• University of Bristol

TSR Wiki > University > Choosing a University > University Guides > University of Bristol

  • The University of Bristol has a precinct campus located in the heart of the historic city of Bristol, in the South West of England.
  • It is a major research institution with a large student population of over 20,000 students
  • It received its Royal Charter in 1909, and its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.
  • The University is committed to widening University participation - applicants from families with no history of University education are encouraged to apply.


Faculties and Departments

The University has five Faculties : Arts, Engineering, Social Science & Law, Medical & Veterinary Science, and Medicine & Dentistry. Within each Faculty are numerous specialised subject schools and research groups offering a very wide range of courses in different subject areas at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. In June 2013 the University announced the development of a new Doctoral School to enhance the experience of postgraduate research students across the University.

The majority of University buildings are centred around the Woodland Road area adjoining Clifton, Cotham and Redland areas of the city. Some buildings date back to the earliest days of the University, others are more recent state-of-the-art additions.


There are thirteen branch libraries across the University with 1.4 million books, printed journal articles and other resources. The Libraries also give remote access to a vast range of e-resources such as course materials, electronic journals etc.

IT and Computing

The University has more than 2,100 workstations around its faculties, libraries and halls of residence for student use. All of the individual rooms in accommodation have network points and there is free wireless internet access in the Student's Union, libraries and around many departments, as well as in most of the halls. There are also open access workstations in areas like the Refectory, Hawthorns, various post-graduate teaching areas and there will be a further range of open access areas available across campus from October 2013. [[Image


The Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health, comprising Sports Hall, Studios and 'The Pulse' health and fitness suite, is located in the main precinct on Tyndall Avenue. This is home for most indoor sport and exercise facilities. The Centre also houses a Sports Medicine Clinic, providing a range of services for all members of the University as well as the general public.

Within the Student Union building about 10 minutes walk from the main campus is the largest swimming pool in the city (recently renovated).The Coombe Dingle outdoor complex (located near the Stoke Bishop accommodation) has extensive tennis courts and pitches for rugby, football and hockey. Societies also flourish for outdoor pursuits such as hiking, climbing and kayaking, which often organise visits to the Forest of Dean.

The University has an active Athletic Union and is recognised for its sporting achievements through high performing teams, excellent facilities and a large range of clubs. In the BUCS Championship 2010-11 the university was placed 11th with 1,802.5 points. There are private Gyms and other sports facilities across the city.


Students report understanding and friendly relations with lecturers and their academic departments. Welfare is largely coordinated by the Student Union, which has recently opened a new Advice Centre on the fourth floor of the main building. Information and support is readily available for freshers - though also mature, international, disabled and LGBT students, and advice is provided for those with children (the university runs some day nurseries). There is a great deal of information available from the Student Union on specific issues such as personal safety, sexual health and mental problems, and many of the larger halls of residence have appointed officers to assist with their fellow students.


The Student Health Centre is located at the top of St Michael's Hill, in a new building with excellent service. There are always at least five doctors on duty and students are guaranteed an appointment if they have an urgent medical need. There are also several nurses on duty to give blood tests or run clinics throughout the day. Waiting times are rarely more than ten minutes and the doctors are thorough and understanding. There are two pharmacies close by: one around five minutes' walk down St Michael's Hill and the other a similar distance distance down Cotham Hill. The Health Centre is, of course, located very close to Bristol Royal Infirmary and the eye and dental hospitals.

General Information
Bristol, England, UK
Senate House, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TH
(0117) 928 9000
SU/Guild website:
UCAS Code:
City University

Total students:
17,695 full time
27% including pg students
5, 119
Typical offers:
Applicants per place:


The city boasts a plethora of shopping areas, with clothing outlets to suit any individual and a large choice of supermarkets. Located near the Clifton Triangle, the main University buildings are conveniently adjacent to branches of Sainsbury's Central, Wilinsons, Boots and Borders Bookstores, in addition to some smaller clothing stores such as Woodies Emporium and Fat Face.

Shops extend down Park Street, which is home to much of the area's nightlife and into the city centre (Broadmead) - a short walk takes you to all of the major department stores such as Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, as well as a variety of opticians and technology outlets. In Sept. 2008 a brand new state of the art shopping centre named Cabot Circus was opened, with 140 shops, from Lacoste to Cafe Rouge and Apple. This is next to Broadmeed shopping centre. In the other direction, a short walk from Clifton up Whiteladies Road offers the larger Sainsbury's store, local bakeries, butchers, and numerous good coffee shops and cafes. The historic Clifton Village is home to more expensive clothing shops and is a good recreational area with its open park and the areas surrounding the Suspension Bridge.

