Bristol University Acceptance Rate For UK and International Students

Bristol University Acceptance Rate For UK & International Students 2023

Getting into the University of Bristol is a dream for many UK and international students, but with its reputation as one of the top universities in the UK, the acceptance rate tends to be very competitive.

Currently, Bristol is ranked 8th in the UK on the Time Higher Education list for 2024.

As a highly ranked member of the prestigious Russell Group of universities, Bristol Univeristy receives thousands more applications than it can accept each year.

So, what is the acceptance rate for Bristol University?

We analyse a huge amount of data from 2018 to 2022 to get clear and good answers that can help many students and applicants who tend to be Bristol students.

Everyone needs to start by understanding the University of Bristol acceptance rate and what affects your chances of admission can help prospective students learn how to apply to university with a strong application. 

Let’s break down the key details around Bristol University acceptance rates for both UK and international applicants.

Admissions Process at the University of Bristol

The University of Bristol has a multi-step admissions process that all applicants must undergo to be considered for entry. 

It begins with submitting a UCAS application by the January deadline for UK/EU students or the June deadline for international students.

Learn more about deadlines: UCAS Deadline: Everything You Need to Know

The UCAS application requires all of your key information – academic history, exam results, personal statement, grades, reference letter, etc. 

Once received, the university assesses your application based on this information and makes a decision.

For some competitive courses, an interview may also be required as part of the assessment. 

The university aims to communicate all decisions by the end of March. If accepted, you must meet any outstanding conditions and firm Bristol as your choice by mid-summer.

Why Is the Acceptance Rate Important for Bristol University?

The acceptance rate represents the percentage of applicants admitted each year out of the total applicant pool.

A lower acceptance rate generally indicates that a university is more selective in who it admits.

That means, usually that the standards in the university are higher than when the is rate high.

For good students, knowing Bristol’s acceptance rates can give you an idea of how competitive admission is and what kind of academic profile you may need to be a strong applicant

It also allows you to compare your admissions chances across different universities.

For the university, keeping acceptance rates within target ranges allows it to attract top students while still meeting yearly enrollment goals across its various schools and courses. 

Monitoring acceptance rates over time is one way a university manages its academic standards and prestige.

Below is the overall acceptance rate from 2018 to 2022. 

Bristol university acceptance rate from 2018 to 2022. 

Factors Influencing Acceptance Rates

Many different factors can cause acceptance rates to fluctuate up or down from year to year:

  • Number of Applicants – If application volume increases without expanding class size, acceptance rates will fall.
  • Academic standards – Raising academic criteria will decrease rates.
  • Courses capacity – Expanding the number of places available will increase admission rates.
  • Competition – More applicants with strong academic profiles will lower rates.
  • Marketing and Open Days – More effective marketing and recruitment efforts may increase the number of applicants.
  • Rankings – Improved university league table positions tend to attract more applicants over time.
  • Reputation – A growing reputation leads to more applicants competing for limited spots.

Acceptance rates are a balancing act between these types of factors from year to year.

Top universities like Bristol must manage acceptance rates carefully to maintain academic excellence within enrollment constraints.

Bristol University Acceptance Rate

Looking at the data on 2022 admission rates, the University of Bristol’s acceptance rate for undergraduate programs was:

  • For UK applicants, the overall undergraduate acceptance rate was 11.90% across all undergraduate courses.
  • For international undergraduate applicants, the overall acceptance rate was 12.23% across all programmes.

As you can see, Bristol has fairly competitive admission, with an undergraduate acceptance rate of 12%.

Recommended for reading:

Bristol University Acceptance Rates by Course

The number of applications, competitiveness and acceptance rate can differ from course to course.

So, it’s important to check your desired course and chances to get into it. This can give better and far more specific insights.

Here are some acceptance rates by undergraduate course for 2022 admission specifically:

  • Dentistry and Anatomy courses have the lowest acceptance rate with 3.87% and 5.71%.
  • Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (CAME) had a 6.6% acceptance rate for UK applicants.
  • Among the most popular courses are Management with 8.53% admitted students in 2022, Computer Science with 10%, Law with an 11.65 acceptance rate and Medicine with 10.2%.
  • Easies courses to get into at Bristol are Mathematics and Chemistry both with 21% rates.
  • The most popular course is Humanities with more than 3600 applicants every year.
12 out of 100 undergraduate applicants get accepted by Bristol University each year

As expected, Bristol’s most in-demand courses tend to have the lowest acceptance rates for admission.

Prospective students should research the specific acceptance rates for their desired programmes when assessing their chances of entry.

Below is the table with all University of Bristol undergraduate courses acceptance rates for UK students in 2022.

Undergraduate CourseAcceptance rate
Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (CAME)6.61%
Psychological Science7.14%
Sociology, Politics and International Studies9.13%
Policy Studies9.25%
Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Engineering Mathematics (SCEEM)10.08%
Earth Sciences12.20%
Cellular and Molecular Medicine12.50%
Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience12.50%
Accounting and Finance12.57%
Faculty of Arts13.98%
Geographical Sciences14.04%
Biological Sciences14.55%
Modern Languages16.11%
Centre For Innovation20.24%

Bristol University Acceptance Rate for International Students

The overall acceptance rate for international students applying to undergraduate courses at the University of Bristol in 2022 was 12.23%.

A total of 16235 international students applied, with 1985 acceptances.

The acceptance rates varied significantly across different courses, ranging from 3.23% for Dentistry up to 21.14% for Law.

Programmes related to medicine and healthcare tended to have the lowest acceptance rates, while humanities, social sciences, and law had higher for international students.

Some of the most competitive programmes included already mentioned Dentistry (3.23% acceptance rate), Medicine (3.41%), and Modern Languages (5.26%).

Courses with rates of 10% or higher included Engineering, Arts, Management, Sociology/Politics, Economics, Earth Sciences, Education, Accounting/Finance, Mathematics, and Law.

Law had the highest acceptance rate at 21.14%, with 185 accepted out of 875 applicants.

Other programs with high rates included Accounting/Finance (15.66%), Mathematics (17.20%), and Education (15.00%).

Below is the table with all courses for international students. 

Undergraduate CourseAcceptance rate Overseas students
Modern Languages5.26%
Faculty of Arts6.67%
Cellular and Molecular Medicine8.26%
Psychological Science8.60%
Biological Sciences8.62%
Centre For Innovation9.30%
Geographical Sciences10.00%
Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Engineering Mathematics (SCEEM)11.20%
Sociology, Politics and International Studies11.88%
Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (CAME)12.11%
Policy Studies13.33%
Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience13.43%
Earth Sciences14.71%
Accounting and Finance15.66%
Acceptance rates for all courses for international students

Overall, the total acceptance rate across all undergraduate programs was 12.23%, indicating that Bristol is very selective for international applicants.

Students should research their specific programme of interest, as competitiveness varies widely across disciplines.

Bristol University Acceptance Rate For Postgraduate

Bristol is a great and popular university for postgraduate students. More than 7000 postgraduate students apply each year. 

Acceptance rates for graduate students show moderate competitiveness, although they vary by faculty and programme:

  • Postgrad programmes like Management Accounting and Finance had acceptance rates between 7-8.5% for 2022 entry.
  • Mathematics is in the 3rd place for competitiveness with an 8.77% rate.
  • The most popular postgraduate courses are Computer Science and Engineering with around 700 applicants, following Medicine with around 650 applicants.
  • Modern Languages with a 25% postgraduate acceptance rate and Sociology, Politics and International Studies with 22.7% are easies courses to get into a Masters at Bristol

Below is the table where you can find all Bristol University postgraduate programmes acceptance rates.

Postgraduate courseAcceptance rate
Accounting and Finance8.57%
Geographical Sciences10.00%
Biological Sciences10.98%
Earth Sciences13.33%
Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (CAME)17.19%
Policy Studies18.52%
Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience18.75%
Cellular and Molecular Medicine19.05%
Psychological Science19.23%
Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Engineering Mathematics (SCEEM)20.71%
Sociology, Politics and International Studies22.73%
Modern Languages25.00%

As you can see, postgraduate programmes at Bristol also have quite selective admission, with acceptance rates indicating high competition for places.

Prospective postgraduate students should research admission rates for their specific programme.

Bristol University Acceptance Rate For PGCE

For the PGCE programmes acceptance rates were around 20.6% in 2022. 

Keep in mind that UK citizenship or settled status is essentially required for admission to PGCE training courses.


