University of Manchester

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University of Manchester
University of Manchester crest.svg
Other name
Manchester University
Motto Latin: Cognitio, sapientia, humanitas
Motto in English
Knowledge, Wisdom, Humanity
Established2004 – University of Manchester
Predecessor institutions:
1956 – UMIST (as university college; university 1994)
1904 – Victoria University of Manchester
1880 – Victoria University
1851 – Owens College
1824 – Manchester Mechanics' Institute
Endowment £238.4 million (as of 31 July 2019) [1]
Budget £1095.4 million (2018–19) [1]
Chancellor Lemn Sissay MBE [2]
President Dame Nancy Rothwell [3]
Academic staff
3,849 [4]
Students40,490 (2016/17) [5]
Undergraduates 27,895 (2016/17) [5]
Postgraduates 12,590 (2016/17) [5]
England, United Kingdom
CampusUrban and suburban
Colours Scarf: purple and gold, corporate: purple, gold, light blue
Affiliations Universities Research Association
Sutton 30
Russell Group
N8 Group

The University of Manchester is a public research university in Manchester, England, formed in 2004 by the merger of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and the Victoria University of Manchester. [6] [7] The University of Manchester is a red brick university, a product of the civic university movement of the late 19th century.


The main campus is south of Manchester city centre on Oxford Road. The university owns and operates major cultural assets such as the Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, John Rylands Library and Jodrell Bank Observatory—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [8] In 2016/17, the university had 40,490 students and 10,400 staff, making it the second largest university in the UK (out of 167 including the Open University), and the largest single-site university. The university had a consolidated income of £1.1 billion in 2018–19, of which £323.6 million was from research grants and contracts (6th place nationally behind Oxford, UCL, Cambridge, Imperial and Edinburgh). [1] It has the fifth-largest endowment of any university in the UK, after the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh and King's. It is a member of the worldwide Universities Research Association, the Russell Group of British research universities and the N8 Group.

In global university league tables, the university was ranked 27th in the QS World University Rankings 2020, 57th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019, and 33rd in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019, while in national tables it was ranked 15th by the Complete University Guide 2020, 34th by the Guardian University Guide 2020 and joint 19th by the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. Manchester was ranked 15th in the UK amongst multi-faculty institutions for the quality (GPA) of its research [9] and 5th for its Research Power in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. [10]

The University of Manchester has 25 Nobel laureates among its past and present students and staff, the fourth-highest number of any single university in the United Kingdom. Four Nobel laureates are currently among its staff – more than any other British university. [11]



The Old Quadrangle at the University of Manchester's main campus on Oxford Road. Old Quadrangle, Manchester 1.jpg
The Old Quadrangle at the University of Manchester's main campus on Oxford Road.

The University of Manchester traces its roots to the formation of the Mechanics' Institute (later UMIST) in 1824, and its heritage is linked to Manchester's pride in being the world's first industrial city. [12] The English chemist John Dalton, together with Manchester businessmen and industrialists, established the Mechanics' Institute to ensure that workers could learn the basic principles of science.

John Owens, a textile merchant, left a bequest of £96,942 in 1846 (around £5.6 million in 2005 prices) [13] to found a college to educate men on non-sectarian lines. His trustees established Owens College in 1851 in a house on the corner of Quay Street and Byrom Street which had been the home of the philanthropist Richard Cobden, and subsequently housed Manchester County Court. The locomotive designer, Charles Beyer became a governor of the college and was the largest single donor to the college extension fund, which raised the money to move to a new site and construct the main building now known as the John Owens building. He also campaigned and helped fund the engineering chair, the first applied science department in the north of England. He left the college the equivalent of £10 million in his will in 1876, at a time when it was in great financial difficulty. Beyer funded the total cost of construction of the Beyer building to house the biology and geology departments. His will also funded Engineering chairs and the Beyer Professor of Applied mathematics.

The university has a rich German heritage. The Owens College Extension Movement based their plans after a tour of mainly German universities and polytechnics. [14] [15] Manchester mill owner, Thomas Ashton, chairman of the extension movement had studied at Heidelberg University. Sir Henry Roscoe also studied at Heidelberg under Robert Bunsen and they collaborated for many years on research projects. Roscoe promoted the German style of research led teaching that became the role model for the redbrick universities. Charles Beyer studied at Dresden Academy Polytechnic. There were many Germans on the staff, including Carl Schorlemmer, Britain's first chair in organic chemistry, and Arthur Schuster, professor of Physics. [16] There was even a German chapel on the campus.

