University of Southampton is a very research focused university. It came 7th in the UK in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise mainly due to the excellent research carried out in its four world class engineering schools. However, outside of engineering Southampton is (to quote the Guardian) "academically sound across the board", in other words it offers a wide range of subjects at a high standard.
The university is mainly based around the leafy Highfield campus with certain subjects based elsewhere:
- Humanities (English, History, Philosophy, Archaeology, Modern Languages and Film Studies) are taught at the Avenue campus (10 minutes walk from Highfield in the other direction).
- Fine Arts and Design is based in Winchester at the Winchester School of Art (which is rather self sufficient with its own halls of residence, student union and facilities).
- Oceanography and Geology are taught at the National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton (about 10 minutes walk from the city centre and a half hour bus ride from Highfield), but during the first year most Earth Science students will only spend two afternoons per week there.
- Nursing is taught at Highfield, Portsmouth, Basingstoke, Winchester and the Isle of Wight.
All of the separate campuses are connected by the Uni-Link service, unlimited use of which is included in hall fees in the first year with prices at either £2 per journey or £250 for a full year afterwards.
The main Hartley library on the Highfield campus contains 1.5 million books - the majority of text books and journals for most subjects. It consists of five floors, with various facilities including quiet areas, group study rooms (which can be prebooked), computer rooms and a sofa area. Eating of cold food is permitted on the first three floors. The usual opening hours for the main Hartley Library are 8am-midnight, however during exam periods it is open until 2am.
Southampton is also home of the National Oceanographic Library at the Oceanography Centre. This library holds the most comprehensive range of ocean and earth science resources in the UK. It also (bizarrely) has signs up banning visitors from walking around the library without shoes.
The small Avenue Library is almost entirely reference only but covers the resources needed for the subjects taught and researched on the Avenue campus.
1862, Charter granted in 1952
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IT and Computing
Computing services are provided by ISS (Information System Services - formerly known as SUCS, a far more appropriate name). About 80% of hall rooms are networked for connection to the internet. 100% of hall rooms are networked for phone points with free internal calls and 1p a minute internet connection for those rooms which don't have networked access. Halls phones are provided by freewire. Note that in the summer of 2011 the Internet setup is undergoing a huge overhaul, which may well put an end to the 'pas-as-you-go' Internet in some rooms.
Public workstations are available in all libraries and there are a few workstations in the various halls plus some large labs containing masses of PCs and air conditioning. All students have a filestore quota linked to their login account too (between 15Mb and 40Mb). You can extend this to 100Mb, with any further extension being by request. USB Pen drives are also popular and are sold by the student union shop for ~£30 or from ebay for ~£10 - these are highly recommended for coursework-intensive subjects.
Most of Highfield campus is covered by ISS wireless internet. This allows any student/staff to get on the internet using just their ISS username and password from their own laptop. Areas of Highfield and Portswood are also covered by SOWN. This allows students to login with their ISS computing account.
Private bittorrent trackers are unusable in halls because tracker communications are blocked off by the ISS firewall. Users can be seen by trackers but are unable to upload or download from other users. Downloading from public trackers is possible because of DHT but anyone exceeding 1.5GB download between 9am and 10pm may be threatened with disconnection.
The newly constructed Jubilee Sports Centre on the Highfield campus contains a 25m swimming pool, a fully kitted out state of the art gym (including bikes hooked up to playstations), badminton, basketball, volleyball, netball and squash courts and a dance studio. The remnants of the old sports centre contain cricket nets, frisbee, five-a-side football, handball, karate and rollerhockey facilities with another sports hall available for aerobics, body conditioning, boxercise, circuits, fencing, gymnastics, martial arts, self defence and step workout. Outdoor sports pitches are connected to the Uni-Link bus network and are plentiful (with one of the locations recently given a £4.3 million refit with a new bar, restaurant and a pavilion added). There's also the University Boat Hard housing watersports facilities and equipment on the River Itchen near to the Wessex Lane Halls (which is also home to the rifle range). Southampton is renowned for its sailing and watersports facilities with two students that competed in sailing events in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Recent sporting successes are listed here: http://sport.susu.org/article.php?sid=83 .
Access to all sports facilities is through the purchase of a SportRec Card currently priced at £120 for the year and covering unlimited use of the swimming pool, gym, fitness classes and court and pitch bookings. It also offers a 50% discount on any taught courses that aren't free. The cheap £120 price is also available to spouses/partners and alumni (for a year after graduation after which the price goes up to £150 for the year).
