• University of portsmouth

TSR Wiki > University > Choosing a University > University Guides > University of Portsmouth

The University of Portsmouth is located in the historic city of Portsmouth on England's south coast - www.port.ac.uk

It has two main sites - Guildhall which is spread through the city centre of Portsmouth and the smaller Langstone campus on the eastern side of Portsea island overlooking the harbour. It was created in 1992 out of Portsmouth Polytechnic, but has a history dating back to 1869.

Portsmouth is a Navy town. This link goes back to Tudor times and is a very important part of the city's history. It is home to the Naval Dockyard and tourist sites like HMS Victory. Although the Royal Nay's strength has been reduced in recent years, its presence is still an important part of Portsmouth life and is a major local employer. The port is also home to various ferry companies serving the Channel Islands and France - cheap day-trips and weekend breaks are a perk of living in Portsmouth! Portsmouth has a direct train link to London and is handy for Gatwick airport.



Portsmouth Uni Library

The major library for Portsmouth Students is the university library itself. It's located in the heart of the City on the Guildhall Campus - right by The Student Union.

The library opening times vary throughout the year but for most of term time it's open until late (normal term hours 8am-midnight, with 24hr opening in the spring term) which definitely comes in handy for last minute revision. All books have to be taken out and returned using your library card/number at the university building, however you can renew all of your loans online or over the phone just using your library number.

The University Library consists of three zones: Silent, Quiet and Social. Different rules apply to each zone, but it just means that everyone has a place to go and study, regardless of their preferred techniques.

A number of facilities are available at the uni library, including computer access, photocopying, self service borrowing/returns, archives and the like - but also available are seminar room and group study rooms, as well as a cafe on the ground floor. While useful this place can be a little pricey, so bringing your own food is advised! (Bear in mind cold food only, and it can only be consumed in the "Social" zone).

Books are not the only thing available for loan at the university library - There are a number of netbooks available for (4 hour) loan, as well as software and dvds.

As well as the Student library there's a large central city library located on the Guildhall campus, along with smaller local libraries dotted throughout the city - there's bound to be one within a twenty minute walk from most halls, with interlibrary loan services available. Portsmouth city libraries are free to access and use, however the loaning of books and use of facilities such as computers will require a separate library card. There's no fee to join Portsmouths libraries, and most facilities and services available are also free of charge.

IT and Computing

There are several open access computer suites located in the university buildings. Park, Anglesea and Portland all have open access IT rooms available, which include printing facilities. There's an IT help desk in each open access suite, with IT help advisors on hand to help you with any IT/computing problems.

Wireless internet access is available in all university buildings, on all devices.

The Student IT help centre is located next to the students union, and provides free help to all students with issues regarding accessing the university wireless, your university computer account, obtaining a new campus card, basic virus removal and a range of other issues.


There are two major sports facilities within the university: the Nuffield center and St Paul’s center. Both are available for use for members. The Nuffield center is mainly the place to play sports and to attend fitness classes. Current classes include:

  • Hot cycling
  • Arms, legs, bums and tums
  • Yoga
  • Pump fx
  • Stomp fx
  • Abs
  • Fitpole
  • Circuits
  • Kick fx
  • Fitball
  • Boxercise
  • Aerobics
  • Pilates

There are tennis, squash, basketball, badminton and netball courts all available for use.

The St Paul’s centre also has badminton courts but is more orientated towards fitness. It houses two cardiovascular suites and a weights room.

If you are stretched for money and don’t want to pay for the membership you can pay for classes per attendance. Alternatively you can join one of the many clubs within the university, some examples include: Dance (salsa, ballroom, street etc), karate, kung fu, cheerleading, fencing, ski and snowboarding, sailing, swimming, octoplus and many more!

Outdoor sports such as rugby and football are played on the Langstone sports site, about 10 minutes away from the city center.

General Information
Portsmouth, UK
University House,
Winston Churchill Avenue,
023 9284 8484
SU/Guild website:
UCAS Code:

Total students:
Typical offers:
Applicants per place:

But the university provided facilities aren't the full extent of Portsmouth's sporting claims.

With several swimming pools - including one outdoor pool, and one pool with wave simulators, flumes and the like - a skatepark, multiple gyms and leisure centres you're never going to be left unfit unless you want to be. The Common also provides green space for fun activities (weather permitting!) such as football, frisbee, and whatever else you might like to play - just be conscientious of other users.

If you prefer watching sport Portsmouth also has its own football stadium with professional matches regularly played there.


The university is well equipped for dealing with all sorts of welfare issues.


