University students socialising

Why Portsmouth?

The Institution

Our roots go back to 1869. We have grown in size and strength creating and sharing success with our students, staff, community and society.

Images of University buildings old and new

star Facts & Figures

  • We are ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and the top modern university in the United Kingdom in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
  • We have a total population of 22,000 students and almost 2,500 staff.
  • 84% of our students are studying undergraduate courses. We have almost 4,000 international and EU students from over 140 different countries.
  • 45% of our students are female and 55% are male.
  • 95% of our UK students aged under 21, studying for a first degree come from state schools and colleges.
  • Over 88% of our 2012 graduates went straight in to work or chose to continue their studies.
  • The 2013 National Student Survey placed Portsmouth in the top 25% of mainstream English universities.
  • 88% our students have reported high levels of satisfaction with their course which is higher than the national average of 85%.
  • We have invested in excess of £100 million in to our buildings and resources over the last 10 years.

Facts and Figures 2013/14 614KB

University of Portsmouth Facts and Figures 2013/14.

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Book Our History

  • 1908

    In 1908 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.

    Old black and white photo of a crowd
  • 1911

    By 1911 a Student Union was established. We know this from the earliest record of the Student Union newspaper The Galleon.

    Front cover of the Galleon newspaper
  • 1945 to 1960

    The college diversified its syllabus adding arts and humanities subjects after World War 2, in response to a decline in the need for engineering skills.

    Black and white photo of College of Arts building
  • 1960 to 1970

    In 1960 the college was renamed Portsmouth Polytechnic. The Milldam building was purchased. It had been used as a gathering space for local militia as far back as the Napoleonic Wars.

    Portsmouth Polytechnic logo
  • 1970 to 1980

    Work began on Frewen Library in 1977. This is now the University library. It officially opened in 1980.

    Aerial shot of Frewen Library at night
  • 1980 to 1990

    By the late 80s, Portsmouth Polytechnic had become one of the largest and best performing polytechnics in the UK.

    Old photo of Portsmouth Polytechnic building
  • 1990 to 1995

    Portsmouth Polytechnic was granted university status, becoming the University of Portsmouth on 7 July 1992.

    University of Portsmouth Crest
  • 1995 to 2000

    1997 Professor John Craven joined the University as Vice Chancellor.

    University VC John Craven
  • 2000

    St Paul’s Sports Centre opens.

    St Paul's Sports Centre
  • 2001

    Margaret Rule Halls of Residence opens.

    Margaret Rule Halls
  • 2002

    The Student Centre opens after the closure of Alexandra House, our old Students’ Union on Museum Road and Trafalgar Halls of Residence opens.

    Students' Union
  • 2003

    James Watson Halls of Residence and Spinnaker Sports Centre open.

    James Watson Halls
  • 2004

    Richmond Building opens and the Portsmouth Business School relocates from its former home on the Milton campus which closed down

    Richmond Building
  • 2005

    William Beatty Building opens – a purpose built dental building for professions related to dentistry.

    William Beatty Building
  • 2006

    Spinnaker Building opens – a purpose built building for our Department of Sport and Exercise Science

    Spinnaker Building
  • 2007

    An £11 million expansion of the University Library is completed opened in January 2007 by crime author PD James. In the same year, Sheila Hancock OBE was appointed Chancellor of the University for a five-year term.

    University Library Expansion
  • 2008

    The Dennis Sciama Building opened, a purpose-built teaching and research building and currently home to our Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation

    Dennis Sciama Building
  • 2009

    The School of Law opens a courtroom.

    Two judges in the mock courtroom
  • 2010

    Improvements carried out to Milldam Nursery and Third Space opens, an area for student study and leisure. Extension to William Beatty accommodates dental students from our partnership with King’s College London

    Two Dental students working on a patient
  • 2012

    Writer, comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig is installed as Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth.

    Sandy Toksvig

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spinnaker The University in the City

The University is at the heart of Portsmouth and we have a strong commitment to our regional community, and particularly to the city, embedded in our strategy. 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.

