University of Manchester – Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and Overview

The University of Manchester has a newer name but a rich history. The school was established out of the 2004 merger of two institutions that had collaborated for a century, the Victoria University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. 

Both of those universities began educating students in the 19th century.

Located in northern England, the University of Manchester today is one of the United Kingdom’s biggest single-site universities and belongs to the Russell Group, a collection of 24 world-renowned universities focused on research. 

With more than 40,000 undergraduate, graduate, and research students studying dozens of subjects across the arts, sciences, and humanities, the university also has one of the U.K.’s largest student bodies.

The university is especially known for its scientific and technical success stories

One prominent example is physicist Ernest Rutherford split the atom in Manchester, and ground-breaking mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing worked on artificial intelligence while working there. 

Current students and staff carry on those successes, with interdisciplinary research remaining at the heart of the university’s academics. The University of Manchester Research Institute helps guide and support these efforts.

University housing includes 23 residence halls of varying styles where students can get to know one another. They learn in historic buildings in a major metropolitan city known for its diversity. The university itself is one of the most multicultural, too, with more international students attending Manchester than any other university in the nation.


University of Manchester Acceptance Rate

University of Manchester
Public domain photo by Charlesdrakew via Wikimedia Commons

The acceptance rate at the University of Manchester is 59%.

Although the University of Manchester is a prestigious school with lots of accolades and distinguished alumni, its acceptance rate my surprise prospective students. 

These percentages do vary by type of degree, however, with just 53% of applicants admitted to the bachelor’s degree programs. 

For taught master’s degree courses around 2018-19, the university accepted approximately 35% of candidates. 

The acceptance rate for its doctoral programs, excluding the pharmacy doctorate, is 53%. The pharmacy program’s acceptance rate actually is much lower, at 28%.

Prospective students can apply through UCAS Track, which lets them keep an eye on the status of their applications and learn if they have received an offer. The university knows it will have more qualified applicants than it has places for, and applicants who don’t get an offer can file an appeal.


University of Manchester Ranking

The University of Manchester has earned high ratings for a wide range of academic and cultural categories from organizations worldwide.

The school tied for 13th out of 130 schools in Complete University Guide’s 2022 University League Tables, which ranks universities from across the U.K. The university also came in 15th for research quality, and 25 of its subject areas ranked in the top 10.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities, done by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, ranks 1,800 universities annually and placed the University of Manchester at No. 35 in its 2021 list. 

The ranking relies heavily on research-related criteria, including how many academic articles have been published in different journals and how many staff members and alumni have won Nobel Prizes.

The university’s commitment to sustainability also has attracted attention. The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings looked at how more than 760 universities from 85 countries stack up with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The University of Manchester ranked eighth in the 2020 list.

The Times and Sunday Times also named the University of Manchester a top university for employability in 2020.  


University of Manchester Alumni

The University of Manchester has over 500,000 alumni spread across more than 190 countries, with over 17,000 students expected to graduate in 2021. 

This makes it the biggest “alumni community of any campus-based university in the U.K.,” according to the school. And that group includes some pretty prestigious names.

“Sherlock” and “Doctor Strange” star Benedict Cumberbatch studied drama at the university, and he’s not the only well-known actor to come from Manchester. 

Toby Jones, who’s starred in “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” also is an alumnus and has said that the university made a “profound” impact on his professional life. Award-winning singer Phil Collins graduated from the university’s drama school as well. 

Other creative alumni include architect and designer Norman Foster, a Manchester native known for his modern designs, including the London skyscraper known as “the Gherkin,” and writer Anthony Burgess, who’s best known for his novel “A Clockwork Orange.”

Twenty-five Nobel Prize winners have studied or worked at the university. Several alumni have gone on to lead governments as well as major businesses and other organizations, such as Dame Sally Davies, the U.K.’s chief medical officer for England, and Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee. 


How to Get Accepted to the University of Manchester?

The university welcomes applications from students from both the U.K. and around the world, so exact admission criteria will depend on where the applicant lives.

Academic schools decide whether to admit an applicant, and their admissions criteria vary. They review applications to see whether a candidate’s previous education had prepared them well enough to study that subject at the university level.

British applicants’ general education should include math and literacy that equals a grade C or 4 or higher in GCSE English Language and Mathematics. Students from outside the U.K. must show they are proficient in English, and the university has more specific admissions requirements for individual countries.

Home-schooled students need to provide a reference letter and may also need to take admissions tests or submit a portfolio with their application, depending on what course they want to study.

When reviewing applications, the university takes into account not only grades applicants have already earned but also how well it thinks they will do if admitted. 

Candidates should show in their personal statement that they are knowledgable and committed, and the university also considers how well they do in an interview with campus representatives and aptitude tests. Teacher references and, if required, portfolios also play into the admissions decision.


Similar Schools

Those interested in attending the University of Manchester may also want to consider some of the other universities that belong to the Russell Group

Many of these can be found in other major English cities, such as the University of Birmingham, the University of Exeter, and the University of Liverpool. Schools in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland also are part of this prestigious group.

These universities are known for their international flair, as students from around the world flock to them to take classes and participate in research. 

Thirty-two percent of students at Russell Group universities come from outside the U.K. Businesses from across the globe also team up with these schools for different programs, exposing students to valuable experience during their time on campus.

In Wales, the University of Cardiff has a student body similar in size to Manchester, with more than 30,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, nearly a quarter of which hail from outside the U.K. 

It, too, has focused on the sciences through the years, and is home to the Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, a major biomedical research facility.

The University of Leeds offers a similar experience, focusing on interdisciplinary research and technology and about 31,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Leeds has made an effort to invest in technology that will help it in future biomedical, robotics, and other scientific research.


RECAP – University of Manchester Is an Excellent School in the UK

The University of Manchester is one of the U.K.’s largest schools and one of its best.

Students get this world-class education from a forward-thinking university that’s investing more than £1 billion into its facilities over a decade, including expanding the Whitworth gallery and physics and astronomy building as well as developing an engineering campus

The student-staff ratio is low, too, at 9:1.

As one of five National Research Libraries, the university’s library is one of five national research libraries and has millions of print and digital texts, and the university’s research arm has made significant contributions to science and medicine, including leukemia and breast cancer, as well as the environment and international humanitarian efforts. 

Members of the university community also can engage in international collaborations for research and other efforts.

When it’s time to socialize, students can join over 40 sports clubs or hang out in one of the large pools or on various courts and pitches. 

The city of Manchester also is home to the National Cycling Centre. Students have 400 societies to choose from, too, across a range of interests, including volunteering, crafts, and the media.

The university also has started the Stellify initiative, which it says means “to change, or be changed, into a star.” 

Through this effort, students are encouraged to participate in different academic activities and extracurriculars to round out their education. 

The university well prepares its students for life after school, with lots of help available from Careers Service. Ninety-four percent of Manchester alumni directly enter the workforce or further education after they graduate.

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