Good University Guide 2023

University of the West of England

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of the West of England

Contact details


Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol , BS16 1QY,

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A 12-place rise brings the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE Bristol) to the cusp of our top 6o this year. The university has been the focus of increasing demand — attracting more than 34,200 applications for entry in 2021-22 — its highest numbers for a decade. More new students (over 7,500) began courses than ever before. The trend is continuing, going by the 6 per cent uplift in applications the university had noticed at the end of March this year. 

Some much-needed student accommodation is under construction at the Frenchay campus. It will house an extra 2,250 students when fully complete; the first 900 of them by September 2023. The development is being built to low-carbon certified standards and will yield a 54 per cent reduction in running costs and carbon emissions compared with typical “good practice” buildings — a valuable saving considering the current cost of living increases. 

Frenchay is one of three campuses, all accessible by bus from each other and within easy reach of the city centre. UWE holds a gold rating from the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Assessors noted the above-benchmark levels of student satisfaction with academic support and rates of progression to high-skilled employment. 

The latest figures from the national Graduate Outcomes survey support the TEF panel’s findings. With more than three-quarters (76.3 per cent) of UWE graduates in high-skilled jobs or further study 15 months after finishing their degrees the university secures a top 50 rank in our graduate prospects measure. 

As part of efforts to help students on to the career ladder, UWE Bristol’s careers systems host 17,000 employer contracts across more than 10,000 organisations. More than 2,000 vacancies were being advertised, a recent snapshot showed. Volunteering is well supported and employer events attract high rates of student engagement.

The university offers 25 higher and degree apprenticeships which have more than 2,000 student apprentices on programmes in diverse fields including aerospace engineering, occupational therapy, architecture, diagnostic radiography, and junior animator. UWE’s police constable degree apprenticeship has the advantage of newly remodelled and refurbished teaching spaces at the Frenchay campus that now include two 60-seat lecture theatres. 

A School of Engineering building joined the Frenchay campus in 2020 — to meet a predicted increased in demand for engineering graduates in the region. More recently the university has created a “restorative walled garden” in which students and staff may relieve mental fatigue in an interesting natural setting. 

Such care for student wellbeing may help life rates of student satisfaction — which although still in the top half of UK universities for teaching quality and the wider undergraduate experience after declines in both — have yet to return to their pre-pandemic high levels. Teaching this year is following a hybrid model of delivery, mainly face-to-face but with some online lectures. 

At the City campus in Bower Ashton, modern design studios are part of a £37 million investment in facilities for creative industries. Featuring flexible workshops and collaborative learning areas, they also house the Fabrication Centre and the Centre for Fine Print Research.

 The £5 million optometry and clinical skills centre on the Glenside campus is housed in a grade II listed former NHS laundry. It is the base for trainee paramedics, occupational therapy students, nurses as well as undergraduates on the optometry programme.

More than three-quarters (76 per cent) of the work submitted for assessment in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. Architecture, built environment and planning; allied health subjects; communication and media studies ; engineering; and law produced the best results.

UWE Bristol occupies a middling position in our social inclusion ranking, drawing 92.1 per cent of students from non-selective state schools. About one in five students (19.5 per cent) are from ethnic minority backgrounds. The university’s recruitment of students from under-represented areas and of white working-class boys falls within the upper third nationally. 

The Frenchay campus has fitness suites next to student residences as well as a sports hall, indoor climbing wall, squash courts and an all-weather pitch. Sports teams including soccer, American football and rugby are based at the £4.5 million Hillside Gardens facility a few miles away, which has artificial and grass pitches and undercover spectator seating. The MOVE programme provides free access to students on more than 80 sporting opportunities — from intramural leagues to wellness and fitness classes.

With the boom in student numbers creating pressure on UWE Bristol’s halls of residences the university had 485 students waiting to be housed in September 2022, according to news reports. The university says it is not able to guarantee accommodation for first years and allocates rooms on a first come, first served basis. Housing applications opened on June 10 for the present academic year and new entrants are advised to keep abreast of 2023’s application deadline on the UWE website.

Students tend to love Bristol, so much so that many never leave.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 61 (73)
Teaching quality 75.5 60th=
Student experience 72.4 54th=
Research quality 35.7 70th
Ucas entry points 123 72nd=
Graduate prospects 76.3 50th
Firsts and 2:1s 77 70th=
Completion rate 83.4 81st=
Student-staff ratio 15.7 52nd=
World ranking - 801= (801=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 34,230/7,555
Applications/places ratio 4.5:1
Overall offer rate 73.8%


Places in accommodation 5,208
Accommodation costs £96 - £226
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,156 (12.5% of tuition)
Fees (overseas year) £1,385
Fees (international) £14,250 - £15,250
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,000


Sport points/rank 1059.6, 38th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 70
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 92.1%
Grammar school admissions 2.9%
Independent school admissions 5%
Ethnic minority students (all) 19.5%
Black achievement gap -30.6%
White working class males 6.8%
First generation students 41.8%
Low participation areas 15.2%
Working class dropout gap -1.5%
Mature 27.7%
EU students 3.8%
Other overseas students 9.8%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Linguistics 92.6%
English 91.7%
Geography and environmental science 91.2%
History 88.8%
Creative writing 86.1%
Music 85.4%
Art and design 85.3%
Physiotherapy 84.4%
Architecture 83.5%
Business, management and marketing 82.4%
Biological sciences 82.2%
Politics 82.1%
Communication and media studies 81%
Philosophy 79.5%
Psychology 79.1%
Economics 78.6%
Mathematics 78.5%
Town and country planning and landscape 78.3%
Criminology 77.3%
Sociology 77.3%
Education 77.1%
Drama, dance and cinematics 76.8%
Building 76%
Radiography 75.3%
Subjects allied to medicine 75.3%
Information systems and management 74.2%
Accounting and finance 73.2%
Anatomy and physiology 72.8%
Civil engineering 72%
Computer science 71.9%
Mechanical engineering 71.5%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 69.5%
Electrical and electronic engineering 69.4%
Social work 68.4%
Archaeology and forensic science 67.9%
Law 64%
Nursing 59.6%