The university has roots back to 1860, when the Lady Byron School was founded, which later became Ealing College of Higher Education. In 1992, the then named Polytechnic of West London became a university as Thames Valley University. 18 years later, after several mergers, acquisitions and campus moves, it was renamed to its current name.
The University of West London comprises nine schools: The Claude Littner Business School, the London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism, the School of Computing and Engineering, London College of Music, the College of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare, the School of Law, the School of Human and Social Sciences, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the London School of Film, Media and Design.
The new Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 rankings placed the University of West London in 56th place nationally on 24 September 2017, thus putting UWL in the top half of UK universities. On 5 September 2020, The University of West London was ranked 34th best university (out of 130+ institutions) in the UK by the 2021 edition of the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.
In the 2015 edition of the major rankings of British universities the university was placed 97 out of 116 in The Guardian university guide,and in 2017 the University had risen to the position of 58th. By 2021, the university had risen to 34th and the university was named the top modern university in London in The Guardian University Guide 2022.
The University of West London has recorded the best results of any university in Greater London in the annual National Student Survey (NSS) in 2016, with students’ responses showing it to be the best University in Greater London for student satisfaction. In the NSS 2016, there were 100 per cent overall satisfaction rates for nine courses across the University’s eight schools, ranging from Midwifery to Business Studies and Music Technology to Hospitality Management. Among these 100 per cent overall satisfaction rates, the University recorded the best overall satisfaction rates in the UK for Civil Engineering and Building courses in the NSS 2016. In 2021, UWL was named the university of the year for student experience in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.