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The University of the West Indies (UWI), originally University College of the West Indies,[3][4] is a public university system established to serve the higher education needs of the residents of 17 English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos Islands. Each country is either a member of the Commonwealth of Nations or a British Overseas Territory. The aim of the university is to help 'unlock the potential for economic and cultural growth' in the West Indies, thus allowing improved regional autonomy.[5] The University was originally instituted as an independent external college of the University of London.[6]

The University of the West Indies
Coat of arms of the University of the West Indies.png
MottoOriens Ex Occidente Lux (Latin)
Motto in English
A Light Rising From The West
TypeRegional university, public, autonomous
ChancellorMr. Robert Bermudez
Vice-ChancellorSir Hilary Beckles
Academic staff
Students36,000 (across 4 campuses)[citation needed]
CampusMona, Jamaica[1]
Saint Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
[2]Cave Hill, Barbados
Open Campus
AffiliationsAssociation of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
Caribbean Community
MascotThe Pelican
UWI Cave Hill
UWI St. Augustine
UWI Mona
UWI Open Campus
St. Augustine UWI Campus
Continuing Promise 2015 150512-A-OM702-004.jpg

The University has produced students who have excelled in a number of disciplines such as the arts and sciences, business, politics, and sports. Notable alumni and faculty include three Nobel Laureates, 72 Rhodes Scholars, 3 Gates Cambridge Scholarship winners, 1 Emmy award winner,[7] 1 Man Booker Prize winner, 1 American Book Awards winner, 18 current or former Caribbean Heads of Government, an Olympic medallist and other award winners. The university's cricket team previously participated in West Indian domestic cricket, but now participates as part of a Combined Campuses and Colleges team.


Main Library, Mona Campus, Jamaica

The university was founded in 1948, on the recommendation of the Asquith Commission[8] through its sub-committee on the West Indies chaired by Sir James Irvine.[9] The Asquith Commission had been established in 1943 to review the provision of higher education in the British colonies. Initially in a special relationship with the University of London, the then University College of the West Indies (UCWI) was seated at Mona, about five miles from Kingston, Jamaica. The university was based at the Gibraltar Camp used by evacuated Gibraltarians during the war.[10][11]

Seeking to address a need for medical care the first faculty established was a medical school.[3] The foundation stone for a hospital was added in 1949 and the University College Hospital of the West Indies opened in 1953. On 18 January 1953, Sir Winston Churchill visited the hospital on 18 January 1953 and unveiled a plaque in recognition of the contribution made by the government of the United Kingdom to the hospital.[3] The hospital was renamed the University Hospital of the West Indies in 1967 when the University gained full university status.[3] The hospital offers patient care, the hospital also facilitates research and teaching along with the Medical Services department of the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies.[12]

The University College achieved independent university status in 1962. The St Augustine Campus in Trinidad, formerly the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA), was established in 1960, followed by a school established along University Row, at the Deep Water Harbour of Barbados in 1963, later seated at the present Cave Hill Campus in 1967. The establishment of the Open Campus, University Centres, headed by a Resident Tutor, were established in each of the other 13 contributing territories thereafter.

In 1950, HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, the last surviving granddaughter of Queen Victoria, became the first Chancellor of the University College of the West Indies.

Sir William Arthur Lewis was the first Vice-Chancellor under the UWI’s independent Charter. A native of St Lucia, he served as the first West Indian Principal of the UCWI from 1958 to 1960 and as Vice-Chancellor from 1960 to 1963. He was succeeded by Sir Philip Sherlock (a Jamaican and one of the UWI’s founding fathers) who served as Vice-Chancellor from 1963 to 1969. Sir Roy Marshall, a Barbadian, was the next Vice-Chancellor, serving from 1969 to 1974. He was succeeded by Dr Aston Zachariah Preston, a Jamaican, who died in office on 24 June 1986, having served from 1974. The fifth Vice-Chancellor was Sir Alister McIntyre, who served from 1988 to 1998, followed by alumnus and Professor Emeritus Rex Nettleford who served from 1998 to 2004. The current Vice-Chancellor is Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who succeeded Professor E. Nigel Harris in May 2015.

