Student life

Why Portsmouth?

Student life

Ever considered skydiving or learning a new language? At Portsmouth you can.

Photos of Portsmouth

star2 Overview

There’s no-one better to tell you what life at Portsmouth is really like than the people who study here. The Student Life web series follows a different student every fortnight and features their experiences at the University. It’s student led to give you a real taste of what it’s like to be here at the University of Portsmouth. The series can be viewed on the University of Portsmouth YouTube channel, with a new video and student view every other week.

Students' Union

Name: Grant Clarke
Course: BA Hons Media Studies and Entertainment Technology

In his role as President of the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union, Grant Clarke shows us what the Students’ Union can offer you and how you can get involved in sports and societies.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when a new student story is released.

Work Experience

Name: Anu Afolayan
Course: LLB Hons Law

As part of her Law degree, Anu chose to do practical work experience with Portsmouth's Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). We visit Anu at work to see how she's getting on, what the role involves and how it feels to put her learning into practice.

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University Choir

Name: Jess Buttery
Course: BA Hons Drama and Performance
Interests: Singing

As a break from her studies, Jess sings in the University of Portsmouth Choir. We visit Jess at her latest concert to hear all about the choir and find out what she thinks Portsmouth has to offer as a city.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when a new student story is released.

Work Placement

Name: Zoe Horrell
Course: BEng Hons Engineering Geology and Geotechnics

As part of her course, Zoe is putting her knowledge into practice and learning new skills with a work placement year. Take a look at Zoe’s working environment and find out why she thinks it’s so important to get real-life work experience as part of your degree.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when a new student story is released.

Sports and Varsity

Name: Olley O’Gorman
Course: BSc Hons Sports Development
Interests: Rugby

Olley O'Gorman is the captain of the rugby team. We caught up with Olley during Varsity day, where the University competes with Southampton in a variety of sports. Find out more about the day and how easy it is to get involved with sports at the University of Portsmouth.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when a new student story is released.

Study Year Abroad

Name: Marie Slettan Ulvund
Course: International Relations and Chinese
Interests: International travel

Marie is in China for a whole year as part of her degree. Take a look at life in China through Marie’s eyes and find out what she loves about living there, how it’s helped with her language skills and what advice she would give to others considering studying a language at university.

Stay up-to-date with Marie's adventures on our Student Blog

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Community at Portsmouth

Name: Emily Long
Course: BSc (Hons) Criminology with Psychology
Interests: Societies

Emily explains how her involvement with the LGBT+ society has made her much more confident than when she first arrived in Portsmouth. In this video she talks about how the society has introduced her to many new friends and that she now considers Portsmouth as home.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when a new student story is released.

Living in Portsmouth

Name: Wesley Reuel
Course: BSc Software Engineering
Interests: Photography

When Wesley arrived at Portsmouth he was pleased to meet like-minded students who shared his passion for photography at our Freshers Fair. He quickly signed up to the Photography Society and now takes part in regular meet-ups and trips. In this video, Wesley shows us his favourite places to photograph and talks about his experience as an international student from Brazil.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when a new student story is released.

Living in Portsmouth

Name: Varun Dastur
Course: MSc Sports Management
Interests: Cooking

Varun shares his experience of studying and living away from home for the first time. Find out what he thinks of Portsmouth's diverse mixture of food shops and living in Halls, while he cooks a meal for friends.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when a new student story is released.

Volunteering at Portsmouth

Name: Sarah Murray
Course: BA (Hons) English and Media Studies
Interests: Fundraising

Sarah studies BA (Hons) English and Media Studies at the University's School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies. In her free time, she volunteers to raise funds for a breast cancer charity - a cause she is passionate about.

Watch Sarah's story to find out she got involved and how it's enhanced her skills for future employment.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when a new student story is released.

Sports at Portsmouth

Name: James Gardiner
Course: MPhil Plant Pollination Biology
Interests: Tennis

Meet James, an MPhil Plant Pollination student. James started on an undergraduate degree in BSc (Hons) Biology and progressed to MPhil Plant Pollination.

Find out how James finds time to play regular tennis as part of the University’s Tennis Society alongside studying for his Masters Degree.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when a new student story is released.

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book Becoming a Student

Finding your feet

In the weeks leading up to your arrival we give you all the information you need for a smooth start including an induction pack and online support.