  • Hall Community Support Officers

The HCSO's as they are known are many a freshers first port of call if they have a problem. With anything from issues with your flat, flatmates, homesickness, money... anything. They're happy to help. There are 3 HCSO's, each covering a Halls campus (Guildhall, Rees/Burrell and Langstone). They tend to keep student hours, i.e. not starting till 10am or so and finishing at about 7pm. They can be found at main reception for the halls campuses (Bateson Reception for Guildhall, Rees for Rees/Burrell and Reception at Langstone). So if you have a problem ranging from bad, annoying flatmates to almost anything else, pop in to see them first to see if they can resolve it for you.

    • Resident Assistants

These guy's and gal's live in Halls amongst you, but they're 2nd and 3rd years who are paid to do so. They've been there, done that, got the purple t-shirt (plus the shopping trolley, beer keg, traffic cones...) and are always good people to go to. They're not just dumped in there and left to fend for themselves amongst a sea of freshers - they've had training. If they can't help you, they'll know someone who can, and be able to put you in touch with them.

They'll normally introduce themselves in the first week or so, telling you where you can get hold of them if the need arises. The times you're most likely to see them is when they're telling you where to go during fire alarms - they're the ones who wearing hi-vis jackets!

Nuffield Centre

Another place you can go (and this isn't just limited to freshers this time) is the Nuffield Centre. It's opposite the Union and Mercantile House, and houses 14 different support services from Chaplaincy to Counselling, Student Finance, Student Housing, and many more.


The chaplaincy suite is on the ground floor of the Nuffield Centre (don't worry if you don't know you're way, there's a reception desk right inside the front doors and the receptionist will be more than happy to guide you to where you want to be.). Trained chaplains are on hand 9am-5pm weekdays to listen and talk you through any issue you may have, and provide a non-judgmental view. All discussions are private and confidential and, unlike the counselling service, no appointment is necessary. Free tea and coffee is available to anyone using the suite.

There's a Sanctuary Room available to people of all (or no) faiths. This is a quiet space allocated for reflection and prayer.

Specific prayer rooms have been created for staff/students who follow the Islamic faith, with dedicated ablution/washing facilities.


The University of Portsmouth counselling service offers confidential support for a range of emotional, personal and psychological concerns. They have specialist trained counsellors available to book appointments with where they will discuss any issues you wish to raise. From one-off appointments for a sudden issue you need help with to a series of appointments for an on-going issue, they're there to support you with all your needs.

A special e-counselling service is available to those who either cannot get to the Nuffield centre, or do not wish to have face-to-face counselling.

Workshops, courses and events are held throughout the year to help students with any less personal issues, such as exam/deadline stress, procrastination, sleep issues, and courses specially created to boost your mood.

If professional help is not what you want, they're on hand to give you the best advice concerning self-help.

Appointments can be made at the Nuffield Centre reception desk (just inside the front doors) or online via email

Student Finance Centre

If you've been to an open day at Portsmouth, you'll have noticed that the student finance talks all take place in the Nuffield centre. They're located on the second floor of the building and are available for consultation 9am-5pm, 5 days a week. You can turn up without booking an appointment and have your money and finance issues (because let's face it, we all have them) sorted.

They're there to provide information and advice regarding tuition fees, loans, bursaries, scholarships, grants, budgeting... you name it. If it's to do with money, they've got your back.

The Student Finance centre also deal with the student hardship funds - special funds set up for students that may run into any unseen money troubles - and give out emergency loans and learning access grants.

The centre provides a free phone service to Student Finance, and can even contact them on your behalf if you have any issues with your student loans or grants.


Portsmouth has a wide range of healthcare facilities available.


There are 2 main hospitals which serve Portsmouth; Queen Alexandra Hospital (known as QA) or St. Mary's Hospital. St. Mary's has no emergency unit, and most often you'll only go there for scheduled appointments (or to give birth). QA is located just outside of the main city, and has good bus links. Several services run directly outside of the hospital, and one or two others will take you just down the road.

GP Surgeries

Registering with a local GP is always recommended whenever you move to a new area, and even more so if you're heading off to uni. Registering with a GP as soon as you get to Portsmouth will be your best bet to get rid of the inevitable freshers flu.

There are several GP surgeries within short distance of the main Portsmouth university buildings, most of which are located in Southsea. As with all GPs, most of them are obscenely busy all of the time so booking an appointment before you're even sick is recommended. Portsmouth University has it's own GP surgery located in a separate entrance of the Nuffield Centre. It's open to all students (and any other potential patient) in the area, and it's centrally located so an ideal surgery to register with.

A walk-in surgery is just off of Guildhall walk, and is open to everyone with no need to register. No appointment is necessary, and you can turn up anytime from 8am-8pm, 7 days a week. For unregistered patients, there is a limited service the surgery can provide, however it is ideal if you're suffering from a sudden asthma flare-up, an ear/nose/throat infection or are in need of emergency contraceptives and can't get to you own doctor.

Dental practices

Like with GP surgeries, there are many dental practices across the city. You're encouraged to register with one, or make regular visits back to your own dentist back at home.

Portsmouth is strange in that not only does it have it's own GP surgery, but it's own dental clinic too. All services are provided by the universities dentistry students, and is free of charge. It may sound scary, but everything is supervised so you're in no danger. Becoming a patient is difficult as it is a popular service open to the whole of the area, so check their website regularly to check if they're open to new patients.


There are three main shopping areas in Portsmouth.

The newest of these is Gunwharf Quays.

This place is all about outlet shopping, with hot branded stores and lower prices. Stores include HMV, Ralph Lauren and Nike. Obviously you're paying for more expensive goods so it's not the cheapest place in the world, but you do get some good designer bargains.A particular favourite is the Cadbury's Shop - with cheap chocolate offcuts!

In the complex there's also a variety of other things to be doing. With a couple of clubs and countless restaurants, pubs and bars - along with a cinema and bowling alley - you're never going to get bored. Everything is located right on the waterfront, and when the weathers right and it's not to windy, this is the perfect area to go for lunch. With bus stops, ferries and a train station right outside it's not difficult to get to either. The nearest (free!) university bus stop is only a few minutes' walk too.

Commercial Road is the city centre of Portsmouth. It's where all the council buildings and public services are, but it's also shopping central. Easily accessible - right beside the Guildhall campus - with trains and buses galore too, you'll not be stranded after a day out.

This place is your typical shopping centre with all the well known shops. Topshop (+Man), Primark, New Look, Burton - not forgetting TK Maxx for yet more designer bargains - as well as Wilkinsons for those student budgets. There's an indoor and outdoor mall, so weather never has to be an issue.

At the end of the precinct there's a medium sized Tesco which is always heaving, and if you walk all the way up Commercial Road, follow the road round to the left and cross the traffic lights, you'll find a Sainsbury's and Morrisons. There's an Iceland down by the main city centre bus stops

On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, there is also a market down Commercial Road selling lots of things, including fruit and veg (much cheaper than buying it at the supermarket).

There are other, smaller, shopping precincts too, including Palmerstone Road (smaller, specialised shops, as well as 2 department stores, and quaint cafes), North End (charity shops, cheap "£1" shops, cafes, and fast food), Albert Road (bars, boutiques and quirky, alternative clothing/gifts), Cosham (further out of the city, small clothing shops, cafes, tesco) and Fratton Bridge shopping Centre (Asda is the main feature, but there are several smaller shops, and a few charity shops too.)


Most of the major banks have branches in Commercial Road. Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays, Natwest, RBS, Nationwide, Halifax and the co-operative bank are all represented down here.

Barclays and Natwest ATMs are situated at the students' union, but at peak times expect there to be a huge queue! More often than, not the Barclays one isn't working properly, and the Natwest one has a squiffy screen which on occasions goes blank!

There are actually spaces for 4 ATMs in the wall at the side of the union, but the fourth was never filled, and the machine that was in the third hasn't been seen in a while.

If both are broken/having an off day and you desperately need cash, then the nearest ones are the HSBC/Natwest/Lloyds ones in Gunwharf Quays or the Barclays ones in the telephone boxes in Guildhall walk, or a HSBC one in a telephone box outside the co-op if you walk across the Guildhall Square.


The university offers a bus service around the city. It runs from Langstone to the North Campus, Gunwharf, the Library then back to Langstone. It takes about half a hour or so to get from Langstone to Guildhall. It stops near Fratton Station, Lidl, and the Asda in the Fratton Bridge centre. Its free if you show your student campus card, however at peak times it can be very busy and you may not always be let on.

As well as the free uni bus services there are multiple buses, trains and ferries to get you to quickly to all the surrounding areas of Portsmouth. The city has a bus service to take you anywhere in the city and beyond (the 700 route goes all the way to Brighton), and coaches can be taken from The Hard (Gunwharf) or the Student Union via most coach companies.

There are four railway stations in Portsmouth (The Hard, Portsmouth & Southsea, Fratton and Hilsea), and numerous ferry links. Ferries can take you from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight, Gosport, or various locations in France and Spain.

Taxis within Portsmouth are really cheap, so if you're travelling with other people, more often than not you'll find getting a taxi is cheaper than getting a bus once you've split the fare between you.

All this definitely comes in useful if you find yourself homesick and need to go home every couple of weekends!

