Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Metropolitan University
Former name
Manchester Polytechnic
Type Public
Established 1843 (Manchester School of Design)
1970 (as Manchester Polytechnic)
1992 (gained university status)
Endowment £1.0 m (2015)[1]
Chancellor Peter Mandelson[2]
Vice-Chancellor Malcolm Press[3]
Students 33,010 (2016/17)[4]
Undergraduates 26,780 (2016/17)[4]
Postgraduates 6,235 (2016/17)[4]
Other students
200 FE[5]
Location Manchester, England, UK
53.47053, −2.23872
Campus All Saints, Birley Fields, Crewe
Affiliations University Alliance
Association of Commonwealth Universities
Association of MBAs

Manchester Metropolitan University (often abbreviated MMU) is a new, public university located in Manchester, England. The university originates from the Manchester Mechanics Institute[6] and the Manchester School of Design, which formed Manchester Polytechnic in 1970. Manchester Polytechnic then gained university status under the government's Further and Higher Education Act, becoming the Manchester Metropolitan University in 1992. Today, It is headquartered in the city of Manchester, with additional facilities in Cheshire.

The University's logo is derived from the upper part of the shield of the university crest, with six spade-irons positioned together, suggesting hard toil and entrenchment.

Manchester Metropolitan University receives approximately 52,000 applications every year. It the second most applied-to university in the UK after the University of Manchester,[7] and the fifth largest by number of admitted and enrolled students. MMU is an accredited member of the Association of MBAs, and member of the University Alliance, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the North West Universities Association, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the European University Association.

Today, it is also home to the Manchester School of Art, the Manchester School of Theatre, as well as the Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) administered in collaboration with the University of Manchester.


Manchester Met was developed from mergers of various colleges with various specialisms, including technology, art and design. Its founding can be traced back to the Manchester Mechanics Institute,[6] and the Manchester School of Design also known as the Manchester School of Art. The painter L. S. Lowry attended in the years after the First World War, where he was taught by the noted impressionist Adolphe Valette.[6]

Schools of Commerce (founded 1889), Education (f. 1878), and Domestic Science (f. 1880) were added alongside colleges at Didsbury, Crewe, Alsager and the former Domestic and Trades College (f. 1911). The school renamed itself as Manchester Polytechnic in 1970, which was followed by series of mergers with the Didsbury College of Education and Hollings College in 1977, as well as City of Manchester College of Higher Education in 1983. In 1987, the institution became a founding member of the Northern Consortium, and became a corporate body on 1 April 1989 as allowed by the terms of the Education Reform Act.

On 15 September 1992, Manchester Polytechnic finally gained university status under the wide-sweeping Further and Higher Education Act 1992, and has since rebranded as Manchester Metropolitan University.

After earning university status, Manchester Met absorbed Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education, and the Manchester School of Physiotherapy (MSOP) in 2004: an institution officially formed in 1991 through the amalgamation of the Manchester Royal Infirmary (M.R.I.) and Withington Hospital Schools of Physiotherapy.[8] MSOP was previously affiliated with the Victoria University of Manchester, which conferred degree-level courses by extension until the final Class of 2005.[9] MSOP joined Manchester Metropolitan University as the Department of Physiotherapy in 2004, and was later renamed as the Department of Health Professions. Today, it offers undergraduate and postgraduate studies, a three-year undergraduate honours programme, and National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) programmes for unqualified support workers in the field of physiotherapy.[8]


The university was previously located on seven sites: five in Manchester (All Saints, Aytoun, Didsbury, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Hollings) and two in Cheshire (Alsager and Crewe). However, the university later closed two of the seven sites to rationalize its estate. The university moved the work of the Alsager campus to Crewe, while the Aytoun campus was closed in 2012 following the opening of an All Saints Campus business school. In 2011, the university announced a £350 million investment programme for the largest physical change to its estate since its foundation.

The Elizabeth Gaskell, Hollings and Didsbury campuses were closed in 2014, with faculties being relocated to campuses at All Saints and Birley.[10]

All Saints Campus

All Saints campus is one of the university's 2 campuses.

The Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science was split between the Geoffrey Manton and Mabel Tylecote buildings. The Geoffrey Manton Building accommodates the English, History and Economic History, Information and Communications, Politics and Philosophy, and Sociology departments. The Languages department was housed in the Mabel Tylecote Building until the building was demolished in 2017 to make way for a new Arts and Humanities building on the site.[11][12]

The John Dalton Building, on Chester Street is the home of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.[13] It comprises four schools: the School of Healthcare Sciences, the School of Computing, Mathematics & Digital Technology, the School of Engineering, and the School of Science and The Environment. To the rear of the John Dalton Building is JD tower, housing the university's main science laboratories including IRM,[14] the Institute for Biomedical Research into Human Movement and Health.

The Manchester School of Art on the All Saints Campus is composed of four departments: The Manchester School of Architecture (operated jointly with the University of Manchester Faculty of Humanities); Department of Art; Department of Design; Department of Media.[15] The faculty houses the Holden Gallery which has a continuous programme of exhibitions and is open free to the public.[16] The university has invested in improving the Manchester School of Art building granting £35 million to facilitate three changes including: a new building for the faculty, refurbishment of the workshops and renovation of the studios. In 2014 the building was nominated for the Stirling Prize.[17][18]

New premises costing £75 million for the Faculty of Business and Law have been built on All Saints Campus and the Business School re-located to this building from the Aytoun Campus in 2012.[19] It will house more than 5,000 students and 250 staff.[20] The new building is an original architectural concept with three towers under a single glass roof. Green credentials are an integral part of the building's design which incorporates solar panels and heat pumps to power the building and a rain water recycling scheme.[20] The Manchester Law School is in the Sandra Burslem building which opened in 2003.

The university library, renamed the Sir Kenneth Green Library, is on the All Saints campus. It houses a number of special collections mainly relating to the fine and applied arts, like the Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection, a collection of 32,000 Victorian and Edwardian greeting cards.[21] The library is in the All Saints Building where it occupies three floors. It was planned as a single central library in 1972 but after the mergers with the Didsbury College of Education and Hollings College it became a central library and administrative centre for seven library sites. From 1975 a catalogue was produced with the aid of the Birmingham Libraries Co-operative Mechanisation Project.[22] From 1992 the library was part of the Consortium of Academic Libraries in Manchester (CALIM) which was extended in 2002 to become NoWAL, the North West Academic Libraries.[23]

The Hollings Faculty offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in food, clothing, and hospitality studies and related fields. Formerly in Fallowfield, the faculty is now housed in the Righton Building on the All Saints campus, a former department store.

Cheshire Campus

The second campus is based in Crewe, Cheshire. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Cheshire campus is Professor Christine Horrocks.[24]

The Cheshire campus is home to over 2,000 students from around the world, supported by over 400 staff across 150 undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the arts, business, education, humanities and sport science.[25]

Academic staff regularly win Students’ Union teaching awards and departments on campus have numerous accreditations from professional bodies.[26][27] The strong regional, national and international links mean that graduates at the campus have had a wealth of opportunities to work with industry professionals, from Paralympic and Olympic athletes and artists to business leaders and high-profile practitioners in health, welfare and social care.[28][29][30][31]

Manchester Met announced on Friday 25 November 2016 following a board meeting it looked to close the Crewe campus by summer 2019. The decision was made following an independent review conducted by financial advisory firm Deloitte, the university cited a poor intake in students as a main reason for closure.[32][33]

Birley Campus

2014 saw the opening of a highly environmentally sustainable £140 million development situated on the Birley Fields site in Hulme, Manchester, creating a central location for the Faculties of Education and Health following the closure of the Didsbury and Elizabeth Gaskell campuses. Alongside the academic building there is student accommodation for up to 1200 students comprising ultra-modern, environmentally sustainable townhouses and traditional student apartments.[34]



In common with most universities in the United Kingdom, Manchester Metropolitan University is headed formally by the Chancellor, currently Lord Mandelson but led by the Vice-Chancellor, currently Professor Malcolm Press. There are two deputy Vice-Chancellors.

