How to create your programme
Make the most of your time here by creating an academic programme that works for you.
You can customise your experience by selecting units from across our departments, either by combining different subjects to suit your academic needs and interests or immersing yourself in your main subject of study by choosing units in one specific area.
To find your units, you can use our unit catalogue to search for different subjects. We know that this can be quite confusing, so we have put together an FAQ guide below to help you navigate the unit catalogue and create your ideal academic programme. Please remember that we cannot guarantee your unit choices and final registration will take place when you arrive in Bristol.
Once you have read the information below, you can start to create your programme.
Which academic year should I choose?
The unit catalogue is updated in spring, so please check that you are searching for the correct academic year (on the left-hand side of the catalogue) to ensure that you only select units available during your Study Abroad period. For example, if you are due to start in September 2019 or January 2020, you will need the 2019/20 academic year.
What are Teaching Blocks?
You can think of Teaching Blocks (TB) like semesters.
- TB1 = autumn semester
- TB2 = spring semester
- TB4 = units which start in autumn but take a full year to complete
You will need to choose units that are running in the Teaching Blocks that reflect your planned stay in Bristol.
In some areas, like Biology and Psychology, you might also see TB1b or TB2a. These are units taught over half a semester and are slightly more intensive.
What do the levels mean?
Bachelor’s (also called undergraduate) degrees at Bristol take three years to complete.
- C/4 = first year
- I/5 = second year
- H/6 = third year
- M/7 = master’s
Most Study Abroad students take second-year units. Since our third year is the final year of undergraduate study, we only suggest taking third-year units if you are majoring in that subject area. We suggest not taking all your credits from the third year, as this would result in a very heavy workload.
If you want to take classes outside your major, then first or second year would be most appropriate. Study Abroad students are not usually permitted to take master's units.
Can I get a syllabus for a unit?
We are not able to provide a syllabus or teaching plan for units. However, you can use the information in the unit catalogue to work out if a unit has the right content for you and if it is equivalent to a unit at your home university.
Each unit description provides:
- a general description of the unit, including required pre-requisite knowledge;
- learning objectives;
- teaching and assessment methods;
- course texts;
- the credit point value (Bristol credits).
What are pre-requisites and co-requisites?
We expect all Study Abroad students to have the relevant knowledge and skills to take their chosen units. Some units have pre-requisite conditions, listed in the unit catalogue, which you will be required to meet by having taken similar classes at your home university. If you are unsure, have a look at the unit listings for the pre-requisite units and their learning outcomes and compare these to the class you’ve taken at your home university.
A small number of units have mandatory co-requisites. These are units that are designed to complement each other and will rely on knowledge gained in one unit to support learning in another. If you choose a unit with a co-requisite, you are required to take both classes listed.
Can I take a ‘project’ unit?
Units which are listed at projects are not usually available for Study Abroad students. If you have a question about a specific project unit, please speak to the Global Opportunities team.
Can I take a unit listed as Not Open?
Yes. The Open Unit Status section of the unit catalogue only applies to students studying their full degree in Bristol. Study Abroad students are able to take units listed as Open or Not Open.
How many credits should I take?
You should take 60 Bristol credits per semester, which is a full academic workload. You will not be permitted to take more than 60 credits for a single semester. However, if you are staying in Bristol for a full academic year, you may be able to take 50 credits in the autumn semester and 70 credits in the spring, depending on which subjects you have chosen.
We strongly recommend having a longer list of units approved by your home university in advance, so that you can easily choose alternative units if one is unavailable or does not fit your timetable.
Do I have to stay in Bristol for the exams in January and June?
For students who are only in Bristol for the autumn semester and need to be back at their home university in January, it might be possible to organise alternative assessment. This is often an option for subjects in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, but is often not possible in Sciences and Engineering. Please speak to the Global Opportunities team if you are unable to stay for the January exams.
All students leaving at the end of the spring semester are required to stay in Bristol for the June exams, and no exceptions will be made. Please do not plan your return travel until you receive your exam timetable, which is usually mid-semester.
Where can I see the online timetables?
Unfortunately, this is not possible until you arrive in Bristol. The Global Opportunities team will work with every student to help you find units that can fit together and will help you find alternative units if there are any clashes.