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University of Bristol |

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About University of Bristol

Diverse group of smiling students standing in front of university buildings.

The University of Bristol has its origins in the late 19th century and gained its Royal Charter in 1909. Bristol is one of the most popular and successful universities in the UK; ranked within the top 40 universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2015. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities, and the Worldwide Universities Network of research-led institutions of international standing.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, which assessed the quality of the research at every UK university, ranked Bristol joint 5th for research intensity, with the University of Oxford. In the same exercise, 83% of our research was ranked ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Our staff and alumni are known for their impact on academia, policy and practice across the world – among them, 11 Nobel Prize winners.

Beautiful, cosmopolitan and vibrant, Bristol is the South West's leading city. Arts, sport, green spaces and community activities thrive within its boundaries, and it has won an array of accolades including ‘best UK city to live in’ (The Times, 2014). In 2015, Bristol was voted best for city life in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards, and we make the most of being set in such a wonderful city. There is a diverse arts, music and cultural scene, and in the summer hardly a weekend goes by without a festival or celebration. The University’s historical and innovative central campus pins together some of Bristol’s most popular districts, and includes the iconic Wills Memorial Building.

Being at the beating heart of a city is a big responsibility, and sustainability is built into our practices to ensure that we are making a positive impact on our community. This includes waste reduction schemes, environmentally-considerate building and refurbishment, and alternative transport initiatives. Furthermore, the University is committed to cultivating a student body in which equal opportunities have been offered to all, through Widening Participation initiatives such as the recent Access to Bristol Postgraduate Bursary scheme.

Postgraduate study

With over 120 postgraduate taught and 70 research programmes across six faculties, attracting students from all over the world, Bristol offers an interdisciplinary, exploratory and nurturing environment designed to both stimulate and refine your understanding. Our emphasis is on a research-informed curriculum, which means our excellence in research translates into an environment of teaching excellence, evidenced by cutting-edge course content and world-class teaching staff.

Postgraduate taught students

Our highly sought-after graduates benefit from excellent links with industry, constructive placements and a range of global opportunities. These are some of the reasons why 85% of our postgraduates are in work or further study within six months of graduating.

We understand that a major concern when considering postgraduate study is how to pay for it. For this reason, we have a range of resources to assist you in your studies, including a dedicated Student Funding Office, who can help with loan application advice or managing your finances, and an online funding search facility. Our University JobShop also assists students in finding part-time work alongside their studies.

PhD students

While academic achievement is at the core of postgraduate study at the University of Bristol, other skills are key to achieving overall success at postgraduate level. From developing researcher skills to accessing Vitae (the Researcher Development Organisation funded by Research Councils UK to support the development of PhD researchers and early career researchers), the Bristol Doctoral College offers an excellent range of resources to help researchers manage their PhDs and develop broad-ranging skillsets.

The University of Bristol has over 250 funded PhD Studentships for outstanding students across our six faculties. However, we understand that financial matters can still be a major concern when considering postgraduate study. For this reason, we have a range of resources to assist you in your studies, including a dedicated Student Funding Office, who can help with scholarship advice or managing your finances, and an online funding search facility. Some research students also choose to teach alongside their studies, or seek alternative part-time employment via our University JobShop.


The University’s research is world-renowned for its impact across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Our researchers tackle some of the planet’s most urgent issues in the areas of health and disease, climate change, food security, energy and social justice. The University has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education – the highest accolade for any academic institution – in recognition of its leading-edge research in obstetric and neonatal practice, which has made a positive difference to mothers and babies throughout the world.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014, which assessed the quality of the research at every UK university, ranked Bristol joint 5th for research intensity with the University of Oxford. 83% of our research was rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

We are also a member of the GW4 Alliance, which combines the intellectual capacity and physical resources of the four leading research-intensive universities in the South West of England and Wales: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. The resulting areas of collaboration, pooled resource, knowledge and funding benefit students, researchers and society alike.


The University of Bristol has a network of facilities and support services to help you succeed in your academic career and beyond. We offer guaranteed University accommodation to all overseas domiciled postgraduate students who apply within the deadline*, and accept non-guaranteed applications from home-domiciled students too. A range of accommodation is available, including family accommodation, but these are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The University’s Accommodation Office can also offer advice on renting privately within the city, should you wish to do so.

The University is home to ten libraries and over 1.4 million printed books and journals, offered alongside a plethora of group and private study spaces. The brand-new Beacon House study centre is one piece of an estates plan to create 600 new study spaces in 2016, and contains 350 of these – from sound-protected booths and standing desks to larger areas for group work.

For students wishing to expand their language skills, the School of Modern Languages offers Applied Foreign Languages units to students across the University, with some tailor-made options for students wishing to take languages relevant to their programme of study.

The University’s sporting facilities include an indoor sports centre, swimming pool, sports complex and boathouse, and athletes are encouraged to join one of our performance sports clubs.

Postgraduate students are represented within the University by a dedicated Students’ Union Postgraduate Education Officer, who handles academic and welfare matters, and looks after groups including the Postgraduate Network and the Postgraduate Senate, Course and Faculty Representatives.

Disability Services provides confidential advice and study support to disabled students and applicants, such as personal tutoring, access to recordings of lectures, assistive software and alternative exam arrangements.
Our Careers Service is available to inspire and support you in finding work after you complete your studies, or to help you plot out your career in advance!

Finally, for students with young children, the University of Bristol offers a Day Nursery for children up to five years of age.
*Terms and conditions apply. Please see our website for details.

Open Days

We host open days throughout the year, to find a list check the online calendar.

More from University of Bristol

Facts and figures
  • Number of students: 5,161