Located in the south of England, Plymouth is a pleasant waterfront city that is perhaps most famous for being the temporary home for sailors. Indeed, it has a very rich maritime history, and draws thousands of tourists to its docks each year for this reason. If you’re considering rubbing shoulders with the seafarers, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about studying in Plymouth.
Universities In Plymouth
Of its total population of 256,000, Plymouth is home to 25,000 students. There are two universities in the city:
University of Plymouth
The University of Plymouth is one of the UK’s biggest universities, and was founded way back in 1862. It was the first of all the modern universities to develop its very own dental and medical school; the first university to be awarded a Social Enterprise Mark in the world, and is part of the prestigious Combined Universities collective in Cornwall.
In terms of league table rankings, the university currently sits 76th. It is recognised for being sustainable and environmentally conscious, has good research standards while degree completion stands high at around 84%. Most students are undergrads, while teaching standards have been nationally acclaimed.
Plymouth Marjon University
Plymouth Marjon University started life in London before moving to Plymouth in 1997. It was awarded university college status as recently as 2007. It presently sits 102nd in the 2016 league table rankings, in which it scores very well for student satisfaction. Indeed, it was ranked 6th in the whole of the UK for student satisfaction as recently as 2013.
A lot of money has been invested in the University of late, with the amount spent on facilities as high as any other university in the country. Money has been spent on a revitalised library and improved halls of residences. As a result, the University of St Mark and St John is a very competitive uni which offers work-based study programmes, quality teaching standards, and a very responsive Students’ Union.
Fees, Student Finance & Living Aspects
Ah, if only uni was totally free. If it were, we’d never have to give ourselves a headache trying sort out the fees!
The bottom line is that most full-time undergrad courses up and down the UK now cost around £9,000 per year. Read our guide to the student loan system to learn how you can pay for your course.
Most students are eligible for a maintenance loan, which is designed to help with your living costs. A maintenance loan is paid into your bank account in three separate instalments throughout the academic year (Sept, Jan and April), and is also repayable once you graduate and are earning a certain amount of money. The max amount anyone is entitled to is £5,750, but what you yourself are offered comes down to your own personal circumstances. You might get the full amount, or you might get less than.
Any student who has mitigating circumstances or a disability can also apply for a maintenance grant which makes an extra contribution to your living costs.
Some students find that their maintenance loan covers all their living costs, from accommodation to food and drink. Others, however, choose to take up part time jobs in and around Plymouth to supplement their income. The good news is that Plymouth is one of the cheapest cities to live in as a student. The average first-year student in Plymouth spends around £250 per week on rent, which is some £50 lower than students living in nearby Exeter.
Most first-year students in Plymouth choose to live in their university’s halls of residence. Doing so offers them the protection of 24/7 security as well as the chance to meet similar people as soon as you move in. Student halls of residence are generally more expensive than house shares, though. Some of the most popular ones in Plymouth include:
- Astor House – from £125.00 per week
- The Court House – from £135.00 per week
- The Square – from £118.00 per week
- St. Augustine’s House – from £135.00 per week
- The Old Diary – from £135.00 per week
General Info About Plymouth
Located on the south coast in the county of Devon, Plymouth is the 30th most populous area in the country. Its historical associations with maritime shows no signs of abating, and shipbuilding and seafaring continue to be a strong influence on its economy. It is also home to the Marine Biological Association of the UK.
London is reachable in three and a half hours via train, while direct trains also run from here to major cities in South Wales, the Midlands, as well as the North West and North East of England. There are also ferries that regularly sail to France and Spain.
In the city centre itself, buses are regular and there are student discounts available. Attractions for students include a whole host of sporting activities, including bowls, skiing, rock climbing, surfing, scuba and football, as well as plenty of entertainment activities, such as museums, cinemas, bars and night clubs.
The city centre is the largest for shopping in the SW of England, while unusually for a city, Plymouth is surrounded by lots of countryside.
Events, Venues & Points Of Interest
Plymouth is popular with tourists, seafarers and students. As you might expect, then, there is always something to do in this vibrant city that sits by the water.
If you’re actually interested in Plymouth’s rich maritime history, you can trace the footsteps of sailors gone by in an eight-minute ferry trip that takes a tour of the nearby beaches. If you fancy staying on dry land instead, you can visit the awesome National Marine Aquarium.
Other sea-type things to do around here include learning to sail and also stopping by the Plymouth Sound, a tranquil bay where you can relax and watch the world go by.This bay provides you with a stunning view of the ocean and is a popular retreat with hungover students!
Culture vultures will be happy with the Cotehele art gallery and the Devonport Naval Heritage Centre, a museum that tells the fascinating story of the city’s long held associations with the Royal Navy.
The Mayflower Steps, Saltram House and Charles Church, meanwhile, provide ample points of interest for when you’re out exploring, while the Barbican district is the lively go-to place for all your entertainment needs. It is here where you will find a collection of retail art galleries, quaint bars and eateries, as well as indie shops and theatres. Perched on the waterfront, it’s Plymouth’s jewel.
Oh, and the district is also home to the UK’s oldest gin distillery. If you stop by, you’ll be offered the chance to concoct your very own individual bottle. Save some for us!
We’ve all heard the song about what became of the drunken sailor, right? But what becomes of the drunken student in Plymouth?!
Providing your own unique bottle of gin doesn’t put you off drinking forever, students often admit that the nightlife in Plymouth surpasses expectations. You could be forgiven for assuming this unassuming waterfront city doesn’t do nightlife as well as other cities – but you’d be totally wrong.
The “big” clubs in Plymouth cost around a fiver to get in at the weekends, but during the week there is always something cheap and easy going on for students. Oceana is the best place in town on Monday nights; entry is free, the booze is cheap, and a good time is always had by all. There is even a free bus that takes you from campus to the club each Monday until midnight. It’s basically like the Venga-Bus except without the Vengaboys.
Chain bar and club Walkabout is a big hit with students on Tuesdays, while C103 is always jam-packed on Wednesday nights. Although C103 is famed for its dirt cheap nights, awesome tunes, and it’s sticky floor, it is located in a not-so-nice part of town. There are no buses that take you directly to and from C103, so we’d always recommend you and your mates jump in a taxi.
Thursday nights offer a bit more class at Revolution, where pizza, cocktails and haircuts make for an unusually fun night out. Fridays and Saturdays are generally considered to be “Let’s go anywhere!!” nights, although the Student Union is always a good retreat if you’re all a bit short of cash.
In terms of pubs and bars, some of the best include The Ship, The Navy Inn, Varsity, and The Blues Bar and Grill. Or you could just go to Spoons.
So There It Is
If you think studying by the sea and drinking sailors under the table might be for you but you’d like a little bit more info about courses available in Plymouth why not start searching with Coursefindr here.