Frequently asked questions


Can I visit the School and meet an Admissions Tutor?

We are unable to accommodate individual visits to the School.  If you are interested in applying to one of our programs we encourage participation in the University Open Days in June and September.

If you are offered a place in one of the programs then you will be invited to one of our School Visit Days which are run in the spring.  These events will provide information on the specific course of studies, University life in Bristol, accommodation, financial matters, and other relevant issues.  We will also provide a tour of the School and you will have an opportunity to meet a range of our staff members.  Parents are quite welcome to attend these events.

For overseas candidates with offers, we will make every effort to show you around the School and discuss matters on alternative days if attendance on organised days is not possible.  We advise overseas candidates to contact the International Office for additional information and assistance.


What are your standard entry requirements?

Information about entry requirements is in the online prospectus.  We look at the entire application form and pay particular attention to the students’ personal statements.  Applications are considered on their individual merit and if you receive an offer, it may differ slightly from the typical offer published.  As our programmes are highly competitive so our offers tend towards the higher end of the stated range.


What courses do you consider?

Many schools do not offer A2 courses in Politics or Sociology, therefore we consider a wide range of subjects.  There is no single combination of courses that we are seeking.  However, we do want to see evidence that you can succeed in the Social Sciences.  This means that at least one of the courses should have a significant writing component.   Additional academic qualifications (especially GCSEs and AS-level results) may be taken into consideration in determining the offer, particularly when deciding between applicants of otherwise equal merit.  However, these factors are of secondary importance in comparison to predicted (or achieved) grades at A2 (or equivalent), the vibrancy of the personal statement and the strength of the reference.

We do not consider General Studies or Critical Thinking.


When will I hear from you about my application?

We have highly competitive programmes and we will be considering a large number of applications, and every file is different.  This means that we cannot guarantee that you will receive a final decision from us within a set period of time.

However, we will keep in informed throughout the process as follows:


Do you conduct interviews?

We do not conduct interviews with students as a part of our selection process.


I have grades of AAA, why was I not offered a place?

Our programmes are amongst the most competitive in their disciplines in the United Kingdom.  We receive far more applications with a predicted AAA grade than we can accept.  Our selection is based on a careful reading of the entire application and we pay particular attention to the personal statement and the student’s interests in the course of studies.


How competitive is the programme?  What is the quota? How many applications do you receive?

SPAIS has a target quota for each of our degree programmes and winning a place on these programmes is very competitive.  The online prospectus has information about how many places there are on each course, as well as how many applications we received the previous year.


Who will read my application form?

All UCAS applications are examined independently by two members of the Admissions Team.