Whiteladies Road is also a main bus route and buses go from here to another massive shopping centre on the outskirts of Bristol called the Mall at Cribbs Causeway - which includes multiscreen cinemas, bowling facilities, restaurants and a food court. The Mall itself is centred around large Marks & Spencer and John Lewis department stores. Many chains such as BHS, Next and Body Shop, Animal, New Look etc have stores here, and there are an outstanding selection of entertainment and technology shops including PC World.


The aforementioned shopping areas all offer an excellent range of restaurants, most notably on the Clifton Triangle, where there are several inexpensive options. Branches of Wagamama and Zizzi offer competitive pricing and are extremely popular with the students; there is also a large Browns restaurant and a highly-rated (yet low-cost) fish restaurant, Le Monde. There are more bars which serve food up Whiteladies Road and a convenient selection of sandwich shops on the Triangle which are excellent for food inbetween lectures. Caffe Gusto is a very popular sandwich and panini chain with branches across the city and Bristol also has its own fried chicken chain, Miss Millies', which often distributes promotional vouchers to students in Freshers' Week. In addition, there are the mainstream pizza and fast food outlets all around the centre (Subway, Pizza Express, McDonalds and so forth). Cabot circus has a multitude of restaurants as well, with Yo! Sushi, Zizzi, GBK and many more.


There is an abundance of banks around the main university area.

  • NatWest, Lloyds TSB and the Skipton Building Society on the Triangle
  • HSBC in Clifton Village and a larger branch up Whiteladies Road, with the Royal Bank of Scotland, Abbey and Halifax
  • Nationwide, Yorkshire, Cheltenham, Alliance & Leicester and Halifax branches, alongside others, in Broadmead.


  • Rail
    • Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway sit on the Great Western mainline, which runs frequent daily services to London Paddington, as well as direct services to Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh. There are also services to Devon and Cornwall.
    • Many students make the occasional visit to the historic city of Bath, which is an inexpensive fifteen-minute train ride from Temple Meads. Explore the city not only for its architectural attractions, but also for its clothing shops and outstanding selection of restaurants.
  • Buses
    • Bristol buses are run by First and also, to a lesser extent, aBus and Wessex Connect. Various cards are offered to reduce the otherwise hefty costs of the services. However, the buses are mostly frequent and reliable.
    • Three bus services (8, 8A, 9) run in circuits around the Clifton area, which is extremely convenient for arriving students. Buses pass by Temple Meads Station, around the centre, the Triangle and directly outside the Students' Union building on Queens' Road.
    • The service (42) is relatively frequent and goes to The Mall, Cribbs Causeway.
  • Taxis
    • An expensive way of travelling around the city, students are unlikely to require the use of taxis. However, they are a popular option for those living in further-out residences who are travelling to and from a ball or function at the Students' Union. There are always taxis waiting outside Sainsbury's Central and Marks & Spencer in Broadmead.
    • Students arriving via Bristol International Airport may wish to pre-book taxis with Checkercars who operate directly from the terminal and are extremely efficient. Alternatively, there is a frequent coach service to the central bus station and the Triangle.

Careers service

The University Careers Service enables students to make and implement informed choices about their future careers and realise their career aspirations.

In addition to running a variety of events and workshops for all year groups, a 'drop in' service is operated between 10:00-16:00 in the main building complex in Woodland Road, offering advice thoughts regarding careers, CV checking and postgraduate study. The Careers Service also have a detailed website giving advice and outlining current events at Careers Service Online. It runs numerous workshops and events, especially in the Summer Term aimed at specific career areas and/or opportunities for specific groups like postgraduate students, overseas students etc.

It also runs a highly successful online service advertising term-time and vacation work, both local and further afield, plus ramps up its advertising of Graduate Job Vacancies from Easter onwards. A preferential email service to keep students notified of relevant vacancies is available.

Part-time jobs

With the great many shops and facilities around the university accommodation and faculties, there are plenty of temporary employment opportunities available to students. The Careers Service Online lists details of available local work and also opportunities which may arise for employment by the Student Union, university facilities and halls of residences.

Religious facilities

There are many places of worship in close proximity to the main university sites, and flourishing student societies exist for all faiths. The Multifaith Chaplaincy offers pastoral and religious support to any student who so wishes, and is open from 9:00-16:00 daily for prayer, meeting and free refreshments. The university has a designated Catholic Chaplaincy next to the Student Union building, whilst Bristol Cathedral (Anglican), Clifton Cathedral (Catholic) and the Church of the Nativity (Greek Orthodox) hold frequent services only a few minutes from the main buildings. Islamic, Sikh and Hindu places of worship are largely located in Easton (a short bus ride through the city centre) in addition to a Progressive Synagogue; an Orthodox Synagogue is located just behind the main university complex.

