Student life in Cornwall

Miranda Walter, BSC Conservation Biology and Ecology, Penryn Campus in Cornwall

For me it is the perfect place to study. I have always loved Cornwall and living by the sea in the country suits my lifestyle and area of study. The location offers the best variety of habitats and access to field work which is essential for studying conservation and ecology. The campus is well connected and there is a broad diversity of people which keeps things lively and exciting. The view of the harbour from the lab makes it one of the best places to be on campus.

Miranda Walter, BSC Conservation Biology and Ecology, Penryn Campus in Cornwall

Life in Cornwall

Cornwall will appeal if you want to study in beautiful surroundings and live as part of a vibrant student community where you constantly meet people you know. You’ll find a fantastic student lifestyle in a safe and friendly environment, with plenty of opportunities for sporting and outdoor activities.

The campus is a few minutes’ walk from Penryn, home to a rapidly expanding collection of independent cafés, shops, galleries and restaurants, as well as Jubilee Wharf, one of the country’s leading zero carbon buildings. It provides an inspirational environment for artists, and a home for Miss Peapod’s café, which has great views and regular live music. Penryn’s railway station is a 10-minute journey from Falmouth and 20 minutes from Truro.

Falmouth is a vibrant town, thanks to the number of students in the area, with a wealth of bars, pubs and restaurants and a lively café culture. It’s the centre of Cornwall’s creative scene, with businesses, studios, shops and galleries, and great live music across the town. Falmouth’s seven beaches, beautiful rivers and the world-famous marina also make it a haven for those who love sand, sailing and surf.

Guide to Cornwall

One of our students has compiled a comprehensive Guide to Cornwall, providing information about where to go and what to do in Falmouth and Penryn, and everything Cornwall can offer you if you come to study here.

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

The Penryn Campus is a unique place to study. Being by the beach seems to make everyone a little more chilled out. We share a campus with Falmouth University, which has meant I’ve been able to get stuck in with loads of arts-related projects – I was even an Assistant Director on a music video! I’ve secured two internships in marketing, work experience with the BBC and run my own live music events and club nights- something that would be so much more difficult in a big city.

Nadiya Hussain, BA English, Penryn Campus.

The Penryn Campus offers the very latest academic, research and residential facilities. Made up of around 4,000 students, the campus gives you intimacy and friendliness, in an arrangement that we think is unique as we share the campus with Falmouth University; a leading specialist arts institution. This combination creates a vibrant mix of students, with a diverse range of interests and backgrounds.

Though one of the smallest top ten university campuses in the UK, we excel in tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges through our research, which then informs our teaching. We do this in a way which students positively relish: students report exceptionally high levels of satisfaction with academic staff, improved communication skills and confidence.

The environment and sustainability underpin much of the ethos of the Penryn Campus. These themes consequently recur throughout our degree programmes as well as in student societies, clubs and the running of the campus.

Our newest development, the £30 million Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI), puts the University and Cornwall at the forefront of research into the solutions to problems of environmental change. Its work complements that of the University Medical School’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health, based on The Truro Campus. The Centre conducts world-class research into the interconnections between the environment and health. Specifically, its researchers investigate the health implications posed by a range of environmental threats.

Further improvements include the new Exchange Building which encompasses lecture theatres, an extended and refurbished library plus informal study spaces.

You can hear more about the Penryn Campus from some of our current students.

Find out more about life in Cornwall

You can find out more in Live It - a students' guide to life in Cornwall‌.

Further information

Students’ Union (FXU)

Cornwall is the perfect location for your academic endeavours, providing you with an ideal environment to take part in sport, volunteering and academia – all crucial for your student experience.

Falmouth and Penryn offer you a thriving student community in the heart of Cornwall. The local pub, club and bar scene suits those of you who want to socialise, whilst the beaches offer a chance to get away from the stresses of work. Not forgetting everything else that goes on here: fishing, coast-path walking, cycling, surfing, windsurfing and sailing - you’re going to love every moment of your student experience, so make the most of it. Cornish culture, coupled with the pristine coastline, will set you up nicely for your university life. You’ll really feel part of the community here, something that is unique to Cornwall.

The Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union (FXU) is your platform to getting involved. Whether you want to participate in sport, explore Cornwall or are seeking advice – we are here to help!

Chaz Maylon, FXU President, 2013/14.

I am currently the Chief Editor of Flex, the student newspaper, which is great to put on my CV. When I graduate I intend to move to South Africa where I want to work as an investigative journalist exposing political corruption, social crises and economic calamities in the hope of giving something back to my homeland.

Studying at the University of Exeter Cornwall Campus has been the single greatest experience of my life so far. I have made friends here who I will be socialising with well into my old age, I am doing a degree I am passionate about, I live in the best part of the UK and, on top of that, I am lucky enough to find inspiration for my poetry every single day.

Graham Barclay, BA English, Penryn Campus.

The Penryn Campus Students’ Union is known as FXU and jointly represents students of the University of Exeter Penryn Campus and Falmouth University (FXU stands for Falmouth and Exeter Union). Students from each institution have their own Student President and the support of a joint Welfare President.

As with the Guild in Exeter, FXU will play a major role in your student experience, starting with a programme of Freshers’ activities. FXU organises events on and off campus, helps students to set up and run sports clubs and societies, has a successful Community Action and RAG base, and runs a support and advice service.


The FXU President works full-time to make sure your voice is heard within the University and wider community.

Student Support Service

Professional staff offer counselling, advice on student living, a nursery as well as accessibility and chaplaincy support.

Confidential advice

Independent on the University covering financial, housing, legal and academic issues.


The Stannary, with a 1,300 capacity, is the social hub of the campus and is fast becoming one of Cornwall’s best venues, with gigs, comedy and a weekly club night. As its status grows, so does the profile of the acts performing, which have included Chase and Status, Annie Mac and Wretch 32.

Sports clubs and societies

The range of clubs and societies is a cornerstone of the Penryn Campus. There’s an ever-growing list of student clubs. See our Societies and Sport pages for further details.


Students run the campus newspaper, Flex, and Radiowave radio station. Flex has an amazing 130 contributors from across all the programmes at the Penryn Campus who regularly submit work. It offers the opportunity for ambitious students to showcase their talent while gaining valuable work experience.


Raising and Giving (RAG) gives you the opportunity to make a difference, gain experience, make new friends and boost your CV. Regular charity partners include The National Trust, Surfers Against Sewage and the Monkey Sanctuary, but FXU can support you to raise money for your own good cause of choice.

More information

Visit the FXU website for further information

Student experience at the Penryn Campus, Cornwall

See what some of our undergraduate students think about living and studying at the Penryn Campus.