Once you have arrived at the University as a new undergraduate student, we try to make sure you feel at home. Within the first two weeks you'll get to find your way round the city, the campus and meet others during Freshers' Week before continuing students return. You’ll also get a chance to get to know the people and services that can support you academically and personally through your time with us.

In your first month as a student you might:

  • Join one of the 150 clubs and societies
  • Take part in a sports competition with your new team
  • Join our gym
  • Take up a new instrument or start learning a new language
  • Join forces with other students to raise money for charity

President's view

Grant Clarke
University of Portsmouth Students’ Union president

We want your time at the University of Portsmouth to be the best possible; that’s why we help our members run activities for all students, from Football to Badminton, Mountain Climbing to Debating. Your experience shouldn’t be about how much you can afford, and that's why at the Students’ Union we subsidise activities, trips and tours, and so much more. Make sure you get involved and have a life changing experience at University!

International & EU Students

A few days before Freshers’ Week begins our International Office welcomes our overseas students to an Orientation Week.

Our welcome for overseas students includes:

  • A dedicated information pack and detailed faculty-specific programmes
  • Airport pickups with transfer to halls of residence or private accommodation
  • Guided city and campus tours, social and sporting events
  • Support with the registration process
  • Welcome presentations and lunch
  • Information fair to meet our Student Support Services and local banks
  • Halls of residence registration
  • English for Academic Purposes placement sessions

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megaphone1 Community

The Students’ Union

The Students’ Union is there to promote your rights and look after your well-being throughout your university years. It’s run for the students, by the students.

The Students' Union:

  • Supports you to make your time at university more comfortable
  • Gives you opportunities to get involved
  • Gives you advice on academic issues and welfare
  • Organises events and societies to bring you together with other like-minded students
Students' Union
Students' Union


Going to university is a journey, and you’ll be facing many challenges. We’re here to support you the whole way.

These are some of the kinds of support we offer:

  • Academic support
  • Personal support - including disability support
  • Chaplaincy - including dedicated facilities for various religions
  • Counselling
  • Health and medical care
  • Childcare – our Nursery offers a limited number of spaces prioritised for students with children from six months to five years old
  • Student finance and housing support and advice
Academic Skills Unit (ASK)
Academic Skills Unit (ASK)

Activities and societies

From climbing Everest for charity, to being a representative for other students, this could be the beginning of an exciting path to achieving something you never knew you could.

Try out something new by:

  • Joining a special interest society
  • Raising money for charity during Raising and Giving (RAG) week
  • Contributing to the student newspaper
  • Getting involved with a sports club and going on tour
  • Getting training to be a Course Representative
  • Learning a new language
Freshers' Fayre
Freshers' Fayre

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rugbyball1 Sport

Use the facilities

Make the most of our two sports centres and outdoor sports complex including:

  • Two sports halls
  • Two dance/martial arts studios
  • A 100-station gym with CV, resistance and free weights spaces
  • Squash courts
  • A synthetic turf hockey pitch
  • Grass pitches for football, rugby and lacrosse

Join a class or a club

The Athletic Union, part of the Students’ Union, offers over 35 sports clubs from football to skydiving.

Every week our teams take part in competitions and leagues against other university teams.

As well as this, you can choose from 50 different fitness classes, or make the most of Portsmouth’s renowned water sports facilities.

Top of your game

We’re committed to supporting athletes and sports people to reach the top of their game through links with a number of elite clubs, sports schemes and top-quality coaching. This has included supporting two successful Paralympians.

You can also gain coaching qualifications and volunteer in sports development programmes in the local community and sometimes overseas.

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music1 Music & Drama

Music and Drama

Sing out in a choir, take up a new instrument, join the orchestra or play in our wind or big band.

Whether you’re new to music, an experienced virtuoso or a budding musician, our tutors and music groups cultivate your musical talents. We sing and play purely for pleasure and to entertain others, and you don’t have to be studying music or drama in order to join in.

The choir recently performed Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.


The Dramatic Musical Society is responsible for a yearly production. The society is always looking for actors/chorus singers and principals, as well as dancers, choreographers, stage hands and marketing people. No experience is necessary, and it’s lots of fun.

Examples of past shows include Crazy for You, The Yeomen of the Guard and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.


  • Four rehearsal rooms
  • Four practice rooms all equipped with a piano
  • A fully equipped black box space with lighting and seating for 60 people
  • A sound recording studio

Dramatic developments: We are thrilled about a £1m Heritage Lottery-funded project to develop the back lot of the city’s historic New Theatre Royal in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth. Plans include a new Creative Learning Centre.

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