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Big is a word that would aptly describe the University of Manchester. It’s got a big campus, a big student population and a big reputation. A wold renowned Russell Group university, the University of Manchester is right in the heart of the North’s most vibrant and exciting city, Manchester.
Enough gushing, let’s look at a bit of history. The present-day University of Manchester was created in 2004 by a merger of two, long-established and reputed higher education institutions: University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology (UMIST) and the Victoria University of Manchester. So although the University of Manchester is technically quite a new university, it can trace its roots as far back as 1846.
Today, the University is flourishing, with a huge student population of 40,000 undergraduates and postgraduates. It’s got the largest single-site campus for a UK university and one of the largest Students’ Union in the country. The academic structure is split across four main faculties, each further classified into several academic schools: Engineering and Physical Sciences; Humanities; Life Sciences; and Medical and Human Sciences. In the 2008 Research Assessment exercise, the University of Manchester took third place after Oxford and Cambridge, with the majority of its research rated as internationally excellent and world leading.
Notable alumni from its past institutes include: authors Anthony Burgess and Louis de Bernieres, the CEO of Tesco Sir Terry Leahy, the Chemical Brothers and comedian and actress Meera Syal. It has also produced twenty five Nobel Laureates. Not half bad then.
The University of Manchester is located around a mile away from the centre of Manchester city. Manchester is the second-largest city in the UK and unofficial capital of Northwest England, coming into prominence during the Industrial Revolution as a commercial and industrial powerhouse.
Boasting the one of the largest student populations in the country, this is a city that knows how to cater for students. It’s dripping in musical heritage, the home of such famous groups as The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis. The setting of Steve Coogan’s 24 Hour Party People, Manchester is well known for its pioneering nightlife and packed with clubs, bars and various other watering holes.
Sport is pretty high on the agenda too: think Manchester United, Manchester City Football Club, cycling at the Manchester Velodrome and the Manchester Aquatic Centre. The shopping is some of the best in the North, with a mixture of cool boutiques and monolithic shopping centres. But enough about the city, let’s look at the University.
The main campus of the University of Manchester is UK’s largest, single-site campus: it contains a whopping 347 buildings across 700-plus acres. It is home to libraries, museums, galleries, concert halls, and more lecture theatres than you can shake a doctoral thesis at. The campus caters not only for your academic needs, but your everyday needs too. There are over thirty outlets, including cafes, eateries and coffee shops, for hungry students, and the University of Manchester Students’ Union runs several shops, cafes, coffee shops and bars, as well as other student friendly facilities.
University of Manchester guarantees university accommodation for all first year undergraduate students, subject to some terms and conditions. There’s a huge amount of university-managed accommodation available too; the University puts up more than 9,200 students in 29 halls of residence.
These halls are located on three sites: City Campus, Fallowfield Campus and Victoria Park Campus. Prices for rooms vary: self-catered accommodation will set you back between £82 and £147 a week, whilst weekly rent for catered accommodation ranges between £112 and £155.
The Accommodation Office offers the Manchester Student Homes (MSU) service to students looking for accommodation within the private sector. Popular student areas for private housing include Chorlton, Didsbury, Moss Side, Rusholme, Whalley Range and Withington. Private housing is also available in the Fallowfield and Victoria Park areas. Prices vary by area but are usually cheap, starting at £60 a week.
For the academic year 2012-13, EU and UK students starting full-time, undergraduate degree programmes will be charged tuition fees of £9,000 a year. Admittedly, this is a big investment in your future, but you won't pay a penny whilst you’re studying and you won't pay any of your loan back until you earn over £21,000 a year.
Living in Manchester is easy on all pockets, but especially so for university students. The city caters well for its 250,000 students, with plenty of shops, bars and clubs offering student discounts. Living costs are on average £9,000 per year, including accommodation. All in all, it’s about £2,000 cheaper than London’s living costs.
So long as you manage your budget well and don’t go too crazy splashing your money about on nights out, Manchester is perfectly liveable on a student’s budget.
At the University of Manchester, there’s plenty of financial help for those from lower income households. If your household income is less than £25,000, then you might be eligible for a £1,000 cash award and £2,000 to be used either on accommodation or as a tuition fee discount. Students with a residual income of less than £35,000 might be eligible for a cash award of £1,000 too. The University of Manchester also has a range of foundation year bursaries.
Scholarship wise, there’s the Opportunity Manchester Scholarships of £1,000 a year for those attending the University having completed the Manchester Access Programme (MAP). The University of Manchester also provides a list of courses that have scholarship or sponsorship opportunities, which is available here.
Manchester is a city that matches London (or some would say surpasses it) for nightlife. It’s a nightlife mecca: scope for a night out is simply mind boggling. Student nightlife is concentrated around four main areas: Fallowfield (well most of the students live there anyway), the Northern Quarter (a heady mix of independent bars and your more mainstream clubs), Oxford Road and Deansgate Locks.
There are plenty of live music venues dotted around Manchester, more than 15 theatres, several top comedy clubs and your fair share of independent and multiplex cinemas. Restaurants galore serve up all manner of cuisines and, if you love your curries, Manchester is the place to be.
Nightlife on campus isn’t bad either. The University of Manchester Students’ Union runs Biko’s café; the Burlington Bar; Harry’s Bar and Paddy’s Lounge and The Union Bar. The Union organises five Big Events across the year, as well as various club nights, student festivals, gigs and dance nights.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to sport at the University of Manchester. There is a range of extensive sport and fitness facilities on campus, including the Armitage Site (which has a fitness suite, squash courts, indoor sports hall, grass and artificial turf pitches), the Sugden Sports Centre (two large sports hall, fitness suite, aerobics studio, outdoor pitches and squash courts); and the Wythenshawe Sports Ground.
The University of Manchester has over 46 sports clubs managed by the Athletic Union, so there should be something that caters for your sporting preferences. For the less sport mad, the University has an abundance of societies: from People and Planet and Dubstep society, to various film and comedy societies. There’s a student radio, FuseFm, a student newspaper, The Mancunion, and a student television channel, FuseTV.
Freshers’ Week at the University of Manchester is legendary. With Freshers’ parties both on campus and at the city’s many clubs, nights can get messy. The Students’ Union puts on plenty of entertainment, club nights and live music to get the party going. There are also plenty of non-alcohol fuelled events to get you socialising and meeting new people.
The Union hosts a number of different fairs throughout the week, which are excellent places to find out more about the various sports clubs and societies on offer. Companies will be handing out freebies left right and centre too, so expect to pick up plenty of goodies too.
The University of Manchester’s Careers Service provides bespoke advice, information and resources for current students and fresh graduates. They offer online and interactive services, run a Manchester Graduate Programme and a Manchester Leadership Programme. Through volunteer programmes and workshops, the Manchester Leadership Programme encourages the development of various skills that’ll knock the socks off graduate employers.