Portsmouth, University of


Overall ranking: 68th out of 124 in the Complete University Guide for 2014.

History: Born as a school of arts and science, became a technical institute, municipal college, college of technology, Portsmouth Poly and, finally, a university in 1992.

Address: Most university buildings are close to the city centre, with the marine labs, sports pitches and some of the halls of residence across the city at Langstone Harbour. Most students live in the seaside resort of Southsea.

Ambience: University buildings vary from modern tower blocks to lovely listed buildings and ex-army barracks. Portsmouth is compact though not bijou. The beaches and historic docks are within walking distance of the main university buildings. The harbour was refurbished as a part of a £112m millennium project, bringing Gunwharf Quays with its designer outlets, bars, restaurants and clubs providing a source of entertainment and student work opportunities.

Who's the boss? Economist Professor John Craven retires this summer after 16 years as vice-chancellor. He is succeeded by Professor Graham Galbraith who joins the university this September.

Prospectus: 023 9284 4444 or order one here.

UCAS code: P80

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Keen on widening participation, so they take students without traditional qualifications if they have the potential. Some courses like psychology and pharmacy require high A-level grades.

Vital statistics: Large university with over 22,500 students. One of the best of the former polys, its degree work goes back to the early 1900s. 20 per cent of undergraduates are over 21 at the start of their course. Portsmouth continues to be popular with a 6 per cent rise in applications in the last year against a national average of 2.8 per cent.

Added value: Right by the sea which some halls of residence overlook. Excellent for water sports. It has an ultra-modern £11m 'green' library, a new creative arts faculty and a £300,000 virtual reality centre. All students have web access and free PC facilities. Own on-campus recruitment consultancy, Purple Door Recruitment, aims to help graduates straight into permanent jobs, part-time jobs and volunteering positions. A £9m University of Portsmouth Dental Academy trains 80 student dentists, dental technicians and dental nurses together as part of a team and provides improved access to NHS dental services opened earlier this year. Due for September 2013 is a new £14m wing on the Eldon Building to include an exhibition space, artists' studios and a 250-seat professional theatre and film screening facility.

Teaching: 45th out of 124 in the Complete University Guide.

Research: 63rd out of 124 in the Research Assessment Exercise.

Graduate prospects: 64th out of 124 with 62.3 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Yes, a range of rooms in different halls of residence are available. Self-catered accommodation ranges from £79 to £125 per week, while catered is £99 per week for a shared bathroom and £96 or £123 for an en-suite room. Plans are underway for a new accommodation building in the city centre with 598 student bedrooms.

Cheap to live there? Not bad, with private rents at around £70 per week.

Transport links: Good for cyclists because the ground is flat. Main rail station a quick stroll across Guildhall Square (one hour and 15 minutes to London). Cross-Channel ferry port and cheap cabs about town.

Fees: For full-time home and EU undergrads, tuition fees will be £8,750 per year, increasing each year with inflation. Postgrads, international students, part-time students and students on NHS-funded courses pay varying fees.

Bursaries: All eligible full-time English students whose assessed household income is £25,000 or less will be able to choose from either a tuition fee or accommodation discount of £2,000. They will also receive a cash bursary of £1,000 in their first year of study. The accommodation discount option is only available in university halls of residence and is subject to availability. These students then continue to receive a cash bursary of £1,030 in subsequent years. There will be cash bursaries available each year to students with household incomes between £25,001 and £42,611.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: A £6.5m student centre boasts a well-stocked bar and an alcohol-free area. Various bars and clubs throughout Portsmouth, a city that attracts some big name bands.

Price of a pint: Expect to find pints for around £3 in the city.

Sporting reputation: 29th out of 148 in the current BUCS league, so not too bad. Sports scholarship scheme to help support elite sportsmen and women develop their sport alongside their academic studies.

Notable societies: Give the combat simulation sport Airsoft a try, or spin some plates with Circus Skills Society. You can even skydive here!

Glittering alumni: Poet Simon Armitage; MP Andrew Miller; former MPs David Chidgey and Diana (now Baroness) Maddock; Ron Davies, ex-Welsh Secretary; Ben Fogle, TV presenter and Castaway 2000.

Alternative prospectus: Sneak a peek at how current and recent Portsmouth students rate their university experience on What Uni?, from city life and job prospects to eye candy and the Students' Union.

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