Bristol Discussions

Latest relevant discussions Last post/replies
Foreign FY1 Doctors 2 hours ago Replies: 0
Official 2018 University of Bristol Applicants Thread! 1 day ago Replies: 19
Any Microwaves in Bristol study areas? (lol) 2 days ago Replies: 1
Widening medicine 2018 applicant's 3 days ago Replies: 1
Bristol Accommodation swap 2017 Wills Hall 3 days ago Replies: 2
Bristol accommodation swap 3 days ago Replies: 0
Go to University of Bristol forum Post new thread


Bars, Pubs and clubs

There are three bars located within the Student Union building itself: the Epicurean Bar, the Mandela Bar and the Avon Gorge Bar. Park Street, which is adjacent to the Wills Building complex, is home to an abundance of bars, restaurants and smaller clubs, many of which are very popular venues for students. Top picks from Park Street include The Berkley, which is a Wetherspoons pub, at the top of Park Street, Easy Tiger half way down the street, and Agora, which is a Dance Bar, opposite Easy tiger. Another place popular with students is The Elbow Room. The street leads to the city centre, where larger clubs such as Oceana, which holds many themed nights and the unofficial best student night out on a Thursday, Chicago Rock, Baja, BSB (Lloyds No. 1 Bar) and a Casino, are located along the waterfront and hold a great variety of musical and themed events. For those who like Alternative music, the O2 Academy Bristol(Formerly Carling Academy Bristol), situated in Frogmore Street, which can be accessed via a small set of steps where Park Street flattens out near the bottom - holds an alternative music club night, called Ramshackle. There are also many other clubs that very from the generic student clique. Bristol is the 'home of drum and bass' so there is a great selection of electronic music around, clubs such as Motion, the infamous Thekla, Basement 45 to name a few that have some form of electronic music on almost every night. A great student bar by these steps is The Greenhouse. In the other direction, there are more pubs and bars up Whiteladies Road; the largest choice of the former being located in Clifton Village, which provides a quieter alternative to the nightlife scene situated towards the city centre. And for those interested in an all-nighter, Dojo's is just up round the corner from Clifton Triangle.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are some of the biggest nights in Bristol! Wednesday has Propaganda at Syndicate, Thursday is the famous Cocoloco and Friday has Ramshackle at the O2 arena If you want to see the photos from these nights or buy tickets log on to Total Students Bristol


The Student Union organises Freshers' Week, in addition to the sporting, musical and fundraising events which are held throughout the year. This building is suitable for large balls and events, whilst some of the larger halls such as Goldney have extensive grounds which may be used for garden parties. Events may also be organised by academic departments for their students.

Clubs and societies

Students are able to participate in a wealth of clubs and societies, ranging from university-level sporting representation and concerts to religious and political societies, alongside many other common interests including chocolate and cheese. There are plenty of opportunities in all areas for participation on a more personal or less-skilled level simply for enjoyment! Societies also exist for academic subjects. A full list of societies may be found here on the Student Union website.


Accommodation policy

The university guarantees to provide accommodation for new undergraduate students during their first year of study, provided that they meet the criteria for the accommodation guarantee. New undergraduates who enter through clearing may be offered university accommodation if free spaces remain after the normal allocation process. Current prices range from £98 (shared) to £152 (single) in catered accommodation and from £52 (shared) to £125 (single) in self-catered accommodation.


The catered halls in particular offer a large number of facilities and have Junior Common Room committees which organise the running of the bar and other social events. Ample laundry facilities are generally provided, as are shared kitchens.


Undergraduate halls are located in Clifton and Stoke Bishop. There are also eleven student houses within and around the Clifton area which allow self-catering, and a further two houses which are split into flats. The student houses provide over 600 places for first year undergraduates and offer a closer-knit environment than the large university halls. Smaller houses in particular have shared room options with proportionately lower rents.

Catered residences

Wills Hall – Stoke Bishop

Badock Hall – Stoke Bishop

Churchill Hall – Stoke Bishop

Hiatt Baker Hall – Stoke Bishop

Clifton Hill House – Clifton

Self-Catered Halls

Durdham Hall – Stoke Bisphop

Durham Hall home page

Durham Hall alternative guide

University Hall – Stoke Bishop

University Goldney Halls – Clifton

Univeresity Goldney home page

University Goldney Halls alternative guide

Manor Hall – Clifton

Manor Hall home page

Manor Hall alternative guide

Private sector

The University Accommodation Office has an online property search system for students wishing to locate accommodation in the private sector, which may be found at [1]. There are also student letting specialists located around the Clifton area and centre. Private sector rents range from £75 upwards.

