Teaching and assessment

Teaching system

Our teaching system is renowned across the world. We encourage our students to plan and manage their own work and study. This emphasis on independent study is excellent preparation for the self-motivation and discipline needed for graduate study.

You may find that you have fewer hours of teaching than you expected. Use your time to study in the library or work through your course reading list. It is important to establish a good working routine so that you use time effectively.

Independent study may be different from what you have experienced at home and it can take a while to adjust, but we are sure you will adapt and thrive in this environment.

Teaching methods at Bristol

Teaching methods include a combination of lecture, tutorials and smaller group seminars.

Seminars are small group classes lead by a professor to discuss parts of the course in detail. They complement the lectures and help to monitor your progress. Science-based courses will include laboratory sessions and project groups.

You will be fully integrated into the University and study alongside British students.

It's important to use your time efficiently during study, so that material can be easily consolidated and learnt when it comes to revision. Here is some advice about how to get the most out of the different types of study activities.


We use a variety of assessment methods:

  • Examinations
  • Continuous assessment or submission of coursework, including long essays or dissertations to supplement examinations
  • Coursework, tutorials and seminars are used to monitor your progress and to assess the level of competence in a subject

Please be aware that some units may be assessed 100% by one exam at the end of the semester and that regular homework or small pieces of assessed work are not common in the UK.

You are awarded credit points for successfully completing a unit. You will normally need to pass all forms of assessment in order to gain credits for a unit. Find out more about the credit point system at Bristol.

Learning independently

Independent learning is a key part of academic life at Bristol. It will challenge your motivation and dedication, while developing your organisational and time management skills.

Being an independent learner means being an active learner, taking responsibility for your workload, commitments and deadlines, and when mastered it will be the key to success in your studies. Here are some tips for mastering independent learning.

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