The University's Board of Governors is responsible for determining the educational character and mission of the University. It also falls to the Board of Governors to ensure that the University's resources are used in line with the University's Article of Government. It also safeguards the University's assets and approves the annual estimates of income and expenditure.[35]

The Board of Governors is responsible for broad policy but the Vice-Chancellor, along with the Executive and Directorate, is responsible for overall management, policy implementation, organisation, operations and direction of the University.[36]

In December 2014, it was announced that Malcolm Press[3] had been appointed to succeed John Brooks[37] as Vice Chancellor on 1 June 2015.[38]

University structure

The university is organised into 6 faculties and 12 research centres, these are:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Business and Law
  • Cheshire Campus
  • Education
  • Health, Psychology and Social Care
  • Science and Engineering

In the session 2016/17, the University had 33,010 students, making it the sixth largest university in the UK (out of 167).[4] The University employs 4,400 staff, comprising almost 1,500 full-time teaching staff, 700 part-time teaching staff and 2,200 support staff.[39]


In the financial year ended 31 July 2011, Manchester Metropolitan University had a total income of £248,028,000 (2009/10 - £243,606,000) and a total expenditure of £213,103,000 (2009/10 - £220,221,000).[39] The University's collects £106,857,000 from tuition fees and education contracts (2009/10 - £101,640,000) and attracts £4,992,000 in research grants and contracts (2009/10 - £4,414,000). Income from other sources totalled £31,371,000 (2009/10 - 30,524,000).[39]

Academics and rankings


Manchester Met has admitted applications from a broad range of UCAS tariff points, with an average of 343.7 in 2015, and 132.6 in 2018 under the new system.[40][41] It is the second most applied-to university in the UK, following only the University of Manchester,[7] and it boasts the fifth largest student body as a higher education institution in the UK based on its number of admitted and enrolled students. Approximately 94% of Manchester Met's full-time undergraduate students come from the UK, while the overall student body including graduates and post-graduates is approximately 85% domestic, and 15% international. Composition of academic faculty staff is relatively similar with 85% domestic, and 15% international.[42]

Rankings and research

Global rankings
(2018, world)
(2019, world)
(2018, world)
(2019, national)
The Guardian[47]
(2019, national)
Times/Sunday Times[48]
(2018, national)
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[49] Silver

According to The Complete University Guide, Manchester Met is ranked #62 out of 119 within the UK, based on overall rating, entry standards, research quality, and graduate prospects.[50] The Times Higher Education World University Rankings dropped Manchester Met's national ranking from #64 to #82 in 2018, and continued to rank the university in the #601-800 tier internationally.[51]

The Economist has ranked MMU #92 out of 124 within the UK in degree value, based on statistics from the Department for Education, which indicated MMU degrees having a negative effect on graduate prospects.[52]

In terms of research, Manchester Met is ranked fourth within new universities attracting research funds from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, one of several institutions that fund higher education research programmes.[50] The university has eight research institutes:

  • Dalton Research Institute (DRI)
  • Education and Social Research Institute (ESRI)
  • Healthcare Science Research Institute (HSRI)
  • Institute of Humanities and Social Science Research (HSSR)
  • Institute for Performance Research (IPR)
  • Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD)
  • Research Institute for Business and Management (RIBM)
  • Research Institute for Health and Social Change (RIHSC)

Students' union

The students' union has buildings on both campuses. The Students' Union exists to represent all members at the Manchester Metropolitan University and students on accredited external courses. The union is controlled by the Union Officers Group formed of six students and recent graduates of the university, elected by the students to control the Union on their behalf. A shop especially designed to cater to the university students has also been set up inside the Students' Union. The students' union moved in January 2015 to a new purpose built building on Higher Cambridge Street, next to Cambridge and Cavendish Halls of Residence.

International partnerships

The university has developed international relationships with the following institutions:[53]


  • American Hotel Academy


Czech Republic









Hong Kong

Manchester Metropolitan University has a long-standing partnership with the University of Hong Kong's School of Professional and Continuing Education offering the Graduate Diploma in English and Hong Kong Law among other programs.

United States


Notable alumni

Some in the list attended institutions which became part of present-day Manchester Metropolitan University.


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  2. University, Manchester Metropolitan. "Story, Manchester Metropolitan University".
  3. 1 2 PRESS, Prof. Malcolm Colin. Who's Who. 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription required)
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