The University Guide 2018

The University of Manchester

Formed in 2004 as the merger of two universities in the city, the University of Manchester is a public research university and is often ranked in the top 10 study facilities in the UK. The university owns several local landmarks and major cultural assets in the area such as the Manchester Museum, Jodrell Bank and the Lovell Telescope.

An active uni, there’s more than 80 health and fitness clubs for students with over 3,000 members. This is no surprise from a city with two Premier League football teams, though. If academia is more your thing than sports, fear not: there’s often entries into University Challenge and a whopping 25 Nobel Laureates have graduated from Manchester Uni. Famous alumni include the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Elton, Rik Mayall, Jack Whitehouse and the controversial Milo Yiannopoulos.

There’s a big student population in Manchester and many bars, restaurants and shops offering student discounts. There are specific areas of the city that seem very ‘student-y’ with lots of accommodation and facilities aimed at them. Being a big cultural hub of the North, there’s loads of places to go out and eat (don’t forget the infamous Curry Mile!), as well as lots of opportunities in the media and press thanks to the BBC’s MediaCity development; which makes the city an ideal destination for those studying business, media, journalism, or other related practices. Two big shopping malls, the Arndale Centre and Trafford Centre, make for great bargain-hunting ground and with such a large city centre, you’ll find bricks-and-mortar stores of numerous brands offering great student promotions.

The University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is extremely well-regarded, and if you’ve managed to make it in, you’re in for an unforgettable student experience. It’s the world’s second oldest University in continuous operation and its well-documented rivalry with the University of Cambridge frequently sees the two do battle for the ‘top spot’ in rankings throughout the globe.

As you’d expect, the alumni list for the University of Oxford is pretty impressive. It includes 29 Nobel Laureates and 27 UK Prime Ministers! Other notable alumni includes TS Eliot, Harper Lee, Krishnan Guru-Murphy, Armando Iannucci and Kate Beckinsale.

Oxford is a beautiful city, and life here revolves around the prestigious university. Known as the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’, you’ll find a wide range of beautiful architecture here that gives the area a really European and historical feel. Its diverse economy includes a variety of industries that the city’s well-educated population feeds into; including publishing, education and science and technology. Many students choose to stay in the city post-graduation to work in a related field within the area, with the knowledge that their achieved qualification will be well-respected here.

For a city of its size, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount to see and do in Oxford – but then, it does have a bustling student population to keep up with! It’s well connected to all major cities in the UK and has a 24-hour bus service to London. There’s some great clubs, loads of scenic riverside pubs and an O2 academy for live music and gigs.

The University of Leeds

Always a top 20 UK uni, the University of Leeds enjoys one of the best levels of post-graduate employability in the country and hosts over 30,000 students. It’s popular, too – despite not being the biggest or grandest, it consistently receives a level of applications that land it in the top 5 of the UK.

Leeds plays home to a huge range of courses including medicine, a large biological sciences unit, and an extremely highly-regarded Business School. If you’re interested in the press and media, there’s also great opportunity to get involved in the student paper, The Gryphon, Leeds Student Radio and LSTV, Leeds Student TV! The sports facilities here are growing too, with a £20million investment in 2010 opening an 8-lane swimming pool and 200-station health and fitness centre. There’s no excuse for not getting fit in Leeds! The Disability Centre at Leeds Uni is notable too; even having an on-campus transcription centre from British English to Braille.

Loads of famous people have graduated from the University of Leeds, including triathletes the Brownlee brothers, three members of the band Bastille, Alistair McGowan and Sayeeda Warsi. Many stay ‘up North’ after graduating, as they become accustomed to the social way of life and low cost of living. Leeds is largely pedestrianised in the city centre, with a big shopping, eating and drinking area. Now fairly gentrified, even areas that were considered anti-social previously are thought of as ‘cool’, and the city is considered the cultural, commercial and economical capital of West Yorkshire. You’ll also find a large percentage of the population is aged 18-30 – so there’s loads of new people to meet!

The University of Bristol

Bristol University is divided into six faculties offering over 200 undergraduate courses, is ranked within the top 50 in the world and is highly selective of applicants. It’s an extremely research-intensive university (read: lots of post-grad opportunities!) and holds an Erasmus charter to host international students in numerous disciplines.

The Times ranking for courses includes many Bristol courses in their Top 5 lists; Computer Science, two Engineering courses, Biological Sciences, Mathematics and Psychology. The university is also well-regarded for its social sciences, particularly in economics, finance and management. Notable alumni from Bristol includes Derren Brown, David Walliams, Susanna Reid and Simon Pegg… as well as 18 fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences, 10 fellows of the British Academy, 13 fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a whopping 31 fellows of the Royal Society!

Bristol as a city isn’t often thought of large, but more than packs a punch when it comes to places to eat, drink, shop and party! It’s much leafier and less concrete than other major cities like Manchester and London but has a real charm to it and there’s plenty of places offering discounts and events aimed at students of the university. There’s also a big counter-culture vibe with lots of activism and art for people of all ages to get involved in. After all, this is the home of Banksy!