Information for new students

Life at University

Students on beach with pier in background

Being a good neighbour

Being away from home for the first time can be an exciting and daunting prospect, and Portsmouth is a vibrant city with plenty to do and explore. We work closely with agencies in the city to build a healthy and responsible environment, and we expect our students to look out for each other’s safety and welfare as members of the University community.

The University has a major physical presence in Portsmouth and with it the potential to make an impact, for better or worse, on the city’s environment. We take this responsibility very seriously and expect you, as a member of the University community, to share it. When you are out and about in the city, and if you’re living in private accommodation, we expect you to be a good neighbour and responsible citizen. Students are expected to behave responsibly and respectfully towards our neighbours and the local community and do nothing that might damage the University’s reputation.

You can read the University of Portsmouth Student Charter for more information.

The Student Neighbour Liaison Service located in Student Housing can offer advice about being a good neighbour and assistance to help you resolve any problems that may occur.

Safety and Respect

The University expects all students and staff to treat each other with dignity and respect. We won’t put up with any form of bullying or harassment. If you experience or witness any such behaviour, it’s vital that you report it or talk to someone about it. You can choose to use the Speak UP reporting form or speak to Student Wellbeing, Students’ Union Advice or your personal tutor. 

The Sort It Out service, based at the Students’ Union, uses restorative practice to support students to resolve conflicts and repair relationships. This includes advice about how to prevent conflict from escalating, such as using their handy ‘housemate agreement’ template to give a constructive framework for living happily in shared accommodation.

The University employs a team of qualified security guards. It’s their job to help preserve a safe study environment and protect University buildings and equipment. You’ll recognise the University Security Team as they wear a black uniform and carry ID. Please help them by following their requests and instructions, so they can make your Hall of Residence a safer and more comfortable place to stay. Police Constable Dave Fairbrother and Police Community Support Officer Wendy Clark are our Police University Liaison Officers. They are based on campus and available for advice. If you’d like to discuss, in confidence, any crime, potential crime or reportable incident, you can find PC Dave in the Library cafe on Thursdays between 12.00pm and 1.00pm

Working and volunteering

While at the University you will also have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the community and boost your CV through local volunteering programmes, work placements and part-time jobs.

University’s employment services, Purple Door – many students work part-time or take a vacation employment. It is an excellent opportunity to earn extra money and gain valuable work skills and experience.

Volunteering – Located in Careers and Employability, the Volunteering Bank is an easy way for you to find out about a variety of voluntary opportunities. The team actively works with 140 local and national charities and not-for-profit organisations. Whether you’re looking for experience that links to your course, career aspirations or addressing skills gaps in your CV, they can help with your volunteering search and applications. Look out for the Volunteering Fair in October.

The Students' Union also supports volunteering and fundraising opportunities in the community and abroad. This includes their award-winning Raising and Giving (RAG) society.

Sports Volunteering Hub – The Sport and Recreation team offer opportunities in sports volunteering and coaching through our UP for Sport scheme. You can take on community placements in schools, sports events and local clubs.

Sport, music and languages

Sport and recreation – Across three sites, our facilities include a gym, sports halls, grass pitches, racket courts, netball courts, AstroTurf pitches and our recently refurbished 3G pitch. You can also access water sports, swimming and running facilities through our local sports club partners.

All access gym - The gym from Sport and Recreation includes 100+ stations in the centre of the campus uses the latest modern fitness equipment. Facilities include cardiovascular machines, resistance machines, a free weights area and abdominal area. Friendly instructors lead a range of 50 weekly fitness classes such as Piloxing, cardio cycling and Zumba, in fully air-conditioned studios.

Free Get Active membership –  Get Active gives you access to more than 50 drop-in social sessions in 20 sports – from rugby and football to squash. Sessions are beginner friendly and a great place to make new friends. You can also play in our Campus Sport leagues, and compete for fun against student and staff teams in sports like five-a-side football, badminton and tennis. To access all our facilities, including our gym and fitness classes, you can upgrade your free membership from as little as £99 for the year – that’s only £8.25 a month.

Campus Sport is our sport participation programme, offering weekly organised leagues to staff and students, in a number of different sports such as badminton, football, hockey, tennis, netball and more.

Competitive club sport - The Students’ Union develops more than 40 competitive sports clubs. Together these groups form the Athletic Union (AU). Every club in the AU is led and run by students. They represent the University of Portsmouth in competition with other universities, locally and nationally. Clubs are a great place to meet new people, make new friends and try something new.

Coaching and volunteering programme – you can also enhance your employability by learning and developing sport-based skills. We can help you access sports volunteer placements in community groups, schools, sports events and local clubs.