Some contributions have a measurable economic impact: we have invested over £100 million in buildings and resources in the last decade, we have an annual turnover of £175 million and our 22,000 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.

Brush UP with the Dental Academy

Students at the Dental Academy have been targeting hard to reach patients, including children and the elderly, by participating in community-based projects. Portsmouth has large unmet dental care needs, with half of all children having decayed teeth by the time they start school.

So far, 17 schools and nurseries are running the Academy’s supervised tooth brushing programme, Brush UP. Students are also applying fluoride varnish to children at local primary schools and offering advice at care homes, children’s groups, probation centres and alcohol and drug detoxification centres.

Dental Academy student inspecting teeth

Key Facts

The annual economic benefits of the University to our local community exceed £250 million.

We meet 12,000 local pupils and parents annually through our education liaison and aspiration-raising activities.

Our dental services have provided NHS dental care to more than 12,000 local people over the past seven years. In 2011/12 our students spent around 7,000 hours volunteering in the community.

Annually, we receive over 3,000 bookings for our conference and accommodation facilities, earning more than £2.2 million per year and bringing many new visitors to the city.

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starEquality and sustainability

Equality and Diversity

The University of Portsmouth prides itself on being an inclusive environment for staff and students. We have a diverse student population from over 100 countries. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of all University activity, and we work proactively to ensure we support all staff and students to ensure we offer a fair and inclusive working and learning environment where all can meet their full potential.

We work with several other organisations, these include:

  • Stonewall - A lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) Charity that supports us in delivering an inclusive environment for LGB staff and students.
  • Mindful Employer - supporting organisations in being positive around mental health
  • Disabled Go - providing indepth information on accessibility of University buildings.
  • Athena Swan Charter - Supporting organisations in the advancement and promotion of careers for women in the disciplines of science, engineering and technology in both higher education and research.

More details around the work of the University on equality, diversity and inclusion can be found at www.port.ac.uk/equality

Group of students

Green Portsmouth

We are determined to create a low-carbon future by inspiring and motivating staff and students to commit to be mindful of environmental sustainability in all they do. We have a target to reduce our carbon emissions as a University by 30% by 2016. Initiatives to support this ambition include the management of the University’s energy consumption; recycling and waste management; a ‘green building challenge’, sustainable construction projects, a procurement code of practice and a travel plan.

The University of Portsmouth Environment Network (UPEN) was established in 2010 to coordinate the broad range of environmentally related teaching and research from across the University.

Student getting on a University bus

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building Investing in your future

The new £14 million building to house our Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries was completed in 2013, providing an additional 3,000 square metres dedicated to student teaching, learning and exhibition facilities. The new development completes a major investment in facilities for our students, including learning and exhibition space, a new café, a large lecture theatre and teaching spaces. There is a particular focus on the public staging, exhibition and performance of student and external artists’ work.

The new development brings together all staff and students engaged within the creative and cultural industries into one physical space, creating a central hub where creative practice can thrive. It represents a major investment in developing culture in the city and puts Portsmouth firmly on the national creative and cultural map.

Artist rendition of new Eldon building

Dramatic collaborations

Artist rendition of new Theatre Royal building
New Theatre Royal

A joint £9 million building programme is strengthening our close links with Portsmouth’s historic New Theatre Royal. It will expand the original building, creating new facilities including a brand new studio theatre and flexible performance space, prop room and specialist technical space, with a fully equipped TV studio, a high tech TV gallery, new teaching rooms, music practice rooms and performance studios.

Marine laboratories

Marine lab

A new £2 million aquarium and laboratory facility was recently completed for the Institute of Marine Sciences. The building houses an aquarium floor including five individual aquarium rooms, a quarantine room and specialist procedure rooms. A large research laboratory is custom-fitted with state-of-the-art molecular and general research kit. There is also a preparation room and walk-in cold room for storing samples.

Recent developments

The Dental Academy

Other recent investments include a £9 million building for the internationally recognised Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, the £11 million ‘green’ library complex which was integrated into its 1970s predecessor and which has won a host of awards, and the £9 million Dental Academy, which trains student dentists and dental professionals and where local people can receive free dental care.

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