Manchester is a member of the worldwide Universities Research Association group, the Russell Group of British research universities and the N8 Group. The University of Manchester is regarded as a "red brick university", and was a product of the civic university movement of the late 19th century. It formed a constituent part of the federal Victoria University between 1880, when it received its royal charter, and 1903–1904, when it was dissolved.
The main campus is south of Manchester city centre on Oxford Road. In 2012, the university had around 39,000 students and 10,400 staff, making it the largest single-site university in the United Kingdom. The University of Manchester had an income of £827 million in 2012–13, of which £200 million was from research grants and contracts.
The University of Manchester is ranked 30th in the world by QS World University Rankings. In the 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities, Manchester is ranked 38th in the world and 5th in the UK. It is ranked 52nd in the world and 12th in Europe in the 2014Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The university owns and operates major cultural assets such as the Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, John Rylands Library and Jodrell Bank Observatory which includes the Grade I listed Lovell Telescope. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, Manchester came third in terms of research power and eighth for grade point average quality when including specialist institutions. More students try to gain entry to the University of Manchester than to any other university in the country, with more than 60,000 applications for undergraduate courses. According to the 2012 Highfliers Report, Manchester is the most targeted university by the Top 100 Graduate Employers.
The University of Manchester has 25 Nobel laureates among its past and present students and staff, the fourth-highest number of any single university in the United Kingdom. Four Nobel laureates are currently among its staff – more than any other British university.