University of Portsmouth

University of Portsmouth
Motto Lucem Sequamur (Latin)
Motto in English
Let us follow the Light
Type Public
Established 1992 - University of Portsmouth (gained university status)
1960 - Portsmouth Polytechic
1869 - Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and the Arts
Endowment £1.79 m (as of 2012)[1]
Chancellor Sandi Toksvig[2]
Vice-Chancellor Graham Galbraith[2]
Academic staff
Students 21,625 HE (2014/15)[4]
Undergraduates 18,315 (2014/15)[4]
Postgraduates 3,310 (2014/15)[4]
Other students
125 FE[5]
Location Portsmouth, England, UK
Campus Urban
Colours Purple     
Affiliations University Alliance
The Channel Islands Universities Consortium

The University of Portsmouth is a public university in the city of Portsmouth, in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England; it is located mainly on Portsea Island with a population of 205,400, it is the United Kingdom's only island city. The history of the university dates back to 1908, when the Park building opened as a Municipal college and public library. The focus was on chemistry and engineering. The roots of the University can be traced back even further to the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and the Arts[6]

The university offers a range of disciplines from Pharmacy, International relations and politics, Mechanical Engineering, Paleontology etc. With courses like Pharmacy appearing in the top 20 in the UK,[7][8] furthermore 89% of research conducted in Physics and 90% of research in Allied Health Professions,i.e., Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy have been rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in REF2014.[9]

The university describes itself as 'the heart' of Portsmouth, due to its strong commitment to the regional community, and particularly to the city. This commitment is longstanding, at least since the opening of the Municipal College in 1908; 'Our economic, social and cultural contributions range from being one of the largest employers in the city, to the value our highly skilled graduates add in professional roles in our schools, health and justice services, businesses, local authorities and charities.'[6]

The influence of the university is evident and has had a measurable economic impact: it has invested over £180 million in buildings and resources in the last decade and their 25,000 students study, live and spend in the city. Other work adds benefits in different ways, such as: improving the city environment by sharing expertise in urban design; students volunteering in local charities, schools and hospitals; encouraging enterprise and innovation and promoting a greater public understanding of science through lectures, schools visits, events and press comment.

The university continues to expand massively, with the Future Technology Centre opening in 2017, which aims be an 'exciting new space for the next generation of engineers, scientists and designers the centre will house the latest simulation, visualization and modelling equipment', in addition to this the school intends to extend the New Theatre Royal, so that 'students [can] study alongside an active theatre'.

The University is a member of the University Alliance[10] and The Channel Islands Universities Consortium.[11] Notable alumni include Major Tim Peake, Grayson Perry CBE, Simon Armitage, Ben Fogle amongst many more.


The history of the university dates back to 1908, when the Park building opened as a Municipal college and public library. The focus was on chemistry and engineering. The roots of the University can be traced back even further to the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and the Arts.[6] Shortly after in the year of 1911 a Student Union was established; as early records from the Student Union newspaper The Galleon show.[6]

From 1945 to 1960 the college diversified its syllabus adding arts and humanities subjects after World War II, in response to a decline in the need for engineering skills; however this did not stop the institution this did not hinder the universities expansion or reputation, as from 1960 to 1980 the university opened the Frewen library, gained Polytechnic status and became one of the largest high perform and prestigious polytechnics by the late 80's. By 1992 the university was officially granted university status, the formal inauguration of the University of Portsmouth was celebrated at a ceremony at Portsmouth Guildhall on the 7th of July 1992, thus becoming one of the new universities, allowing it to validate its own degrees, under the provision of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.


The university is split between one main areas, the University Quarter, which is centred around the Portsmouth Guildhall area, and the Langstone Campus.

Langstone Campus

Langstone is the smaller of the two campuses, located in Milton on the eastern edge of Portsea Island. The campus overlooks Langstone Harbour and it is home to the university's sports grounds. It also houses a restaurant for the students onsite, as well as a 'student village' feel, which provides accommodation for 565 students in three halls of residence; Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother (QEQM), Trust Hall and Langstone Flats. Rooms in QEQM and Langstone Flats are en-suite.

Langstone Campus used to be home of the University's School of Languages and Area Studies, which has since moved into Park Building in the University Quarter.

University Quarter

The University Quarter is a collection of university buildings located around the centre of the city. This area contains most of the university's teaching facilities and nearly all of the Student Halls of residence (except the Langstone student village and two halls (Rees Hall and Burrell House) located on Southsea Terrace, the city's main esplanade).

