Based in the heart of the major port town of Southampton, Solent University has its origins in a private school of art founded in 1856. Over the following century and a half, a technology college was formed that eventually merged with the art school to become the Southampton Institute. After gaining the power to award degrees in 2004, it changed its name the following year to Southampton Solent University.
In 2018, following decades of growth in both facilities and student numbers, the decision was made to drop Southampton from its name to become simply Solent University. There are 11,000 students enrolled, with the vast majority undergraduates.
Solent University oversees the Warsash Maritime Academy, which is one of the world’s leading maritime education institutes. The other university campus can be found right in the city centre. In addition to the maritime faculty, the university is divided into the following faculties: the school of art, design and fashion, the school of business, law and communications, the school of media, arts and technology, and the school of sport, health and social sciences.
For the start of the 2016/17 academic year, Solent opened its new £33 million Spark building. This five storey centre features classrooms designed to push students to become more actively involved in lecture discussions. It is part of a £100 million investment by the university in its facilities between 2010 and 2020.
As well as traditional workshops, the universities’ careers service also has its own creative agency, Solent Creatives, to support freelancers. Visitors to the Marlands Shopping Centre will find Re:So, a store run by Solent’s fashion students.
There is a large student population in the city with Solent attendees joined by those studying at the University of Southampton. Solent does relatively well with sports teams, competing at national levels in football, wheelchair rugby and basketball. The university’s yachting team has won the student national competition eight times, as well as the Student Yachting World Cup in 2004 and 2010.