Frequently asked questions

Is there a deadline for applications?

We don't have an official deadline for submission of completed applications. We continue to make offers until we have filled our teaching allocation. For October entry we generally fill our spaces by 1st June, so it is recommended that you apply in plenty of time. If you are awaiting exam results you can still make an application and, if successful, an offer can be made conditional on your final degree result.


How do I apply?

All applications are processed online. Please use the University Online Application and follow the instructions. We can still accept paper based applications.


Is there an application fee?

No, we don't require any money to process your application.


What do I need to submit in order to apply for the MSc and Diploma courses?

Please see our sections on How to apply and Entry requirements.


Will I get sent an offer letter?

We do not send out offer letters – you can access your offer letter through your online application form and we find a printed copy of this is sufficient for most students needs.  If you are an international student, your CAS number is confirmation that you have an unconditional offer.


I have a conditional offer and I want to be made unconditional – how do I do this?

You will only be made unconditional once you have met the conditions of your offer.  You will need to provide evidence that you have met your conditions before we can change your offer to unconditional.


Do both my references need to be from tutors at my previous university?

Yes, we do require two academic references to complete an application. In circumstances where applicants have been undertaking work experience directly related to the MSc programme we can accept one employers reference and one academic reference.


How can I find out more about accommodation?

Please visit the Accommodation Website.You can only apply for accommodation once you have accepted your place and met the conditions of the offer.


Why do I need to pay a deposit?

If you are an international student applying for a taught programme, and will be paying your tuition fees yourself, you are required to pay a compulsory deposit. You will be required to pay a minimum of 1000 GBP but may pay up to the full cost of the tuition fee. The deadline for the payment of the deposit is 1 August 2012, or, if later, within one month of the issue date of your offer letter. The payment of a deposit is likely to ease your application for a visa. The appropriate support for your visa application will not be issued by the University until this deposit has been paid.


I’m having problems with my online deposit.

If you have issues with paying your deposit in terms of the system or error messages please visit the help pages or email online-payments@bristol.ac.uk.

When will I hear about my registration dates?

You need to return your acceptance, pay your deposit and send in any sponsor evidence (along with proof of having met any academic conditions) back to to the School. You will get a registration pack during the first two weeks of August giving you dates to register online, with the Faculty and the School, and providing forms for your student card and payment of fees. Don't forget to let us know if you change address.


What is the difference between the Postgraduate Diploma and MSc courses?

All students (Diploma and MSc) are taught in the same seminars. The main difference is in the credit points earned by the student. Students must achieve the pass mark of 50 in 120 credit points for the Diploma and 180 credit points for the MSc. For students entering at Diploma level there is the opportunity to upgrade to MSc if 120 credit points have been successfully earned and permission has been granted to proceed to the Dissertation project to earn the final 60 credit points needed for the award of MSc.


What are the fees for my course?

Please see the University Fee Schedule. The fee information is usually finalised in Nov/ Dec. for the following year beginning in late September/early October.


Does the School have a Postgraduate Open Day?

We will be planning the next Postgraduate Open Day next year for the 2013/14 cohort. Details will be available shortly. Please contact us on spais-mscenquiries@bristol.ac.uk should you want to arrange a visit the university prior to commencing your studies.


I am sponsored, what do I need to do?

We normally require confirmation from your sponsor.  This should be a formal letter confirming the level of sponsorship you will be receiving from your sponsor. Students whose fees are being paid by an external organisation or sponsor (for example, a government department, company or charity) are not required to pay a deposit. The organisation paying your fees will be invoiced and requested to pay the full fee once you have registered on the programme of study.


How can I fund my studies?

The Student Finance Office has suggestions about funding bodies for postgraduate studies.

To take an MSc do I have to have a degree in that area already?

No. Your degree can be in another subject and you can be equally successful because we know how to teach classes with mixed academic backgrounds effectively. See our section on entry requirements


How successful are students whose first language is not English?

Because the support is there, the pass rate for those whose first language is not English is extremely high and almost equal to that of native English speakers. See our section for international students


When will I get my CAS number?

Once you have met the conditions of your offer and paid your compulsory deposit a CAS number will be released for you automatically.  We will begin releasing CAS numbers in May 2012 and the numbers are valid for 3 months before the start date of your programme.  If you have any further queries about your visa or CAS number, you can find more information on our International Webpages.


I have questions about visa applications and extensions?

If you have any visa questions we have experts on hand to help you in our International Office.  You can email them on os-as@bristol.ac.uk.  You can also find more information on the International website.


I have been studying in the UK, what do I need to do for my visa?

If you have any visa questions we have experts on hand to help you in our International Office.  You can email them on os-as@bristol.ac.uk.  You can also find more information on the International website.

(Back to top)


I am attending the Pre-sessional Language Programme – when will I get my CAS number?

If you have an conditional offer and are attending the Pre-sessional programme to meet your language condition the Language Centre will release a CAS number for you for the duration of your Pre-sessional programme.  If you successfully pass the programme and meet your language condition (along with any other conditions of offer you may have), we will automatically release a CAS number for the period of your MSc programme as soon as your Pre-sessional results are released.


What happens if I fail the pre-sessional programme?

If you have a language condition on your MSc offer and you do not achieve 65% overall and 60% in each element of the Pre-sessional Language Programme, you will not have met the language condition of your offer.


What will my first week be like?

You will start your programme straight away on Monday 1st October with registration.  It will be a very busy day across the University as all postgraduate students will have arrived ready to start their programme.  Be prepared to find your way around the University campus and for occasional queues as you collect everything you need to start your course. 

The one year MSc programmes are intense so you can expect to be in the University everyday attending tutorials, lectures, workshops and self-directed study from the first week.  So please arrive with plenty of time to get to know the campus before Monday 1st October.  It is a very exciting week, a great start to your time at the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies; and we look forward to meeting you!


When will I get my full timetable?

Timetables for the academic term are not available until the first week of term.  At registration on your first day (Monday 1st October) you will receive the first weeks timetable.


When does the Masters programme start?

Your first day will be on Monday 8th October 2012.  This is the compulsory start date for teaching.  We expect you to be here for your registration and available every day for teaching from then on.  Late arrival will mean that we cannot register you for your programme.


Please also see the Postgraduate Prospectus FAQ if you question hasn’t been answered here.