Student union

The six storey University of Bristol Union is located on Queen's Road in Clifton. A major refurbishment happened 2012/13 and so when it all reopens in October 2013, facilities should be state of the art - including a new swimming pool. The main drawback is that Queens Road is actually nowhere near the main Uni precinct of Woodland Road, and so 'nipping down to the Student Union' involves a 20 minute walk.

It is is one of the oldest student unions in existence, and a founding member of the NUS. The building houses several bars, a coffee shop, concert hall (the Anson Rooms) and various meeting rooms for clubs and societies (the student newspaper, Epigram has its headquarters located here. A general store (which is used mainly by students, but also open to the public) offers competitive pricing on stationery, newspapers and quick food supplies.

The Student Union is highly active in fundraising, coordinating one of the largest and most successful yearly RAG (Raise and Give) weeks in the country. This event culminates in the annual RAG ball, and various expeditions and outings are held over the year in this light. UBU has a strong reputation for community engagement and voluntary work. Bristol Student Community Action (SCA) is a self-governing activity of UBU with over 30 student run community projects and around 1000 volunteers helping all over the city. In addition to running community projects SCA also organises a number of events such as the Kid’s Christmas Party, an Elderly Dinner Dance, and an SCA Week. Bristol University Student Radio (BURST) is broadcast online from the Student Union building and currently undergoing expansion.



The local area is justly famous for the Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened after his death, in 1864. It connects the Clifton area to the other Somerset towns, and Ashton Court Estate is a short walk across the bridge, which is the venue for the Balloon Fiesta, Kite Festival and some other concerts and events. Clifton Village is full of lawns and is architecturally impressive in its housing and various crescents along the Avon Gorge. Nearer the Triangle, the Wills Memorial Building is seen as the epitome of the university within the city and houses certain departments such as law and earth sciences, in addition to the Great Hall. The Gothic tower dominates the top of Park Street and the Victoria Rooms, a neo-classical building, now house the music faculty at the end of Whiteladies Road. Bristol Cathedral was founded in 1140 and is faced by the Lord Mayor's Chapel, built in 1230 and now used for various civic services.

The University of Bristol Union is not famed for its architectural beauty, though on the positive side, it does claim to be the largest student union building in the country and is very well-equipped. Many of the Clifton student halls and houses are either listed buildings (such as Clifton Hill House and Goldney Hall) or situated in elegant Georgian terraces.

Local area

The drawback of living near Clifton Village is that the immediate area is very expensive, however this situation is remedied by the fact that it is equally quick to buy food provisions from the Triangle. In addition, the city centre is by no means a long distance away on foot. The placement of the main university buildings in Clifton is felicitous, as it is generally considered to be the most pleasant part of the city. Meanwhile, the other residences in Stoke Bishop enjoy the setting of the Downs (some large green spaces overlooking the Avon Gorge) and adequate shopping facilities, alongside ease of access to the rest of the city and academic faculties. The city centre is - typically of large cities - very busy and cramped, but it is currently undergoing major renovations. A new complex - Cabot Circus - has recently been opened, containing 140 new shops as well as restaurants, cafes, bars, a multiplex cinema and (expensive!) student accommodation.

For those staying in the Stoke Bishop Halls who are told that walking back across the downs at night is "dodgy" - it really isn't, as long as you aren't alone!

Teaching quality

Bristol is considered to be among the most academically prestigious universities in the United Kingdom. It is generally placed in the top ten of institutions on league tables: The Times University Guide 2008 ranked Bristol in 8th place overall; the Sunday Times 9th place and the Telegraph reported that behind Oxford and Cambridge, the university produces the highest rate of 'good honours' out of all the institutions in the country. The university also has a strong international reputation, being placed 16th in Europe by The Times Higher Education Supplement and 62nd place globally in 2006 and 37th in the world in 2007. The 2012 QS world ranking places Bristol University at 30.

The university is second only to Oxbridge and University College, London in terms of research scores, for which 15 departments were awarded the top score of 5* in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise. By extension, a further 25 out of 46 departments were awarded the 5 rating. Bristol places a large emphasis on independent thinking, and students are often required to complete major projects or dissertations in their final year of undergraduate study.

  • Bristol had an average score of 22.05/24 before the Teaching Quality Assessment was abolished
  • For the 2010 admissions cycle, the university reported that there were 39,420 applications for the 3,849 undergraduate places at the university
  • The average A-level UCAS tariff score for 2010 entry was 465
  • Bristol has a low drop-out rate, at around 3.6% (2010/11).

Applying to Bristol

Thinking of applying to Bristol? Why not read some Personal Statements which were used for applying here?

Other Bristol Articles

Why not read these other Bristol Articles?


Try Learn together, TSR's study area

revision notes




a study planner

of discussions

If you won £30,000, which of these would you spend it on?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE