University profile

University of Bristol

2020/21 edition

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About University of Bristol

Bristol University Image

The University of Bristol is internationally renowned and one of the very best in the UK, thanks to its outstanding staff, superb facilities and talented students.

The University has had a reputation for innovation since it was founded in 1909. It was the first institute of higher education in the country to admit women on an equal basis with men, and in 1946 established the UK’s first university drama department. More recently, the University has influenced many aspects of society through cutting-edge research in areas as diverse as infection and immunity, human rights, climate change, and cryptography and information security.

Staff at Bristol are experts in their field and work at the forefront of their academic disciplines – which means that their students do, too. Our academic excellence is also reflected in the 13 Nobel laureates who have been associated with the University community.

We attract students from all over the world, creating a rich and exciting international community. We aim to equip our students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in their chosen career in a competitive global market.

Bristol is a top 10 UK university, 58th in the world (QS Rankings 2021) and a top five UK university for research (REF 2014).

Open Days

Register your place on our postgraduate virtual open weeks. Bookings are now open for our subject-specific and student life webinars.

  • Postgraduate taught: 16 to 20 November.
  • Postgraduate research: 23 to 27 November.

Our facilities

We continually invest in new and existing facilities, training and technology. Our IT facilities and informal study spaces keep students connected and support independent learning. There are ten University libraries, housing more than 1.4 million volumes of printed books and journals – the largest academic collection in the south west of England. An array of archives and special collections are also housed at the University, such as the Brunel Collection, the Penguin Archive and the University Theatre Collection.

We have a comprehensive network of support services to ensure that our students can access help and advice on all aspects of university life – academic, personal, financial and practical – if and when they need it.

Our programmes

At postgraduate level, we offer both taught and research programmes in a large range of subject areas. Most of our taught programmes lead to a master’s qualification (eg MA, MSc, MRes, LLM). They combine taught units with a research project and typically last one year full-time or two years part-time. A taught postgraduate degree can help you specialise in a certain area or expand on your undergraduate interests. For some, a taught postgraduate qualification could offer a new start in a completely different field.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the most common type of research degree, studied over three to four years. Masters in Research degrees are one-year or two-year programmes, which can be a valuable foundation for starting a PhD. Professional doctorates are for those who are already qualified to an advanced level in a specialist area and want to deepen their knowledge. They include EngD programmes, in which students spend about 75 per cent of their time within industry working on collaborative research projects.

The University is also home to a wide range of doctoral training centres and partnerships, which bring together internationally-leading staff with diverse areas of expertise and exciting industry partners to equip you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle issues that are still evolving and launch a successful career in academia or in industry.

You can find detailed programme information in our online programme finder where you can browse or search for a specific programme or research interest.

Living in Bristol

Our students always say how much they love the city of Bristol - from its friendly people and fantastic music scene to its vibrant harbourside, green spaces and buzzing centre. Best of all, Bristol is the perfect size, offering all the excitement of a big city packed into an area you can easily explore on foot or by bike.

As the largest city in south-west England, Bristol combines the traditions of a historic city with the atmosphere of a fast-paced, dynamic and modern metropolis. Thanks to its thriving cultural life and strong independent spirit, the city also holds a number of prestigious accolades. Bristol was voted the best university for city life in the 2015 Whatuni Student Choice Awards, is one of only six UK science cities and was named Europe’s best small city of the future by influential business publication FDi magazine.

When you experience the quality of life Bristol has to offer – the perfect mix of urban bustle and rural tranquillity – you will be pleased that you chose to come here. Many of our students love Bristol so much that they stay here after graduation.

Careers Service

The University's reputation makes its postgraduates highly attractive to employers and our employment record is among the UK's best. Many major organisations have strong links with our Careers Service and often recruit directly from campus. Our experienced careers advisers and other staff also offer specific information and advice for postgraduate research students, taught master’s students and international students.

Alumni and graduates

Bristol alumni include leading figures in science, medicine, industry and politics, award-winning writers and actors, and prominent members of the professions and their governing bodies. Our alumni have access to a vast range of valuable services, from publications and reunions to entrepreneurial advice, networks and funding opportunities, careers advice, access to facilities and other special promotions.

Contact details

Contact name
Enquiries Team
+44 (0) 117 394 1649
Howard House