The School of Medical Sciences at the University of Manchester is one of the largest in the United Kingdom with around 6,000 undergraduates, 3,000 postgraduates and 2,000 staff It is the third oldest medical school in England and the largest medical schoolin the United Kingdom. The Faculty is a member of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre and has four affiliated teaching hospitals at Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe Hospital, Salford Royal Hospital and the Royal Preston Hospital.
Medical teaching in Manchester began when Charles White founded the first modern hospital in the Manchester district, the Manchester Infirmary (later the Manchester Royal Infirmary), in 1752. He was followed by Joseph Jordan, who opened a School of Anatomy in 1814. In the intervening 60 years more than one private medical school existed in Manchester: the most successful was the Pine Street medical school, not far south of the Infirmary. A faculty of medicine opened in 1873 (at Owens College), and medical degrees were awarded by the Victoria University from 1883. The school was made co-educational in 1899 after a long and contentious debate about whether women could be members of the College at all. The first female medical student to qualify Catherine Chisholm practised as a paediatrician after graduating. The success of the school meant that the building needed to be extended twice, in 1883 and 1894. From 1903/04 degrees were awarded by the Victoria University of Manchester.
A considerable space was allocated to the library of the Manchester Medical Society (founded 1834) which until 1930 remained in their possession while accommodated in the University. The library became part of the university library at that time and remained in the building until 1981 when it was transferred into the present Main Library building of the University of Manchester Library (part of the rare books went to the John Rylands Library).
Until 1908 the Manchester Royal Infirmary was at Piccadilly a mile away from the school but in 1908 it moved to a new site on Oxford Road much nearer the medical school and the two institutions were interdependent. The medical school expanded greatly in the 1950s, culminating in the opening of the Stopford Building in 1973 and additionally accepting medical students from University of St Andrews (who have completed their pre-clinical course at St Andrews) and International Medical University, for their clinical studies.
Pre-clinical teaching is based at the Stopford Building on Oxford Road, Manchester for the first two years. Clinical teaching takes place over three teaching ‘sectors’ in Greater Manchester and Lancashire. Teaching sectors in Greater Manchester are Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (incorporating Manchester Royal Infirmary, Saint Mary’s Hospital and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital); Salford Royal Hospital; and the University Hospital of South Manchester. The Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire also serves as a Manchester Medical School teaching sector.