Record numbers of applicants (almost 31,000) sought places at Bath in the 2021 admissions cycle and the upward trend continues. The numbers continued to go up by the end of March 2022, when a snapshot of the latest cycle showed a 6 per cent increase compared with the same point a year before. Enrolments also rose to more than 4,000 in 2021.
Bath offers courses in engineering, humanities, management, science and social sciences. At the Claverton Down campus, where the university was established in 1996, the £70 million School of Management is the latest flagship development, opening in time for the 2022-23 academic year. Its new research and learning facilities include a student entrepreneurship hub and a behavioural research laboratory, eight modern lecture theatres and an auditorium.
Bath’s high-quality physical and digital resources were highlighted by assessors from the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) when the university was awarded gold — the highest standard. The university’s successful teaching methods and students’ engagement with developments at the forefront of research also drew praise.
The TEF panel also commended Bath’s strong orientation towards employment. The university’s work placement scheme has links with more than 3,000 organisations around the world and two-thirds of undergraduates spend a year gaining real-world work experience in the private, public or not-for-profit sectors. The careers service also arranges up to 400 employer visits each year. Most courses also offer opportunities to study abroad.
Bath’s history of collaborations with regional and national industry partners is reflected in its teaching and research. For more than 40 years, the institution’s strength in automotive propulsion research has contributed to the development of cost-effective electric motors and improvements in fuel consumption.
In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), Bath’s best results were in sports science, hospitality and tourism, accounting; and business studies. The university’s submissions in subjects allied to health, nursing, dentistry and social policy also did particularly well, as did those in social work, criminology, pharmacology and pharmacy, and chemistry. Overall, 92 per cent of Bath’s submission was rated world-leading or internationally excellent, the top two categories (up from 87 per cent in the previous national assessment in 2014). Other universities did even better, however, so Bath falls seven places in our research excellence index to 31st place.
Student satisfaction with teaching quality has fallen five places to joint 41st. Bath is committed to in-person teaching on campus in the 2022-23 academic year. It will continue to record lectures, seminars and classes to allow students to review the material.
Social inclusion remains a weak point for Bath and the university is in the bottom five in our analysis overall. Its efforts to reduce the black achievement gap, however, achieve a top 20 place, at 10.8 per cent.
The university helps prospective students from underrepresented backgrounds to seize the opportunity of higher education through its contextual admissions scheme, Access to Bath. Those who complete its preparatory module qualify for a one-grade discount on the typical offer — accounting for about 30 per cent of offers in 2021-22. More generally, the university takes notice of contextual information about an applicant’s background, especially in borderline cases.
Nearly one third of Bath’s UK and international students gained scholarships and bursaries in 2022-23 and the university expects to help about the same proportion in 2023-24. British-based undergraduates from low-income households are eligible for bursaries worth £3,000-£5,000 a year for the duration of a degree. A small number of arts and sports scholarships are available. International students receive fee discounts of up to £8,000 in the first year of study.
A past winner of our Sports University of the Year award, Bath has a £35 million Sports Training Village in the heart of the campus. The multi-sport facility is a national training centre for several Olympic and Paralympic sports and students have free use of most of its facilities. An Olympic-sized London 2012 legacy swimming pool, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, more than 20 sports pitches and a fitness centre featuring nearly 200 workout stations are available. The Sulis Club about a mile from campus has extra grass pitches.
Pre-paid food and drink credits can be added to students’ library cards and used at campus outlets. A small number of Bath’s 5,210 student rooms are fully catered and there is enough accommodation to guarantee a room to all first-years who apply in time.
A student wellbeing service is in place providing therapeutic groups, short-term individual therapy and specialist mental health support. A 24/7 phone, video or live chat service supplements help available from qualified mental health professionals.
Although small, Bath has all the amenities and social options an undergraduate could wish for. The city’s reputation is hard to beat for students.