The University of Bolton has applied to change its name to the University of Greater Manchester.

The application, which will involve a full consultation, has been made to the Office for Students and the Department for Education.

It is supported by the University’s Board of Governors and its Students’ Union.

Vice chancellor professor George E Holmes said: “We are proud to be based in Bolton and indeed our roots are firmly embedded in this town, having been here for almost 200 years when the Bolton Mechanics Institute was formed.

The Bolton News: The Deane Road based University of BoltonThe Deane Road based University of Bolton (Image: University of Bolton)

“Moreover, we are committed to being part of the fabric of the community which is something we continue to demonstrate day in day out.

He added: “Our primary focus is our students - it is paramount that they get the best possible experience and outcomes.

"We and our students via the students' union, believe that graduate outcomes would be impacted positively by the name change.

“The fact is, the University of Bolton has developed massively since I took the helm almost 20 years ago and has grown to become significantly active across Greater Manchester. We now have a University presence in Wigan, Trafford, Manchester City centre, Farnworth and Horwich.

“The proposed new title would more accurately reflect the geographical area beyond Bolton in which the University is already very active.

“We want to become the first, and only, higher education provider to have its geographical designation drawn specifically from the Metropolitan County of Greater Manchester, which has no university carrying its name.”

He added: “The University has discussed with the Leader, Deputy Leader and Deputy Mayor of Bolton Council the impending application for the change and there was broad agreement that the proposed new title would benefit the town significantly, firmly retaining Bolton in our official address, if not our shorter title, to indicate where our base remains.

“The University’s regional impact, its civic role, is a central part of its contribution to Greater Manchester and we are proud to say that we have one of the most socially inclusive and diverse student populations of any university in the UK.”

He added: “The University excels at teaching and student support and as such is a leading new University in the North West, as demonstrated by our National Student Survey scores and elevated league table positioning.

“The University has risen rapidly in The Guardian league table in recent years to 30th in the UK in 2024.

“We continue to be first in the North West, and eighth in England, for Teaching Quality and first in the North West, and 12th in England, for Student Experience in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide (2023).

“The University believes, along with its students via the Students’ Union, that a change of name to reflect the strong and recognised geographical brand of Greater Manchester will help address graduate outcomes in terms of employer recognition.”

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Professor Holmes pointed to Shockout Arts Ltd, based in Manchester, the City of Salford College, the Aquinas College, based in Stockport and The Growth Company, also based in Manchester as examples of how the university already operated across the city region.

He said: “The University already directly operates the Greater Manchester Business School, which successfully provides students with a range of programmes in general and professional areas.

“It is our firm view that a ‘University of Greater Manchester’ can exist alongside the universities of Manchester and Salford without problematic impacts.

“In fact, another strong university brand in Greater Manchester can only help the economic development of the region."

The recent Government award of £20m Levelling Up funding for a new Institute of Medical Sciences at the hospital site in Farnworth, Prof Holmes says provides further evidence of the university’s contribution to the NHS in Greater Manchester.

The university is also developing a proposed Medical School, one of only two in the county, which will be known as the Greater Manchester Medical School.

It is expected that the Office for Students will consult various stakeholders on the proposed new name via an Open Letter Consultation process before deciding whether to grant consent.

The University claims it would want to use the new University title, were it to be granted fully, from August 1 2024.