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The University of Portsmouth is a university in Portsmouthmarker, England.

The University is the 5th most popular destination in the UK for EU students and the 10th most popular destination for overseas (Non-EU) students. The departments of Economics, Electronic and Computer Engineering, Civil Engineering, Pharmacy and Pharmacology attract some of the largest populations of international students in the United Kingdom. Portsmouth has been rated as the 6th best modern university in the UK by The Times Good University Guide and 60th overall.


The University was founded as the Portsmouth and Gosportmarker School of Science and the Arts in 1869. Due to 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 at the city docks, as well as at the large Royal Navy dockyardmarker 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 in terms of its syllabus and teaching in order to attract new students.

This steadily continued until the 1960s when, due to a massive government-sponsored expansion in Higher Education, the college was renamed Portsmouth Polytechnic. Along with this new name came the power for Portsmouth to award degrees, accredited and validated by the centralised CNAA. The expansion of the polytechnic continued and in the late 1980s, it was considered one of the largest and the best performing polytechnics in the UK. Portsmouth was granted university status with the power to validate its own degrees along with the other polytechnics in 1992, under the provision of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

The University of Portsmouth is managed in accordance with Articles of Government approved by the Secretary of State. The Act also set the general format for an Instrument of Government determining the membership, constitution and organisational structure of Boards of Governors.

The formal inauguration of the University of Portsmouth was celebrated at a ceremony in the Portsmouth Guildhall on 7 July 1992.

Since then the University has continued to grow and expand its range of degrees given till this day.


Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth.

The University is split between two campuses: Guildhallmarker and Langstonemarker.

Langstone is the smaller of the two campuses, located in Miltonmarker on the eastern edge of Portsea Islandmarker, the island on which the city of Portsmouthmarker sits. The campus overlooks Langstone Harbour and it is home to the University's sports grounds. It also includes a restaurant and bar, as well as a 'student village', which provides accommodation for 565 students in three halls of residence; Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother (QEQM), Trust Hall and Langstone Flats. Students in QEQM and Langstone Flats have en-suite rooms. It used to be home of the University's School of Languages and Area Studies. The School has now moved into the Park Building on the Guildhall Campus.

The Guildhall site is much larger. Unlike most university campuses, it is not all enclosed on one tract of land, instead featuring various university buildings scattered throughout the centre of the city. This campus contains much 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. Originally due to open in October, ongoing delays meant that it was not complete until January 2007, when it was opened by the crime writer P. D. James. The University has also in recent years invested in the Faculty of Science, in particular through the renovation of its aluminium-clad main building (St Michael's) which is next to the popular student halls, James Watson.

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

Academic organisation


The University's teaching in pharmacology and pharmacy, biosciences, mathematics, electronic and computer engineering, statistics and operational research has been rated "excellent" by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).

Social sciences are also a strength of the University, with education, modern foreign languages (with increasing provision for Mandarin and Arabic), politics and psychology also rated as excellent by the QAA. The University has also delivered one of the longest-running MBAs in the UK and has in 2007 received accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA).


Portsmouth Business School
  • Department of Accounting and Finance
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Human Resource and Marketing Management
  • Department of Strategy and Business Systems
  • School of Law
Faculty of Technology
  • Department of Civil Engineering
  • School of Computing
  • Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation
  • Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering
  • School of Environmental Design and Management
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Mechanical and Design Engineering
Faculty of Science
  • School of Biological Sciences
  • School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Geography
  • School of Professionals Complementary to Dentistry
  • School of Health Sciences and Social Work
  • Institute of Marine Sciences
  • School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Sport and Exercise Science
  • The Expert Centre (CETL)
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
  • School of Education and Continuing Studies
  • School of Languages and Area Studies
  • School of Social, Historical, and Literary Studies
  • Foundation Direct (CETL)
  • Sigma Research (based in London)
Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries
  • Portsmouth School of Architecture
  • School of Art, Design, and Media
  • School of Creative Arts, Film, and Media
  • School of Creative Technologies
  • Portsmouth Centre for Enterprise
  • Institute of Industrial Research

Student activities

The University offers a range of sports clubs, and fields teams in many competitions and in BUSA leagues. The sports on offer vary from traditional team games like football, rugby union, and cricket to Octopush, a form of underwater hockey and men's lacrosse. Notably, the University is home to the longest-running university paintball club in the United Kingdom. Unsurprisingly given Portsmouth's rich maritime history and location, Sailing and Rowing are also very popular, and the sailing team enters a team the for the annual Cowes Week regatta on the Isle of Wightmarker. Most noticeable is the University's biggest club, the Ski & Snowboard Club with over 350 members, dominating the universities athletic life with competitions and socials. The club offers activities for both beginners and professionals. For those less sport-inclined, there are a whole host of student-run societies, including Juggling, Afro-Caribbean, LGBT, Pagan and Spiritual, Christian Union and Geography societies, as well as course-oriented societies such as the Politics Society, the Property Developement Society based out of EDAM, and the Student Law Society.

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 faculty of technology enters a team into the inter-university motorsport challenge.

Portland Building

Student Union

The University of Portsmouth Students' Union was voted best Union in the UK in the New Musical Express in 2004. Formerly housed in the ex-NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) building Alexandra House, a new £6.5 million purpose-built Union was opened in 2002 at the other end of Ravelin Park, to the north of Frewen Library, though the main entertainment area has been significantly altered recently.

The Union houses a bar and a Co-Op grocery shop, along with Blackwells bookshop, Connect up the university's computer help store and also its own radio station, Pure FM. The Union formerly comprised two nightclubs, Lux and Co2, however it has been announced these will close with immediate effect.

Since the summer of 2005, a restructure resulted in the division of the Union into the UPSU Charity - whose broad remit covers such areas as the running of University clubs and societies - and its trading-orientated operations, under the remit of the University of Portsmouth Enterprise Ltd., a company owned by the University of Portsmouth to offer "to business, industry and the public sector the wide range of skills and knowledge in the University".

Student Union

Venue closure

To much controversy the University announced in June 2009 their intention to permanently close two of the remaining three late-night entertainment venues, with both clubs Lux and Co2 closing.


The Union's media outlets include radio and magazine- and newspaper-format printed materials, as well as various periodical publications.

Pure FM
The Union's student radio station is run as a society as part of the UPSU Charity, with a remit to broadcast student-orientated content suitable for a wide range of audiences. The station, currently broadcasting over the internet via its website.

Pugwash magazine
The student magazine is called Pugwash and is published every month. In its time it has won the Best Student Magazine award from the National Union of Students, among other awards.

Pugwash News
Pugwash News, established in 2007, is a fortnightly paper from UPSU incorporating Purple Wednesdays and Union News.

Purple Wednesdays
Once a weekly sports and societies newspaper called Purple Wednesdays, However, In 2007 this publication has merged with Pugwash News in order to boost sport profiling of the Athletic Union and record sporting success without colloquial bias. The name stems from the ubiquitous day for BUCS (British Universities Sports Association) activities and the fact that purple is the corporate colour of the University (though strangely enough, it doesn't feature prominently on the University's armorial bearings). Sporting 'colours' (awarded annually for achievement and effort) are thus "Purples" and "Half Purples".

"Purple Wednesdays" is also the name given to the weekly nightclub and bar event held at the Union.

Pompey Guide
This is published annually to coincide with the start of the academic year, and is designed to offer new and returning students alike a snapshot of the range of facilities on offer throughout the Union, the University, and in the wider context of Portsmouth.

Primarily controlled by the UPSU charity and media teams, the Union's website was recommissioned in 2005 to provide a single point of reference for each and every activity within the Union. The site covers news, support, general and contact information, as well as listing clubs and societies, details of democratic process and so forth for the UPSU (Charity) side of the Union.

The UPEL (trading) side of the Union is represented under the "Social:Life" heading and its aim is to ensure customers are fully aware of the Union's events and other trading activities. To that end, this can be considered the only part of the website which has a clearly-defined and comparatively tangible role as that of an advertising platform. is one of the first students' Unions in the country to transfer its membership registration process online, a move which has reaped many rewards for the Union both in terms of reducing the inconvenience associated with the issue of student memberships, and the accuracy and security of the Union's data collection processes.

In the future, the Union have stated their aim to expand the use of the website to capitalise on the ease with which students and non-students alike can provide feedback, as a way of improving the Union's relationship with its customers.


University of Portsmouth Enterprise (UPEL) is a limited company, which operates trading functions within the Students' Union, including bars, catering and entertainments.

Following financial difficulties in 2005, UPSU was re-structured and is now a registered charity, with its trading arm (UPSU Trading Ltd.) placed under the direct control of the University, through the auspices of UPEL (University of Portsmouth Enterprise Ltd, previously only used for commercialising research). As a result of this new investment, in October 2005 the Union was redeveloped.


University officers

On 16 May 2007, Sheila Hancock OBE was appointed Chancellor of the University.

The former Chancellor was Lord Palumbo of Walbrook, a property developer who was once Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain. He sits as a Conservative peer in the House of Lordsmarker and was educated at Eton Collegemarker and also Worcester College, Oxfordmarker.

The Vice-Chancellor is Professor John Craven, who was appointed in 1997. Professor Craven is an economist, and was educated at the University of Cambridgemarker and Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker. He previously was a Professor of Economics at the University of Kentmarker.

Deputy Vice Chancellor is Rebecca Bunting. Pro Vice Chancellors are Professor David Arrell and Professor John Turner.

Notable alumni


External links

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