Battle of the Universities: Bristol

Gabrielle Martin·4 August 2023·5 min read
Battle of the Universities: Bristol

Bristol is a vibrant city in the South West of England, known for it's street art, music scene and good energy. It is also home to two main universities; University of Bristol (UoB) and University of West England (UWE). Both are excellent institutions with strong student bodies that are not afraid of a little friendly rivalry.

If you have taken a liking to Bristol as a place, deciding between the two unis may be overwhelming. So, we have done the hard work for you! In this blog we will look into both and compare the two so you can make an informed decision that is best for you!

Academic Reputation

Both universities have a strong reputation, and both made it to the top 5 in the Sunday Times South West League table. Being a Russell Group university, UoB has a long-standing reputation for academic excellence and is consistently ranked among the top universities, not just in the UK, but globally. UoB ranked 15th in the 2023 Sunday Times Good University Guide , with UWE sitting in 48th place.

But remember, take these rankings with a pinch of salt. Often, looking at league tables isn’t the best way to make an informed decision. Both universities offer a variety of different courses and have different specialities, so this should definitely be taken into consideration. It might be a good idea to still look at rankings, but rather than looking at the university as a whole, see how your preferred course scores. Let's talk about courses more next…

Courses Offered

UoB, like most Russell Group and high ranking universities, is known for its strong academic focus, with courses such as Medical Sciences and Engineering being the favoured disciplines. All of UoB’s faculty are leading experts in their respective fields, and are often actively involved in groundbreaking research.

On the other hand, UWE has a solid reputation for providing a more practical, career-focused learning experience. At UWE, they have put an emphasis on their professional and vocational courses. Such courses are great for preparing students for careers in fields such as business, architecture, and creative industries. UWE also boasts strong links with industry partners and prides itself on its innovative teaching and practical learning.

From this, it could be concluded that UoB would provide a more traditional experience of university, with academics at the heart of it, whereas UWE would be a better fit for someone eager to get into the working world as soon as they can, and be ready when they do.


Whilst university is undoubtedly about academics, it can also be a life changing experience. Therefore, your decision should be based on more than just courses and league tables!

Bristol is a buzzing city, with all the action of a big city without it being overwhelming. Having two main universities, there is no shortage of student life wherever you end up.

UoB has accommodation dotted about, with it being divided into two main areas: Stoke Bishop and City Centre. Stoke Bishop is a short bus ride (or walk if you aren’t late for a lecture!) from campus and the centre, and is a collection of accommodations. Think of it as a little student village! Then the city centre accommodations are dotted about around, you guessed it, the centre. Both are great options for getting to campus and you are never far from a nightclub or bar!

UWE is a bit different in this case. It has a bunch of different campuses for different subject areas and some are closer to the centre than others. For some places, it may be that you have to choose between being close to lectures or close to the nightlife.


Ultimately, whether you choose the University of Bristol or UWE Bristol, you can expect a high-quality education, valuable experiences, and great opportunities. We hope this guide helps you, but do your own research, talk to students and see what is the best fit for you.

Remember that wherever you end up, it is all about making the most of it! Although it is a good idea to take everything into consideration, university is truly what you make of it. Make new friends, have lots of fun and try to make it to your lectures!