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Guide to Manchester University Postgraduate Admission

The City and the University

A vibrant and culturally rich and diverse city, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester is regarded as the UK’s second city after London, sometimes fondly referred to as ‘the capital of the North’. Located right in the heart of the UK, it is also not as expensive as London with regard to living costs. There is an international airport just a 30 minute drive from the campus, and London is under two hours away by train, but also close to beauty spots such as the Peak District and Lake District (30 minutes to an hour).


Whilst university rankings have some value, other factors, some mentioned below, are also very important in determining the right programme of study for you. Still, Manchester consistently ranks highly, in 2024 being placed 32nd in the world, 8th in Europe and 6th in the UK. Also, Manchester was the most targeted university by the UK’s top 100 recruiters according to the High Fliers report on The Graduate Market in 2023. A founding member of the Russell Group universities, equivalent to the US Ivy League, and 24 research-led institutions means your teachers are very active and at the cutting edge in some important research programmes. 


The campus is contained very close to the City Centre, about a 15 minute walk away. International students who want to live in university accommodation are guaranteed a place on campus. 


As it approaches its 200th birthday, the University has seen many ‘firsts’. It was at Manchester that the world’s first stored programme computer was invented. Also, Ernest Rutherford worked on splitting the atom in the building in which Anisa currently works! Manchester has been home to 25 Nobel Prize winners, one of whom is a current staff member, for the discovery of graphene, a revolutionary material currently taking the tech industry by storm.


Structure of the University


There are three Faculties: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health and the Faculty of Science and Engineering.


Within the faculties are individual Schools, the academic departments, with a great range of subject choice, whether it’s sciences and technology or management and business. Postgraduate courses are available and there is a very wide range, so the likelihood is that you will be able to find something that is both suited to your future goals and that can give you the employability skills that you need to get a good job in the future.


Courses


 It’s important to look carefully at both course structure and content. Not all courses are the same, even if they have the same content. In the end, your professors are human beings, each having their own specialisms and passions and these things filter down into the courses. You will also want to think about, for example, the amount of contact time you’ll spend in class. Some respond better to face to face teaching whilst others prefer self-led studies. If the latter you may prefer to pursue a PhD or type of Master’s course called an MRes, a Master of Research, a bit like a mini-PhD or precursor to a PhD.

 

Most commonly people will pursue either an MSc (Master of Science) or MA (Master of Arts), but there are many different types. In all cases check here what prerequisites are required, if any. Also note that some courses also carry accreditation by professional bodies, such as in finance for example, meaning they are recognised by particular industry bodies as meeting the particular industry’s professional standards.


Anisa also suggested that it is well worth considering the employability aims of the particular courses you are looking at. Thankfully, on the University of Manchester website every available course has its own course profile with a careers section. Here you will find details about the previous companies that people who have studied this course have gone on to and an idea of the jobs they are doing now. This will give you what the outcomes can be from studying a particular course. 


So there is a wealth of information about all the University’s courses on the course profile pages. Read them carefully!


Facilities


Manchester has some amazing facilities. For example, tin Physics and Astronomy Jodrell Bank is an active facility for research as well as being a tourist attraction. The Alliance Manchester Business School is a new facility for business and management students, an enormous building and a really great study place right in the centre of the campus. Opposite the Business School is an almost completed block which houses all of the engineering students and disciplines.

  

Academic entry requirements


Specific entry requirements for candidates coming from different countries can be found on the website, but typically a first class or 2.1 bachelor’s degree or equivalent is needed. To find out how your qualification equates to UK qualifications go to manchester.ac.uk/study/international/country-specific-information. If you can’t find what you are looking for there, contact the international office.


For anyone interested in an MBA at Manchester, three years of professional experience are required for an application to be successful. This is something specific to Manchester. It is normally expected that the type of experience will be management / mid-management level and that you will show evidence of an ‘upward trajectory’.

Beyond academic requirements it is necessary for international applicants to demonstrate proficiency in English. Typically at postgraduate level entry this equates to an IELTS score of 6 to 7.5 depending upon the course. A wide range of English language qualifications are accepted by Manchester so check out the entry requirements on the course pages of the course(s) you are interested in. If you don’t have any of these but do have some other proof of English language proficiency, for example a portfolio of an English project or something related to English, let the Admissions Office know and submit it. The Office will determine whether this is sufficient proof.