In 1873 the college moved to new premises on Oxford Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock and from 1880 it was a constituent college of the federal Victoria University. The university was established and granted a Royal Charter in 1880 becoming England's first civic university; it was renamed the Victoria University of Manchester in 1903 and absorbed Owens College the following year. [17] By 1905, the institutions were large and active forces. The Municipal College of Technology, forerunner of UMIST, was the Victoria University of Manchester's Faculty of Technology while continuing in parallel as a technical college offering advanced courses of study. Although UMIST achieved independent university status in 1955, the universities continued to work together. [18] However, in the late-20th century, formal connections between the university and UMIST diminished and in 1994 most of the remaining institutional ties were severed as new legislation allowed UMIST to become an autonomous university with powers to award its own degrees. A decade later the development was reversed. [19] The Victoria University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology agreed to merge into a single institution in March 2003. [20] [21]

Before the merger, Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST counted 23 Nobel Prize winners amongst their former staff and students, with two further Nobel laureates being subsequently added. Manchester has traditionally been strong in the sciences; it is where the nuclear nature of the atom was discovered by Ernest Rutherford, and the world's first electronic stored-program computer was built at the university. Notable scientists associated with the university include physicists Ernest Rutherford, Osborne Reynolds, Niels Bohr, James Chadwick, Arthur Schuster, Hans Geiger, Ernest Marsden and Balfour Stewart. Contributions in other fields such as mathematics were made by Paul Erdős, Horace Lamb and Alan Turing and in philosophy by Samuel Alexander, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Alasdair MacIntyre. The author Anthony Burgess, Pritzker Prize and RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect Norman Foster and composer Peter Maxwell Davies all attended, or worked at, Manchester.

2004 to present

The Sackville Street Building, formerly the UMIST Main Building UMIST Sackville Street Building.jpg
The Sackville Street Building, formerly the UMIST Main Building

The current University of Manchester was officially launched on 1 October 2004 when Queen Elizabeth bestowed its Royal Charter. [22] The university was named the Sunday Times University of the Year in 2006 after winning the inaugural Times Higher Education Supplement University of the Year prize in 2005. [23]

The founding president and vice-chancellor of the new university was Alan Gilbert, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, who retired at the end of the 2009–2010 academic year. [24] His successor was Dame Nancy Rothwell, [3] who had held a chair in physiology at the university since 1994. One of the university's aims stated in the Manchester 2015 Agenda is to be one of the top 25 universities in the world, following on from Alan Gilbert's aim to "establish it by 2015 among the 25 strongest research universities in the world on commonly accepted criteria of research excellence and performance". [25] In 2011, four Nobel laureates were on its staff: Andre Geim, [26] Konstantin Novoselov, [27] Sir John Sulston and Joseph E. Stiglitz.

The EPSRC announced in February 2012 the formation of the National Graphene Institute. The University of Manchester is the "single supplier invited to submit a proposal for funding the new £45m institute, £38m of which will be provided by the government" – (EPSRC & Technology Strategy Board). [28] In 2013, an additional £23 million of funding from European Regional Development Fund was awarded to the institute taking investment to £61 million. [29]

In August 2012, it was announced that the university's Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences had been chosen to be the "hub" location for a new BP International Centre for Advanced Materials, as part of a $100 million initiative to create industry-changing materials. [30] [31] The centre will be aimed at advancing fundamental understanding and use of materials across a variety of oil and gas industrial applications and will be modelled on a hub and spoke structure, with the hub located at Manchester, and the spokes based at the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. [32]


A map of the university campus, with all buildings labelled. UOMCampusmap.jpg
A map of the university campus, with all buildings labelled.

The university's main site contains most of its facilities and is often referred to as the campus, however Manchester is not a campus university as the concept is commonly understood. It is centrally located in the city and its buildings are integrated into the fabric of Manchester, with non-university buildings and major roads between.

The campus occupies an area shaped roughly like a boot: the foot of which is aligned roughly south-west to north-east and is joined to the broader southern part of the boot by an area of overlap between former UMIST and former VUM buildings; [33] it comprises two parts:

The names are not officially recognised by the university, but are commonly used, including in parts of its website and roughly correspond to the campuses of the old UMIST and Victoria University respectively.

Fallowfield Campus is the main residential campus in Fallowfield, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) south of the main site.

