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Best universities for a master’s in Manchester

Manchester is a vibrant, contemporary metropolis found in the north west of England. Once the home of the industrial revolution, today it’s a modern community that draws students and academics from around the world. This multicultural city is known for its cultural influence, buzzing nightlife and excellent professional opportunities. It is the only UK city to be named a must-visit destination in 2023 by Lonely Planet, making it one of the publication’s top 30 best places to go in the world. With a range of high ranking universities, excellent transport connections to other parts of the UK, and a number of National Parks on its doorstep, Manchester is hard to beat when it comes to the postgraduate student experience. 


Which universities are in Manchester? 

University of Manchester 

The University of Manchester is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK by campus size, with a global reputation for research and a wide range of postgraduate study options. Though its roots go back to the formation of the Mechanics’ Institute in 1824, the university in its current form was established in 2004 through the merging of the Victoria University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. The university’s campus is found in the heart of Manchester, with the majority of its buildings just south of the city centre – giving students great access to everything the city has to offer. 

Postgraduate students can choose from a huge range of postgraduate programmes, with over 550 taught, research and professional courses available. Research students are drawn to the university due to its research pedigree, as well as the fact that it boasts more Nobel laureates than any other UK university. With a wide range of industry accredited, online and part time study pathways, it leads in the provision of modern, results focused postgraduate education. 

The University of Manchester campus gracefully combines imposing Victorian architecture with modern buildings and cutting-edge facilities. Hundreds of millions in ongoing investments have allowed the university to maintain truly world-class facilities; private study spaces, libraries, lecture theatres, laboratories, IT centres and support services are just some of the options open to postgraduate students. While students hardly need to leave the university area due to the wealth of cafes, restaurants and food options available, the food, drink and entertainment options of the city centre are just a stone’s throw away. 

Go to: Search courses at University of Manchester

Manchester Metropolitan University 

Manchester Metropolitan University hosts a community of more than 6,000 postgraduate students, who are together learning and developing through a portfolio of over 250 taught programmes and a raft of research pathways. It’s known for its focus on industry-led programmes and personalised academic support, along with flexible options for study. With a history beginning in the first half of the 19th century, Manchester Metropolitan has a long history of innovative, career-focused education. It’s located centrally in the city and is within walking distance of the city centre, as well as being minutes from the Oxford Road train station. 

Postgraduate students can undertake courses across subject areas ranging from accounting and finance to art and design, biomedical sciences or business. Whether you’re looking for a short course as a graduate professional, a postgraduate certificate or diploma, in-person or online master’s degree, or a doctoral research programme, Manchester Metropolitan can provide you with a course to prepare you for success in your chosen area. It’s particularly renowned for its elite business school, which boasts accreditations from AMBA, AACSB and EQUIS. 

Manchester Metropolitan continues to invest heavily into producing a truly modern campus, combining world-class technology and specialised facilities with unparalleled sustainability—with the university was ranked as the greenest university by the People and Planet University League in 2021. Advanced laboratories, modern computer hubs and contemporary classrooms provide a range of inspiring locations to learn in, supported by a comprehensive library and dedicated student support services. Dozens of sports clubs, societies, a vibrant students’ union and great fitness facilities make it a great choice for postgraduates looking for a well-rounded lifestyle. 

Go to: Search courses at Manchester Metropolitan University

University of Salford 

University of Salford is renowned for its pioneering approach to academia, working independently and with passion to find fresh solutions to different issues and challenges facing the world today. With its beginnings in the Salford Royal Technical Institute in 1896, the university has almost 125 years of experience in offering students industry-focused learning and training. With a campus in the borough of Salford, less than two miles from the centre of Manchester, students can travel between their classes and the vibrant urban landscape of the city with ease.  

Salford’s range of postgraduate taught courses are ideal for students looking to build in-depth knowledge and industry-relevant skills. With programmes across science and health disciplines, engineering, the arts, media, music, law, business and the built environment, there’s something for everyone. Many of its taught courses are also available via distance learning, giving students more flexibility in their approach to learning. As an environment geared towards innovative research across various growing industries and disciplines, students can select from a range of PhD and other research programmes that all have excellent facilities and close support in common. 

Postgraduate students at Salford will benefit from living and learning in a campus that never stops growing. With more than £100 million in investments over the coming years, students can depend on industry-standard equipment and technology, modern learning spaces and high quality student services. With a presence in MediaCity, one of the UK’s leading hubs for the digital and media industries, students in areas like journalism, media, audio production and related areas have unparalleled access to industry facilities and networking opportunities. An active students’ union, various societies and a bar and café on campus make it a great place to hang out and meet people, too. 

Go to: Search courses at University of Salford

Royal Northern College of Music 

The Royal Northern College of Music higher education conservatoire is dedicated to providing education, in music and related disciplines, that bridges the gap between university level education and professional success. With its origins in the 1893 founding of the Royal Manchester College of Music, it has long been the city’s premier music college. The Royal Northern College of Music has a dedicated Graduate School that provides an inspiring and challenging environment for postgraduate students seeking advanced study in music, performance and related areas. It’s located close to Manchester’s other universities, just south of the city centre and within easy reach of its main attractions and transport links. 

The college provides a focused but diverse range of postgraduate programmes, each carefully tailored to provide students with a flexible avenue to perfecting their knowledge and skills, as well as building experience of their future career path. Available master’s courses including the Master of Music, Master of Performance, European Chamber Music Master, and a PGCE in Music with Specialist Instrumental Teaching. Through its Centre for Music Performance Research, students can work with sector leaders and drive progress in their field. 

Postgraduate students at the Royal Northern College of Music benefit from state-of-the-art performance, rehearsal and production facilities. From a 774-seat concert hall in the heart of the university’s main building, the 672-seat RNCM Theatre—one of Manchester’s largest performance spaces—and the 117-seat Carole Nash Recital Room, there is no shortage of high-quality performance spaces for various disciplines. Industry standard acoustic and digital studio spaces, recording studios and a vast library round out a campus site that is hard to match for music, performance and media students. 

Go to: Search courses at Royal Northern College of Music

Entry Requirements 

The entry requirements that you’ll need to satisfy as a postgraduate applicant will vary depending on the university and course being applied to. A good undergraduate honours degree is a typical requirement, but entry onto some courses will involve additional requirements—like the Royal Northern College of Music, for example, which requires comple tion of an audition. 

Students can use our course finder tool to get info on specific course admissions criteria. 

What to do in Manchester 

Manchester is a city that has always done things its own way, thriving as a post-industrial city due to its independent and defiant attitude, creative use of its unique architecture and spaces, and diverse urban community. 

The city has an incredibly rich history, having been the powerhouse of the global Industrial Revolution, home of the Suffragettes, and birthplace of various world famous musicians including Joy Division, The Smiths, Oasis and The Stone Roses. As a Manchester student you can explore this rich history through the city’s many museums and galleries, as well as immerse yourself in the musical vibrancy of today’s scene across one of the countless clubs, venues, bars, pubs or gig spaces. 

Every day in Manchester offers something to discover, with street art, street food and various events—big and small—always popping up around the city. It’s an iconic city for football fans, with the titanic Manchester City and Manchester United clubs calling it home. 

When it comes to nightlife, Manchester can rightly be thought of as one of the leading cities in the UK when it comes to clubbing and partying. Ranging from electronic music institutions like Warehouse Project and Hidden to concert spaces like Manchester Academy and Albert Hall, along with hundreds of eclectic bars and smaller venues, you’ll never run out of new places to be and people to see. 

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