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School of Environment, Education and Development

Resources and facilities

The University of Manchester is well underway with the biggest investment programme ever seen in UK higher education, having invested £750 million in our facilities since 2004, with another £1 billion to follow.

The University of Manchester Library

The University’s library is one of the best-resourced academic libraries in the UK and one of only five National Research Libraries. Studying with us will open up a wealth of learning resources to you, including over four million printed books, more than 500,000 ebooks and access to over 40,000 electronic journals and hundreds of online databases.

As a postgraduate research student, you can get specialist advice from a dedicated team on bibliometrics, impact analysis, research data management, open access publishing, literature reviews and more. The Library also runs a useful skills programme for researchers.

Alan Gilbert Learning Commons

The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons
The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons is often referred to as 'the library without books'.

The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons offers you a stimulating 24/7 environment for study. It is the UK's first digital library and home to the most up-to-date IT facilities, a range of versatile learning spaces and a relaxing cafe area for breaks or meeting friends.

Away from your studies you’ll have access to the UK’s largest student union, almost 300 student societies, and excellent sports and fitness facilities. The University of Manchester is also home to several cultural destinations, including The Manchester Museum, the John Rylands Library and the Whitworth art gallery, which has recently reopened following a £19 million refurbishment. The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in nearby Cheshire, and home to the Lovell telescope, is also part of the University.

Manchester Doctoral College

Manchester Doctoral College (MDC) has oversight of all doctoral training and researcher development across The University of Manchester. It works to focus attention on postgraduate research requirements and develop cross-disciplinary, cross-School and cross-Faculty collaboration to enrich the student experience. The College is responsible for supporting all postgraduate research students by providing a stimulating research environment and through developing researcher development programmes, funding opportunities and postgraduate-specific facilities.

As a postgraduate research student at The University of Manchester you’ll become part of the MDC research community, which includes students, supervisors, administrators and external collaborators who all work together to improve facilities, locate accessible funding and improve the postgraduate research experience across the University.

MDC offers specific funds, such as the conference attendance fund, and co-ordinates student representation at school, faculty and University-level. MDC aims to:

  • enhance your experience as a postgraduate research student;
  • work in collaboration with postgraduate research students to generate internationally leading research;
  • guide postgraduate research students towards a successful future career, whether inside or outside of academia;
  • celebrate the success of our postgraduate research students and promote the postgraduate research community and its needs across the institution;
  • set standards and expectations for postgraduate research students and the University and set out a code of practice; and
  • support all postgraduate research students to make the most of their opportunities at Manchester.

Subject-specific resources and facilities


Architecture students can enjoy the facilities at both The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). This includes workshops for modelmaking and construction projects, plus equipment for wood, plastics, foam, metal, ceramics, glass, computer-aided manufacture, textiles, printmaking and bookbinding.

Studio spaces are equipped with industry standard computer-aided design, visualisation, image editing, print and web design software. You will also have access to specialist Apple Mac-based video editing, scanning and digital design resources.

Whilst The University of Manchester has one of the best-resourced academic libraries in the UK, MMU has a nationally recognised art and design collection and specialist collections include the Manchester Society of Architects’ Library, which holds important and rare books on the history of architecture. MMU Visual Resources Centre covers a broad spectrum of subjects, including architecture, all art and design areas, film, popular media and social history.


Geography students can enjoy studying at one of the best-equipped universities including analytical, microscopy, sediments and project laboratories. Our analytical laboratory houses facilities for the analysis of a wide range of major and trace elements and specialist equipment includes: Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICPOES); Ion Chromatograph; Total Organic Carbon Analyser; Laser Granulometer; and a Particle Size and Shape Analyser.

In our microscopy laboratory you will find high-range, research-quality microscopes with image-capture facilities and teaching microscopes with phasecontrast capability. Our sediments and project laboratories are used for sample preparation, including ovens, furnaces and ball mills.

Computing facilities are equipped with specialist software, for example, for geographical information systems. The University library is home to our map collection, which comprises about 100,000 map sheets of every part of the world. Plus, we also have our very own Kantorowich Library, containing many of the teaching and learning materials that you will need during your time in Manchester, from books and journals to DVDs and past dissertations.

Planning and Environmental Management

Planning students can benefit from a recently refurbished project studio with drawing facilities, a modelmaking workshop and a large computer cluster with specialist design and spatial analysis software. The University’s library is complemented by our own comprehensive specialist library – the Kantorowich Library.

Global Development Institute (GDI)

Development@Manchester is an initiative that communicates the latest insights into development research, policy and practice that are generated from Manchester. The initiative provides a blogging platform for the sharing of ideas and new research on development matters as well as collecting material from our diverse blogs which are already in operation. It aims to inform, entertain and inspire the general public, policy-makers, researchers and students by showcasing the work and contributions of academics, students and alumni of The University of Manchester.