The University of the West Indies Museum catalogs and exhibits some of the university's history.


The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four constituent campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago,[2] Cave Hill in Barbados,[13] and an Open Campus[14] serving 17 Caribbean island-nations. A fifth campus (the fourth physical campus), at Five Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, will open in 2019.[15]

The following are the satellite campuses of the university:

  • Mount Hope Campus in Mount Hope, Trinidad and Tobago (houses the Faculty of Medical Sciences of UWI St. Augustine)
  • Western Jamaica Campus in Montego Bay, Jamaica (extension campus of UWI Mona)
  • Centre for Hotel and Tourism Management in Nassau, Bahamas (extension campus of UWI Mona)

The other contributing countries are served by the Open Campus.[16]


Various islands have proposed adding further campuses to the UWI system this includes Hope, Grenada[17][18] and Five Islands, Antigua and Barbuda[19][20]

Open CampusEdit

The Open Campus was established to improve services to the non-campus territories.[21] It brought together several existing UWI units, namely the University of the West Indies Distance Education Centre (UWIDEC), the School of Continuing Studies (originally the Extra Mural Department), the Tertiary Level Institutions Unit, and the Office of the Board for Non-Campus Countries & Distance Education (BNNCDE).

The Extra-Mural Department was first established in 1947 when UWI was still the University College of the West Indies.[21] As it developed into the School of Continuing Studies, it eventually incorporated the Caribbean Child Development Centre, the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute, the Human Resources Development Unit, the Social Welfare Training Centre and the Women and Development Unit.

The University of the West Indies Distance Teaching Experiment (UWIDITE) was an initiative funded by a USD 600,000 grant from USAID.[21] The telecommunications system was first used in St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and Grenada to provide access to courses in non-campus territories. At the same time, there was a Challenge Examinations scheme that allowed students to undertake initial (first year) studies in their home territories before joining one of the three campuses. The UWIDITE facilities were used to support the Challenge program. In 1996, UWIDEC, incorporating the UWIDITE and the Challenge Examinations scheme, was established. Further development of the UWIDEC was implemented in 2003.

In 2007, the Open Campus was approved.[21] This Campus was provided with additional financial, human, technology and administrative resources and a structure that was intended to better serve non-campus territories. The Open Campus has a physical presence and heads of sites in each of the 17 member countries, including in rural areas of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The headquarters of the Open Campus is located on the Cave Hill Campus.

Global InitiativesEdit

The University of the West Indies has initiated several international partnerships. In 2016, UWI and the Global Institute for Software Technology (GIST) established the UWI-China Institute for Information Technology.[22] Starting in the summer of 2018, students in the programme on the Cave Hill and Mona campuses will travel to Suchou, China for two years. studying both Mandarin and software engineering.[23]

The UWI-SUNY Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development (CLSD) was established in 2017 on SUNY's Empire State campus in Manhattan.[22][24] The centre is designed to assist the Commonwealth Caribbean in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to research and advocacy, plans are underway to offer a joint masters degree in sustainability and leadership.[25]

In 2017, the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and the UWI established the UNILAG-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies.[22][26] The institute conducts research and offers a masters degree in African and Diaspora Studies.[25]

Also in 2017, UWI and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) to establish the Institute for Global Africa Affairs.[25] The Institute was launched in 2018 and will offer a joint masters degree in Global African Studies.[27]

Other joint programmes exist or are in the planning stages.[22] For example, the University of New Brunswick and the Cave Hill Campus jointly offer a Master of Science in Sport Sciences. Brock University and UWI have recently signed a memorandum of understanding to consider the establishment of an Institute in Canada-Caribbean Studies.[28]


The University of the West Indies is a multi-campus, international university with several faculties, most of which are replicated on all three physical main campuses. The distribution of the faculties are listed below.

Cave Hill Campus Mona Campus St. Augustine Campus
Humanities & Education Humanities & Education Humanities & Education
Law Law Law
Medical Sciences Medical Sciences Medical Sciences
Science & Technology Science & Technology Science & Technology
Social Sciences Social Sciences Social Sciences
Sport Sport Sport
Engineering Engineering
Food & Agriculture

Faculty of Medical SciencesEdit

The Faculty of Medical Sciences [29] was the first faculty to be established in the then University College.[30] This is because of the pressing need for more (locally trained) doctors to treat conditions such as tuberculosis, yaws, tetanus, typhoid, infant malnutrition and illnesses related to diarrhea. The establishment of medical schools in the colonies was replicated in the Gold Coast, Nigeria, Rhodesia and Uganda.[30] The inaugural entering class in 1948 consisted of 33 students from across the Caribbean, selected from more than 600[31] or almost 800[30] applicants. As the university college was then affiliated with the University of London, the curriculum reflected its curriculum, with the addition of preventative and tropical medicine. Degrees were awarded under the University of London name until 1962, reflective of the role the University played in administering the programme and providing the teaching staff.[30] In addition to the standard five-year course, a pre-course science year was required for students without adequate preparation in that area. The University Hospital of the West Indies, an acute tertiary hospital, provided the initial context for clinical education.

Expansion of the capacity of the Faculty followed several steps. In addition to population growth, the exodus of medical graduates to North America, never to return, exacerbated the need to increase the output of doctors.[31] In the 1960s, it was possible to complete the clinical clerkship element of training in Trinidad and Tobago (at the Port of Spain General Hospital) and in Barbados (at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital), as well as in Jamaica.[30] In 1989, the medical school at the St. Augustine campus opened. However, rather than adopt the 'traditional' existing curriculum at the Mona school, it adopted a problem-based approach.[31] Mona, which had already carried out some curricular reform due to World Health Organization recommendations to place greater emphasis on community health promotion and protection, and St. Augustine, had different medical school curricula, though the graduates took the same qualifying exams. Moreover, St. Augustine's Faculty of Medical Sciences included not just a School of Medicine, but also Schools of Dentistry, Veterinarian Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy, which necessitated some sharing of resources.[30][31] In 2008, the clerkships in Barbados were fully developed into a medical school at the Cave Hill campus. Around the same time, the UWI School of Clinical Medicine and Research was established from an existing programme allowing clerkships to be undertaken in Nassau, under the direction of the St. Augustine campus.[31] The School offers the final two years of the five-year programme.

Starting in 2004, the medical programmes in the Caribbean ceased to be accredited by the United Kingdom-based General Medical Council, as the UK re-focussed more on integration with Europe.[30] UWI was a key player in the establishment of the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). The UWI medical schools are accredited together, despite differences in curriculum, and are currently accredited with conditions.[32] The dental school at St. Augustine is probationary accredited while the dental school at Mona has accreditation with conditions.[32] The veterinarian medical school at St. Augustine is also accredited with conditions.[32] Efforts are underway to align the curriculum and admission standards of the three medical schools.[31]

Even with expansion, the UWI medical schools are facing new competition. Many for-profit medical schools have been established in the Caribbean region, with the first established in Grenada in 1976.[30] Generally, these schools cater to students from the United States but they sometimes offer scholarships to local students, providing an alternative to UWI programmes or going abroad for medical education Canada, the United Kingdom or the United States. The quality of these offshore medical schools differ,[30] though some are accredited by the CAAM-HP.[32]

The Faculty of Medicines has a research arm called the Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR), formerly the Tropical Medicine Research Institute (TMRI). The CAIHR comprises the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, based on the Cave Hill Campus, and three units all based on the Mona Campus: the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, the Sickle Cell Unit and the Epidemiology Research Unit.[31] Continuing medical education is provided in different ways among the various countries with the medical associations taking the lead in some countries and the medical schools in others.[31]

Faculty of LawEdit

Prior to the establishment of the Faculty of Law at the UWI, residents of the anglophone Caribbean would travel primarily to the United Kingdom to study.[33] There, they would join an Inns of Court where they received lodging and training and underwent examinations. Naturally, the training focused on the legal system and social context of England, which was not the best foundation upon which to practice in the Caribbean.[33] It was also an expensive endeavor. For the legal profession in England, the influx of prospective lawyers from around the British Commonwealth was beginning to strain resources. Efforts were underway to limit foreign students in legal studies in England and this was another reason to establish legal training in the Caribbean.

