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University of Southampton (UK)

Famous for its Titanic and Mayflower heritage, Southampton is a city that has long been connected with the sea, and nowadays, it's no wonder that the University of Southampton specializes in all things oceanography and maritime.


In fact, a Southampton alum who studied its well-known Ship Science degree was one of the designers of the luxury ocean liner Queen Mary 2.


But in addition to being home to a large commercial port, Southampton is surprisingly also a green, walkable and safe city.


The university makes up a large part of it, with five faculties located across five campuses (plus a sixth campus in Winchester and a seventh in Malaysia).


Here are some of the highlights from my visit!


The O2 Guildhall, where students graduate
The O2 Guildhall, where students graduate

Highfield campus


The University of Southampton was founded in 1862 and is now a Russell Group institution that ranks in the top 15 of UK universities and top 80 worldwide.


There are around 25,000 students in total, about 6,500 of whom are international.


The oldest and largest campus at the University of Southampton is in Highfield, just north of the city.


One of the newer buildings, which celebrates the Highfield campus being around for more than 100 years
One of the newer buildings, which celebrates the Highfield campus being around for more than 100 years
View from the top of the Centenary Building
View from the top of the Centenary Building

It's really easy to catch a bus there from the city centre or directly from the Southampton International Airport; either way, it's only a 10-minute.


Bus station on campus

The Highfield campus is where the main library, which was used as a hospital in World War II, and the Students' Union are located.


Hartley Library
The library is one of the largest in the south of England
Hartley Library
Inside the library
Inside the library
Inside the library
Special collections in the library
Hartley Library
Hartley Library

In the Students' Union, you'll field a shop, places to eat and even squash courts.


SUSU
Students' Union
Students' Union
Squash courts
More shops

Highfield is also where the sports centre, the Student Hub and the campus doctor's office are.


The Student Hub
The Student Hub
Student Hub
Sports Centre
University Health Service
University Health Service

The Student Hub is a great first stop for students needing assistance.


And speaking of student support, Southampton is the only university I'm aware of that offers 24/7 student well-being support via an online chat.

Student Support

Another potentially little known fact about the university is that it ranks second in the UK for its music program!


Music building
Music building

The music building just happens to be right next to the Turner Sims Concert Hall, which showcases around 70 concerts a year.


Turner Sims Concert Hall

Although many of the academic buildings were built in the brutalist architectural style of the 60s, the university must have amazing landscapers -- because the green spaces and gardens really make up for it.


Shackleton Building
Shackleton Building
Shackleton Building
Staff social centre
Staff social centre
The law building, designed to resemble a ship given their expertise in maritime law
The law building was designed to resemble a ship given their expertise in maritime law
Campus gardens
Campus gardens
Campus gardens

Boldrewood campus


The University of Southampton has a strong reputation for its STEM subjects, and a lot of that has to do with its top notch facilities.


The Boldrewood Innovation Campus is the university's newest, and this is where engineering courses are based.


Boldrewood campus
Boldrewood campus

Here, you'll find a 138-meter towing tank, which is the largest in the UK and one of the largest in Europe.


So it's no surprise that this is the place to be for anyone interested in maritime engineering.


Southampton's towing tank
Boldrewood campus

The UKCRIC National Infrastructure Laboratory on site houses five engineering labs, including a large structures testing lab for those in civil engineering.


Boldrewood campus
Here, they can simulate X-number of trains going over a road, etc.
Here, they can simulate X-number of trains going over a road, etc.

When it comes to running engineering tests, Southampton also specializes in digital imaging.


The labs are set up with various infrared cameras to map the stresses and look at impacts in different ways.


Cameras in the lab
Engineering labs

Waterfront campus


The third campus I got to visit was the Waterfront campus, located dockside in the south of the city.


It's also home to the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS), and students get the benefit of being co-located with the largest group of marine scientists in the UK.


National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS)

As you could probably guess, this is where the university's ocean and earth science subjects are taught.


Marine Robotics Innovation Centre
Marine info

Southampton takes in around 200 students a year for these subjects, in which they can student just oceanography -- or oceanography with marine biology or biology.


Student labs

The facilities are just amazing; they also have one of the top 10 marine libraries in the world.


Marine library

But the student cafe takes the cake...


Student cafe
Those views!
Those views!
View from the student cafe
View from the student cafe
Aquarium
Aquarium

The university also owns its own boat, the RV Callista, and students get to take around five to six trips in their first year alone.


RV Callista
View of NOCS from the boat
View of NOCS from the boat
RV Callista
Inside the RV Callista
Inside the RV Callista
There are both wet and dry labs on the boat
There are both wet and dry labs on the boat
The Titanic departed from just over there in 1912!
The Titanic departed from just over there in 1912!

Other campuses


Southampton's other two campuses in the city are the Avenue Campus (home to humanities subjects) and the General Hospital Campus (where medicine is taught).


For students interested in the arts, the University of Southampton is affiliated with the Winchester School of Art, which is located 20 minutes north in the historical city of Winchester.


This is quite unique, as it's rare for a Russell Group university to have a leading specialist art school within it.


The city of Southampton


With a population of around 250,000 people, Southampton has a different look and feel to it than other cities in the UK.


This is due in part to the fact that, as a major port, it was heavily bombed in World War II.


Prior to the war, it was a walled city; fortunately, there are still a few remnants of the walls that remain.


Old city walls
Old city walls
Old city walls
Old city walls
Old city walls next to the new shopping malls
Old city walls next to the new shopping malls

Southampton is definitely still closely connected to the sea though.


Sea City Museum
Sea City Museum

And as the place where the Titanic departed on its maiden voyage, there are numerous memorials to its engineers, musicians and all the lives lost around the city.


Titanic Engineers' Memorial
Titanic Engineers' Memorial

The BBC's regional broadcasting centre is also based here.


BBC South

I found my favorite little coffee spot across from the O2 Guildhall at a place called The Artisan.


The Artisan cafe

It was right next door to a number of large parks in the city centre.


East Park
East Park
East Park
East Park
East Park
East Park
Watts Park
Watts Park
Watts Park

And for those looking to get out of the city, there are so many nice places nearby as well, such as the New Forest National Park and the Isle of Wight, just on Southampton's doorstep.


University of Southampton: Summary


I first learned about the city of Southampton given its connections to the Titanic.


Nowadays, I've worked with a number of students who have enrolled in Southampton based on its reputation for STEM subjects.


University of Southampton

The university has some of the most unique engineering, maritime and oceanography facilities in the UK and Europe and is also one of the UK's leading research institutions.


On top of this, it's one of the best when it comes to student support for mental health.


And with its own airport and many train link connections, the city of Southampton gives students plenty of options for venturing further afield -- although staying put along the coast seems to be just fine, too.


 

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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