There are other university buildings across the city and the wider region, such as Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire and One Central Park in Moston, a collaboration between the university and other partners which offers office space for start-up firms and venues for conferences and workshops, [34]

Major projects

The atrium inside the PS38m Manchester Institute of Biotechnology MIBatrium.jpg
The atrium inside the £38m Manchester Institute of Biotechnology

Following the merger, the university embarked on a £600 million programme of capital investment, to deliver eight new buildings and 15 major refurbishment projects by 2010, partly financed by a sale of unused assets. [35] These include:

Old Quadrangle

The buildings of the University of Manchester and the Manchester Museum in Oxford Road The University of Manchester (with snow).jpg
The buildings of the University of Manchester and the Manchester Museum in Oxford Road

The buildings around the Old Quadrangle date from the time of Owens College, and were designed in a Gothic style by Alfred Waterhouse and his son Paul Waterhouse. The first to be built was the John Owens Building (1873), formerly the Main Building; the others were added over the next thirty years. Today, the museum continues to occupy part of one side, including the tower. The grand setting of the Whitworth Hall is used for the conferment of degrees, and part of the old Christie Library (1898) now houses Christie's Bistro. The remainder of the buildings house administrative departments. The less easily accessed Rear Quadrangle, dating mostly from 1873, is older in its completed form than the Old Quadrangle.


The Contact Theatre Contact Theatre 2009.jpg
The Contact Theatre

Contact stages modern live performance for all ages, and participatory workshops primarily for young people aged 13 to 30. The building on Devas Street was completed in 1999 incorporating parts of its 1960s predecessor. [36] It has a unique energy-efficient ventilation system, using its high towers to naturally ventilate the building without the use of air conditioning. The colourful and curvaceous interior houses three performance spaces, a lounge bar and Hot Air, a reactive public artwork in the foyer.

Chancellors Hotel and Conference Centre

Chancellors Hotel & Conference Centre Chcc blue sky.jpg
Chancellors Hotel & Conference Centre

The Chancellors Hotel & Conference Centre was built around The Firs, a house built in 1850 for Sir Joseph Whitworth by Edward Walters, who also designed Manchester's Free Trade Hall. Whitworth used the house as a social, political and business base, entertaining radicals such as John Bright, Richard Cobden, William Forster and T.H. Huxley at the time of the Reform Bill of 1867. Whitworth, credited with raising the art of machine-tool building to a previously unknown level, supported the Mechanics Institute – the birthplace of UMIST – and was a founder the Manchester School of Design. Whilst living there, Whitworth used land at the rear (now the site of the University's botanical glasshouses) for testing his "Whitworth rifle". In 1882, The Firs was leased to C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian and after Scott's death became the property of Owens College. It was the Vice-Chancellor's residence until 1991.

The house now forms the western wing of the Chancellors Hotel & Conference Centre. The eastern wing houses the circular Flowers Theatre, six conference rooms and most of the hotel's bedrooms.

Other notable buildings

Other notable buildings in the Oxford Road Campus include the Stephen Joseph Studio, a former German Protestant church and the Samuel Alexander Building, a grade II listed building [37] erected in 1919 and home of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.

In the Sackville Street Campus is the Sackville Street Building which was formerly UMIST's "Main Building". It was opened in 1902 by the then Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour. [38] Built using Burmantofts terracotta, the building is now Grade II listed. It was extended along Whitworth Street, towards London Road, between 1927 and 1957 by the architects Bradshaw Gass & Hope, completion being delayed due to the depression in the 1930s and the Second World War.

Organisation and administration

Faculties and schools

The University of Manchester was divided into four faculties, but from 1 August 2016 it was restructured into three faculties, each sub-divided into schools.

On 25 June 2015 The University of Manchester announced the results of a review of the position of life sciences as a separate faculty. As a result of this review the Faculty of Life Sciences was to be dismantled, most of its personnel to be incorporated into a single medical/biological faculty, with a substantial minority being incorporated into a science and engineering faculty.

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Old Medical School on Coupland Street (photographed in 1908), which now houses the School of Dentistry Old Medical School.jpg
Old Medical School on Coupland Street (photographed in 1908), which now houses the School of Dentistry

The faculty is divided into the School of Biological Sciences, the School of Medical Sciences and the School of Health Sciences.

Biological Sciences have been taught at Manchester as far back as the foundation of Owens College in 1851. At UMIST, biological teaching and research began in 1959, with the creation of a Biochemistry department. [39] The present school, though unitary for teaching, is divided into a number of sections for research purposes.

