Student life - University of Portsmouth
Why Portsmouth?

Student life

Find out why Portsmouth is a great place to be a student

Student videos
Becoming a student
Activities and societies
Sport and exercise
Student support services

Student videos

Our students are the best people to tell you what life at Portsmouth is really like.

Watch the videos in our Student Life series to get a glimpse into their experiences of being here. Head to the University of Portsmouth YouTube channel for more student videos.

Emily's Graduation

Name: Emily Long
Degree: BSc (Hons) Criminology

We catch up again with Emily on graduation day. Emily reflects on her time at the University and shares her views of the graduation ceremony.

Moshen's Granduation

Name: Moshen Seifi
Degree: PHD in Neuroscience

Mohsen Seifi shares his graduation day with us, giving an insight into graduating with a PhD. Find out what he plans to do next and what his family think of his achievements.


Name: Richard Hargreaves
Degree: BSc Geography

Riding around Portsmouth Richard shows us his favourite places to cycle. Find out what the city is like from a cyclist’s point of view and why it’s a great way to get around.


Name: Caroline Gachathi
Degree: BA Hons Television and Film Production

From the unique independent shops in Albert Road to the well-known brands at Gunwharf Quays, Caroline gives us a quick guide to shopping in Portsmouth and Southsea.

Work Experience

Name: Anu Afolayan
Degree: LLB Hons Law

As part of her Law degree, Anu chose to do practical work experience with Portsmouth's Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). We visit Anu at work to see how she's getting on, what the role involves and how it feels to put her learning into practice.

Study Year Abroad

Name: Marie Slettan Ulvund
Degree: International Relations and Chinese
Interests: International Travel

Marie is in China for a whole year as part of her degree. Take a look at life in China through Marie’s eyes and find out what she loves about living there, how it’s helped with her language skills and what advice she would give to others considering studying a language at university.

Living in Portsmouth

Name: Varun Dastur
Degree: MSc Sports Management
Interests: Cooking

Varun shares his experience of studying and living away from home for the first time. Find out what he thinks of Portsmouth's diverse mixture of food shops and living in halls, while he cooks a meal for friends.

Volunteering at Portsmouth

Name: Sarah Murray
Degree: BA (Hons) English and Media Studies
Interests: Fundraising

Sarah studies BA (Hons) English and Media Studies at the University's School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies. In her free time, she volunteers to raise funds for a breast cancer charity.

Watch Sarah's story to find out she got involved and how it's enhanced her skills for future employment.

Sports at Portsmouth

Name: James Gardiner
Degree: MPhil Plant Pollination Biology
Interests: Tennis

Meet James, an MPhil Plant Pollination student. James started on an undergraduate degree in BSc (Hons) Biology and progressed to MPhil Plant Pollination.

Find out how James finds time to play regular tennis as part of the University’s Tennis Society alongside studying for his Master's degree.

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Becoming a student

A warm welcome

We aim to make all our new students feel at home at the University of Portsmouth. In the weeks leading up to your arrival, we’ll send you the information you need for a smooth start including an induction pack and online support.

The first two weeks of term are for new undergraduate students to find their way around the city and campus and meet others during Freshers’ Week before continuing students return.

You’ll be able to explore over 150 student-led societies and clubs, try out for a sports team, join the uni gym and discover our personal and academic support services. You’ll also have the chance to sign up for free language or music classes.

International Orientation Week

A few days before Freshers’ Week begins, our International Office welcomes overseas students during Orientation Week – an opportunity to go on guided tours of the University and the city, get help with registration, meet other students, and discover the support services we offer.

The Students' Union

The Students’ Union is an independent charity that exists to advance your education at the University of Portsmouth through a range of services and activities. The Union promotes your rights and looks after your well-being throughout your university years. It’s run for students by students.

The Union has held the Green Impact Student Union’s Gold standard award since 2012 and is one of the top five performing ‘Small Commercial Unions’ in the UK.

At the Students’ Union you can:

  • Take advantage of opportunities to get involved in clubs and societies or as a Sabbatical Officer
  • Receive advice on academic issues and welfare
  • Meet other students at events and societies
  • Access great discounts and tickets to events in the city
  • Have your say on your student experience

Find out more about the Students' Union.

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Activities and societies

Student Groups

Being in a university society is a great way to learn new skills, meet new people, build confidence and gain experience. With over 150 student-led groups at Portsmouth, you’re bound to find something that interests you. If you can’t find the group for you, the Students' Union can help you set one up.

Here’s a selection of our student groups:

  • Amnesty International Society
  • Archery Club
  • Bhangra Society
  • Cheerleading Club
  • Comedy Society
  • Film Makers Society
  • LGBT+ Society
  • Surfing Club
  • Vegan Society

Explore all student activities at the University of Portsmouth.