Careers service

Purple Door
The university's careers service, Purple Door, is open to current students as well as graduates. They provide advice on CV's, cover letters, finding a job, interview technique... you name it. They also have an online database of jobs currently available, be it part-time, graduate, voluntary or work experience.

The people who run it have got very good links with local companies so there are always some vacancies up on their board. Their voluntary work database is invaluable, and it's always great to have some voluntary work on your CV. They're based in the Info Center, underneath James Watson Hall, but its advisable to phone or email them before and book to see them, as they're normally running around out of the office. Head to [1] to get contact info.

Its worth noting that many university departments employ students in different roles, mainly as guides on open days. It could be well worth your time exploring this option, as the University is probably the highest paying employer for students in the area. E.g. a guide job can net you up to £7.50p/h compared with the typical £5.90p/h in most retailers.
To get more Info on these jobs, go to your faculty admin offices or ask in the Info center about marketing guides

Religious facilities

There are specially dedicated Muslim Prayer rooms in the Nuffield centre and the Chaplaincy team maintain a good sized portion of a floor in said building for people of any denomination or religion to come in and see them, on a drop-in basis.

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Portsmouth Accommodation

Student union

The Union is run by 2 bodies - UPEL who deal with the business side of the place, and UPSU who deal with most things students are bothered with - clubs and societies.

Although UPSU (University of Portsmouth Students Union) is in effect, every student studying at the uni, it is represented nationally and to the University's Board of Governors by 5 elected students, normally who are taking a year from their studies to take up the posts.

There are 6 in total

  • President

  • VP - Education and Democracy

  • VP - Activities

  • VP - Sports

  • VP - Welfare and Community

If you want to know more head Here for detailed info

Clubs and societies

At last count the Union has about 150 different clubs and societies running, ranging across a wide variety of sports and issues.

  • Sport

You have your typical sports

    • Rugby (Men and Women's)
    • Football (Men and Women's)
    • Netball
    • Hockey
    • Basketball
    • Sailing (We are a coastal uni - apparently Scumhampton's sailors are heading down here cause its better!!! w00t!)

...and then the more varied sports clubs...

    • Scuba diving
    • Cricket (I thought everyone went home for the summer?!)
    • Ultimate Frisbee
    • Octopush
    • Cheerleading (though its regularly debated if this is a sport club or a society)

  • Societies

Again there are the more conventional societies

    • Labour
    • Green
    • People and Planet
    • Sci-Fi
    • Role-Play

...and again there are the more varied...

    • Dr Zoigberb Appreciation Society
    • Caving
    • 101 things (first activity they did - watch the extended edition of all 3 Lord of the Rings back-to-back)

As you can see, there's a big range in the societies portsmouth has to offer. From sports, to politics, culture, technology, hobbies... it's all there, with some strange ones thrown in for good measure.

  • Media and Volunteering

We have student run publications and broadcast at Portsmouth as well as RAG (Raising And Giving) who do charity sky diving and VIP (Volunteering In Portsmouth)

    • Pugwash (Magazine)
    • Pugwash News (Newspaper)
    • Pure FM (Radio)
    • UPSU TV (TV)
    • RAG
    • VIP

Something for everyone!!


City Guide

Portsmouth Nightlife



Portsmouth Uni Library

Local area

Situated right on the sea's doorstep, with countryside easily accessible by train or bus and the urban lifestyle Portsmouth's local area has got to be perfect for just about everyone.

On a summer's day Southsea becomes packed with people taking advantage of the sunshine. Frisbee and BBQs on the Common are a favourite. The Common is a massive expanse of grass, which everyone has free use of. It is frequented by circuses and travelling fairs - and kite-flyers. If you're still not persuaded to come down here (in the summer months) the Bandstand should do the trick. With live bands of different genres every Sunday, for free, it's not surprising that this is another thing that makes the Common a Pompey highlight.

Although the long beaches are pebbly, sunbathers and swimmers are by no means put off - and if you do brave the water and get out far enough you'll find the sand no problem.

Along the seafront there are also bars, museums, a skatepark - and a nudist beach for those that are keen. The two piers are also worth a visit, for cheap arcade games and Portsmouth's very own rollercoaster, log flume and other rides!

If you're looking for other things to do there's masses of shops, bars and clubs, as well as the more cultural museums and art galleries. The Spinnaker Tower in Gunwharf also offers magnificent views of the city if you're feeling extra touristy. Golf courses and indoor paintballing are also around if you can get the money together.

And the best thing about all of this? Portsmouth's island location makes most things in walking distance of each other - so leaving more money for drinking and other similar student pastimes.

Teaching quality

Applying to Portsmouth

Thinking of applying to Portsmouth? Why not read some Personal Statements by students who applied here?

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