The University Library (formerly the Frewen Library) was extended in 2006 at a cost of £11 million.[12] It was opened by the crime writer P. D. James. The University has also recently invested in the Faculty of Science, in particular by renovating the aluminium-clad main building, St Michael's, adjacent to James Watson Hall, named after the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.

A new faculty called "Creative and Cultural Industries" was opened in September 2006. It provides a unique environment in which all aspects of creative thinking will flourish and develop by combining creative schools from across the university.

Organisation and structure


Portsmouth is formally headed by the Chancellor, currently Sandi Toksvig. The Chancellor is largely a ceremonial role; Portsmouth is run day-to-day by the Vice-Chancellor, presently Graham Galbraith, along with a single integrated decision-making body known as the University Executive Board. This includes Pro Vice-Chancellors, the Director of Finance and the Deans of faculties, together with the Chief Operating Officer, the Director of Human Resources and the University Secretary and Clerk. .[13]


The University of Portsmouth is composed of five faculties divided into 29 departments:[14]

Portsmouth Business School

  • Accounting and Financial Management
  • Economics and Finance
  • Organisation Studies and Human Resource Management
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Operations and Systems Management
  • Strategy, Enterprise and Innovation
  • School of Law[15]

Faculty of Technology

  • School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
  • School of Computing
  • Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation
  • School of Engineering
  • Department of Mathematics

Faculty of Science

  • School of Biological Sciences
  • School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (includes Palaeontology)
  • Department of Geography
  • Dental Academy
  • School of Health Sciences and Social Work
  • School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Sport and Exercise Science

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
  • School of Education and Childhood Studies
  • School of Languages and Area Studies
  • School of Social, Historical, and Literary Studies

Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

  • Portsmouth School of Architecture
  • School of Art and Design
  • School of Creative Arts, Film, and Media
  • School of Creative Technologies
  • Institute of Industrial Research


In the financial year ended 31 July 2013, the University of Portsmouth had a total income of £185 million and a total expenditure of £171.04 million.[16] Key sources of income included £107 million from tuition fees and education contracts, £50 million from funding council grants, £7 million in research grants and contracts, £0.52 million from endowment and investment income, and £23.5 million from other income.[16]

Academic profile

Portsmouth offers more than 200 undergraduate degrees and 150 postgraduate degrees, as well as 65 research degree programs.[17]

The university validates a professional doctorate programme in chiropractic for the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, a private college.[18] The university formerly validated BSc (Hons) degrees in Acupuncture and MSc courses in Traditional Chinese medicine that were carried out by the London College of Traditional Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, a private education provider that collapsed in early 2011.[19]


The Research Assessment Exercise 2008 classed research in eight departments contained elements of 'world-leading' research, with 'Allied Health Professions and Studies', 'Applied Mathematics' and 'European Studies' among the top ten in the UK for research quality.[17][20]

In 2015, the University of Portsmouth won a £272,000 award from the Education and Training Foundation to research how best to deliver study programmes in the UK.[21]

In 2016, Dr Victoria Wang and Professor Mark Button, of the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, were awarded £299,355 by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to investigate unintended consequences of data release, including those associated with issues of trust, identity, privacy and security. The project is in partnership with Swansea University's Department of Computer Science, the DVLA and other government agencies.[22]


(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2017, national)
The Guardian[28]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[29]
(2017, national)

The University of Portsmouth was ranked 59th by The Complete University Guide 2016,[30] 43th by The Guardian University Guide 2017,[31] and 57th by The Sunday Times University Guide 2015[32]

Internationally, The University was ranked 85th in Times Higher Education's ‘100 under 50’ rankings of international modern universities 2015.[33]

Portsmouth was rated in the top 301-350 universities in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012-13.[34]

Students' Union

Students' Union

The Students' Union provides a wide range of services and learner support to students of the University. The Union is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. It exists as a students’ union within the definitions of the Education Act 1994. In June 2010, the University of Portsmouth Students' Union was the first students' union in England and Wales to register as a full charity in order to comply with legislation introduced in 2006.[35][36][37]

