Good University Guide 2023

Plymouth Marjon University

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
Plymouth Marjon University

Contact details


Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BH,

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Having started life as a teacher training college, Plymouth Marjon long ago diversified into arts and business courses. Its latest strategy is to go for growth as the number of 18-year-olds rises, focusing strongly on health and social care courses. Three of the five new degrees this year and three of the six planned for 2023 are in health and social care, including psychotherapy, counselling and physiotherapy. 

The university has climbed 21 places in our rankings overall to reach 80=. Extensive new teaching rooms and clinical environments will open to accommodate growing numbers of health students. In addition to the new degrees, Marjon is planning short courses and professional development programmes, including a bridging programme into degree-level study for talented individuals from the health and care workforce who do not meet the traditional entry criteria. 

The mix is proving popular with Marjon’s undergraduates and applicants alike. The university was top in England in 2021’s National Student Survey (NSS) for satisfaction with the “learning community” and in the top ten in both our measures derived from the NSS. It has not quite held on to those rankings, but is still 7= for satisfaction with teaching quality and 11th for satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience. 

Marjon benefited in our rankings from its decision to enter the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), having chosen not to be part of the national assessment in 2014, although it finished 119th, towards the bottom of our table. For course completion, Marjon ranks 101=, with a dropout rate higher than expected in light of the mix of courses and the background of its students. 

Applications to study on the attractive campus on the north side of Plymouth grew by more than 10 per cent during the pandemic and have maintained that level in the latest admissions round. Overall recruitment is down because the university has closed some of its franchise programmes in colleges elsewhere in the southwest of England. A number remain open in Cornwall and Devon in subjects ranging from business management to professional golf.

Teaching is back on campus but Marjon’s post-pandemic version of blended learning has retained some online activity. Spared the need to travel, commuting students — of which Marjon has many, some travelling long distances — have increased their attendance rates at one-to-one meetings. The new system ensures that interactive and practical learning sessions take place on campus, with remote learning for information and background theory. Almost all courses include some form of work placement.

Originally the College of St Mark and St John, which was established in London in 1840 and moved to Plymouth in 1973, Marjon retains Church of England control but welcomes students of all faiths and none. The university takes second place in our social inclusion index in England and Wales, up from third place in 2021. It has the joint highest proportion of white working-class males in the UK and is in the top four for the recruitment of disabled students. More than half of the undergraduates are the first in their family to go to university. Marjon has long-term progression agreements with 12 local schools and colleges, and makes lower offers to promising applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Campus developments have included social learning spaces and more teaching accommodation in anticipation of larger numbers of students. This includes the addition of a new and larger shop. The university is also spending £3.5 million to replace its gas boilers with ground-source heat pumps, as part of an effort to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent by 2023.

Investment is also planned for the already impressive sports facilities, all of which are available to the public. The tennis courts are to be redeveloped and an artificial pitch rebuilt by 2024. Other facilities include a climbing wall, 25m indoor swimming pool and gym. There is also a rehabilitation clinic and sports science laboratory with a climate chamber and an anti-gravity treadmill, for use by the thriving sports science courses. 

A new health and wellbeing programme is launching in September 2022 within the Sport and Health Centre, encouraging student physical activity and sport for all. Marjon was one of the first 41 universities to join the Student Minds Mental Health Charter framework last year, and is actively working towards gaining Mental Health Charter status. 

Future building plans include a £12m hall of residence and the demolition of some existing accommodation blocks. Marjon has 459 residential spaces in seven halls of residence and 38 village houses. In 2022, for the first time, new entrants on the main campus were guaranteed either a room on campus or in off-site accommodation approved by the university. The lively city centre is a short bus ride away and the region’s beautiful countryside and coastline is easily accessible.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 80= (101=)
Teaching quality 81.6 7th=
Student experience 77.3 11th
Research quality 17.4 119th
Ucas entry points 119 86th=
Graduate prospects 68.8 94th=
Firsts and 2:1s 75.8 82nd
Completion rate 80 101st=
Student-staff ratio 19.2 108th=

Vital statistics











Applications/places 3,165/855
Applications/places ratio 3.7:1
Overall offer rate 86.8%


Places in accommodation 459
Accommodation costs £95 - £145
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (international) £12,000
Finance website
Graduate salaries £21,000


Sport points/rank 237, 80th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 2
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 95.4%
Grammar school admissions 3.1%
Independent school admissions 1.5%
Ethnic minority students (all) 6.8%
Black achievement gap n/a
White working class males 11.9%
First generation students 56.4%
Low participation areas 16.1%
Working class dropout gap 1%
Mature 34.3%
EU students 0.8%
Other overseas students 0.6%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Education 87.5%
Communication and media studies 79.7%
Sports science 78.2%