The medical college was established in 1874 and is one of the largest in the country, [40] with more than 400 medical students trained in each clinical year and more than 350 students in the pre-clinical/phase 1 years. The university is a founding partner of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, established to focus high-end healthcare research in Greater Manchester. [41] In November 2018, Expertscape recognized it as one of the top ten institutions worldwide in COPD research and treatment. [42]

In 1883, a department of pharmacy was established at the university and, in 1904, Manchester became the first British university to offer an honours degree in the subject. The School of Pharmacy [43] benefits from links with Manchester Royal Infirmary and Wythenshawe and Hope hospitals providing its undergraduate students with hospital experience. [44]

Manchester Dental School was rated the country's best dental school by Times Higher Education in 2010 and 2011 [45] and it is one of the best funded because of its emphasis on research and enquiry-based learning approach. The university has obtained multimillion-pound backing to maintain its high standard of dental education. [46]

Faculty of Science and Engineering

The Grade I listed Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory. Field towards Jodrell Bank - - 1499278.jpg
The Grade I listed Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering is divided into two schools. The School of Engineering comprises the departments of: Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering. The School of Natural Sciences comprises the departments of: Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Physics and Astronomy, Materials and Mathematics.

The Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics comprises the University's astronomical academic staff in Manchester and Jodrell Bank Observatory on rural land near Goostrey, about ten miles (16 km) west of Macclesfield. The observatory's Lovell Telescope is named after Sir Bernard Lovell, a professor at the Victoria University of Manchester who first proposed the telescope. Constructed in the 1950s, it is the third largest fully movable radio telescope in the world. It has played an important role in the research of quasars, pulsars and gravitational lenses, and in confirming Einstein's theory of General Relativity.

Faculty of Humanities

The Faculty of Humanities includes the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures (incorporating Archaeology; Art History & Visual Studies; Classics and Ancient History; Drama; English and American Studies; History; Linguistics; Modern Languages; Museology; Music; Religions and Theology and the University Language Centre) and the Schools of Combined Studies; Education; Environment and Development; Architecture; Law; Social Sciences and the Manchester Business School. The Faculty of Humanities also jointly administers the Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) in conjunction with Manchester Metropolitan University and MSA students are classified as students of both universities.

Additionally, the faculty comprises a number of research institutes: the Centre for New Writing, the Institute for Social Change, the Brooks World Poverty Institute, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, the Manchester Institute for Innovation Research, the Research Institute for Cosmopolitan Cultures, the Centre for Chinese Studies, the Institute for Development Policy and Management, the Centre for Equity in Education and the Sustainable Consumption Institute.

The university's Whitworth Hall. Whitworth Hall Manchester.jpg
The university's Whitworth Hall.
Whitworth Hall Interior The University Of Manchester Whitworth Hall.jpg
Whitworth Hall Interior


In the financial year ending 31 July 2011, the University of Manchester had a total income of £808.58 million (2009/10 – £787.9 million) and total expenditure of £754.51 million (2009/10 – £764.55 million). [1] Key sources of income included £247.28 million from tuition fees and education contracts (2009/10 – £227.75 million), £203.22 million from funding body grants (2009/10 – £209.02 million), £196.24 million from research grants and contracts (2009/10 – £194.6 million) and £14.84 million from endowment and investment income (2009/10 – £11.38 million). [1] During the 2010/11 financial year the University of Manchester had a capital expenditure of £57.42 million (2009/10 – £37.95 million). [1]

At year end the University of Manchester had endowments of £158.7 million (2009/10 – £144.37 million) and total net assets of £731.66 million (2009/10 – £677.12 million). [1]

Academic profile

The University of Manchester is the second largest university in the UK (out of 167 including the Open University), and the largest single-site university. It teaches more academic subjects than any other British university.[ citation needed ] The University of Manchester attracts thousands of international students coming from 154 countries around the world. [47]

Well-known figures among the university's current academic staff include computer scientist Steve Furber, economist Richard Nelson, [48] novelist Jeanette Winterson [49] (who succeeded Colm Tóibín in 2012) [50] and biochemist Sir John Sulston, Nobel laureate of 2002.


