Winchester app you can check for machine availability, and tell when your washing is ready to come out of the machine from the comfort of your room.


The University of Winchester has two libraries, the Martial Rose Library on main campus, and the West Downs Learning Centre on the West Downs campus (just up the hill). Both of these libraries are open 24/7 excluding holidays and can be accessed with your student card outside of staffed hours.

You can book computers and study rooms or find one thats free when you arrive, with the new West Downs centre now open there are an abundance of places to sit and study.

The Student Union

The student union is here for you throughout your studies and makes sure you have everything you need while you are a student from friendly socials to legal advice. Winchester’s student union is housed in one of the largest buildings on main campus, The King Alfred Centre (but mostly referred to as the SU building). This four story building has so much to offer in terms of study space, food, and entertainment.

Fourth Floor:

  • The Reception, where you can ask for help if you need it.
  • The P&G Wells Bookshop, where you can pick up a book from Winchester professors or other helpful textbooks.
  • The Learning Cafe, a study space filled with comfy chairs and computers as well as a cafe serving hot and cold drinks, open for studying 24/7.

Third Floor:

  • The Food Hall, where you can grab food or take part in a pub quiz for £1 per person every Tuesday night. (Prizes are made up of a portion of the money paid in, so bring your friends).
  • The Student Advice Centre- where you can chat to members of the SU team about important issues (or lost property from nights out or sleepy morning lectures).

Second Floor

  • The Terrace Bar – grab a coffee or a pint, especially at their end of term event where drinks are discounted to prevent wastage over the break.
  • The Gourmet Burger Bar – Grab a bite to eat and relax with friends.

Ground Floor

  • The Student Union Shop – where every student ends up in between lectures to grab a meal deal or to buy a university hat.
  • The Vault – The best night out venue in Winchester and recipient of many awards. Hosting a wide range of activities for students every week like BOP (a fancy dress pop music night) and yearly events such as the Christmas Ball and Leavers Ball for third year students.

The Atmosphere

Beyond their great staff and facilities one of the best things about Winchester is the atmostphere around the city itself. Winchester is a small city that is full of character, history, and culture. You can walk anywhere you might need to go with plenty of pubs, restaurants, shops, and museums to visit. Despite being classed as a city Winchester has a villiage feel and due to its small size you get to know people by seeing them around very quickly.

Big University vs. Small University

Winchester is a small city, and the University of Winchester is a small university. The University of Winchester in the academic year 2021/2022 has 8,142 students in attendance. A large majority (89%) of these are full time students. In comparison, The University of Glasgow has 26,635 students in attendance for the 2021/22 academic year.

Having a smaller amount of students allows for a more individual approach to teaching and a more personal relationship with lecturers. This may be a problem if you don’t like a lecturer, but you can always choose different modules next term.

You won’t be another student number on an attendance sheet as lecturers and students have the opportunity to get to know each other and work together. Seminars on topics covered in lectures are split into small groups allowing for depth of discussion and the sharing of ideas. Lecturers have less students to teach and therefore have time to answer questions and give advice in one-to-one meetings as required.

Winchester also assign you to a personal tutor from your department who will help you if you need further guidance or have any personal issues that need to be reported to the faculty.

Why the University of Winchester?

I chose Winchester due to my experiences visiting the city and the campus. Its villiage culture and beautiful facilities were the perfect setting for my degree. If you like the idea of living in a big city or love the idea of clubbing then maybe Winchester isn’t for you. However, their talented and passionate staff, beautiful surroundings, and interesting curriculum are just some of the reasons I think you should consider the University of Winchester.

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