The University of Plymouth is a public research university based predominantly in Plymouth, England, where the main campus is located, but the university has campuses and affiliated colleges across South West England. With 18,410 students, it is the 57th largest in the United Kingdom by total number of students (including the Open University). It has 2,915 staff.
When university status was gained in 1992, the university was based in on multiple sites. Under Vice-Chancellor Levinsky the university began a policy of centralising its campus activities in Plymouth.
The Exmouth campus Rolle College housed the Faculty of Education and relocated to the new Rolle Building in August 2008. The decision was unpopular with students and the town of Exmouth itself. There were several protest marches and a campaign to keep the campus open.
The Exeter campus [Earl Richards Road North] housed the Arts and Design faculty from 1989 to 2007. Purpose-built in the 1970s to re-locate Exeter College of Art and Design from the city centre, the college became amalgamated with Polytechnic South West in 1989 and permanently relocated its facilities to Plymouth in 2007. In 2011 planning permission was granted to demolish and redevelop the Earl Richards Road North site to provide 39 dwellings with parking and landscaping.
Completed developments include Portland Square, a library extension, refurbished and new laboratory and teaching facilities in many of the campus buildings, halls of residence near the Business School and a new £16 million Peninsula Medical School headquarters at Derriford, in the north of the city. A Marine Building has been constructed behind the Babbage Building to house civil engineering, coastal engineering and marine sciences.
An exception to the trend of centralising activities are the university’s extensive activities in education for the health professions. In addition, many of its students are taught at further education colleges throughout Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, such as South Devon College. A building which opened in 2008 is shared between the Peninsula Medical School and the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences.