University of Bristol

University of Bristol

University of Bristol Details

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University of Bristol aim to equip our students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in their chosen career in a competitive global market.

University of Bristol attract students from all over the world, creating a rich and exciting international community. We are also lucky to be located in a vibrant, dynamic city with a reputation for creativity and sustainability.

With a choice of over 200 degree courses covering a broad range of subjects, our students engage with intellectually challenging courses that encourage independence of mind.

A Bristol degree is highly attractive to employers: we offer our students a high-quality, research-led education, and enhance our global reputation by recruiting the best academics. Bristol is in the top five universities targeted by leading graduate employers (source: The Graduate Market in 2014, High Fliers research) and has over 500 employer visits to campus each year.

Our courses are shaped by the very latest thinking, and our students work on real-life projects with academics who are experts in their field. As well as teaching the facts, our researchers pass on their knowledge, enthusiasm and experience.

Bristol is small enough to feel warm and friendly, with personal tutors, student health and welfare services, and accommodation wardens to support students, but big enough to provide outstanding extracurricular opportunities.

We continually invest in new and existing facilities, training and technology.

Our libraries, IT facilities and informal study spaces keep students connected and support independent learning. We have a comprehensive network of support services to ensure that our students can get help and advice on all aspects of university life – academic, personal, financial and practical – if and when they need it.

While studying at Bristol, our students gain a wide range of knowledge and skills that are not only vital to getting the most out of their time at university, but also in preparing them for whatever comes next.

What is Bristol Futures?

Bristol Futures is being designed with input from academic schools, prospective applicants, current students, and employers to clearly define what makes the ‘Bristol Graduate’ unique.

The development of these transferable skills and attributes will be built around three pathways:

  1. Innovation & Enterprise
  2. Global Citizenship
  3. Sustainable Futures

Three optional non-credit-bearing courses aligned with these pathways will be introduced in 2017.

Benefits of Bristol Futures

Bristol Futures will build upon our core academic values and the benefits of a research-led curriculum and encourage our students to be creative, open-minded, confident free thinkers, who make judgements and decisions based on evidence, taking account of the wider context.

It will also provide our students with an opportunity to develop their core academic skills further through application outside their own discipline.

How we will implement Bristol Futures

There are multiple aspects to Bristol Futures and implementation will be phased.

Working with partners in the city and the wider region, we will coordinate more opportunities for professional and community engagement. These enhanced opportunities will give our students an early insight into careers and help them to develop and apply their skills in a non-academic context.

By 2019, all programmes will include elements of the Bristol Futures pathways as part of their credit-bearing curriculum – the way in which these are embedded will vary between disciplines.

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties

  • Arts

    • School of Arts
      • Archaeology and Anthropology
      • Film and Television
      • Music
      • Philosophy
      • Theatre
    • School of Humanities
      • Classics and Ancient History
      • English
      • History (Historical Studies)
      • History of Art (Historical Studies)
      • Religion and Theology
    • School of Modern Languages
      • French
      • German
      • Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
      • Italian
      • Russian
    • Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts
    • Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies
  • Biomedical Sciences

    • School of Biochemistry
    • School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
    • School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience
  • Engineering

    • Merchant Venturers’ School of Engineering
      • Computer Science
      • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
      • Engineering Mathematics
    • Queen’s School of Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • Health Sciences

    • School of Clinical Sciences
    • School of Oral and Dental Sciences
    • School of Social and Community Medicine
    • School of Veterinary Sciences
    • Centre for Health Sciences Education
      • Centre for Comparative and Clinical Anatomy
      • Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals
  • Science

    • School of Biological Sciences
    • School of Chemistry
    • School of Earth Sciences
    • School of Experimental Psychology
    • School of Geographical Sciences
    • School of Mathematics
    • School of Physics
      • Interface Analysis Centre
    • Bristol Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information
  • Social Sciences and Law

    • Graduate School of Education
    • School for Policy Studies
    • School of Economics, Finance and Management
      • Accounting and Finance
      • Centre for Market and Public Organisation
      • Economics
      • Management
    • School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
    • University of Bristol Law School


Before the University of Bristol, there was University College, Bristol

University College, Bristol existed from 1876 to 1909 and was the precursor to the University of Bristol.

Its history can be traced back to the efforts of John Percival, headmaster of Clifton College, to press for the establishment of such an institution. In 1872, Percival wrote to the Oxford colleges observing that the provinces lacked a university culture. The following year he produced a pamphlet called ‘The Connection of the Universities and the Great Towns’, which was well received by Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol College, Oxford. Jowett was to become a significant figure, both philosophically and financially, in the establishment of University College, Bristol.

In June 1874, a meeting took place at Bristol’s Victoria Rooms ‘to promote a School of Science and Literature for the West of England’. Percival and Jowett spoke at the meeting, and won the support of Albert Fry and Lewis Fry, members of an influential and affluent local family.

University College, Bristol finally opened its doors at 9 am on Tuesday 10 October 1876 in rented premises at 32 Park Row. Initially there were two professors and five lecturers offering courses in 15 subjects. The College was open to men and women on the same basis (except in medicine). During the first session, 99 day students registered (30 men and 69 women) and 238 evening ones (143 men and 95 women).

Alfred Marshall, a groundbreaking economist, served as Principal of the College until 1881. He taught evening classes while his wife, Mary Paley, the first woman lecturer, taught during the day. Her fee was deducted from her husband’s salary. The second Principal was William Ramsay, discoverer of the so-called noble gases. He left in 1887 (and received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1904), but remained influential in the College’s efforts to become a university with its own Royal Charter. His successor was Conwy Lloyd Morgan, a geologist and zoologist who also became a pioneering experimental psychologist. He, too, was closely involved in the campaign for full university status, and would eventually become the University of Bristol’s first Vice-Chancellor.

For University College, Bristol, life was a financial struggle, although in 1890 it received a £2,000 boost from the local Technical Instruction Committee. There was more good news in 1893 when the Bristol Medical School, which had been created in 1833, was formally incorporated into the College. Further encouragement came in 1896, when Commissioners from the Treasury reported that ‘there is evidently vigorous life in the place, and the work done is of the University type’. The foundation of the University College Colston Society in 1899 was another highly significant development, drawing a broad spectrum of influential figures into supporting the College.

The campaign for a Charter gained momentum in 1904 with the appointment of Morris Travers as Professor of Chemistry. Travers, who had been recommended for the job by former Principal, William Ramsay, was an energetic and decisive man who set about gaining financial and political support for Bristol’s plans. He was backed by some powerful individuals, including Lewis Fry, Chairman of the College Council, R B (later Lord) Haldane and members of the Wills family.

By 1906, Lewis Fry felt ready to put the plan to promote a university for Bristol on a formal footing, and an executive committee was formed. However, problems continued – Travers left to direct a research institute in India that year, and it proved very difficult to lift the College’s endowment above the total of £30,000 that had been donated by members of the Wills and Fry families.

Everything changed on 14 January 1908, when H O Wills promised to donate £100,000 – a massive sum – provided that a Charter was granted within two years. The Wills gift set off a chain reaction, and more money was raised within 24 hours than had been attracted during the previous three decades.

Now things really started to move. After years of discussion, it was agreed that the Merchant Venturers’ College and elements of the University College – formerly rivals – would merge to form a new Faculty of Engineering. Furthermore, the City Council offered the proceeds of a penny rate (some £7,000 a year), subject to a Charter being obtained. Best of all, when a petition for a Charter was submitted to the Privy Council, it met with royal favour.

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