1. Accounts
1.1. Getting an IT account


New staff and researchers should contact Human Resources where they will be given their user name and password together with a copy of the University's rules and regulations on using computing facilities. You should change your password regularly to ensure the security of your account. Nobody but yourself should know your password.


All students have to be registered with the university in order to use the computing facilities.

Computing usernames and passwords, which uniquely identifies you and allows you to use the computing facilities, are obtained as part of the online enrolment process at www.plymouth.ac.uk/applicants

Additionally, if you are not able to use the online enrolment process (your faculty will be able to explain this to you), usernames and passwords can be obtained by registering for your computer account at www.plymouth.ac.uk/register

You will be advised of your username and will create your password during this process – please keep a note of these details.

Your username normally consists of your initial(s) followed by your surname without spaces or punctuation.

However, if an existing user has the same initial and surname as you, your username may consist of your initial, surname and a number to uniquely identify you i.e. John Smith could be jsmith or jsmith1, jsmith2 etc.

You will create your own password, which is case sensitive, when you register for your computing account.

Change Password
To change your password, use the Change Password link at the top right of the homepage of your Student Portal and follow the instructions. 

1.2. How do I change my password?
  1. Log in to the University Portal
  2. Click on the 'cog' icon at the top right of the page, then select Change your password from the drop down menu.

    (Note: You can also find the cog icon on the top menu of other Office 365 online tools that you may frequently use, such as: email, calendar, OneDrive, and SharePoint sites.)


  3. To set a new password you will need to provide your existing/old password.


Please note that you may also need to re-enter your password on your own computer when using Office 365 applications and OneDrive, and in places where it may have been previously saved within a browser. 

You will also need to update your password on your mobile devices and tablets (i.e. on any device that is linked to your University computing account.


Forgotten your password?

If you have forgotten your current password and need to change it, please contact the Service Desk via https://itselfservice.plymouth.ac.uk or by calling 01752 588588.


Encountering error messages?

You may encounter one of the following errors when attempting to change your password:


  Reason for error:

The system has detected that your new password contains a commonly used or easy-to-guess word or phrase.

For example, you might have entered ‘P@ssword’, which is only a slight variation of the word ‘password’, and therefore may be easy to guess.

The system has a predetermined list of words or phrases which are not permitted because they meet the above mentioned criteria. Your new password has matched with one of these and is therefore not suitable to use.

Choose another password and try again.

  Reason for error:
The required criteria have not all been met.

The following criteria must be adhered to when setting a password:

•    It must contain at least 9 characters

•    It must include at least one capital letter

•    It must include at least one numerical character

•    It must include at least one special character, such as ! ” £ $ % ^ & * ( ) , . ? /

•    You cannot use either of the two previous passwords you set, or a slight variation of a previous password (e.g. you will not be permitted to use your previous password with an additional number on the end).

Choose another password which meets all of the above criteria and try again.

1.2.1. Guidance for creating strong passwords

Why do we need a strong password, and what is it?

As the number of online University services increases, the importance of good password security also increases. Having a strong password is in line with best practice and will help protect your online identity, personal data, intellectual property and university systems, data and reputation. 
There has also been a rise in threats that seek to capture staff passwords (e.g. via targeted phishing messages and through malware); periodically changing your password closes the window of opportunity if your account has been compromised and gone unnoticed. It should be noted that attackers will not necessarily be looking to access a specific user’s account in order to get access to their system/data, but rather to get a foot in the door that could enable a wider compromise of the University network.

A strong password that uses an increased length and range of characters reduces the susceptibility to automated cracking tools. Your computer account is therefore required to have a strong password to ensure the best possible protection. It must:

  • be a minimum length of 9 characters
  • include one or more upper case characters: e.g. A, B, C
  • include one or more lower case characters: e.g. a, b, c
  • include one or more numeric characters: e.g. 1, 2, 3
  • include one or more special characters: e.g. ! $ % & ‘ ( ) - . ^ _ { } [NB: if you also use mobile technology, please note that not all these characters are supported by older devices. Check before choosing your new password.]

Within the requirements of the above, it is still possible to choose a strong password that would still appear random but be memorable to you. For example, you could think of a phrase and then use the letters to form the password. So something like ...

Eskimo shoes could become: Esk1m0-Sh0Es or Basking Shark could become: 8aSk!ngShark

Following 12 incorrect login attempts, the user account in question will be locked out – i.e. unable to login. This lockout will be enforced for a duration of 30 minutes after which the user account will unlock again.

You will also need to provide additional security information for verification purposes when setting your strong password. This will be the answers to two of the three questions you selected when you set up your computing account.
If you need support for any reason during this process, please contact the TIS Service Desk here or call (01752 588588), and a member of staff will get back to you promptly. 
1.3. Visitor computing accounts - Details and how to apply.

What is a visitor computing account?

A visitor account allows temporary computing access and is issued to short-term guests of the University. The account enables the visitor to get basic access to computing services such as: 

  • WiFi through our EDUROAM network
  • Computers within Open Access areas.

How long can a visitor have a computing account for?

A visitor account can be issued for a maximum of two weeks. If the user requires longer-term access, a discretionary account may be more suitable. 

