The University of Bristol
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The University of Bristol

Originally established in 1876 as University College Bristol, the University of Bristol received its Royal Charter in 1909 and has since become one of the most respected universities in the United Kingdom. As well as its range of undergraduate, postgraduate and research opportunities, the university’s location in the charming and picturesque city of Bristol means that it is one of the most sought-after universities to study in.

The University of Bristol is home to over 18,000 students and offers excellent opportunities and support for its thousands of international students. In a nutshell, a wide choice of programmes, world-class research, a large international community, and a beautiful and vibrant location make the this an ideal place to study abroad.

Reputation and rankings
While the University of Bristol brand may not have the high impact of names like Oxford and Cambridge, it outstrips them both in terms of popularity. On average, there are about 14 applicants for each place available in this university, and candidates for its most popular programmes could be competing against up to 40 other applicants for a single place. Overall, the University of Bristol is the most popular multi-faculty university in the UK.

This kind of popularity doesn’t come without a proven track record. The University of Bristol is consistently ranked in the top 10 universities in the United Kingdom by the widely respected Times Good University Guide and Sunday Times University Guide. In 2010, it was ranked 8th best university in Europe in the  THES- QE University Rankings Europe and 16th in the ARWU – Europe.


Pic: Wikipedia.

Rankings like these mean that a place among the university’s 18,000 or so students can be difficult to get, it is certainly not impossible. Luckily for international students, it offers a range of degrees at all levels, research opportunities, as well as scholarships and exchange opportunities.

The University of Bristol offers a range of degrees for undergraduate and postgraduate students. As mentioned, a degree from Bristol is highly regarded and the university has already produced nine Nobel laureates and an impressive string of alumni. It  has also built a reputation as a leading research institute, with many of its departments achieving the top grades for research endeavours.

The University of Bristol’s impressive list of programmes exist within an academic structure of six faculties that each consist of a number of schools and departments. The faculties are:

* Faculty of Arts
* Faculty of Engineering
* Faculty of Medical and Vetinerary Sciences
* Faculty of Science
* Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
* Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Despite its sizeable student population, students at the University of Bristol are more than just a number.  Small class sizes and direct access to faculty ensures that every student gets the attention and encouragement they deserve. And as one of the United Kingdom’s top universities, facilities are excellent.

With students and staff from well over 120 countries, the campus at Bristol has a truly international feel. The cosmopolitan nature of the university is mirrored in the city too, with its restaurants, food shops, cultural societies and festivals stemming from a large, permanently resident and highly participative international community.

The University of Bristol’s international office provides full advice and support to international students. Basically, the university takes care of everything. Travel arrangements, visa and financial advice, housing, orientation, language support and post-graduation career advice are all a part of the package.

Campus and accommodation
The university and many of its halls of residence are located within historic central Bristol. The university’s sports grounds and Stoke Bishop halls of residence are in a beautiful, green and highly desirable residential district.

The University of Bristol is distinctive in that it doesn’t have a campus as such, but is spread over a large portion of the city. That said, much of its activities are based in the city centre in the ‘University Precinct’.  However, this doesn’t detract from the strong sense of community at this institution. The university is truly a part of the lifeblood of this charming city and its staff and students’ enthusiasm and love of knowledge make Bristol what it is.

As you would expect from any top university, the list of activities, clubs and societies open to students is seemingly endless. Race, religion and nationality do not pose as barriers here, there is something for everyone and it is impossible not to fit in. The students’ union is active in bringing students together through various events on campus, and claims to have the largest students’ union building in the UK.

Bristol is a vibrant university town and there is more than enough accommodation to go around. The university assists all international students in finding suitable accommodation, whether they choose to live in one of the university’s halls of residence or rent privately. The university’s own accommodation is mostly based in the central precinct of the university, but there are also other halls of residence dotted around the city.


The Victoria rooms are now a part of Bristol University. Pic: Wikipedia.

Why Bristol?
Located in England’s south-west, Bristol is one of the United Kingdom’s most charming cities.  As well as a popular study destination for British and international students, it is also a popular tourist destination. The countryside surrounding Bristol is beautiful and easily accessible, and the coastline is also close at hand.

Bristol is one of those cities that succeeds in getting the right mix between vibrant and relaxed. With two major universities, students play a big part in making Bristol what it is. The result is a youthful atmosphere with more culture and entertainment on offer than any one person can handle. It is also beautiful. Historic buildings abound and it is small enough that the beautiful surrounding countryside and the coast is easily accessible.

On a more practical note, the city of Bristol has very good transport links to other parts of the UK. The major hubs are Bristol international airport, Bristol Temple Meads railway station (and to a lesser extent because of its location, Bristol Parkway railway station) and Bristol bus and coach station at Marlborough Street.

Within the city there are numerous regular bus services and taxi ranks. And of course you can always walk – most of what you will need as a student (with a few exceptions including the halls of residence and sports facilities at Stoke Bishop) at Bristol is located within a radius of approximately 20 minutes’ walk.

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