The Faculty of Law was initially established in 1970 at the Cave Hill Campus, in Barbados,[34] but the first year of the degree was available at each campus (and the University of Guyana in Guyana).[33] This structure served, inter alia, to create a regional institution (the Faculty) and a regional identity within the profession. Incrementally, courses from the second and third year of the law programmes were introduced at St. Augustine and Mona, allowing students to take more and more of the degree on those campuses, rather than having to study at Cave Hill. It is now possible to complete the law degree at each campus.[34]

Following completion of the UWI law degree, graduates who intend to practice must complete a two-year practical professional training programme at one of three law schools in the Caribbean. The Eugene Dupuch Law School in The Bahamas is normally for citizens of the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica has allocated citizens from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Jamaica, Montserrat, and St. Kitts and Nevis. The Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago serves Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.[34][33] The three schools were established by the Caribbean Council of Legal Education. Ironically, despite the Faculty of Law having been founded in Barbados, the country does not have a law school, though one has been mooted.[35]

The first law students, beginning studies in October 1970, consisted of 24 students in Jamaica, nineteen in Trinidad and Tobago, 35 in Barbados, and thirteen Guyana.[33] Two years later, almost 300 students were enrolled in the Faculty. The first graduates entered the profession in 1975.

Access to the Faculty of Law and to the Law Schools are controlled by the institutions. However, costs can vary depending on whether the applicant's country has paid contributory grants to the Faculty or the School. Not all countries did. Therefore, applicants from non-contributing countries would be considered after those from contributing countries and their fees would be higher.[33]

Faculty of SportEdit

Launched in 2017, the UWI Faculty of Sport integrates teaching and research, professional development, community partnerships, and co- and extra-curricular student sport through three main units: Professional Programmes, Outreach & Projects Unit, Co-curricular & Intramural-Activity Unit and the Academic Programme & Activity Unit. The faculty is made up of four Academies of Sport: Cave Hill Academy of Sport, Open Campus Academy of Sport, Mona Academy of Sport and St Augustine Academy of Sport.


According to the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, UWI ranked in the 501-600 band, the first time it has ranked among the 1,258 universities on the list.[36] It is the only university from the Caribbean to make the list. Its ranking places it in the top 5% of universities globally. The 2019 Times Higher Education ranks UWI Mona 32nd on its Latin America University rankings.[37]

Chancellors of the UniversityEdit

Vice-Chancellors of the UniversityEdit



Notable faculty and administratorsEdit

Notable alumniEdit

Sir Derek Walcott studied at the University of the West Indies

UWI graduates who are, or have been, heads of government:

