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Bristol University

UCAS Code: B78

Location: Bristol, west of England Show on Map

Site: Main teaching site in Clifton; veterinary science 15 miles away

A top UK research-intensive university; a member of the Russell Group of universities. 

Student Population

Total Students:19,220
FE Students:0%


Total undergraduates:13,435
Full Time:96%
Mature on Entry:4%
UK Students:86%
State school entry:60%

Teaching Staff

1267 full and part-time

Broad study areas

Arts; engineering; medical & veterinary sciences; medicine & dentistry; science; social sciences & law.


Admission Information:AS-levels welcomed in combination with 3 A-levels or equivalent; alternative qualifications are often acceptable, particularly access courses. Offers normally in terms of grades, rather than UCAS tariff.
Points on Entry (Mean):478
Drop Out Rate:2%
Accommodation:All first years housed (subject to conditions).


Founded:1876, charter granted 1909
Site:University precinct ¼ mile from city centre. Clinical veterinary science is in Langford, 15 miles south west.
How to get there:City well served by rail (main line west to Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads) and coach; close to M4 (for London, Heathrow and south Wales) and M5 (Birmingham and the north and west country). Good bus services around Bristol; university bus service connects halls of residence to university precinct; many students use bikes.

Student services & facilities

Student advice & services:Student health centre including university-operated GP practice; multi-faith chaplaincy, nurseries, counselling service, international advice & support, careers service, disability services.
Amenities:Three theatres, university bookshop. Active SU with bars, restaurants, recreational facilities.
Sporting facilities:33-metre indoor swimming pool, fitness training facilities, squash courts, indoor sports centre (fully-equipped gym, two studios, free weights area, jogging track and sports hall), playing fields including indoor tennis centre, 2 synthetic pitches (one water-based, one sand-based), grass pitches for all outdoor sports, rowing boathouse and a sports medicine clinic.
Accommodation:First-years guaranteed accommodation, so long as they have firmly accepted their offer and apply for accommodation by the deadlines (about 96%). 3700 places (3500 for first years; 130 places in shared rooms), half are catered, half self-catering. Rents: catered places £136–£160 per week (from £111 pw if sharing, up to £173 pw for ensuite) for 38 or 40-week let; self-catered places £84–£120 pw (from £64 pw if sharing, up to £130 pw for ensuite), 38- or 40-week lets. Most students live in privately-owned accommodation after the first year, rents £70–£100 pw plus bills.

Study opportunities & careers

Library & information services:10 branch libraries, many in faculties and departments: over 1.4 million volumes of printed books and journals, online access to 13,000 ejournals and collections of ebooks. Over 2500 study places and group study areas; arts & social sciences library open 16 hours/day. Information provision, £227 pa spent for each student (FTE). Over 2000 PCs across the university (over 350 open access PCs in libaries and computer centre); also facilities for printing, photocopying and scanning. Key services and information via the internet in every room in halls of residence through ResNet (Residential Networking) service, and at over 500 wireless hotspots across the university and halls of residence. 24-hour access, on and off campus, to university email service, to range of electronic learning resources, specialist software and filestores; many tools also accessible via mobile devices. IT advice and support from IT service desk and laptop clinic; free IT training courses.
Other learning resources:University portal, MyBristol, gives personalised access to key services and and tools, including access to the university online learning environment, Blackboard.
Study abroad:Nearly 500 students a year spend time abroad as part of their degree; depending on their course, may be 3−12 months at one of over 140 universities in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia or in a work placement in Europe.
Careers:Well-resourced careers service: experienced careers advisers and information specialists available from Year 1; help with queries about developing employability skills, and the next steps after graduation. Extensive employer involvement from all sectors and opportunities for internships and work experience. JobShop offers various part-time and vacation work; and help is available to seek and acquire work experience through internships.


Living expenses budget:Most students have a budget of £6700−£9600 for living expenses for an academic year (excluding tuition fees).
Term-time work:University suggests term-time work limited to 15 hours a week for full-time students. Some work on campus in bars, offices and libraries. University jobshop helps students find work off campus.
Financial help:Tuition fees are reduced by £5500 pa for UK students whose family income is up to £15k pa (so students only pay £3500); by £4500 pa where it is £15k− £20k pa, and reduced by £3000 pa where family income is £20k−£25k pa (so pay £6000 pa). Also scholarships of up to £1500 pa for musical, dramatic and sporting talent. Government and university funds for home students in greatest financial difficulty; short-term loans loans available for students in unexpected financial difficulty.
University tuition fees:Home students pay £9000 pa for first degrees. International students pay £12,400 pa (classroom-based), £15,550 pa (lab-based), £28,700 pa (clinical).


Academic features:

Many science and engineering courses include year in industry or year abroad. New BSc management degree programme.

Awarding body:

University of Bristol

Main undergraduate awards:

BA, BDS, BEng, MEng, BSc, MSci, BVSc, LLB, MBChB

Length of courses:

3 years; 4 years (MEng, MSci and degrees involving languages, study abroad or industrial experience, MBChB graduate entry); 5 years (MBChB, BDS, BVSc, MEng).

Main subjects offered:

  • Accountancy
  • Aerodynamics
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Ancient History
  • Animal Science
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Art History
  • Astrophysics
  • Banking
  • Biblical Studies
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Business Economics
  • Cell Biology
  • Cellular Pathology
  • Chemical Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Childhood Studies
  • Civil Engineering
  • Classical Studies
  • Classics
  • Communication Engineering
  • Community Arts
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Technology
  • Czech
  • Dentistry
  • Drama
  • Earth Sciences
  • Econometrics
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic Mechanics
  • Engineering Mathematics
  • English
  • Finance
  • French
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Geoscience
  • German
  • Greek, Ancient/Classical
  • Hispanic Studies
  • History
  • Iberian Studies
  • Immunology
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Latin American Studies
  • Law
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Medicine
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Music
  • Neuroscience
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Politics
  • Portuguese
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Russian
  • Russian Studies
  • Social History
  • Social Policy
  • Social Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Theatre Studies
  • Theology
  • Veterinary Nursing
  • Veterinary Science
  • Virology
  • Zoology

Student view

Ed Lea (Music), writer for www.intuition-online.co.uk and member of Bristol University Chamber Choir


What’s it like as a place to live? Bristol is a beautiful city, with a mixture of lively student activity and local historic culture. Wherever you are in Bristol, there are always local pubs and shops, and while Bristol is a big city in terms of what it has to offer, you are always in easy walking distance from home, whether after lectures or after a night out.

How’s the student accommodation? There is a huge range of accommodation in Bristol, at varying prices. Catered and self-catered halls are found in Clifton (near the university) and in Stoke Bishop, a half-hour walk from university but essentially a campus in its own right. There are also university-owned student houses ranging from less than 10 residents to over 100. Accommodation prices range from around £60 per week to over £160. You can live in basic accommodation or you can enjoy being listed gardens in Goldney Hall – there is a huge amount of choice. Moving out of halls you are given a similar choice, depending on where you choose to live.

What’s the student population like? Bristol does, like many universities, have a reputation for being very middle class. It is the case in Bristol that unless you personally find yourself in a class-dictated bubble (you won’t if you don’t want to!!), you will find it to be a place with a huge variety of people, whose backgrounds are either an irrelevancy or a topic of interest. While it is fair to say that most students here come from privileged backgrounds, the student population remains diverse. Students come from across the country (with enough Northern students to have formed the hugely popular Northern Society, for example) and there are many students from abroad. People’s experience at Bristol varies and, while many students undoubtedly live in a bubble, my personal experience (and that of all my friends) is one of refreshingly varied backgrounds, interests and personality. The student population at Bristol has a collectively healthy attitude, with academic and social drive in equal measure, and the vibe is a friendly one.

How do students and locals get on? As Bristol is a big city with the hub of student activity generally centred around certain “studenty” parts of town, the students (when in mass) don’t seem to get in the way of locals. However, common ground is shared – particularly if you live further away from the university itself. This is one of the advantages of living further from the university – I lived in a big student house 20 minutes away from my department, on Gloucester Road, where any night out at the pub would show a good community atmosphere – the group of students essentially becoming locals.


What’s it like as a place to study? Speaking for my own subject (music), Bristol is a great place to study. A visit to the bustling Arts and Social Sciences Library, the stunning Law Library or to Woodland Road, where many of the departments are situated, shows the general academic bustle of the university! The libraries have everything you can imagine, you can take open units and make use of other departments.

What are the teaching staff like? My own department has hugely respected music historians, composers and performers, all on first-name terms with their students in a genuinely integrated department. This makes the university experience exciting and massively inspiring. All students spend at least some time on a one-to-one basis with their professors, and it seems that I am not alone in my view that the teaching is generally engaging. Some departments are rumoured to have less interaction between students and staff (maybe law and economics, for example) but most students are hugely satisfied. It is always worth talking to a student in the subject you wish to study, whatever university you choose. But Bristol, based on my experience and that of most of my peers, can be proud of its staff.


What are student societies like? The fresher’s fair demonstrates the massive amount of student attention to creating societies. There are societies for knitting, cheese tasting and other novelties, as well as societies which put on great events − from fully-fledged operas and plays to charity nights out and sky-diving trips. Most people are, at least by their second year, affiliated with a society of some kind, whether it is related to their hobby or their course, and few will make it through their time here without at least going to support events put on by these societies.

What’s a typical night out? Every university has its cliché night out. Bristol has its fair share, and you can spend as much time as you want in the great fun/disastrously-cringing clubs. However, Bristol is more unusual in offering a huge array of live music, be it jazz, classical, rock or electro, and lovely pubs.

...... And how much does it cost? Drinks at the student union (and at student events or club nights) are always cheapest, and you’ll even be able to get yourself £1 pints here and there. But the average pub will charge between £2.50 and £3.50 for the same thing. A lot of clubs and live music nights are free, others cost £5 or, very occasionally, £10. As with anywhere, prices vary but you will be able to enjoy yourself for less money if you go to the right places!

How can you get home safely? Taxis home, when shared, can cost you about £1.50 each, so this is what a lot of students do. Others (me included) are more stubborn, and take advantage of the fact that you easily can walk home from almost any night out. There are dodgy areas in Bristol but they are well-known and easy to avoid.


Is it an expensive place to live? People manage. Most people are freer with their money at the beginning of term than at the end, but if you budget ok, you can live comfortably on your loan through the term. Life is always more expensive if you go out every night!

Average price of a pint? £2.80 would serve as a good average, but everything is cheaper if you’re drinking in student bars or at club nights etc directed at students. Or at Wetherspoons.

And the price of a takeaway? £1 or so for your bog standard chips, add a couple of pounds and you can enjoy a greasy kebab or burger.

What’s the part-time work situation? People seem to find work quite easily, whether at pubs, in student bars themselves, or in the huge amount of shops and restaurants over Bristol. The university claims you should not do more than 12 hours paid work a week, and should keep your tutor informed. However, many people do more than that, and it depends on how you personally manage your time. My department and many others will inform students of subject-related paid work.


 What’s the best feature about the place? The huge amount of culture on your doorstep.

And the worst?  The hills. Especially if you’re a cyclist.

And if you had to sum it all up in a sentence (or two)? Bristol has a huge amount to offer, whether in terms of diverse academia, culture or just good fun. Everything feels fairly contained, with your friends’ halls and nights out always within manageable distance, but the city remains a hugely diverse, exciting place.

Past Students

Sue Lawley (BBC), Susan Engels (actress, RSC), Frances Horovitz (poet), Hugh Cornwell (lead singer with The Stranglers), Paul Boateng MP (Cabinet Minister), David Hunt MP, Alistair Stewart (newsreader), Lembit Opik MP, Emily Watson (actress); Matt Lucas , David Walliams (comedians); Michael Winterbottom (film director), Chris Morris (satirist), Simon Pegg (actor).

More info?

Check out union website, www.ubu.org.uk.



University of Bristol
Senate House
Tyndall Avenue


0117 928 9000





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