University of Portsmouth
Coat of arms of the University of Portsmouth
Other name
Former names
See History
MottoLatin: Lucem Sequamur[1]
Motto in English
Let us follow the Light
Establishedc. 1870; 154 years ago (1870) (as Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Art)
Budget£290.5 million (2021/22)[2]
ChancellorKaren Blackett[3]
Vice-ChancellorGraham Galbraith[4]
Total staff
Students29,000 (2021/2022)[6]
Undergraduates22,170 (2020/21)
Postgraduates6,110 (2020/21)
50°47′43″N 01°05′36″W / 50.79528°N 1.09333°W / 50.79528; -1.09333
CampusCollege town with multiple sites including:
University Quarter
Northern Quarter
Langstone Campus
London Campus
Colours  Purple
AffiliationsUniversity Alliance Doctoral Training Alliance
The Channel Islands Universities Consortium
Universities UK
University of Portsmouth is located in Hampshire
University of Portsmouth
Location in Hampshire

The University of Portsmouth (UoP) is a public university in Portsmouth, England.[7] Comprising five faculties, the university offers a wide range of academic disciplines.[8] With around 28,280 students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate programs, the university in 2022 was the 25th-largest higher education institution by student enrolments in the United Kingdom.[9] The university employed approximately 3,500 staff in 2020.[10]

Portsmouth was rated #651 in the world by QS World University Rankings in 2024, in the top 501–600 universities in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, #901-1,000 in the world by Shanghai Ranking, and #908 in the world by CWUR rankings.In the 2023 edition of the Good University Guide – compiled by The Times and The Sunday Times – the university ranked 62nd out of the 132 universities in the United Kingdom.[11] It is one of five universities in the South East of England to have been awarded the highest rating of Gold in the 2023 Teaching Excellence Framework.[12] In the Times Higher Education REF ranking, the university was ranked third in research power for modern post-1992 universities.[13]

In the 2021 edition of the Research Excellence Framework, 77 per cent of research submitted by the university was ranked as world-leading or internationally excellent, with impacts across society, health, culture and the environment.[14][13]


19th century

The University of Portsmouth traces its roots back to 1 June 1870 (or 1869 according to some sources) when it was first established as the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Art.[15][16][17] During the late 19th century, the school occupied several buildings in Old Portsmouth and Southsea.[18] The main premises, located at the Crown Sale Rooms in Pembroke Street, was attended by both male and female students.[18][16] Due to its coastal location, the school provided technical instruction to engineers and skilled workers, who often graduated to work at the city docks, including for the Royal Navy at the Portsmouth Royal Dockyard.[19] The curriculum comprised a range of skills including practical geometry, artistic anatomy, and architectural and mechanical drawing.[16] Additionally, the school provided evening classes for local artisans.[16]

Portsmouth Municipal Technical Institute and the College of Art

In 1894, following education reforms which vested local authorities with control over technical and manual education, the Borough of Portsmouth established the Portsmouth Municipal Technical Institute.[20][21] Having acquired the school's science and technology courses, the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Art was restructured to become the College of Art.[18][22]

20th century

Portsmouth Municipal College and construction of the Park Building

In 1903, following the enactment of the Education Act 1902, construction began on a site behind the Portsmouth Guildhall.[23][24] Designed by local Architect G.E. Smith and completed in 1908, the building incorporates a combination of Flemish and Renaissance architectural styles.[24] In the same year, the Portsmouth Municipal Technical Institute was succeeded by the newly established Portsmouth Municipal College.[23][25] Providing a range of further and higher education courses in chemistry and engineering, the college occupied the building together with the College of Art, the Portsmouth Day Training College, and a public reference library.[16][20][26] Today, the grade II listed building remains in use by the University and has since become known as the Park Building, having been named after an adjacent urban park known as Victoria Park.[24]

In 1911, male and female Students' union were established.[16] In autumn of 1911, the first addition of student magazine The Galleon, reported the creation of a women's Basketball team and expressed discontent over the state of the common room.[16]

Following World War II, there was a decline in the need for engineering skills in Britain.[why?] In response, the college diversified its curriculum to include the arts and humanities.[20]

Portsmouth College of Technology

In 1953, the Portsmouth Municipal College, having changed its name to the Portsmouth College of Technology, became the Regional College for Southern England.[16]

Polytechnic status

The college was renamed Portsmouth Polytechnic after it gained polytechnic status in 1969 and by the late 1980s was one of the largest polytechnics in the UK.

University status

On 7 July 1992 the inauguration of the University of Portsmouth was celebrated at a ceremony at Portsmouth Guildhall. As a new university, it could validate its own degrees, under the provision of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

21st century

On Friday 4 May 2018, the University of Portsmouth was revealed as the main shirt sponsor of Portsmouth F.C. for the 2018–19, 2019–20 and 2020–21 seasons.[27]

In December 2022, an employment tribunal ruled that when the university failed to reappoint Kajal Sharma to her job, it had racially discriminated against her.[28]


The university is split between the University Quarter, which is centred around the Portsmouth Guildhall area, and the Langstone Campus.

Langstone campus

Langstone is the smaller of the two campuses, located in Milton on the eastern edge of Portsea Island. The campus overlooks Langstone Harbour and it is home to the university's sports grounds.

Langstone Campus used to be home of the university's School of Languages and Area Studies, which has since moved into Park Building in the University Quarter. It also used to be home to three halls of residence: Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother (QEQM), Trust Hall and Langstone Flats. These used to house 565 students, however these have now been closed, in favour of those closer to the majority of the university buildings. These have now been demolished.[29]

University Quarter

The University Quarter is a collection of university buildings located around the centre of the city. This area contains most 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 University Library (formerly the Frewen Library) was extended in 2006 at a cost of £11 million.[30] It was opened by the crime writer P. D. James. The university has also recently invested in the Faculty of Science, in particular by renovating the aluminium-clad main building, St Michael's.