Graduates in other fields:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c d "History of the UHWI - University Hospital of the West Indies".
  4. ^
  5. ^ The University of the West Indies, A Quinquagenary Calendar 1948-1998,Douglas Hall,1998.Jamaica, The Press, University of the West Indies
  6. ^ "Happy 90th Birthday to the Visitor!!!". 22 April 2015. Archived from the original on 4 May 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Report of the Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies" Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Report of the West Indies Committee of the Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies, Presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to Parliament by Command of His Majesty June 1945. London, His Majesty’s Stationery Office
  10. ^ Brown, Suzanne Francis (2006). Mona Past and Present: The History and Heritage of the Mona Campus, University of the West Indies. University of the West Indies Press. pp. 10–11. ISBN 9789766401597.
  11. ^ Tortello, Rebecca (7 November 2005). "Pieces of the Past: Out Of Many Cultures: Gibraltar Camp a Refuge from war". Jamaica Gleaner. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  12. ^ Henry, Balford (29 January 2017). "UHWI, UWI team up for completion of hospital's overhaul". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Professor Sir Hilary Beckles (Vice-Chancellor) (26 June 2019). "New UWI Campus in Antigua and Barbuda". University of the West Indies.
  16. ^ "The University of the West Indies - Open Campus". Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  17. ^ Government hands over land to UWI Friday, July 20, 2012, St. George's, Grenada
  18. ^ Grenada Hands Over Land for University of the West Indies Campus
  19. ^ UWI landed campus a step closer, November 10, 2017, Antigua and Barbuda Daily Observer Ltd.
  20. ^ UWI to add fourth campus in Antigua, 8 APRIL 2017, Loop News Barbados
  21. ^ a b c d Edwards-Henry, A; Thurab-Nkhosi, D. "The Evolution of Policy to Meet the Challenges of Distance: The Case of UWI Open Campus" (PDF). Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  22. ^ a b c d "Academia in Action. The UWI at 70: The Next Phase" (PDF). Times Higher Education. University of the West Indies. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  23. ^ "Students off to China from UWI to further study Software Engineering". LOOP News. 24 July 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  24. ^ Simon, Alexandra (9 February 2017). "University of West Indies partners with SUNY". Caribbean Life. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  25. ^ a b c Beckles, Hilary. "Vice-Chancellor's Report to University Council 2016/2017" (PDF). University of the West Indies. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  26. ^ Rowe, Sasha (21 May 2017). "UWI, UNILAG agree to African and diaspora studies institute". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  27. ^ "UWI and U. of Johannesburg launch Institute for Global African Affairs". LOOP News. 24 December 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  28. ^ Morrison, Mike. "Brock in talks with University of West Indies to create Institute for Canada-Caribbean Studies". The Brock News. Brock University. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i Branday, JM; Carpenter, RA (2008). "The Evolution of Undergraduate Medical Training at The University of the West Indies, 1948-2008" (PDF). West Indian Medical Journal. 57 (6). Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h Fraser, HS (2008). "The Faculties and School of Medical Sciences of The University of the West Indies at its Diamond Jubilee" (PDF). West Indian Medical Journal. 57 (6). Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  32. ^ a b c d "Programs". Caribbean Accreditation Authority or Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  33. ^ a b c d e f Lazarus-Black, Mindie (February 2008). "After Empire: Training Lawyers as a Postcolonial Enterprise". Small Axe. 12 (1): 38–56. doi:10.1215/-12-1-38.
  34. ^ a b c Barnett, Lloyd. "Report of the Review Committee on Legal Education in the Caribbean 1996". The Barnett Report. Council of Legal Education. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  35. ^ "Call for Barbados law school". NationNews. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  36. ^ "World University Rankings 2019". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  37. ^ "New rankings put UWI among top 5 percent of best universities globally". Loop News. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n The University of the West Indies: A Quinquagenary Calendar, 1948-1998. p. App A.
  39. ^ Higman, B. W. (1999). General History of the Caribbean. VI: Methodology and historiography of the Caribbean. London, England: UNESCO. ISBN 978-92-3-103360-5.
  40. ^ "Dr. Elsa Goveia is dead". Kingston, Jamaica: The Daily Gleaner. 20 March 1980. Retrieved 14 January 2017 – via Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)  
  41. ^ "Patrick Hosein", LinkedIn.
  42. ^ Aub-Buscher, Gertrud (17 April 2000). "Bridget Jones". The Guardian. London, England. Archived from the original on 9 May 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  43. ^ "Professor of Microbiology: Dr. Sheila King Makes History". The Gleaner. Kingstown, Jamaica. 4 July 1983. p. 21. Retrieved 1 February 2018 – via  
  44. ^ a b M. E. West and J. Homi. "Cannabis as a medicine". Br. J. Anaesth (1996) 76(1): 167 doi:10.1093/bja/76.1.167-a
  45. ^ "Dr. Kim Mallalieu" Archived 2017-04-06 at the Wayback Machine, The Faculty of Engineering, UWI St Augustine.
  46. ^ "UWI Students win MIT Technology Innovation Award" Archived 2017-12-01 at the Wayback Machine, UWI St Augustine, 21 May 2010.
  47. ^ "Orlando Patterson" Archived 2016-08-28 at the Wayback Machine, Harvard Department of Sociology.
  48. ^ "Courtenay Bartholomew". Icons. The National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST), Government of Trinidad and Tobago. 2017-06-23. Retrieved 2018-11-09.

External linksEdit