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University of Portsmouth


University of Portsmouth

University of Portsmouth
Motto Lucem Sequamur (Latin)
Motto in English
Let us follow the Light
Established 1992 - University of Portsmouth (gained university status)
1960 - Portsmouth Polytechic
1869 - Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and the Arts
Type Public
Endowment £1.79 m (as of 2012)[1]
Chancellor Sandi Toksvig[2]
Vice-Chancellor Graham Galbraith[2]
Academic staff
Students 22,000 [4]
Undergraduates 18,000[4]
Postgraduates 4,000[4]
Other students
125 FE[4]
Location Portsmouth, England, UK
Campus Urban
Colours Purple     
Affiliations University Alliance
The Channel Islands Universities Consortium

The University of Portsmouth is a university in the city of Portsmouth, England. It was previously known as Portsmouth Polytechnic until 1992, when it was granted university status through the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

The University is a member of the University Alliance[5] and The Channel Islands Universities Consortium.[6]


  • History 1
  • Campuses 2
    • Langstone Campus 2.1
    • University Quarter 2.2
    • Military Technological College of Oman 2.3
  • Organisation and structure 3
    • Governance 3.1
    • Faculties 3.2
    • Finances 3.3
  • Academic profile 4
    • Research 4.1
    • Rankings 4.2
  • Students' Union 5
    • Athletic Union 5.1
    • Societies 5.2
    • Volunteering 5.3
    • Student Media 5.4
  • Notable people 6
    • Alumni 6.1
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The University was founded as the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and the Arts in 1869. Because of the dependence on shipping and trade to the city, the main function of the college was to train the engineers and skilled workmen who went on to work in the city docks, as well as at the large Royal Navy dockyard situated in Portsmouth. However, due to a decline in shipping and population since World War II, when large swathes of the city were destroyed by German bombing, the college was forced to diversify its syllabus and teaching in order to attract new students.

In the expansion of British Higher Education in the 1960s, the college was renamed Portsmouth Polytechnic and given the power to award degrees accredited and validated by the CNAA. The expansion of the polytechnic continued and in the late 1980s, it was one of the largest polytechnics in the UK.

In 1992, Portsmouth and other polytechnics were granted university status with power to validate their own degrees under the provision of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The formal inauguration of the University of Portsmouth was celebrated at a ceremony in the Portsmouth Guildhall on 7 July 1992.


The university is split between two 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.[7] 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.

Military Technological College of Oman

On 7 June 2013, the University of Portsmouth announced its partnership with the Military Technological College of Oman. This involves the University of Portsmouth providing academic guidance and academic accreditation for the education of 4,200 students with technical roles in armed services and a few civilian employers in the Sultanate of Oman.[8] This has been criticised by the student Amnesty International Society and by Campaign Against the Arms Trade who consider Oman an authoritarian regime, likely to use military capabilities on their own citizens or in regional conflicts.[9]

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 the Deputy Vice-chancellor, the Pro Vice-Chancellor, 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. .[10]


The University of Portsmouth is composed of five faculties divided into 29 departments:[11]


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.[13] 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.[13]

Academic profile

Portsmouth offers more than 200 undergraduate degrees and 150 postgraduate degrees, as well as 65 research degree programs.[14]

The university validates a professional doctorate programme in chiropractic for the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, a private college.[15] 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.[16]


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.[14][17]


(2015/16, national)
(2015/16, world)
(2016, national)
The Guardian[20]
(2016, national)
Times/Sunday Times[21]
(2015, national)

The University of Portsmouth was ranked 59th by The Complete University Guide 2016,[22] 55th by The Guardian University Guide 2015,[23] and 57th by The Sunday Times University Guide 2015[24]

Internationally, The University was ranked 85th in Times Higher Education’s ‘100 under 50’ rankings of international modern universities 2015.[25]

Portsmouth was rated in the top 400 universities in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012-13.[26]

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.[27][28][29]

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 [30] 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.[31]

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).[32]

Athletic Union

The Students' Union offers a range of sports clubs which are administered by the Athletic Union[33] The sports range from traditional team games like 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 the 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.[34]


As well as sporting activities, the union offers social groups, such as the award winning Amnesty Student Group,[35] 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[36] (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 and Big Band.


The Students' Union runs a number of volunteering projects, such as HEFCE's Volunteering Team of the Year.[37] In 2010, the Union was awarded a £15,000 grant to work with elderly residents in the city.[38]

Student Media

The university has four main media outlets. The Galleon has been in existence as a student newspaper from the early 20th century, which long pre-dates the university's existence, although its legacy is being carried on by the university students. Pugwash the student magazine which was recently relaunched, UPSU TV the student television station and Pure FM the student radio station, which works alongside local radio stations including Express FM.[39]

Notable people


Notable students of the University of Portsmouth and its predecessor institutions include poet Simon Armitage,[40] politicians Ron Davies, former Secretary of State for Wales,[41] and David Chidgey, Baron Chidgey,[42] television presenter Ben Fogle,[43] team principal of McLaren and Chief Executive of the McLaren Racing Martin Whitmarsh,[44] astronaut Timothy Peake,[45] rugby union player Nick Kennedy,[46] entrepreneur Rachel Lowe[47] and paleontologist Darren Naish[48]


  1. ^ "University of Portsmouth Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 July 2012" (PDF). University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "About Us". University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "All staff by HE institution, activity and mode of employment 2011/12" ( 
  4. ^ a b c d "All students by HE institution, level of study, mode of study and domicile 2011/12" ( 
  5. ^ "University of Portsmouth". University Alliance. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "University Partnerships:Channel Islands University Consortium". States of Guernsey Education Department. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Library". University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "University wins prestigious Oman contract". University of Portsmouth. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "University criticised for new contract with Oman military college". the Galleon. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Vice-Chancellor's Executive" (PDF). University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Academic Departments". University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "About Us". University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  13. ^ a b,183593,en.pdf
  14. ^ a b "Facts & Figures" (PDF). University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "Anglo-European College of Chiropractic". Retrieved 2 Feb 2011. 
  16. ^ Simon Baker (27 January 2011). "No relief for acupuncture students as private college collapses in debt".  
  17. ^ "RAE quality profiles – University of Portsmouth". Research Assessment Exercise 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "World University Rankings 2015-16". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  19. ^ "University League Table 2016". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  20. ^ "University league table 2016". The Guardian. 25 May 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "The Times and Sunday Times University League Tables 2015". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  22. ^ . 'The Complete University Guide Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  23. ^ "University guide 2014: University league table". The Guardian (London). 3 June 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ "World University Rankings 2012-2013: 301-500". Times Higher Education. London. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  27. ^ "Portsmouth become first students' union to register as a charity". NUS. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  28. ^ Jacob Leverett (2 June 2010). "Union registers as charity". Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  29. ^ [3]
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Students' anger over axed clubs". BBC News. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ "Activities". Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ [4]
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Credits for your career : Volunteering Advice".  
  38. ^ Published on Monday 29 March 2010 12:29 (2010-03-29). "Old folk and students to learn from each other". Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Poets: Simon Armitage". BBC. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  41. ^ "The man who would have been leader". BBC News. 27 October 1998. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  42. ^ "Lord Chidgey – Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on International Affairs (DfID)". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  43. ^ Vallely, Paul (14 January 2006). "Ben Fogle: Action man". The Independent (London). Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  44. ^ 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. 
  45. ^ "Timothy Peake". European Space Agency. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  46. ^ "Nick Kennedy". Rugby Football Union. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  47. ^ Tabbitt, Sue (29 October 2012). "Bouncing back from bankruptcy". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  48. ^

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • University website

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