Good University Guide 2023

University of Bristol

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Bristol

Contact details


Beacon House, Queens Road, Bristol , BS8 1QU,

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Bristol is in our top ten for research quality after an outstanding performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). The university is sixth in England and Wales after 94 per cent of the work of 1,500 eligible staff was rated world-leading or internationally excellent, the top two categories. 

Bristol’s research pedigree means that undergraduates benefit from a research-led curriculum and students have the opportunity to be taught by academics at the cutting edge of their field. Work across a broad range of subjects performed well, including geography and chemistry, Russian, social policy, social work and criminology. Good results in law, natural sciences, mathematics, modern languages (French, Iberian languages and Italian), geology, dentistry, physics and astronomy, veterinary medicine and four engineering disciplines confirmed Bristol's strength in research.

Most teaching takes place on Bristol’s main campus in the desirable enclave of Clifton, where Georgian buildings are set against the rolling green spaces of the Downs and the Avon Gorge — straddled by the Clifton Suspension Bridge. 

Standout campus facilities include the £56 million Life Sciences Building, with its chemistry laboratories certified as a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Eight of Bristol’s nine libraries are at the Clifton site. A modern humanities hub features a lecture theatre, social learning zone, gallery space, virtual museum and cinema. 

The Richmond Building, a few minutes away, houses the students’ union, two theatres and one of the city’s largest gig venues. Further afield, in Stoke Bishop, the university has a botanic garden with more than 4,500 plant species.

On a seven-acre site near Temple Meads train station, Bristol is building the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus which will focus on digital, business and social innovation. Work was due to start on the £300 million development in summer 2022, with a view to a 2025 opening date. The new car-free campus will form part of a wider regeneration of the area, housing up to 3,000 students and 800 staff as well as business and community partners. 

The former schools of management, accounting and finance have united under one roof at the new University of Bristol Business School, opening in September 2022. Sustainability and technology will be embedded across the curriculum in line with the demands of global business. 

The merger will also bring opportunities for interdisciplinary research, building on another strong showing in REF 2021: 88 per cent of the business and management submission (covering accounting and finance research) was placed in the top two categories, world-leading and internationally excellent. 

Links with more than 150 universities — including the University of Copenhagen, the National University of Singapore and the University of California — create opportunities for students to go abroad for a semester or a whole year. Summer schools and shorter programmes are also offered, with scholarships and other funding available.

More than 20 degree programmes incorporate a year in industry or professional placements and the university belongs to a range of networks that operate to match students with practitioners in relevant fields.

A degree from Bristol carries weight in the jobs market: graduates from the university were the third most sought after by top employers, according to the latest High Fliers graduate market report, which reveals the universities most targeted by leading employers. The university is 13th in our analysis of graduate prospects, with nearly 85 per cent of students in professional jobs or postgraduate study within 15 months.

In the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in 2017, Bristol won praise for encouraging independent learning. However, low scores in the National Student Survey (NSS) for assessment and feedback, and academic support meant the university had to settle for a silver rating.

After further falls in the latest NSS, published in summer 2022, Bristol is only just in the top 100 for student satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience and is 113th for satisfaction with teaching quality. 

The university has, however, stepped up provision for student wellbeing as it continues to analyse the contributing factors behind a cluster of suicides in recent years. Same-day mental health appointments are available at the university’s GP surgery. The NHS clinic also has a social prescriber and students in distress are referred for specialist support. Students can also opt in, at the beginning of each academic year, to allow the university to contact a designated parent, guardian or friend if there are serious concerns about their wellbeing. 

A pioneer of contextual offers, now the norm across the university sector, Bristol makes offers up to two grades lower than standard to students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education. There is also a generous bursary and scholarship scheme: about a quarter of the annual intake qualifies for some form of financial award. A bursary of up to £2,060 per year of study is available for students from households with an income up to £42,875. More generous schemes such as Access to Bristol and Bristol Scholars are reserved for local students and a range of academic, drama, sport and music scholarships is also available.  

However, the university remains close to the bottom of our social inclusion index (114th). Forty per cent of Bristol’s intake is from independent or selective state schools, the second-largest proportion. Only about a quarter of students are the first in their family to go to university.

Sports facilities are spread across five sites. An impressive sports complex with a well-equipped gym has been developed at the heart of the university precinct, featuring a sports medicine clinic. The swimming pool is five minutes away in the Richmond Building. Three miles north of the main campus is the 38-acre Coombe Dingle sports complex, the site of most training and competition, while the university boathouse is at Saltford on the River Avon. 

Bristol guarantees accommodation to first-years, as long as they apply by the deadline. Applicants who disclose special housing needs receive a personal phone call to discuss their issues, while other applications are subject to an algorithm.  

Not too big and not too small, diverse and charming Bristol is hard to leave for some graduates. Many put down roots in the city and there is a wealth of professional jobs available in the region.  

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 15 (14)
Teaching quality 71.2 113th
Student experience 69 100th=
Research quality 66.2 6th
Ucas entry points 165 18th
Graduate prospects 84.7 13th
Firsts and 2:1s 91.2 9th
Completion rate 95.9 7th=
Student-staff ratio 14.1 24th=
World ranking - 61= (62)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 58,185/7,650
Applications/places ratio 7.6:1
Overall offer rate 64.6%


Places in accommodation 8,613
Accommodation costs £90 - £199
Catered costs £158 - £262
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,385
Fees (overseas year) £1,385
Fees (international) £20,100 - £24,700
Fees (international, medical) £35,000 - £38,000
Finance website
Graduate salaries £28,000


Sport points/rank 2,400, 10th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 113
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 60.3%
Grammar school admissions 12.6%
Independent school admissions 27.1%
Ethnic minority students (all) 20.1%
Black achievement gap -8.9%
White working class males 2.9%
First generation students 24.3%
Low participation areas 6.9%
Working class dropout gap -3.9%
Mature 6.4%
EU students 4.7%
Other overseas students 14%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

General engineering 95.6%
Russian and eastern European languages 90.7%
Education 83.9%
Civil engineering 82.4%
Animal science 81.8%
Biological sciences 80.7%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 80.6%
Italian 80%
Veterinary medicine 79.3%
Theology and religious studies 78.1%
Music 77.9%
Dentistry 77.3%
Geology 77.3%
German 77.3%
Anthropology 77.2%
Social work 76.3%
Medicine 75.8%
French 75.6%
Anatomy and physiology 74.9%
History of art, architecture and design 73.8%
Iberian languages 73.8%
Mathematics 73.8%
Physics and astronomy 72.3%
History 71.8%
Psychology 71.1%
Chemistry 70.8%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 69.9%
Mechanical engineering 69.5%
Politics 69.2%
Geography and environmental science 67.7%
Business, management and marketing 67.5%
Philosophy 67.5%
Electrical and electronic engineering 67.1%
Law 66.8%
Accounting and finance 66%
Criminology 65.7%
Sociology 65.7%
Classics and ancient history 65.6%
Computer science 65.1%
English 64.5%
Social policy 63.5%
Subjects allied to medicine 63%
Liberal arts 59.8%
Economics 59.4%
Drama, dance and cinematics 55.9%