A Guide to Bristol’s Universities

A Guide to Bristol’s Universities

There is a lot to recommend Bristol when you are choosing a university. Bristol has got not one but two world-class universities to choose from: the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol.

Bristol also has other educational institutions, including three theological colleges and a campus of the University of Law. In this article though, we’ll look at the two main universities and why they are such great choices for aspiring undergrads looking to take the next step in their education and their lives.

Why Bristol?

Aside from the excellent reputations of the universities themselves, Bristol has several benefits for students. As the largest city in the south-west, it has plenty of bars, restaurants, museums and galleries, cultural attractions, and things to do.

You’ll find lots of beautiful countryside only a short journey from the city, which is perfect for exploring and outdoor pursuits. You’ll also find plenty of lovely outdoor spaces in the city for those warm summer days.

There is no shortage of excellent student accommodation, with areas like Redland and Southville being particularly popular with the student population

It’s also a creative city. As one of the biggest media hubs in the UK, Bristol is home to many creative companies, which means there are some great opportunities for work experience and employment. Throw in some incredible street art, an amazing music scene, world-class festivals and some fantastic clubs, and Bristol really does seem to have it all.

The University of Bristol

The University of Bristol has an excellent reputation not only in the UK but internationally. It often ranks in the top 10 UK universities in league tables, and it has regularly ranked in the top 50 in the world. At the time of writing, it is ranked 87 in the THE World University Rankings.

It’s a member of the Russell Group, and its history dates back to 1909. Prior to this, it was called University College, Bristol from 1876 to 1909. It’s also particularly popular with students from independent schools.

According to details on the website, it has just over 20,000 students for the 2019/20 academic year. In the 2016/17 year, 56.2% of students went into full-time paid work and 21.4% went into full-time further study.


The University of Bristol has an excellent reputation for research, and ever since its foundation, it has had a strong reputation for innovation. It is heavily involved in international research collaborations, and it provides lots of practical experience to students so they can work on real-world projects.

There are currently over 200 degree courses to choose from, with its particular strengths lying in Mathematics, Engineering, Medicine and Law. It is a research-led education, and it recruits top academics from around the world.

As a result, degrees from the university are seen well by employers. In a list of universities that are targeted by graduate employers, Bristol ranked 4th in 2018.

Student Life

The University of Bristol attracts students from around the world, and as such it has a very international community.

There are many clubs and extracurricular activities to enjoy, and students are looked after well, with wellbeing advisers in residences providing support for students.

When you study here, you’re in good company because it also boasts a fair number of Nobel Laureates amongst its alumni, including Sir Winston Churchill and Harold Pinter.

University of the West of England (UWE)

The University of the West of England (UWE) was Bristol Polytechnic until it was given university status in 1992. It currently ranks 28th in the Guardian League Table, (up from 37 in 2019).


UWE Bristol has invested heavily in engineering and the sciences, and it has strong connections with the aerospace industry. It offers over 400 courses and has about 3,000 staff, and it has a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). It also has an excellent reputation for its world-leading research.

It has invested millions in new facilities, with over £300 million being invested up to 2020. Recent investments include £55 million on the state-of-the-art Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School, which comes with its own mock courtrooms.

It also invested £9 million in the Bower Ashton Film Studios for students of photography, animation and films, which comes with its own production and post-production facilities. The Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) is also one of the largest in Europe.

Student Life

There are about 35,000 students at the university, making it the largest in Bristol, and most of the students come from state schools. According to the university website, it boasts an 88% student satisfaction rate.

There are over 160 clubs and societies to choose from, and the £5.5 million Centre for Sport on the Frenchay Campus is an excellent place to take part in activities. Media students can get involved in Western Eye, its student paper, or The Hub, the student radio station.

Studying at UWE Bristol can open the door to many opportunities. The website claims that it has links with over 1,000 employers both nationally and internationally. According to its latest figures, 95% of students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, and there are also lots of options for internships and placements during study.

Students are also well looked after. There are information points all over the campuses to provide support, advice and guidance, and the Wellbeing Service provides 24/7 support for students.

Study in Bristol

As you can see, there are lots of great reasons to study in Bristol. While the two universities are some of the best in the UK, the city itself is also a fantastic place to live and study, which explains its high retention of students who decide to make Bristol their home after graduating.

If you are interested in the creative industries, science or technology, Bristol is also a great place to find a job because it’s one of the most innovative cities in the UK. So start researching the courses available and consider choosing Bristol when you decide on a university.