Keystone logo
University of Plymouth Online

University of Plymouth Online

University of Plymouth Online


Plymouth: a civic university. Universities are so much more than degree-awarding seats of learning. They are drivers for economic innovation and advancement, catalysts for social change and champions of cultural development.

Our mission

Advancing knowledge, transforming lives.

Our vision

We will be a broad-based, research-intensive university, open to all who can benefit from a University of Plymouth education, and delivering excellent interdisciplinary research, experiential education and civic engagement.

The Core Principles

We will adapt our existing core strategic principles to enhance the University’s reputation and to understand sustainability as an embedded principle across everything we do.

  1. Quality: striving for the highest quality in everything we do.
  2. One Team: working, planning for and delivering a shared vision, underpinned by a strong sense of collegiality.
  3. Reputation: building our institutional reputation through confidence in our pioneering contributions, excellence in education and research, socio-economic impact, and thought leadership.
  4. Sustainability: sustainability in our finances, reputation, services, partnerships, environmental performance and global contribution.

Marine and maritime environments and societies

We want to maintain and build upon our pre-eminence internationally for contributions to the sustainability of marine and maritime environments and societies. The marine environment is integral to the well-being of life on Earth. Covering 70% of the Earth’s surface, the marine environment is home to 95% of the Earth’s species. Humans are dependent on the oceans more than ever before – for food, oxygen, water, mineral, and sustainable energy. Yet vast areas remain unexplored. Megacities of the world are on coasts, capitalising on economic and trade benefits but impacting on, and vulnerable to, marine environments and climate change impacts.

Of growing economic importance, marine and maritime industries support over 950,000 jobs in the UK. The UK has a Maritime Strategy to 2050 which supports significant investment as well as protection. In the South-West, regional development strategy is strongly anchored in offshore renewable energy, autonomous shipping, marine cyber security and the health and well-being of both coastal and rural communities.

From its foundations as a College of Navigation in the 19th century, the University has built a unique breadth of disciplinary interests in matters relating to marine and maritime environments and societies. Leading education and research in Marine Biology (not least in marine microplastics), Ocean Science and Marine Engineering is complemented by marine and maritime themes across the University, including in History, English, Education, Architecture and the Built Environment, and the Business School, Law, Geography and Psychology. Three times recipient of the Queen’s Anniversary prize, two of which were awarded for the University’s strengths in marine and maritime research.

Furthermore, Plymouth is the first choice for Health in the South-West, a focus on training professionals in a system that can capitalise on

the well-being opportunities of the ‘blue environment’, while responding to the problems common amongst ageing populations and the health inequalities of coastal communities. Interdisciplinary health research includes links between marine biology and the discovery of novel antibiotics.

The University of Plymouth is equipped to build upon this base – given our location, the history and priorities of our City, our leading-edge education and research facilities, and our strong partnerships with research organisations and industries in Plymouth itself internationally.

Our strategic priorities

Three strategic priorities underpin our Strategy for Excellence supported by a fourth enabling priority. Each priority has high-level objectives which are

introduced here and will be developed further through an Implementation Plan which defines the key areas of work over the 10-year period, supported by key performance indicators. The plan will be responsive to changing circumstances and opportunities over the decade.

Enabling priority

Invest to ensure a leading-edge, sustainable university:

  • Enable investment through optimisation of resource allocation.
  • Optimise emerging technologies and digital trends for the benefit of all.
  • Deliver transparent and responsible institutional stewardship.

Priority one:

  • Deliver excellent education and research
  • Ensure an innovative education portfolio
  • Deliver programme excellence
  • Support strong research foundations and build research power

Priority two:

  • Nurture outstanding students and staff
  • Provide a distinctive South-West coast experience preparing graduates for the world
  • Attract, develop and retain excellent staff

Priority three:

  • Drive global connectivity that makes a difference
  • Achieve influence and impact through significant industry and business partnerships
  • Maximise reach through strategic and exciting institutional partnerships

Alumni Statistics


Teaching excellence

  • Top 5 UK Young University in the 2022 Times Higher Education Young University Rankings
  • Top 25 for teaching quality in the 2020 National Student Survey
  • The first university to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark
  • Over 4,500 University of Plymouth students per year benefit from placements and work-based learning
  • 28 National Teaching Fellowships in HE since 2000

Research rich

  • Ranked the number one university globally for the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal number 14: life below water (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021)
  • Top UK university for Marine and Ocean Engineering (ShanghaiRanking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019)
  • Almost 2/3 of research ranked either World-Leading or Internationally Excellent in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • We're in the top 50 Research Fortnight Power List 2014
  • A three-time winner of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, most recently in 2019 for marine microplastic pollution research
  • European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award

Sustainable university

  • Ranked 9th in the world for our efforts in support of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal number 17: partnerships for the goals (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021)
  • Ranked 19th of 442 institutions, we are recognised for our efforts to reduce food waste while raising awareness of the food challenges facing local and global communities (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021)
  • Six Green Gown Awards since 2011, including three in 2014
  • One of just six institutions internationally to receive a Global Showcase award from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • Drake’s Place's £1.4 million restoration project of the gardens and reservoir was completed in 2014 with accredited Green Flag status since 2015
  • The House and Marine Station building projects are BREEAM Excellent (an environmental assessment method rating system for buildings)
  • 59% of waste recycled in 2020–21
  • We have over 290 bicycle parking spaces on campus
  • Our Students' Union has NUS Green Impact ‘Excellence Outstanding’ status
  • Achieved ISO 14001 accreditation for all our operations on the Plymouth campus since 2009
  • 54% reduction in CO2e emissions since 1990
  • We are a zero-landfill University
  • Top ten greenest universities in the country (People and Planet University League 2021)

English Language Requirements

Certify your English proficiency with the Duolingo English Test! The DET is a convenient, fast, and affordable online English test accepted by over 4,000 universities (like this one) around the world.


  • Drake Circus, PL4 8AA, Plymouth