Provisions are standard but of good quality. Initial support is offered through the personal tutor system for most academic (and personal) problems. Halls of Residence have live-in Wardens who are the first point of contact in an emergency or crisis. The Nightline service is available from 8 P.M. to 8 A.M. for support and advice and a shoulder to cry on anonymously.
There is also the more official university Counselling Service which offers a professional and official shoulder to cry on and can help in liaising with other members of staff about any problems. The Student Advice and Information Centre (SUAIC, funded by the university but located in the Student Union) provides impartial help and advice with legal issues. The Student Union also has a full time sabbatical officer covering welfare issues. The International Office are there to help with any problems specific to International students.
There is also considerable support for and students with disabilities provided by the Disability Service (http://www.soton.ac.uk/studentsupport/disability/), students with dyslexia provided by the Learning Differences Centre (http://www.dyslexia.soton.ac.uk/ ) and the Assistive Technology Service (http://www.ats.soton.ac.uk/ ).
There are 2 NHS practices on the Highfield campus (University Health Service and Highfield Health), both of which are located in modern buildings and are very friendly and helpful to students (doughnuts are often distributed to queueing freshers waiting to register in freshers week). There is also a walk-in NHS emergency dental centre adjacent to the university sports centre.
The Student Union shop sells everything from toiletries to swimwear, university merchandise to fruit and veg, as well as the usual stationary, cards, sweets and drinks. It is also home to a small in-house bakery selling croissants at very reasonable prices. Above the SUSU shop is the Travel Centre (which issues ISIC cards and can provide everything from train and bus tickets to round the world air tickets) and a hairdresser/tanning salon. At the other end of the campus is the university bookshop (a John Smith's) and a Post Office. Just up the road from here there is also a Co-op and a whole range of take-aways and local shops.
During summer 2007 the SUSU shop underwent a complete refit and now has a larger bakery section (rolls, croissants, pasties) and a much more efficient checkout system (Double the number of checkouts). Even so, the queues can be quite large at peak times (ie: lunchtime).
The shops in Southampton city centre are fairly spread out with the new West Quay shopping centre being the main focal point. East Street is the home of smaller independent shops (including a proper sweet shop and newsagent selling international newspapers). Most of the major chains have moved off the high street and into West Quay which means at this moment in time the High St seems to have developed a large number of sports shops. There is an Asda in the city centre and this alongside local shops and Kwik Save in Portswood (one of the major suburbs of Southampton and the one near to the university where the majority of student houses are) are the supermarkets most used by students. Southampton does have a Tesco and a Sainsbury's (and a Waitrose and M&S in West Quay if you're feeling flush) but they're less accessible via public transport than Asda. In October 2006 Safeway/Morrisons in Portswood was reopened as Waitrose, this has resulted in a worrying number of students wandering around campus with bags of shopping from Waitrose (at least at the start of term when student loans have just been paid). There is a weekly Uni Link bus service serving the two bigger supermarkets though so if you can't live without Tesco Value or Sainsbury's Taste the Difference all is not lost.
Asda in the city centre is always REALLY busy - the only time I would recommend you go is in the morning on a weekday. Otherwise, expect long queues at all the checkouts and near empty shelves. Don't go to Asda on moving in weekend - better still would be to do your shopping online, but make sure that you receive everything you order.
There are three main eating places on campus. The Piazza and the Garden Court are located in the Student Union buildings, they are however run by a branch of the university called "Business Services" and are there to make a profit. The food isn't expensive but it isn't cheap either. Hidden away downstairs in the Student Union is the SUSU Cafe; this sells burgers, chips, curly fries, hot dogs, fish, chicken nuggets, baked potatoes and cheap sandwiches - all freshly cooked on site and all very good quality. They also have a dish of the day which can be anything from chili and rice to spag bol.
In town there's plenty of restaurants and Portswood also has its fair share of kebab/indian/chinese places. Oxford Street down in the city centre has more classy restaurants.
There is a Natwest cash machine outside the SUSU shop and a Lloyds TSB machine in the SUSU cafe (one that still dispenses crisp £5 notes! Sounds insignificant, but its not). Next to the university bookshop there are branches of HSBC, Natwest, Barclays, Lloyds TSB and a Abbey national which opened this year. The Barclays cash machines also dispense £5 notes.
As well as the much discussed Uni-Link service there are buses to most areas of the city. The two bus companies operating in the city are First (who also run uni-link) and the Blue Line. Like most competitors they don't integrate their services particularly well with most students sticking solely to First/uni-link buses. Wilts and Dorset are also to be seen occasionally in the city centre on express bus routes to Bournemouth, Dorchester and Salisbury. Some National Express services go via the Highfield Interchange.
