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The University of Manchester (UK)

The largest single-site, campus-based university in the UK is located at The University of Manchester, a Russell Group university that was founded in 1824.

Spread out along Oxford Road, Manchester's campus is well-located within a 10-minute walk of the city centre.

Here are some highlights from my trip to campus in May 2022!

The University of Manchester main building
Explore England group
Explore England group

Manchester as a city

Famous for football (soccer), music (bands like Oasis), the Curry Mile and for being the birthplace of vegetarianism in the UK, Manchester is often referred to as the country's second capital city.

It's a much more affordable place than the actual capital though.

It'll be a tikka masala + garlic naan for me!
It'll be a tikka masala + garlic naan for me!
Highly recommend the mango lassi - one of my fav things at an Indian restaurant!
Highly recommend the mango lassi - one of my fav things at an Indian restaurant!

According to the Trinity Mirror Data Unit, Manchester ranks ninth out of 50 cities for culture, with more music venues per 100,000 people than anywhere else in the country and second highest number of libraries and cinemas.

Palace Theatre
Palace Theatre

With three unis in the city and 10 in the surrounding areas, Manchester also has one of the largest student populations.

It's just two hours on the train from both London and Edinburgh and has the second largest airport in the UK; as such, it's easy to find direct flights from the U.S.

What's quite cool is that when you're walking down any given street, you pass by buildings with a mix of architectural design, a blend of modern and industrial with historical.

Popular student hang-out close to campus
Popular student spot close to campus
Make a wish on this lock bridge

Campus & academics

The most striking building on campus is one of the first that you'll see, Whitworth Hall, which is not only where students graduate but also a popular wedding venue!

With its stunning stained glass windows and romantic lighting, it's easy to see why.

The University of Manchester main building
The University of Manchester main building
Stained glass windows in the main building
Graduation hall in the main building
Beautiful organ in the main building graduation hall
Stunning architecture in the main building
Main building courtyard
University of Manchester main building
Beautiful ivy on the old buildings
John Owens Building
Sunny skies at the University of Manchester

It's not the only spot named after engineer Joseph Whitworth though; one really cool place to study or have a meal is the Whitworth Cafe, located right on the edge of campus in an art gallery and next to -- you guessed it -- Whitworth Park.

Whitworth Cafe
Whitworth Cafe

Manchester also has a Triple Crown business school (the highest level of accreditation, which is difficult to achieve, via EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB).

Business students have the unique opportunity to work with the local football clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City.

For future engineers, it's worth noting that Manchester's engineering building was simply one of the most impressive engineering buildings I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot of them).

It's actually the size of 11 football fields!

Manchester is synonymous with the Worker Bee, and our maker space will be the hive of activity in our new home for students... So, a chemical engineer could be sat alongside a materials scientist working on clean water, or bump into a fashion student developing their own sustainable brand, or an aerospace engineer sending a rocket into space. It is a place like no other for interactions and one of the biggest communities of engineers and materials scientists in any university in the world.

Entrance of the engineering building
Entrance of the engineering building

For those looking to study a medical degree straight out of high school, Manchester has one of the largest medical schools in the UK and Europe and has 24 places for international students in the program.

This program is unique because it's taught with Problem-Based Learning; students meet virtual/sample patients and follow their cases throughout the degree.

U.S. students can also benefit from the opportunity to do a rotation back home at the Mayo Clinic.

Manchester is really known for its STEM subjects though; in fact, two Nobel Prize winners teach in Chemistry and Physics.

Below are some other photos from around campus.

Cool building that used to be a church
Largest lecture theatre on campus
Brunswick Park
More facilities on Manchester's campus

Liberal Arts

A really interesting degree choice -- particularly for a student with lots of interests -- is the BA Liberal Arts program, which allows students to create a bespoke degree, choosing modules relating to key issues that affect being a free citizen (such as social inequality, cultural diversity, artificial intelligence and climate change, to name a few).

This degree has a particular emphasis on how these topics relate specifically to the city of Manchester, and students get the benefit of using the city as a living lab.

Samuel Alexander Building
Samuel Alexander Building
Samuel Alexander sculpture in the Samuel Alexander building
Samuel Alexander building

As part of my visit, I got to experience a taster lecture from the Arts and the City: People, Power, and Protest class with Dr. Scott Midson, a compulsory module in this degree, and wow, was it fascinating and was he engaging!

Dr. Scott Midson
Dr. Scott Midson

One of the assessments for this module is a PechaKucha task (basically a photo essay), where students have to put together a video of 20 images (original photography or archival images) at 20 seconds per image (no text allowed), exploring an issue of their choice.

In the final year of the degree, students consult with an external organization and complete a world-facing research project.

Student life

Although Manchester prides itself on its research output, the student experience is not all about research.

It's one of those places where it's clear students actually like to hang out on campus; they could be seen sitting in groups in the grass, kicking around a soccer ball and enjoying the good weather.

Students sunbathing on Manchester's campus
The quad on Manchester's campus

The Students' Union is also popular, offering a wide variety of societies and volunteering opportunities, including a pillow fighting society!

Students' Union
Students' Union

There's also a big focus on sustainability and student support.

Sustainability challenge on campus
Sustainability efforts on campus
Mental Health Awareness Week

Graduates are well-prepared for the workforce within the degrees due to a diversity of experiences they can get involved with in their time on campus.

They also have access to what's been voted the most popular Careers Service in the country, where students can sign up for alerts regarding the 500-800 job openings per month that come in from employers.

Student study space on campus

There is also an artificial intelligence tool that will help them improve their resumes before they come into the office for more personalized feedback, along with LinkedIn and personal statement support, interview practice and peer mentoring.

Perhaps most importantly, there is a large Manchester alumni community in the U.S., and they actively put together mentorship programs for future graduates as well.

The University of Manchester: Summary

The city of Manchester is quite a cool place that has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, and it just oozes culture.

It's a major metropolitan and cosmopolitan area with a well-connected airport, making it easy to explore or transit from other international destinations.

With 40,000+ students, the university plays an important role in the makeup of the city and local economy/workforce, and it has a campus culture that's in tune with current issues and trends both at a local and worldwide level.

When it comes to admissions, however, it's definitely one of the more competitive options; U.S. high school applicants should be prepared to provide at least three Advanced Placement exams with scores of 4's or 5's as part of their academic portfolio.


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G'day! My name is Sara, and I'm the founder of College Apps Abroad and a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), one of only 40 CEP's in California and 300 worldwide. I have more than 10 years of experience working in international recruitment and admissions, and I've studied and lived overseas myself in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Brazil for almost a decade. I've also worked for some of the world's top institutions, including The University of Edinburgh, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Western Australia (UWA)!

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