The earliest record of the Union is in the September 1911 edition of ‘The Galleon’ student magazine. From 1965, the Union was based in ‘Union House’ - now St. Paul's Gym - on St. Pauls Road. In 1983, it moved to the ex-NAAFI building, Alexandra House, where it remained for 19 years. Since 2002, the union has been situated at the north end of Ravelin Park. The current Union building was voted best Union in the UK in the New Musical Express in 2004. It houses a student activities centre, a social learning space, a bar, a radio station [38] and a computer help store. It is also connected to a Co-Op and Blackwells bookshop. The Union previously housed two nightclubs, Lux and Co2, but these were closed and redeveloped for other uses in 2009.[39]

The Students Union facilitates a whole range of activities which are organised into 5 different co-operating bodies: Athletic Union, Societies, Student Media, Volunteering and RAG (Raising And Giving).[40]

Athletic Union

The Students' Union offers a range of sports clubs which are administered by the Athletic Union[41] The sports range from traditional team games like athletics, football, rugby union, netball, trampolining, and table tennis to octopush (a form of underwater hockey), lacrosse and pole dancing. Every year, the sailing club enters a team for the annual Cowes Week regatta on the Isle of Wight. There is also a range of extreme sports available, including wakeboarding, surfing, climbing, skiing and snowboarding. As of September 2014 there will be 43 different sports clubs.[42]


As well as sporting activities, the union offers social groups, such as the award winning Amnesty Student Group,[43] Afro-Caribbean, LGBT, Pagan and Spiritual, Christian Union and Geography societies. There are also course-oriented societies such as the Politics Society, Brightsparks Enterprise Society[44] (affiliated with the Portsmouth Centre of Enterprise), the Property Development Society (based in the School of Civil Engineering & Surveying), and the Student Law Society. The University is also home to the longest-running university paintball club in the UK. Despite not offering a degree in Music, the University has a full-time music department offering instrumental lessons and ensembles. These include the Choir; Orchestra; Wind Band; Big Band and the multiple-time University Gospel Choir of the Year finalists, Portsmouth Gospel Choir.


The Students' Union runs a number of volunteering projects, such as HEFCE's Volunteering Team of the Year.[45] In 2010, the Union was awarded a £15,000 grant to work with elderly residents in the city.[46]

Student Media

The university has four main media outlets. The Galleon , and Pugwash the student magazine which was recently relaunched and is the oldest student media attached to the university, UPSU TV the student television station and Pure FM the student radio station, which works alongside local radio stations including Express FM.[47]

Notable people


Notable students of the University of Portsmouth and its predecessor institutions include


  1. "University of Portsmouth Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 July 2012" (PDF). University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  2. 1 2 "About Us". University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  3. "All staff by HE institution, activity and mode of employment 2011/12" (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 "2014/15 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
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  6. 1 2 3 4 "The institution - University of Portsmouth". Retrieved 2016-09-12.
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  10. "University of Portsmouth". University Alliance. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  11. "University Partnerships:Channel Islands University Consortium". States of Guernsey Education Department. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  12. "Library". University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  13. "Vice-Chancellor's Executive" (PDF). University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  14. "Academic Departments". University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  15. "About Us". University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  16. 1 2,183593,en.pdf
  17. 1 2 "Facts & Figures" (PDF). University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  18. "Anglo-European College of Chiropractic". Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  19. Simon Baker (27 January 2011). "No relief for acupuncture students as private college collapses in debt". Times Higher Education.
  20. "RAE quality profiles – University of Portsmouth". Research Assessment Exercise 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  21. "University wins contract to help further education in the UK". The News. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  22. "Data Release - Trust, Identity, Privacy and Security - Portsmouth Research Portal". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
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  35. "Portsmouth become first students' union to register as a charity". NUS. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  36. Jacob Leverett (2 June 2010). "Union registers as charity". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  38. "Students' anger over axed clubs". BBC News. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  40. "Activities". Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  42. Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  44. "Credits for your career : Volunteering Advice". National Union of Students (United Kingdom). Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  45. "Old folk and students to learn from each other". The News. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  47. "Poets: Simon Armitage". BBC. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  48. "The man who would have been leader". BBC News. 27 October 1998. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  49. "Lord Chidgey – Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on International Affairs (DfID)". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  50. Vallely, Paul (14 January 2006). "Ben Fogle: Action man". The Independent. London. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  51. Henry, Alan (3 March 2008). "Whitmarsh was groomed to be safest bet in the one-horse race to succeed Dennis". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  52. "Timothy Peake". European Space Agency. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  53. "Nick Kennedy". Rugby Football Union. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
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