Employability


Manchester is a known name among employers, some top employers, especially in the UK, but also those with a global presence. So far Manchester has been the top targeted university by the top hundred companies for the past 2 years. In 2020 Manchester was ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employability’, and this is due in large part to the extensive network developed with some top employers over the years. When employers see the University of Manchester on a CV or resume they recognise a quality degree that has developed in its students a professional approach to work.


The Careers Service also provides excellent support – easily accessed via careers.manchester.ac.uk – and as a student there is also one-to-one support with an advisor to help you plan and achieve your career aims. Workshops and career fairs also take place throughout the year.


Life on campus


Manchester is home to the UK’s largest student union, an organisation that’s run by students for students, with an elected student governing body and a wide variety of clubs and societies related to sports, cultures and hobbies, for you to get involved in.


There are also cafes, shops and restaurants on campus. As mentioned earlier, international students who want to live in university accommodation are guaranteed a place on campus if they so wish to take this option.


Q and A

  1. On medicine at Manchester:


Manchester offers undergraduate and medicine courses, which is the kind of qualifying degree that you need to become a doctor. For a postgraduate there are a really wide range of medicine and healthcare-related master’s degrees, most related to different areas of the biosciences, but also some professional development master’s courses suitable for people who already have a graduate medical degree – find a list of courses here: bmh.manchester.ac.uk.


  1. What are the subjects for linguistics


There is a very strong linguistics and languages department at the university and strong research in things like sociolinguistics and dialect change (see the Linguistics MA). 


  1. How many people receive an offer every year?


This is difficult to provide an answer to as every year there are variations in the number of applications. Typically around 10 applications per place are received so it is very competitive. Offers are made based upon academic abilities and strengths.


  1. Is it required for you to have internship experience?


This really depends upon the subject area that you are applying for, although most master’s degrees are suitable for people from any background including those who have just finished undergraduate studies. So it is not often a formal requirement but could make your application stronger if it’s related to the area you are applying for.


  1. What types of experiences improve the chances of admission in science and engineering majors, aside from the GPA and academics?


Aside from GPA scores and your university transcript they would look for evidence of other real related studies. The best thing to do is to go to https://manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/courses and look at the course profiles you are interested in. Some will say that you need a good strong mathematics or statistics background for example, so this is what they will look for in your degree transcript. With regard to professional and internship experiences, anything related to what you are applying for can make your application stronger.


  1. If the major I study in undergraduate school is quite different from the graduate degree that I want to apply for, will it be a big problem?


The answer is for some master’s degrees yes and for some no. For example, an MSc in management or international management at Manchester are open to people of any background, so you could apply from a humanities or science background. They will look at your grades, but not particular subjects.


Other master’s degrees do have requirements, so for example if you’re interested in finance you would normally have studied finance in your undergraduate degree, or something quantitative such as statistics or mathematics. So go to the website and look through the course profiles to see if there are any prerequisites before applying.


  1. How expensive is it to live in Manchester and can I get a job?


Manchester is actually relatively affordable (almost a third cheaper than living in London, for example) when you look at things like accommodation etc. We advise people doing postgraduate to budget for around £12,000 to cover accommodation and general living expenses. Obviously it is always possible to spend more but this kind of expenditure should be achievable!


Yes, it is possible to get some work in the form of a part-time job outside your studies. This does mean you must be very organised in your time-management, prioritising your academic studies. There are such work opportunities on campus (as student ambassadors, for example) as well as in the wider community (shops, bars, restaurants etc).


You will need to ensure that you keep closely to your visa’s restrictions on work and currently for most student visas the limit is 20 hours per week during term times. At holiday times you should be able to work full-time (normally up to 40 hours per week). But make sure you keep within the terms of your particular visa. And remember especially to make sure it does not adversely affect your academic studies.


  1. Will the university prefer intern experiences in some big and famous company than the intern experiences in some smaller company for applicants? 


There is value in both really, if the right balance is achieved. Obviously there is benefit in being involved in experiences with a recognised company name in terms of professional experience. However, it is more about how you explain, as part of your application, the experiences that you had, and the skills and knowledge that you have gained, and how they are relevant to what you are applying for.


As part of making your application you will need to submit a personal statement, which is like a personal essay, talking about why you are making an application to the specific subject area. In this it is most important that you explain what you have gained and how it is relevant and beneficial in relation to your proposed course of study, rather than the name of the company. 


  1. How long is the personal essay / statement?


There is no particular word limit, although it’s normally best to keep it to around 500 words, or one side of A4 paper.


There are live webinars on student life at Manchester, as well as accommodation, visa applications etc, so to find out more go to https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/manchester-live-

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