The University of Manchester is a major centre for research and a member of the Russell Group of leading British research universities. [51] In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the university was ranked fifth in the UK in terms of research power and fifteenth for grade point average quality of staff submitted among multi-faculty institutions (seventeenth when including specialist institutions) [52] [53] Manchester has the sixth largest research income of any English university (after Oxford, UCL, Cambridge, Imperial and King's College London), [54] and has been informally referred to as part of a "golden diamond" of research-intensive UK institutions (adding Manchester to the Oxford–Cambridge–London "Golden Triangle"). [55] Manchester has a strong record in terms of securing funding from the three main UK research councils, EPSRC, MRC and BBSRC, being ranked fifth, [56] seventh [57] and first [58] respectively. In addition, the university is one of the richest in the UK in terms of income and interest from endowments: an estimate in 2008 placed it third, surpassed only by Oxford and Cambridge. [59]

The University of Manchester has attracted the most research income from UK industry of any institution in the country. The figures, from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), show that Manchester attracted £24,831,000 of research income in 2016–2017 from UK industry, commerce and public corporations. [60]

Historically, Manchester has been linked with high scientific achievement: the university and its constituent former institutions combined had 25 Nobel laureates among their students and staff, the third largest number of any single university in the United Kingdom (after Oxford and Cambridge) and the ninth largest of any university in Europe. Furthermore, according to an academic poll two of the top ten discoveries by university academics and researchers were made at the university (namely the first working computer and the contraceptive pill). [61] The university currently employs four Nobel Prize winners amongst its staff, more than any other in the UK. [62] The Langworthy Professorship, an endowed chair at the University's Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been historically given to a long line of academic luminaries, including Ernest Rutherford (1907–19), Lawrence Bragg (1919–37), Patrick Blackett (1937–53) and more recently Konstantin Novoselov, all of whom have won the Nobel Prize. In 2013 Manchester was given the Regius Professorship in Physics, the only one of its kind in the UK; the current holder is Andre Geim.

University of Manchester Library

The Grade-I listed John Rylands Library on Deansgate Rylands Library Deansgate.jpg
The Grade-I listed John Rylands Library on Deansgate

The University of Manchester Library is the largest non-legal deposit library in the UK and the third-largest academic library after those of Oxford and Cambridge. [63] It has the largest collection of electronic resources of any library in the UK. [63]

The John Rylands Library, founded in memory of John Rylands by his wife Enriqueta Augustina Rylands as an independent institution, is situated in a Victorian Gothic building on Deansgate, in the city centre. It houses an important collection of historic books and other printed materials, manuscripts, including archives and papyri. The papyri are in ancient languages and include the oldest extant New Testament document, Rylands Library Papyrus P52, commonly known as the St John Fragment. In April 2007 the Deansgate site reopened to readers and the public after major improvements and renovations, including the construction of the pitched roof originally intended and a new wing.


Manchester Museum

The entrance to the Manchester Museum Manchester Museum Entrance.jpg
The entrance to the Manchester Museum

The Manchester Museum holds nearly 4.25 million [64] items sourced from many parts of the world. The collections include butterflies and carvings from India, birds and bark-cloth from the Pacific, live frogs and ancient pottery from America, fossils and native art from Australia, mammals and ancient Egyptian craftsmanship from Africa, plants, coins and minerals from Europe, art from past civilisations of the Mediterranean, and beetles, armour and archery from Asia. In November 2004, the museum acquired a cast of a fossilised Tyrannosaurus rex called "Stan".

The museum's first collections were assembled in 1821 by the Manchester Society of Natural History, and subsequently expanded by the addition of the collections of Manchester Geological Society. Due to the society's financial difficulties and on the advice of evolutionary biologist Thomas Huxley, Owens College accepted responsibility for the collections in 1867. The college commissioned Alfred Waterhouse, architect of London's Natural History Museum, to design a museum on a site in Oxford Road to house the collections for the benefit of students and the public. The Manchester Museum was opened to the public in 1888. [65]

The Whitworth Art Gallery Whitworth Gallery.JPG
The Whitworth Art Gallery

The Whitworth Art Gallery houses collections of internationally famous British watercolours, textiles and wallpapers, modern and historic prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture. It contains 31,000 items in its collection. A programme of temporary exhibitions runs throughout the year and the Mezzanine Court displays sculpture. The gallery was founded by Robert Darbishire with a donation from Sir Joseph Whitworth in 1889, as The Whitworth Institute and Park. In 1959 the gallery became part of the Victoria University of Manchester. [66] In October 1995 the Mezzanine Court in the centre of the building was opened. It was designed to display sculptures and won a RIBA regional award.[ citation needed ]

Rankings and reputation

National rankings
Complete (2020) [67] 15
Guardian (2020) [68] 34
Times / Sunday Times (2020) [69] 18
Global rankings
ARWU (2019) [70] 33
CWTS Leiden (2019) [71] 63
QS (2020) [72]
THE (2020) [73] 55
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework [74] Silver