Bristol University vs Russell Group Universities

To put Bristol’s admission competitive process into context, it’s useful to compare its acceptance rates with other top UK universities part of the Russell Group.

Here are undergraduate acceptance rates for 2022 entry at other Russell Group institutions:

  • University of Oxford – 13.73% 
  • University of Cambridge – 15.7% 
  • University of Warwick – 12.9% 
  • Imperial College London – 11% 
  • King’s College London – 16.9% 
  • University of Durham – 74% 

So you can see that Bristol’s acceptance rates are fairly typical of these elite Russell Group universities.

Admission is highly competitive at all of these top-tier institutions.

Learn how to apply to Russell Group University

The Admissions Gap: Independent vs. State School Applicants

There is debate about whether applicants from independent vs. state schools have advantages.

While state school students made up over 70% of total applicants, acceptance rates for independent schools were noticeably higher at Bristol University.

Bristol University, UK

For the prestigious course of Management, around 65% of independent school applicants were accepted versus 35% from state schools. Similar gaps existed in Science, Engineering, and Economics.

Why this difference? Independent schools often have more resources, smaller classes, strong academics and college prep cultures.

This likely gives their applicants an edge versus underfunded, overcrowded state schools. Independent school students also tend to receive more family support and private tutoring.

However, Bristol and other top universities are now working to increase diversity. In recent years, Bristol accepted a higher proportion of state school students.

Outreach programmes also aim to help more students become competitive applicants regardless of background. 

Progress is being made to level the playing field, though disparities remain.

With hard work and support, state school students can also gain admission to top-choice universities like Bristol.

Factors Affecting Your Chances of Getting Into Bristol University

While the overall and programme-specific acceptance rates provide a high-level overview of the admissions process, many other factors influence your chances of getting into Bristol as an applicant

Let’s look at some of the university’s key criteria when making admission decisions.

Academic Performance

Like most universities, Bristol places significant weight on an applicant’s academic track record when evaluating admissions eligibility.

High grades in relevant subject areas are the most important thing for most courses.

For undergraduates, this includes GCSEs, A-levels and other post-16 qualifications. 

Bristol typically makes offers to students with minimum A-level grades of AAB or higher in relevant subjects, but requirements vary by course.

For postgraduate students, exemplary performance in the applicant’s bachelor’s degree is essential, especially in the final year.

A 1st class degree or equivalent is highly recommended for admission to Bristol’s graduate programmes.

Extracurricular Activities and Leadership

Along with academics, Bristol also assesses applicants’ contributions outside the classroom.

Evidence of leadership, community impact, meaningful extracurricular participation and internships can strengthen your admissions case.

These activities display characteristics like teamwork, dedication and time management – skills that translate well to university success.

Unique pursuits that demonstrate passion and talent also help applications stand out from other applicants.

Personal Statement and Reference Letter

An engaging personal statement explaining why you’re a great fit for both Bristol and your chosen programme is mandatory. 

This essay allows you to expand on key achievements, skills and motivations beyond what grades and scores indicate.

A detailed reference letter from a teacher or advisor reinforcing your potential for academic excellence is also required.

A strong endorsement from an academic professional carries a significant influence on the decision process.

Admission Exams

Meeting minimum cutoff scores on required admission exams like the UCAT, BMAT, PAT, SAT, ACT, GRE or GMAT is essential for undergraduate and postgraduate applicants respectively. 

Competitive scores help demonstrate readiness for the university’s rigorous academics.


Finally, for certain oversubscribed courses of study, Bristol may invite top applicants to an admissions interview. This is the case with dentistry and medicine, for example. This provides the opportunity to directly assess your leadership potential, subject aptitude, motivations and fit with the university. 

Interview performance carries substantial weight in admission decisions where required.

Final Thoughts

While competitive, Bristol’s acceptance rates of around 11.9% for UK applicants and 12.2% for international students are not exceptionally low compared to other elite Russell Group universities.

Exceptional academic ability, impactful extracurriculars, strong exam scores, an engaging personal statement and stellar references are together your best formula for admission success. Researching course-specific acceptance rates and application requirements aids in proper planning and expectations.

With a thoughtful approach and standout application, receiving the coveted offer letter from the prestigious University of Bristol is still very much within reach for qualified students who have the drive to succeed in this world-class learning environment.


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