Musical activities – Remember to bring your instrument with you, as we offer lots of ways to get involved in making music. From beginners to advanced performers, we provide a supportive, friendly and socially vibrant environment for you to engage with music. Portsmouth is a great place to realise your musical potential. Our five flagship ensembles are open to everyone: the choir, orchestra, wind band, big band, and Dramatic & Musical Society. We also offer specialist facilities including dedicated practice rooms, storage for instruments and equipment, a library of resources and a small collection of instruments for loan.

If you are a musician or interested in our musical events and activities, please register here.

Learn a Language  the University also offers the opportunity for all students to learn a new language for free, enabling you to broaden your horizons and add to your CV.

student on the seafront

Life on campus

Your Hall, Your Home – if you’re allocated to Halls, this will be your home, along with many other students. We want you all to have fun in a safe, comfortable and peaceful study environment, and you have the right to live in your Halls free from harassment from others. We therefore expect you to respect the rights of other residents, local neighbours, the University property and the staff who maintain it. All of the Hall rules and guidelines are designed to protect these rights and help you to meet your responsibilities and live comfortably.

Food on Campus – if you are hungry while on campus pop into one of our food outlets and get great discounts by registering for our loyalty scheme. Find out more by searching on MyPort for ‘food on campus’.

Supermarkets – those nearest the University are:

  • Tesco, Crasswell St, Portsmouth PO1 1HT
  • Asda, The Bridge Shopping Centre, Somers Road North, Portsmouth PO1 1SL
  • Sainsbury’s, 315 Commercial Road, Portsmouth, PO1 4BS

Don’t forget to collect your NUS extra card from the Students’ Union shop or apply online on the Students' Union website – you can get some fantastic discounts!

Getting around

Walking – As it’s quite flat and compact, Portsmouth is ideal for those who like to explore the city on foot. Everything is within easy walking distance.

Cycling – Portsmouth is a great city to cycle around. It’s flat, compact and has some lovely scenic rides along the coast. Many of our students choose to ride their bikes to University, so we offer secure and accessible bike sheds across the campus.

City buses  Two main bus companies provide regular services to all parts of Portsmouth and the surrounding areas, throughout the day. For more information on services, timetables and student concessions, please visit the Stagecoach or First Bus websites.

Trains  There are four train stations in Portsmouth: Portsmouth Harbour, Portsmouth and Southsea, Fratton, and Hilsea. All stations serve regular trains to London, Southampton and Brighton. Trains are also a great means of transport for those living out of the city in nearby locations, such as Cosham and Fareham. Trains to and from these destinations run regularly and it takes only 7 to 15 minutes to get to central Portsmouth. If you are aged between 16-25 don’t forget to purchase your railcard for a third off your travel.

Taxis – you’ll find lots of meter taxis, alongside two main taxi firms – Aqua Cars and CityWide. Uber also operates in Portsmouth.

Exploring the city

Once you’ve arrived in Portsmouth, you’ll probably be itching to explore, so here are a few pointers to help you find your way.

City Centre – Commercial Road in the city centre offers a great selection of the usual high street stores. Guildhall Walk has a number of different bars and clubs and the impressive Guildhall hosts a variety of musical acts, comedians, exhibitions and more. You’ll also find here the beautiful Victorian New Theatre Royal.

Gunwharf Quays – you’ll easily be able to locate Gunwharf Quays as the Spinnaker Tower is based here. At 170m high, Spinnaker Tower offers an amazing 360o panoramic view of Portsmouth Harbour, the south coast and the Isle of Wight. Gunwharf is packed with designer shops at discount prices, restaurants, bars and cafés to enjoy the harbour view, as well as a 14-screen cinema and bowling alley. Just next-door is the Historic dockyard, home to the HMS Victory and HMS Warrior, the HMS Alliance and the Mary Rose Museum.

Old Portsmouth  The original historic part of the city around Broad Street is a quiet, picturesque area where you’ll find traditional pubs and quaint tea rooms lining cobbled streets. The old defences are still in place and you can walk along the historic Hot Walls, part of the fortifications for the harbour entrance – now home to local artists’ studios.

Southsea  just a short walk away from the University, covering the southern tip of the island, Southsea offers plenty of attractions. Four miles of beach, Clarence Pier and Southsea Common are great locations great for meeting friends and having picnics in the summer. The common also hosts a range of activities throughout the year, including a rural and seaside show, international kite festival, charity running and lots of live music events. Albert Road, at the heart of Southsea, is a bustling road of independent traders, quirky shops, fabulous restaurants, trendy bars and cafés, retro clothes, antiques and crafts. The restored Edwardian Kings Theatre and department stores can also be found here.