In an employability ranking published by Emerging in 2015, where CEOs and chairmen were asked to select the top universities they recruited from, Manchester was placed 24th in the world and 5th nationally. [75] In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, [76] Manchester came fifth in terms of research power and seventeenth for grade point average quality when including specialist institutions. [77] [78] According to the 2017 High Fliers Report, Manchester is the second most targeted university by the largest number of leading graduate employers in the UK. [79]

According to The Sunday Times in 2006, "Manchester has a formidable reputation spanning most disciplines, but most notably in the life sciences, engineering, humanities, economics, sociology and the social sciences". [80] As of 2016, Manchester is ranked as the 8th, 10th and 49th most reputable university in the UK, Europe and the world respectively. [81] Manchester was also given a prestigious award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts by the Times Higher Education Awards 2010. [82] In a recent ranking published by the New York Times, Manchester was placed as the 9th most innovative university in Europe and 3rd nationally behind Imperial and Cambridge. [83]

The QS World University Rankings 2018–19 placed Manchester 29th in the world. [84] The Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 ranked Manchester 5th in the UK and 35th in the world. Manchester is ranked 56th in the world (and 8th in the UK) in the 2016 Round University Ranking . [85] In 2019, it ranked 59th among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings. [86]

In 2017, the Alliance Manchester Business School was ranked 3rd in UK, 10th in Europe and 30th in the world by the Financial Times in its global MBA ranking. [87]

However, while world rankings (such as QS, ARWU, THE) typically place the university within the top 10 in the UK, in national studies the university ranks less favourably. In The Sunday Times 10-year (1998–2007) average ranking of British universities based on consistent league table performance, Manchester was ranked 17th overall in the UK. [88] The Times/Sunday Times 'Good University Guide 2015' ranked Manchester 28th out of universities in the UK, 'The Complete University Guide 2016' placed it at 28th, whilst 'The Guardian University Guide 2016' ranked Manchester at 29th in the UK. This apparent paradox is mainly a reflection of the different ranking methodologies employed by each listing: global rankings focus on research and international reputation, whereas national rankings are largely based on entry standards, graduate prospects and student satisfaction with teaching at the university. [89] In fact, a recent poll voted Manchester as the third "most underrated university in the UK" [90]


UCAS Admission Statistics
Applications [91] 63,95063,57063,98061,28555,870
Offer Rate (%) [92] 70.172.473.472.672.6
Enrols [93] 8,3158,7059,3309,0408,605
Yield (%) 18.518.919.920.321.2
Applicant/Enrolled Ratio7.697.306.866.786.49
Average Entry Tariff [94] [lower-alpha 1] n/a169431435433

More students apply to Manchester than to any other university in the country, with more than 55,000 applications for undergraduate courses in 2014 resulting in 6.5 applicants for every available place. [80] [95] Manchester had the 17th highest average entry qualification for undergraduates of any UK university in 2015, with new students averaging 431 UCAS points, [96] equivalent to just above A*AAb or ABBab in A-level grades. In 2015, the university gave offers of admission to 73.4% of its applicants, the 10th lowest amongst the Russell Group. [97] The university was one of twelve that between them took over half of students with AAB or higher A-Level grades recruited to English universities in 2009–10. [98]

17.2% of Manchester's undergraduates are privately educated, the 23rd highest proportion amongst mainstream British universities. [99] In the 2016–17 academic year, the university had a domicile breakdown of 67:6:27 of UK:EU:non-EU students respectively with a female to male ratio of 53:47. [100]

Manchester University Press

Manchester University Press is the university's academic publishing house. It publishes academic monographs, textbooks and journals, most of which are works from authors based elsewhere in the international academic community, and is the third-largest university press in England after Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press.

Student life

Students' Union

The Students' Union building on Oxford Road Manchester University Students Union Building (geograph 1963615).jpg
The Students' Union building on Oxford Road

The University of Manchester Students' Union is the representative body of students at the university and the UK's largest students' union. It was formed out of the merger between UMIST Students' Association and University of Manchester Union when the parent organisations UMIST and the Victoria University of Manchester merged on 1 October 2004.

Unlike many other students' unions in the UK, it does not have a president, but is run by an eight-member executive team who share joint responsibility.


The Manchester University Boat Club is one of many Athletic Union clubs Manchester University Boat Club.jpg
The Manchester University Boat Club is one of many Athletic Union clubs

The University of Manchester operates sports clubs through its athletics union while student societies are operated by the Students' Union.

