University of Manchester

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University of Manchester Details

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The University of Manchester is part of the prestigious Russell Group of universities, with outstanding facilities and the widest range of courses. We are highly respected across the globe as a centre of teaching excellence and innovative research.

With 25 Nobel prize winners among our current and former staff and students, we have a history of world firsts and brilliant discoveries, from splitting the atom to giving the world graphene.

We’re committed to world-class research, an outstanding learning and student experience, and social responsibility in everything we do.

Our vision is for The University of Manchester to be one of the leading universities in the world by 2020.

The University of Manchester was the first and most eminent of the civic universities, furthering the frontiers of knowledge through research and teaching, but also contributing to the well-being of its region and society more widely. These aims have guided the institution ever since and continue to drive our strategic vision.

In November 2011 (updated in October 2015) we published our Manchester 2020 document, the strategic plan for the University. Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, is responsible for the delivery of this plan.

The strategic plan is based around our three core goals of world-class research, outstanding learning and student experience, and social responsibility.

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

The Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences comprises the following Schools:

  • School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science
  • School of Chemistry
  • School of Computer Science
  • School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences
  • School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • School of Materials
  • School of Mathematics
  • School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering
  • School of Physics and Astronomy

Faculty of Humanities

The Faculty of Humanities is made up of five academic Schools:

  • Alliance Manchester Business School
  • School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
  • School of Environment, Education and Development
  • School of Law
  • School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Life Sciences (Single School)

  • Faculty of Life Sciences

Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences

The Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences consists of the following academic Schools and Institutes:

  • School of Dentistry
  • Manchester Medical School
  • School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work
  • Manchester Pharmacy School
  • School of Psychological Sciences
  • Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health
  • Institute of Cancer Sciences
  • Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
  • Institute of Human Development
  • Institute of Inflammation and Repair
  • Institute of Population Health


The University of Manchester traces its roots to the formation of the Mechanics’ Institute (later to become UMIST) in 1824, and its heritage is linked to Manchester’s pride in being the world’s first industrial city.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.

Similarly, John Owens, a textile merchant, left a bequest of £96,942 in 1846 (around £5.6 million in 2005 prices) 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.

However the largest single donor to Owens College was the celebrated locomotive designer, Charles Beyer. He became a governor of the college and was the largest single donor to the Owens college Extension fund, which raised the money to move to a new site and build the main building now known as the John Owens building. He is also campaigned and helped fund the Engineering chair, the first applied science department in the north of England. He left the equivalent the equivalent of £10 million in his will in 1876, at a time when the college was in great financial difficulty. The Beyer funded the total cost of construction of the Beyer building to house the biology and geology departments Oxford. His will also funded Engineering chairs and the Beyer Professor of Applied mathematics, which still exists today. The University has a rich German heritage. The Owens College Extension Movement based their plans after a large tour of mainly German Universities and polytechnics.

The rich Manchester mill owner,Thomas Ashton was the chairman of the extension Movement and he studied at Heidelberg University. Sir Henry Roscoe studied at Heidelberg too,under Robert Bunsen and collaborated with him for many years on research projects and it was Roscoe that promoted the German style of research led teaching which became the role model for all the modern 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. There was even a German chapel on the campus.

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.

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. 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.

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

The current University of Manchester was officially launched on 1 October 2004 when Queen Elizabeth handed over its Royal Charter.The university was named the Sunday Times University of the Year in 2006 after winning the inaugural Times Higher Education SupplementUniversity of the Year prize in 2005.

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. His successor was Dame Nancy Rothwell, 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”. In 2011, four Nobel laureates were on its staff: Andre Geim, Konstantin Novoselov, 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). In 2013, an additional £23 million of funding from European Regional Development Fund was awarded to the institute taking investment to £61 million.

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. 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.

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