How do I apply?

If a visitor requires a temporary account, their host (i.e. the person they’re visiting) should contact the Service Desk with the following information.
  • Name of visitor
  • Duration of stay
  • Purpose of visit
  • Visitor’s contact details

You can contact the Service Desk on 01752 588588, or raise a 'New visitor account' request via IT Self Service.

1.4. Discretionary Computing Accounts

A discretionary computing account may be available for someone who does not fall into an existing user category, including the following:

  • Formation Zone accounts
  • Student Union Staff
  • University of Exeter Medical accounts
  • Professional development accounts
  • Registered University Teacher (RUT) access
  • Retired staff
  • Working partners
  • Voluntary workers
  • Guests of faculty and VIPs

This type of computing account provides access to core software, email and the Digital Learning Environment. It does not include access to license restricted e-resources.

Discretionary account holders are also not entitled to be issued with a University of Plymouth Computer.

Please note: Staff Computing Accounts are for ‘full’ members of staff at the University and are processed internally. These happen automatically and do not need to be requested.


How to apply for a discretionary computing account 

Applications will need to be ‘sponsored’ by an existing managerial member of staff who is fully familiar with the work being undertaken by the discretionary member. Sponsors of retired staff will be the appropriate Dean or Head of School.

The discretionary membership will last for a maximum of one year after which the account will be terminated. If continued use is required, then a further application needs to be submitted.

The University reserves the right to refuse discretionary membership and may on reasonable grounds withdraw the use of the account without prior notice.

You can raise a request for a discretionary computing account via the IT self-service portal. Please ensure a completed Discretionary Membership Application form is attached to your request.  The form is available via the attachments section below.


If you have any queries, please phone the service desk via 01752 588588 or raise a new support request via the IT Self-service portal: https://itselfservice.plymouth.ac.uk

1.5. Experiencing a problem with your University IT account?
For any problems with your IT account, such as logging in to a service or accessing the DLE etc. please contact the following departments.


Please visit the library, or contact Library and IT Enquiries on (01752 5) 88588 - choose the student option, or email libraryanditenquiries@plymouth.ac.uk for assistance.


Please contact the Service Desk on (01752 5) 88588 - choose the staff option.

Alternatively, you can use IT Self Service to report problems or request advice. 

1.6. Computer account disablement for students

Closure of IT accounts for departing students

IT accounts will be disabled mid-October following graduation for departing students, with reduced functionality from the date you complete your course (generally mid-July).

You should check your University email regularly over the summer for:
  • information on graduation; and
  • notification of the date your IT account will be disabled;

If you are starting a new course next year, it may be possible to arrange temporary associate membership over the summer. Please speak to a member of staff in the library.

If you have concerns about your finishing date, check the date with your faculty to ensure you remain on the student records system until the correct date.

If you are finishing your course this year, it is important that you save your data before your computer account is disabled.

  • It is your responsibility to make copies of any files you need. This includes everything stored in your OneDrive.
  • If your faculty wants to keep any work you have done, either you or the department must make arrangements for the files to be moved before your IT account is disabled.
  • Files can't be recovered once your IT account is disabled.

  • It is your responsibility to redirect your university email and inform your contacts of your new email address.
  • Email redirection will stop once your IT account is disabled.
  • Emails can't be recovered once your IT account is disabled.

Office 365

During your time as a student here at the University you may well have downloaded Office apps like Word and Excel to your own computer or devices, or you may be using OneDrive to store files online.

You are able to do this because we've purchased a license for our students and staff to use it all for free.

This level of access will change on the day when you complete your course at the University.

When this date is reached, you will have a period of approximately one month to use Office 365 installed on your own computer device before Microsoft limits your access to the software, leaving you with reduced functionality. You will be able to access and read your files but not edit them. If you want to keep using Office 365, Microsoft will offer you the option to continue on the same basis as before once you have purchased a personal subscription.

Online versions of the Office applications, OneDrive and your University email account will remain in active until your IT account is disabled.

Web pages
  • You should inform people who have linked to your web pages (if appropriate) that they will cease to exist when your account is disabled.

  • If you have any credit on your university card, you can use it to pay library charges or use it in a café on campus.

Library accounts

Library membership expires at the end of your course. Please note:
  • All materials must be returned and any charges cleared from your account.
  • Your university card will allow you access to the library until your computing account is closed.

If you have any queries about your computing account please contact LibraryandITenquiries@plymouth.ac.uk or telephone (01752) 588588
1.7. Staff Leavers: account disablement and removal

Staff leavers: IT accounts

A list of leavers is supplied by HR each week; accounts are normally disabled from log-in midweek following the leaving date.  Once the account is disabled, all associated groups and job details are removed.

The account is held as disabled for 3 months to enable the user to apply an out-of-office message indicating that they no longer work for Plymouth University.  Also, this enables quick reactivation if needed.

External email can be redirected for 3 months whilst the account is disabled; this is offered by HR in the leaver’s letter.
After 3 months, the account may be removed and data deleted.  Details are kept internally in case of audit.

Discretionary accounts may be applicable to leavers with an on-going role affiliated to the university; see the adjacent article for details.