A new faculty called "Creative and Cultural Industries" was opened in September 2006.

Military Technological College of Oman

On 7 June 2013, the University of Portsmouth announced its partnership with the Military Technological College of Oman. This involves the University of Portsmouth providing academic guidance and academic accreditation for the education of 4,200 students with technical roles in armed services and a few civilian employers in the Sultanate of Oman.[31] This has been criticised by the student Amnesty International Society and by Campaign Against the Arms Trade who consider Oman an authoritarian regime, likely to use military capabilities on their own citizens or in regional conflicts.[32]

Organisation and structure


The university is ceremonially headed by Karen Blackett, who was installed as Chancellor in 2017.[33] The University is however run day-to-day by the Vice-Chancellor, presently Graham Galbraith, along with a single integrated decision-making body known as the University Executive Board. This includes Pro Vice-Chancellors, the Director of Finance and the Executive Deans of Faculties, together with the Chief Operating Officer, the Director of Human Resources and the University Secretary and Clerk.[34]

The University's Board of Governors is the university’s governing body and is ultimately responsible for the University and all of its activities.


The University of Portsmouth is composed of five faculties divided into a number of schools, institutes, academies and departments:[35]


The University of Portsmouth is worth £1.1 billion to the British economy and brings £476 million to the city, an independent assessment in 2017 has shown.[36]

Academic profile

Portsmouth offers more than 200 undergraduate degrees and 150 postgraduate degrees, as well as 65 research degree programs.[37]

The university formerly validated BSc (Hons) degrees in Acupuncture and MSc courses in Traditional Chinese medicine that were carried out by the London College of Traditional Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, a private education provider that collapsed in early 2011.[38]


Over 60% of research submitted by the university to REF2014 was rated as world-leading and internationally excellent.[39] In two subject areas respectively – Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy, and Physics – 90% and 89% of all research submitted was rated as world leading and internationally excellent.[39]

In 2017 Alessandro Melis[40] and Steffen Lehmann created the interdisciplinary project CRUNCH: Climate Resilient Urban Nexus Choices: Operationalising the Food-Water-Energy Nexus. This is a £1.6 million research project funded by Horizon 2020, Belmont Forum, ESRC and other funding bodies. University of Portsmouth is leading the project. The partners are five universities from Miami, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Uppsala and Taiwan. Crunch involves universities, local authorities and small business.[41][42]


National rankings
Complete (2025)[43]49
Guardian (2024)[44]33
Times / Sunday Times (2024)[45]65
Global rankings
ARWU (2023)[46]901–1000
QS (2024)[47]502=
THE (2024)[48]401–500

Portsmouth was rated #651 in the world by QS World University Rankings in 2024. [49] It was rated in the top 501 – 600 universities in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, #901-1,000 in the world by Shanghai Ranking, and #908 in the world by CWUR rankings.[50][51][52]

Internationally, the university was ranked 98th in Times Higher Education's '100 under 50' rankings of international modern universities 2017, but did not make the list in any subsequent year.[52]

In the 2022 edition of the Good University Guide – compiled by The Times and The Sunday Times – the university was ranked near the bottom at 88 out of 132.

The University of Portsmouth was one of four universities in 2017 in the south east to achieve the highest Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).[53][54]

Student life

Students' Union

The University of Portsmouth Students' Union (UPSU) is a registered charity that represents and supports all UoP students, who automatically become members upon registering for their course. The Students' Union offers members support services, development opportunities and represent them at different levels throughout the university, in the community and beyond.

The earliest record of the Union is in the September 1911 edition of The Galleon student magazine. From 1965, the Union was based in Union House – now St Paul's Gym – on St Pauls Road. In 1983, it moved to the ex-NAAFI building, Alexandra House, where it remained for 19 years. Since 2002, the union has been situated at the north end of Ravelin Park. The Union previously housed two nightclubs, Lux and Co2, but these were closed and redeveloped for other uses in 2009.[55]

The Union Advice Service offers confidential, impartial and non-judgemental support. The service delivers a range of academic & non-academic, information, advice, and guidance to the students of the University of Portsmouth and partner institutions. The service also undertakes other activities and events throughout the year to promote the health and wellbeing of students. The Advice Service is based in Gun House at The Union, next door to Cafe Coco. Portsmouth was named the UK's most affordable city for students in the Natwest Student Living Index 2016.[56]

Societies and sports clubs

The Union supports a range of over 150[57] student-led groups that provide extra-curricular opportunities to students, including sports clubs, societies, media groups and volunteering opportunities. Students can also create new societies with the support of the Union.

The Students' Union offers a range of sports clubs which are administered by the Athletic Union[58] The sports range from traditional team games like athletics, football, cricket, rugby union, netball, trampolining, and table tennis to octopush (a form of underwater hockey), lacrosse, polo and pole dancing. As of October 2020 there are 38 different sports clubs .[57]

The Students' Union runs a number of volunteering projects, such as HEFCE's Volunteering Team of the Year.[59] In 2010, the Union was awarded a £15,000 grant to work with elderly residents in the city.[60]

Student media

The university has two functioning student media outlets. Spyglass, the student magazine, and Pure FM, the student radio station, which works alongside local radio stations including Express FM. The university formerly had an active newspaper, The Galleon, as well as a video production society called Victory Studios.

Notable people



See also: Category:Alumni of the University of Portsmouth

Notable students of the University of Portsmouth and its predecessor institutions include:

See also


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