The university has more than 80 health and fitness classes while over 3,000 students are members of the 44 various Athletic Union clubs. The sports societies vary widely in their level and scope. Many more popular sports operate several university teams and departmental teams which compete in leagues against other teams within the university. Teams include: badminton, lacrosse, korfball, dodgeball, hockey, rugby league, rugby union, football, basketball, fencing, netball, squash, water polo, ultimate and cricket.

The athletic union was formed at Owens College in 1885 from four clubs: rugby, lacrosse, cricket and tennis. In 1901 the women's athletic union was founded. In 1981 the two unions were amalgamated. After the acquisition of the Firs estate in Fallowfield a sports ground and pavilion were provided there. From 1940 the McDougall Centre in Burlington Street was also in use as a sports centre. Ron Hill, Rowena Sweatman, James Hickman, Cyril Holmes and Harry Whittle are former students who have achieved Olympic success. [102]

The Manchester Aquatics Centre, the swimming pool used for the Manchester Commonwealth Games is on the campus and used for water sports. The main facilities used for sports are the Sugden Centre in Grosvenor Street, the Armitage Site near Owens Park and the Wythenshawe Sports Ground. [103]

The university has achieved success in the BUCS (British University & College Sports) competitions, with its men's water polo 1st team winning the national championships (2009, 2010, 2011) under the tutelage of their coach Andy Howard. [104] It was positioned in eighth place in the overall BUCS rankings for 2009/10 [105]

The university competes annually in 28 different sports against Leeds and Liverpool universities in the Christie Cup, which Manchester has won for seven consecutive years. [106] The Christie Cup is an inter-university competition between Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester in numerous sports since 1886. After the Oxford and Cambridge rivalry, the Christie's Championships is the oldest Inter–University competition on the sporting calendar: the cup was a benefaction of Richard Copley Christie.

Every year elite sportsmen and sportswomen are selected for membership of the XXI Club, a society formed in 1932 to promote sporting excellence at the university. Most members have gained a Full Maroon for representing the university and many have excelled at a British Universities or National level. No more than 21 active members are allowed, each elected for up to three years (after graduating they become passive members).

An example of the university clubs is the lacrosse club which was founded in the season 1883–84 and in the following years won the North of England Flags twice and maintained its position among the leading English clubs. In 1885 it was one of the four founding clubs of the athletic union. The merging of Owens College with the university in 1904 affected the club by restricting the pool of players available for selection. However when the English Universities Lacrosse Championship was set up in 1925–26 with five university teams the Manchester team won in the first season and again in 1932–33 and continued to do so in the 1930s. [107]

University Challenge quiz programme

In the eight years up to 2013, Manchester has won the BBC2 quiz programme University Challenge four times, drawing equal with Magdalen College, Oxford, for the highest number of series wins. [108] Since merging as the University of Manchester, the university has consistently reached the latter stages of the competition, progressing to at least the semi-finals every year since 2005. [109]

In 2006, Manchester beat Trinity Hall, Cambridge, to record the university's first win in the competition. The next year, the university finished in second place after losing to the University of Warwick in the final. In 2009, the team battled hard in the final against Corpus Christi College, Oxford. At the gong, the score was 275 to 190 in favour of Corpus Christi College after a winning performance from Gail Trimble. However, the title was eventually given to the University of Manchester after it was discovered that Corpus Christi team member Sam Kay had graduated eight months before the final was broadcast, so the team was disqualified.

Manchester reached the semi-finals in the 2010 competition before being beaten by Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The university did not enter the 2011 series for an unknown reason. However, Manchester did enter a year later and won University Challenge 2012. [109] Manchester has since defended its title to win University Challenge 2013, beating University College London, 190 to 140.

Student housing

Ashburne Hall, a catered accommodation offered mainly to undergraduate students, though some places are reserved for postgraduate students ManUni Accommodation year1.jpg
Ashburne Hall, a catered accommodation offered mainly to undergraduate students, though some places are reserved for postgraduate students

Before they merged, the two former universities had for some time been sharing their residential facilities.

