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University of Plymouth (UK)

If you're into nature, water sports, history or marine studies, you'll definitely want to check out the University of Plymouth, a modern university located in the scenic Devon region of southwest England, just three hours by train from London.

Here's some info from my recent trip to campus in May 2022!

Me outside the main Plymouth building


With about 20,000 students, the University of Plymouth is considered a medium-size UK university.

The uni itself is located in the city of Plymouth, home to about 260,000 people and is within walking distance to the vibrant waterfront known as "The Hoe."

Here, you can find its famous lighthouse and the 1935 Tinside Lido's Art Deco saltwater community pool.

Plymouth Lighthouse
Art deco community pool
Welcome to Plymouth sign
Beautiful Plymouth waterfront

Music fans will also be delighted to be able to sit in the same spot where the Beatles famously sat decades ago.

Beatles sitting in the Plymouth park

And anyone who's studied American history will also be familiar with the name Plymouth, as it was the place from which the Pilgrims last departed on their journey to the new world in 1620.

Nowadays, there's a plaque marking the spot where the Mayflower set sail, but locals say the real Mayflower steps are located underneath the women's toilets in the nearby pub!

Mayflower monument to Pilgrims

Sadly, most of Plymouth was destroyed by bombings in World War II; in fact it was one of the most destroyed cities in the country at that time due to the fact that it was a strategic port city.

The few old buildings that remain are located in the Barbican area, which is also where many students go for nightlife.

This part of town is filled with picturesque cobblestone streets and has been undergoing a huge regeneration project.

It's home to an aquarium, the Plymouth Gin Distillery (the oldest working distillery in England) and the Jacka Bakery (Britain's oldest operating commercial bakery dating back to early 1600)--a local favorite.

It just so happened it was 'Pirates Weekend' when I was visiting, which was quite a site!


The university itself is located in the city centre, right across the street from a large shopping centre (Drake Circus), where you can buy everything you need.

I visited on a Saturday, so there weren't many students around, but the library was open for business.

It could've also been because the weather was absolutely gorgeous--who would want to be inside with such blue skies!?

There were some really nice study spots and modern facilities though.

University of Plymouth library
Inside the campus library
Inside the campus library
Student hub inside the library
Students' Union at Plymouth
Faculty of Science and Engineering Faculty Office
SCOTT / Faculty of Arts
Top 5 'green' university in the world
Top 5 'green' university in the world
University of Plymouth buildings

University of Plymouth: Academics

Probably one of Plymouth's most notable programs is marine biology, recognized as one of the best in the UK.

Students get access to a true waterfront campus at the Marine Station, a £4.65 million development on the shores of Plymouth Sound that includes:

  • lecture facilities overlooking the sea

  • a wet lab for sample examination and analysis

  • a seawater aquarium

  • field equipment storage and changing facilities

  • a base for research vessels

Unique to higher education in the UK, the Marine Station is also a centre of excellence for diving that enables students to get diving certified!

Plymouth Uni also boasts a unique integrated program in occupational therapy, where students can get both a bachelor's and master's in just four years, which is key for students wanting to bring the degree back to practice in the U.S.

Beyond the classroom

Plymouth is best suited for students who want the experience of studying in a vibrant city with access to the great outdoors.

Studying at Plymouth means students will have the greater Devon and Cornwall areas right on their doorstep, perfect for hiking, relaxing on a beach or enjoying a traditional cone from Willy's (vanilla is the best)!

And if you're lucky, you'll also catch a glimpse of the famous Dartmoor ponies!

Devonshire ice cream (Willy's)
Devon countryside
Looking for Dartmoor ponies
Mothcombe Beach
Mothcombe Beach
Mothcombe Beach
Mothcombe Beach


Interested in applying for college or grad school overseas?

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G'day! My name is Sara, and I'm the founder of College Apps Abroad and a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), one of only 40 CEP's in California and 300 worldwide. I have more than 10 years of experience working in international recruitment and admissions, and I've studied and lived overseas myself in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Brazil for almost a decade. I've also worked for some of the world's top institutions, including The University of Edinburgh, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Western Australia (UWA)!

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