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Cardiff, Southampton or Plymouth Ocean-related courses

Hi I'm trying to choose my firm and insurance from Cardiff (marine geography), Southampton (oceanography) and Plymouth (oceanography/ocean exploration).

The most prestigious one is Southampton but the city is the least appealing to me, things look really spread out and like I might spend a lot of time on a bus, and I'm a bit concerned that there is too much maths and physics in the course. Cardiff is a great city and a good course but the city itself isn't very marine-focussed for work experience etc and it is marine geography not marine science. Also halls sound a bit rubbish. Plymouth is totally ocean-focussed as a City, small to get around, sounds like great nightlife, very practical course which appeals, but is less a prestigious university outside the marine sectors. Not Russell Group.

I want a liveable city where I can see the sea, a wide selection of student societies, good live music venues in town, and good student support because I'm dyslexic.

I would really like to hear anyone's thoughts on the cities, the courses, the student experiences - basically anything to help me make my mind up. Assume they all have identical offers. Thank you very much!
Original post by Morganmaestro
Hi I'm trying to choose my firm and insurance from Cardiff (marine geography), Southampton (oceanography) and Plymouth (oceanography/ocean exploration).

The most prestigious one is Southampton but the city is the least appealing to me, things look really spread out and like I might spend a lot of time on a bus, and I'm a bit concerned that there is too much maths and physics in the course. Cardiff is a great city and a good course but the city itself isn't very marine-focussed for work experience etc and it is marine geography not marine science. Also halls sound a bit rubbish. Plymouth is totally ocean-focussed as a City, small to get around, sounds like great nightlife, very practical course which appeals, but is less a prestigious university outside the marine sectors. Not Russell Group.

I want a liveable city where I can see the sea, a wide selection of student societies, good live music venues in town, and good student support because I'm dyslexic.

I would really like to hear anyone's thoughts on the cities, the courses, the student experiences - basically anything to help me make my mind up. Assume they all have identical offers. Thank you very much!


Hi @Morganmaestro!

I'm a BA Geography student in my third year studying at Uni of Southampton. Your questions are all very good and thorough, and it sounds like you know what you want out of your uni experience which is great!

I can speak for my experience and hopefully that helps answer some of your concerns.

For the city centre, it is definitely liveable and not too spaced out that you spend more than an hour on the bus. From the biggest halls (Wessex Lane and Glen Eyre), which are both considerably far from the city centre, it is about a 40 minute bus ride on the longest bus (some can be 20-30 minutes). The city centre itself is easily walkable and not so spread out that a bus to different parts of it is necessary. Mayflower Halls is located quite close to the city centre if living in the city is something you prefer, however it is a bit far from the uni so you would have to take a bus to get there, average 30-50 minutes.

As for your course, the University of Southampton website allows you to see your course and see which modules you will be taking for each year. You can see which are mandatory and what optional courses you may take, and you can also go on the individual courses and see things like the syllabus, structure and assessment, so I strongly suggest checking it out if you want more details on whether it is maths or physics heavy.

For the last part of your post, University of Southampton has 270 societies, so you have a wide variety to choose from and find something you like!

The uni also has an excellent student support, emails are sent reminding students to inform the Student Office of any learning disabilities, you have a Personal Academic Tutor for your degree who you can turn to for any academic support or concerns, lecturers are normally very understanding and quite easy to contact via email or office hours, so I believe you will be very well supported.

There is also a good amount of live music venues in the city centre! The O2 Guildhall and Engine Rooms are just some of the venues that offer live music and bands. SUSU also has events on campus where local uni students can perform and showcase their talent. Artists also come perform at clubs sometimes, so you can also look forward to that.

As for a sea view, if you take a bus to Ocean Village or a walk through Mayflower Park, you can have a view of the sea! I come from the Caribbean, so being near the sea was always a spot of relaxation for me, so I definitely understand wanting one! In my honest opinion, while you can see the sea if you go to the edges of Southampton, the view is not as nice as Bournemouth or Portsmouth and not readily available (you will have to specifically go to it) but it's there at least!

For my experience, I thoroughly love it! The university is great and very supporting for me, both in mental wellbeing or academic support. My course is very flexible and I've enjoyed almost everything I've studied and the variety I have. The campus is beautiful and really gives that uni-campus feel since it is separate from the city centre, and the city centre itself always has something going on, good shopping areas and restaurants, and always has whatever I'm in the mood for (late night clubbing, parks, cinema, bowling) and all easy to access. I'm personally not a fan of walking and the buses are good and frequent so I enjoy using them, but many of my friends who do enjoy walking also find that feasible as well.

Finally, I would say don't let prestige be the deciding factor! Your university experience and a course that suits you is definitely some of the most important factors. I understand being swayed by prestige (I had to choose between University College London and University of Southampton). I wanted to go to UCL mainly because of its high ranking, but chose Southampton because what was important for me was liking my accommodation (I preferred the halls) and the course was more suited for me. I have not regretted the decision whatsoever and I'm so happy I chose here, since arriving and starting my studies made me realize a good experience and being happy with my uni was more important than its ranking.

Hope this all helps and that I answered your questions. Good luck with making your decision and if you have any more questions feel free to post them!

Jade :smile:
University of Southampton Rep

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