City Campus

Whitworth Park Halls of Residence

Whitworth Park Halls of Residence is owned by the University of Manchester and houses 1,085 students, [110] [111] located next to Whitworth Park. It is notable for its triangular shaped accommodation blocks which gave rise to the nickname of ’Toblerones’, after the chocolate bar. Their designer took inspiration from a hill created from excavated soil which had been left in 1962 from an archaeological dig led by John Gater. A consequence of the triangular design was a reduced cost for the construction company. A deal struck between the university and Manchester City Council meant the council would pay for the roofs of all student residential buildings in the area, Allan Pluen's team is believed to have saved thousands on the final cost of the halls. They were built in the mid-1970s.

Dilworth House, one of the Whitworth Park halls of residence Whitworth Park Halls.jpg
Dilworth House, one of the Whitworth Park halls of residence

The site of the halls was previously occupied by many small streets whose names have been preserved in the names of the halls. Grove House is an older building that has been used by the university for many different purposes over the last sixty years. Its first occupants in 1951 were the Appointments Board and the Manchester University Press. [112] The shops in Thorncliffe Place were part of the same plan and include banks and a convenience store. Notable people associated with the halls include Friedrich Engels, whose residence is commemorated by a blue plaque on Aberdeen House; the physicist Brian Cox; and Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International. [113]

Sackville Street

The former UMIST Campus has four halls of residence near to Sackville Street building (Weston, Lambert, Fairfield, and Wright Robinson). Chandos Hall, a former residence, has been closed prior to demolition.

Other accommodation

Moberly Tower has been demolished. Other residences include Vaughn House, once the home of the clergy serving the Church of the Holy Name, and George Kenyon Hall at University Place; Crawford House and Devonshire House adjacent to the Manchester Business School and Victoria Hall on Upper Brook Street.

Victoria Park Campus

Victoria Park Campus comprises several halls of residence. Among these are St. Anselm Hall with Canterbury Court, Dalton-Ellis Hall, Hulme Hall (including Burkhardt House), St Gabriel's Hall and Opal Gardens Hall.

Fallowfield Campus

The Fallowfield Campus, 2 miles (3.2 km) south of the Oxford Road Campus is the largest of the university's residential campuses. The Owens Park group of halls with a landmark tower is at its centre, while Oak House is another hall of residence. Woolton Hall is next to Oak House. Allen Hall is a traditional hall near Ashburne Hall (Sheavyn House being annexed to Ashburne). Richmond Park is a recent addition to the campus.

Notable people

Many notable people have worked or studied at one or both of the two former institutions that now form the University of Manchester, including 25 Nobel Prize laureates. Some of the best-known are: John Dalton (founder of modern atomic theory), Ernest Rutherford who proved the nuclear nature of the atom whilst working at Manchester, Ludwig Wittgenstein (considered one of the most significant philosophers of the 20th century, who studied for a doctorate in engineering), George E. Davis (founder of the discipline of chemical engineering), Marie Stopes (pioneer of birth control and campaigner for women's rights), Bernard Lovell (a pioneer of radio astronomy), Alan Turing (one of the founders of computer science and artificial intelligence), Tom Kilburn and Frederic Calland Williams (who developed the Manchester Baby, the world's first stored-program computer at Victoria University of Manchester in 1948), Irene Khan (former Secretary General of Amnesty International), physicist and television presenter Brian Cox, the author Anthony Burgess and Robert Bolt (two times Academy Award winner and three times Golden Globe winner for writing the screenplay for Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago ).

A number of politicians are associated with the university, including the current presidents of the Republic of Ireland and the Somaliland region of Somalia and prime ministers of Sudan, Palestine and Iraq, as well as several ministers in the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Canada and Singapore. The vice president of Tanzania (November 2015 – present), Samia Hassan Suluhu, also attended the University of Manchester. Chaim Weizmann, a senior lecturer at the university, was also the first President of Israel.

The university educated some of the leading figures of Alternative Comedy: Ben Elton, Ade Edmondson and Rik Mayall. Additionally, a number of well-known actors have studied at the university, including Benedict Cumberbatch, who most notably portrays Sherlock Holmes in the TV series Sherlock , as well as playing the role of Manchester's own Alan Turing in the 2014 Oscar-winning biopic The Imitation Game'.

Nobel Prize winners

The University of Manchester, inclusive of its predecessor institutions, numbers 25 Nobel Prize recipients amongst its current and former staff and students, with some of the most important discoveries of the modern age having been made in Manchester. Manchester University has the fourth largest number of Nobel laureates in the UK, only Cambridge, Oxford and UCL having a greater number.



Physiology and Medicine


See also

Related Research Articles

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Coordinates: 53°27′56″N2°14′01″W / 53.46556°N 2.23361°W / 53.46556; -2.23361