The University of Bristol is a red brick research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. It received its royal charter in 1909, and its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.
Bristol is organised into six academic faculties composed of multiple schools and departments running over 200 undergraduate courses situated in the Clifton area along with three of its nine halls of residence. The other six halls are located in Stoke Bishop, an outer city suburb located 1.8 miles away. The university had a total income of £530.9 million in 2014/15, of which £148.4 million was from research grants and contracts. It is the largest independent employer in Bristol.
The University of Bristol is ranked 11th in the UK for its research, according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 by GPA. The University of Bristol is ranked 37th by the QS World University Rankings 2015-16, and is ranked amongst the top ten of UK universities by QS, THE, and ARWU. A highly selective institution, it has an average of 6.4 (Sciences faculty) to 13.1 (Medicine & Dentistry Faculty) applicants for each undergraduate place. The University of Bristol is the youngest British university to be ranked among the top 40 institutions in the world according to the QS World University Rankings, and has also been ranked at 15th in the world in terms of reputation with employers, placing higher than several American Ivy League universities, including Princeton University, Cornell and UPenn.
Current academics include 21 fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences, 13 fellows of the British Academy, 13 fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering and 44 fellows of the Royal Society. The university has been associated with 12 Nobel laureates throughout its history, including Paul Dirac, Sir William Ramsay, Cecil Frank Powell, Sir Winston Churchill, Dorothy Hodgkin, Hans Albrecht Bethe, Max Delbrück, Gerhard Herzberg, Sir Nevill Francis Mott, Harold Pinter, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio and most recently, 2015 Economics Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton.
Bristol is a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities, the European-wide Coimbra Group and the Worldwide Universities Network, of which the university’s previous vice-chancellor, Eric Thomas, was chairman from 2005 to 2007. In addition, the university holds an Erasmus Charter, sending more than 500 students per year to partner institutions in Europe.
League tables usually place Bristol within the top ten universities in the United Kingdom and it attracts many academically gifted students. For example, edition of 21 July 2011 of Times Higher Education reported that Bristol was fifth in a UK league table for the highest proportion of students with A-level grades AAB or better. Bristol was ranked 10th overall in the The Sunday Times 10-year (1998–2007) average ranking of British universities based on consistent league table performance, and is a member of the ‘Sutton 13’ of top ranked Universities in the UK. Internationally, the 2012/2013 QS World University Rankings placed Bristol at 28th overall in the world. The rankings also placed Bristol at 15th in the world in terms of reputation with employers, placing higher than several American Ivy League universities, including Princeton University, Cornell and UPenn. Bristol was chosen as the ninth best university in the UK for the quality of graduates according to recruiters from the UK’s major companies. Another international ranking, the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Academic Ranking of World Universities, placed Bristol 64th globally in 2013 The Times Higher Education World University Ranking placed Bristol at 66th in 2011. Competition for places is high with an average 7.7 applications per place according to the 2014 Sunday Times League Tables, making it the joint 11th most competitive university in the UK.
According to data published in The Sunday Times, Bristol has the sixth-highest percentage of “good honours” of any UK university. In the 2010 Centre for Higher Education’s Development’s Excellence Rankings, Bristol is one of only four UK universities (Oxford, UCL and Manchester) to be rated Excellent in all seven departments.
The following courses offered by the University of Bristol managed to reach top 5 in The ‘Times ranking (2008): Computer Science (3rd); Electrical and Electronic Engineering(3rd); Civil Engineering(5th); Biological Sciences(3rd); Mathematics (3rd); and Psychology (4th). Furthermore, the QS World University Rankings place Bristol in the world’s top 100 universities for all subject areas in 2011: Arts and Humanities (57th), Natural Sciences (40th), Engineering & IT (83rd), Social Sciences (65th) and Life Sciences (70th). A further breakdown of the QS World University Natural Sciences Ranking shows the following: Earth Sciences (25th), Mathematics (35th), Environmental Sciences (39th), Physics (41st), and Chemistry (48th).
In addition, Bristol is particularly strong in the field of social sciences, particularly in economics, finance and management, and was rated fourth in the 2008 Guardian University Guide for Business and Management Studies.
In 2011, The Guardian also ranked Bristol as third in the UK for geography, just behind second place Oxford and ranked Bristol as 1st in the UK for Music.
In The Complete University Guide 2013, Bristol ranked fifth for German, fourth for Russian, third for mechanical and civil engineering, third for music and second for drama.
Bristol is also known for its research strength, having 15 departments gaining the top grade of 5* in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise. Overall, 36 out of 46 departments rated gained the top two ratings of 5 or 5*, and 76% of all the academic staff working in departments scored these top two levels. In terms of teaching strength, Bristol had an average Teaching Quality Assessment score of 22.05/24 before the TQA was abolished. For admission in October 2010, Bristol reported an average of 10.2 applications per place with the average A-level score on admission being 478.5. Bristol’s drop-out rate is also lower than the benchmark set by HEFCE of no more than 3.1%.
[Source: Wikipedia, full article here]