Train wise the city is connected to both local south coast services, regional services to London and national services across the country with Virgin up the West Coast Main Line. Major trains stop at both Southampton Central (funnily enough in the city centre) and Southampton Airport Parkway (a short cycle or bus ride from the university - and where the buses go after stopping at the Wessex Lane halls).
Car wise Southampton isn't too great. It is the proud owner of the title "highest density of traffic lights in the UK" and the major arteries into and out of the city (the bridges from the East, the dock road from the West and the Avenue and the road from J5 of the M27 from the motorways) are very congested around both rush hours.
There is a careers information centre and careers service based at Highfield campus.
The University careers service runs its own Temp-Bank which provides full and part time jobs to students working both within the university and in other businesses signed up to the tempbank.
The chaplaincy is an established Christian presence on campus providing both a listening/counseling service as well space to sit and reflect in quietness. The student union also houses 8 religious societies as a first point of contact with the religious community as well as a way to socialise with others of the same faith.
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Bars, Pubs and clubs
- JESTERS (Portswood) - A big student hangout and also named the worst nightclub in the UK apparently (rated 2nd worst in FHM but go there and you will love it at 50p a pint on a Monday). Great word of mouth huh. Signature drink is the Jesticle. Next to Jesters you will find its counterpart bar - Clowns; signature drink there is the Juicy Lucy.
- Terminal (Portswood) - Bar/Food - Great place to go for Pub quiz on sunday, and great menu.
- The Mitre - Bar/Food, more of a 'local' pub but a popular stop-off for pub crawls or meetings.
- The Hobbit - (Portswood) Lord of the rings themed Pub! With famous (and tasty) cocktails...Gandalf, Frodo, Legolas, Bilbo and Gollum - everyone has their favourite!
- So:Bar (Portswood) - Huge beer garden and good cocktails with £1 doubles on a Tuesday (SO:Crazy).
- Bliss - (City) Nightclub - Cheap on a Monday and Thursday.
- The orange rooms - Bar (City) - cheap on a Tuesday
- POP! (City) - The orange rooms' other half. Head there on Thurday nights for 2 for 1 pizzas and cocktails
- Soul Cellar (City) - Bar/Club
- Joiners - Live Music Bar.
- Talking Heads (Portswood/Swathyling) Pub
- The Brook (Portswood/Swathyling) Pub
- The Stile (University) - Pub with cheap meals (2 for £8)
- The Crown Inn (University) Pub - Great food!
- The Dungeon (St Mary's/Portswood) Good mix of Student Night and Metal nights.
- MClub (St Mary's)
- Lennons (Nr. St Mary's) Indie/Alternative Club, Great Hangout, Good Music.
- Pure (Nr. St Mary's) Bar - this has now closed down, but is due to re-open under a new name soon.
- Rhino - Club
- Oceana (City Docks Area) - Massive complex of several themed clubs. Part of the Leisure World complex. Student night on Wednesday; yet still manages to be expensive.
- Louisiana (City Docks Area) - Part of the Leisure World complex
- Bambubaar - (City Docks Area) Again in Leisure world, Has lots of good nights on for students.
- Avondale House - (City - London Rd. Area) Nice, quiet pub that specialises in 'double-shots' such as the Appletini (Apple Sourz + Martini Rosso).
- Junk (City - London Rd) - Popular R&B club.
- Kelly's Bar (City - London Rd)
- The Chambers (City - London Rd.)
- Whitehouse (City)
- Kaos (St Mary's) Great student Club, 70p Vodka and Mixer. Popular Solent Uni Nightclub Hangout
- Reflex (Taken Over the academy, Sadly) 80s themed nightclub - Great on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Varsity (City+Portswood) - Popular Quiz night on sundays. Frequented by students as a quiet place to drink or a stop-off before/during a night out.
- Squares (City) Restaurant/Bar. Great food.
- Flares (City)Another 70/80s themed club.
- Archers (Pub) On Archers Road and frequented by people living in Romero Hall and Gately Hall. Good for watching the footie.
- Stag's Head- Pub on campus. Has a great university atmosphere and big TVs
- Vodka Revolutions- Very sophisticated, drink prices are a bit on the steep side, but worth it. Popular 'Tossers' night on mondays where you can win your round again.
- The Edge - Southampton's only gay nightclub, but great student night on a Wednesday £1.50 Doubles and shots + open kareoke
- The Cube - Student Union nightclub on Campus, offering two major student nights. I Love College on Wednesdays and Twisted on a Friday but may change this year.
- Wahoo (City)- A brand new venue offering some great drinks deals for students.
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Clubs and societies
Southampton University boasts a very wide range of Clubs and societies. There are over 100 societies to appeal to all tastes in these main categories.
- Departmental Societies (28)
- Political Societies (15)
- Performing Arts Societies (24)
- Religious Societies (9)
- Social Clubs (38)
- Postgraduate Societies (3)
- Medical Societies (1)
- International Societies (25)
- Sports clubs - known as the Athletic Union (AU)
- Societies in the Ten Week Rule (varying) (These are new societies that are in a trial period to see if they're successful to become a full society)
Southampton is the only university in the UK to have a paragliding and hanggliding club (other universities' clubs didn't survive the foot and mouth crisis, SUSU helped the Southampton club through the difficult years and ensured its survival).
There is RAG (Raise and Give - the fundraising arm of the Student Union) which raises money every year for selected charities. For those wanting to become more involved in the community there is Student Community Action which organises projects for students to give something back to the community.
Here is the Clubs and Societies homepage
Here is the Sports Homepage
Students who firmed Southampton and are seeking single accommodation are guaranteed a room in Hall providing they fulfill all the conditions of their offer to study and complete and return their Residence Application Form which must be received at the Accommodation Office by the deadline ( 1 month prior to start of course ).
Students who chose Southampton as their insurance choice are guaranteed single accommodation, however they will usualy be initially placed in a twin room and then moved to a single room (or they may remain in the room they were in while their "twin" moves out). You will only share a room for a maximum of 6 weeks, although it is usualy 2-3 weeks.
Students entering the University through Clearing are not guaranteed accommodation but we will endeavour to assist you in finding suitable accommodation either in Hall (if available) or in the private sector.
Details for every hall available here
There are three areas of student housing in Southampton: Glen Eyre, Wessex Lane, and Small Halls & Archers Road. The largest of these is Glen Eyre, however the single biggest halls complex is Montefiore Halls (part of Wessex Lane).
Glen Eyre halls are about a 10 minutes uphill walk from the main Highfield campus. Wessex Lane halls are about 20 minutes down hill walk from the university (with regular bus services). Small Halls & Archers Road are based at different areas around the city with Archers Road being the nearest to the city centre. The nearest of these to the main campus is Highfield Hall - well known as the the friendliest hall on campus as well as having some of the nicest rooms. All areas contain a mix of en-suite, standard, and basic rooms as well a choice between catered and self-catered.
Wessex Lane is home to the much maligned Stoneham Tower - the higher floors of which have been taken out of use due to the cost of keeping them up to health and safety standards. Although Monte 4 has been completed, the lower levels of Stoneham Tower were still in use during Freshers week 2007. It is due for demolition - news which was met with a universal "about time too!" from most Southampton residents/students.
There are various residences catering for families and postgraduates, predominantly in the Small Halls.
The Union is run by the executive commitee which makes up of the following:
- Union President
- VP Education & Representation
- VP Welfare & Societies
- VP Media & Communications
- Athetic Union (AU) President
- Winchester President
- Equal Opportunities Officer
- Societies Officer
- AU Officer
- Environment & Ethical Officer
- Postgraduate Officer
- Schools Liaison Officer
- Winchester Executive Officer
They make the strategic decisions to determine the direction of the Union. The office holders of these positions are elected every March and their term runs from the start of July to the end of June, lasting one year. The Union employs full and part-time staff to deal with the operational side of the Union.
The following are elected in Union Council to represent all types of students:
- 10 Union Council Ordinary Members (they represent and make sure that each other and other officer do their job properly)
- Internation Students' Officer
- Mens' Officer
- Womens' Officer
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Students Officer
- Students with Disabilities Officer
- Cultural Diversity Officer
- Environment Co-ordinator
- Ethical Co-ordinator
- Nursing and Midwifery Officer
- Part-time Students’ Officer
- Mature Students’ Officer
- Nursing and Midwifery Officer
- Performing Arts Union Chair
- 16 Departmental Representatives
- 13 Junior Common Romm Representatives
- School Presidents
More needs to be added.
In the halls bars:
Pint of Carling £1.80 Pint of Worthingtons £1.80 Pint of Blackthorn £2.20 Pint of Guinness £2.20 Pint of Caffreys £2.20 Pint of Coors £2.20
In the SU: Pints: Between £2.00 (Carling) to £2.50 (Guinness) Single Mixers: Around £1.60 Double Mixers: ~£2.70 in Stags/Cube, £2.90-£3.10 in The Bridge (but better spirits) Cocktails (The Bridge only): Average £3.50
In local pubs:
In the city centre:
Hot Food Prices
Burger £1.50-£1.80 (depending on whether it's beef, vege, chicken and whether you get cheese)
Pasta Bake The choice of veg pasta or meat pasta (meat can be chicken, bacon, meatballs, depending on the week/day)
A pub lunch at the Stile, the Gate or the Crown will generally cost between £3 and £5 (plus drinks). Lunch at the Cowherds on the Common costs between £5 and £10 (plus drinks).
Southampton offers a wide range of environmental features. Situated close to the new forest if you are ever in need of a relax it’s a perfect place to go. There is also the river which runs through the city, this provides a lovely place to go and hang out with your newly found friends. The campus itself is set in very leafy surroundings; there are loads of grass spaces, water features and bushy areas. This gives the campus a very serene feeling contributing to the already pleasant feeling generated by the campus. The campus is extremely welcoming, as are the people. This is enhanced by the lovely environment surrounding the uni.
A wide variety, from the older brick Hartley library to the glass walled 60s student union with a feeling of being inside a treehouse to the marble mosaic/limestone Physics, Law and Shackleton buildings to the new buildings designed to look like huge white ocean liners to the "hedgehog" roofed Nuffield theatre
All interspersed with a range of sculpture from Barbara Hepworths (the ones with the holes in) to the 4 upright pole thingies in front of the Nuffield theatre (which were once rumoured to have been bought instead of a swimming pool - a rumour that unfortunately turned out to be false - the sculpture was provided free of charge) to the funny triangular man in the fountain he is inhabited by ducks and ducklings in the spring
The area of Highfield campus behind the Hartley library is very densely packed with buildings and has a bit of a "concrete jungle" feel to it, the area on the opposite side of the road behind the Student Union is much leafier and more spread out.
Avenue Campus is based around a single building. Originally a school the original building has been extended backwards to provide extra office/study space and some larger lecture theatres with a new block added to house Archeaology's specialist equipment.
Winchester School of Art is lovely - pretty modern looking glass and rendered brick buildings balanced wonderfully well by the massive trees that line the main avenue
The National Oceanography Centre (NOCS) is commonly accepted as being poorly designed; cluttered in areas and sparse in others the entrance is NOT welcoming. Once inside it doesn't get much better, a bizzare floor/room numbering system involving Nodes and Plates and only floors 1, 4 and 6 (the other floors are maintenance floors). However, after spending a few hours wondering aimlessy around the 6th floor looking for your tutor's office and accidentally walking through little clusters of activity, where the research groups lurk in open plan offices, the building does grow on you. Even the airport lounge style furniture in the student areas has a certain charm and the free and unlimited provision of a widescreen tv with freeview in the student's chillout area is very welcome inbetween lectures. The NOC also has its own canteen where the food is fairly cheap and quite good. Although it has to be said that the main reason that the building is so welcoming is the welcoming attitude of it's inhabitants towards students rather than any physical feature. The views are nice.
Highfield and Avenue campuses border Southampton Common. The common supports a large variety of wildlife, including the largest recorded population of the internationally rare great crested newt. It is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest; a government designation for the country's premier natural sites.
Southampton Common currently includes 326 acres of woodland, parkland, rough grassland, ponds, wetlands, nature trails, a paddling pool, a children's play area, a model yachting pond, and a fishing lake. The Common is used for a wide variety of community events, such as the annual Balloon and Flower Festival and 'Power in the Park'.
To the East of the main campuses lies Portswood, a major suburb of Southampton and home to a significant number of students in privately rented houses. Portswood High St houses all sorts of shops from Waitrose and Somerfield to small hardware and charity shops, as well as a decent smattering of pubs, bars and places to eat. It's not the prettiest area of Southampton but it that doesn't stop is being a centre of student life in the city.
Blending innovative approaches with established techniques, the University offers a variety of specialist teaching and learning methods. You will usually be taught by a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars and virtual learning environments. Assessment usually includes a mixture of exams, coursework, presentations, group work and a final-year project (or dissertation).
Lectures are the backbone of most courses and can bring together groups of students on different courses.
Seminars, typically of 15 to 20 students, are used to explore ideas in greater depth.
Tutorials consist of even smaller groups, with your tutor providing guidance on the detailed study of specialised topics.
Virtual learning environments support traditional methods. Examples include ocean and land-based field trips, laboratory study, excavations, private and public sector placements and inter-professional group work.
For most courses, teaching is normally timetabled from 9am to 6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 9am to 1pm on Wednesdays.
The ability to work and learn independently is essential for university study and is highly valued by employers. At Southampton, your ability will be challenged and developed, and your personal tutor will be on hand to support you throughout.
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