Do you have a good range of general knowledge? Can you cope with facing Jeremy Paxman? Will you still be a student here up to the end of April 2020? Then why not come along to the two-stage selection process for the University of Manchester team which will apply for the next series of University Challenge?

The first stage is a written test comprising 100 general knowledge questions, which will take place on Wednesday 13 November 2019. It will start at 2.00 pm, but you can turn up at any time provided that you finish the test by 5.45 pm. (You shouldn't need to spend more than about 45 minutes on the test.) There's no need to sign up in advance - just come along on the day.

The test will take place in the Rutherford Lecture Theatre in the Schuster Building (building number 54 on the interactive or PDF versions of the campus map.)

The people who achieve the highest scores in this written test will be invited to the second stage in the process, which will be a test of speed on the buzzer in answering University Challenge starter questions. This will take place later the same day, between 7.00 pm and 8.00 pm.

If you are keen to apply to be on the team but you aren't free on that afternoon, please let me know (, and I'll do my best to make alternative arrangements if this is at all possible. It would, however, probably prove impossible to make alternative arrangements for anybody who wasn't free between 7.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m. on that evening for the head-to-head competition between the highest scorers on the written test.


You are eligible to be a member of the team if you meet the following three criteria.

1) You will still be a student of the University of Manchester during the periods when all stages of the competition are filmed (see below).

2) You have not appeared on television in University Challenge in either of its incarnations, namely while it was hosted by Bamber Gascoigne between 1962 and 1987 or while it has been hosted by Jeremy Paxman since 1994.

3) You would be available for filming at studios in Manchester on all potential filming dates. The first round of matches is scheduled to be filmed during the period 28 February - 2 March 2020, the second round during the period 27 - 29 March 2020, and the remaining matches (up to and including the final) during the period 25 - 27 April 2020.

Stephen Pearson
Organiser, University of Manchester team for University Challenge