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What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small file, typically of letters and numbers, downloaded on to a device when the user accesses certain websites. Cookies are then sent back to the originating website on each subsequent visit. Cookies are useful because they allow a website to recognise a user’s device.
Information Commissioner's Office

cookies on our website

Our website uses cookies to distinguish you from other users of the website and to optimise your experience. Cookies are small text files passed to your computer by the web server via your browser. Once deployed, cookies may be used to collect information to help identify you, about your computer, your use of our website and/or your general internet usage. They also help prepare customised pages for you. Cookies may remain on your computer either for the duration of the session or for a defined period of time.


Why and how we use cookies

There are broadly four types of/and reasons why a cookie might be stored on your device when visiting the University website.

  • Cookies that make the website work properly for you and enable you to make use of the secure online services that we provide
  • Cookies that collect data about your use of the website which is then anonymised and used to help us improve our online services
  • Cookies that remember your preferences and make the site easier for you to use
  • Cookies that are placed by third party services we make use of to enhance the information we present online. We have no control over these third party cookies

These cookies are placed on your device either by the University or by the third parties whose services we use as part of the website.

Some cookies are retained in your browser for only as long as you visit our website, while others persist for a longer specified or unspecified period.

Restricting cookies

How to block cookies

You can restrict or block cookies which are set during your use of the website by changing your browser’s settings. Some pages may not work if you completely disable cookies, but many third party cookies can be safely blocked.

Check information in your browser’s help section for specific instructions on how to manage cookies. Alternatively, websites such as “All About Cookies” provide comprehensive guidance on managing cookies.

cookies that we use

We use several types of cookies for a range of reasons across the University website ( Some types of cookies are essential to the performance of the website, other types of cookies are not essential and you can choose to block these ones. Whilst you can configure most standard web browsers to refuse cookies, you should also be aware that opting out or blocking some cookies may affect the functionality of the website.

Embedded cookies

This is a list of cookies that are used by


Owner: University of the West of Scotland

A simple yes/no cookie that is used by the site to quickly detect if your browser has Javascript enabled. This cookie will expire at the end of your session on this website and be re-established next time you visit.


Owner: University of the West of Scotland

A yes/no cookie that is used by the site to determine whether you have had the cookie policy drop down appear for you. This cookie expires 1 year after it is set.


Owner: Google

This cookie keeps track of the number of times a visitor has been to our site, when their first visit was, and when their last visit occurred. Google Analytics uses the information from this cookie to calculate things like Days and Visits to purchase. This cookie is set to expire 2 years after it is first set.

_utmb and _utmc

Owner: Google

The _utmb and _utmc cookies work together to calculate how long a visit takes. _utmb takes a time stamp of the exact moment in time when a visitor enters a site, while _utmc takes a time stamp of the exact moment in time when a visitor leaves a site. _utmb expires at the end of the session. _utmc waits 30 minutes, and then it expires.


Owner: Google

This cookie keeps track of where the visitor came from, what search engine you used, what link you clicked on, what keyword you used, and where they were in the world when you accessed a website. This cookie is how Google Analytics knows to whom and to what source / medium / keyword to assign the credit for a Goal Conversion or an Ecommerce Transaction. This cookie is set to expire 6 months after it is first set.

Third party cookies

We also use third party video services Vimeo and You Tube on our site. As part of their service they use cookies to track videos viewed by visitors so they can in the future offer videos tailored to your taste. This also allows them to target their advertising more precisely.

Facebook and twitter share links appear on most pages on our site, these will also add cookies to your session from their own servers.

To find out more about the cookies set by these external sources click the links below:

The ePrivacy Directive

In compliance with the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, we are required to inform you about cookies that we actively deploy on our website and allow you to make an informed choice regarding their use, and we require your consent for deploying these cookies.

It should be noted that some cookies are exempt from the requirement to obtain consent prior to deployment. In accordance with the EU directive, consent is not required if cookies are:

  • used for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication

  • strictly necessary in order for the provider of an information society service explicitly required by the user to provide that service

Cookies which are exempt from consent

Cookies exempt from consent according to the EU advisory body on data protection-WP29 include:

  • user‑input cookies (session-id) such as first‑party cookies to keep track of the user's input when filling online forms, shopping carts, etc., for the duration of a session or persistent cookies limited to a few hours in some cases

  • authentication cookies, to identify the user once he has logged in, for the duration of a session

  • user‑centric security cookies, used to detect authentication abuses, for a limited persistent duration

  • multimedia content player cookies, used to store technical data to play back video or audio content, for the duration of a session

  • load‑balancing cookies, for the duration of session

  • user‑interface customisation cookies such as language or font preferences, for the duration of a session (or slightly longer)

  • third‑party social plug‑in content‑sharing cookies, for logged‑in members of a social network.

Last updated: 11/08/2017