Over 150 student-led groups

Volunteering and Fundraising

Increasingly, employers are looking beyond your degree to what real-world experience you have. The opportunities to gain experience by volunteering or fundraising alongside your studies are almost endless at Portsmouth.

At Portsmouth you could:

  • Join the VIP (Volunteering in Portsmouth) student group and get involved in one-off events like Beach Cleans and Donation Days
  • Get help from our Careers and Recruitment Centre to find volunteering opportunities with 140 local and national charities and non-profits
  • Help deliver Sports Development programmes to young people in local schools, colleges and sports clubs
  • Join the RAG (Raising and Giving) student group to help fundraise for local and national causes
  • Go on international fundraising trips like cycling from London to Paris, trekking the Andes or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Discover where volunteering and fundraising at Portsmouth could take you.

Gain new skills and experience

Music and Drama

Whether you’re a performing arts student or just passionate about music and drama, you’ll be spoilt for choice by the opportunities to sing, dance, play and act at Portsmouth. If you love being on stage or you’re more interested in backstage work or promotion, you’ll find something here. For example, you can:

  • Join one of our five ensembles which sit under the Music Society: Dramatic Musical Society (DMS), Choir, Orchestra, Wind Band or Big Band
  • Take part in performances like band concerts, Christmas carols, choir concerts and stage shows
  • Join music tours around Europe
  • Help grow Portsmouth’s dance music scene by joining the Underground Music Society
  • Rehearse in the White Swan Building next to the New Theatre Royal– the building houses a new studio theatre, TV studio and gallery, music practice rooms and drama studios

Head to the Student Groups section of the Students’ Union website for more information.

Bring out the performer in you

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Sport and exercise

Excellent sports facilities

As well as being home to one of the UK’s leading Sport and Exercise departments, we offer excellent sports facilities to our students, staff and the local community. As a coastal city, Portsmouth has an abundance of water sports activities including sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and windsurfing.

The University sports facilities include:

  • Two multi-use sports halls
  • Grass pitches for football, rugby and lacrosse
  • A synthetic turf hockey pitch
  • Two dance/martial arts studios
  • Squash courts
  • A 100-station gym with cardiovascular and resistance machines and free weights
  • Over 50 different fitness classes from boxfit to yoga
  • An experienced and highly trained health and fitness team
Our facilities help you stay fit and active

Over 35 sports clubs

The Athletic Union, which is part of the Students’ Union, has 35 student-led sports clubs from football to skydiving.

Sports clubs are a great way to meet new people, make friends, get fit and try a new sport.

Become a member of the Athletic Union and you could:

  • Take part in weekly competitions and leagues against other university teams
  • Get affordable, high quality Team Portsmouth sports kit made by Nike
  • Access basic insurance cover

Discover the sports clubs you could join at Portsmouth.

Get competitive and make new friends in a sports club

Links with elite clubs and coaches

Our connections with elite clubs and high quality sports coaches can help you reach the top of your game or earn coaching qualifications. If you compete at regional or international level, you could be eligible for funding through our Sports Scholarship Scheme.

Double Paratriathlon World Champion Lauren Steadman was supported during her five years studying at Portsmouth through the University’s Sports Scholarship scheme.

Other Portsmouth sporting alumni include Graham Edmunds who won two gold medals in the Beijing and Athens Paralympics in swimming and Dan Bentley who won gold in the Beijing Paralympics in boccia.

Reach the top of your game

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Student support services

Study Skills

We offer various learning support services to help you achieve your best at university, including:

  • Academic Skills Unit – help with essay writing, note taking, time management and exam preparation
  • Maths Cafe - free maths support to all undergraduate students of the University
  • The Student IT Help Centre - help with any university IT issue; located in the Students’ Union

Explore the full range of student support services at Portsmouth.

Take advantage of our learning support services

Health and Wellbeing

Whatever you’re going through at uni, our outstanding health and wellbeing support services can help.

Services include:

  • University doctors’ surgery providing high quality healthcare
  • Wellbeing advice, counselling and mental health advice
  • Workshops and courses focused on positive wellbeing skills like mindfulness and self-compassion
  • Workshops to help you tackle issues like sleep problems, procrastination, perfectionism and exam anxiety
  • Advice, support and referrals for any conditions or disabilities that might impact your ability to study
We aim to look after your health and wellbeing at uni

Personal Support

If you need help with any personal issue, from finance to faith, you can find it at Portsmouth.

Personal student support includes:

  • Information, advice and guidance for managing your finances
  • Advice and support with student housing and private rented accommodation
  • Help with finding part-time jobs, career planning, work experience, volunteering, starting a business and more
  • Childcare for students with children from six months to five years old
  • Friendly advice and support for all students of different faiths, backgrounds and cultures at the University Chaplaincy
Get help with personal issues

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Find out more about the University and the city

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University of Portsmouth
University House
Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth PO1 2UP

T: +44 (0)23 9284 8484