World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

University of Ulster at Belfast

Article Id: WHEBN0006729365
Reproduction Date:

Title: University of Ulster at Belfast  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: David Sherry
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

University of Ulster at Belfast

University of Ulster
Established 1968, founded by Elizabeth II. merged 1984
Chancellor James Nesbitt[1]
Vice-Chancellor Prof Richard Barnett
Academic staff 1,114
Students 26,560 (2011/12)[2]
Undergraduates 20,740[2]
Postgraduates 5,820[2]
Location Belfast, Coleraine, Londonderry & Jordanstown, Northern Ireland
Affiliations EUA

The University of Ulster (previously shortened to UU; Irish: Ollscoil Uladh,[3][4][5] Ulster Scots: Universitie o Ulstèr[6] or Varsitie o Ulster)[7] is a multi-campus, co-educational university located in Northern Ireland. It is the largest single university in Ireland, discounting the federal National University of Ireland. The university was established in 1968 as the New University of Ulster and can trace its roots back to 1845 when Magee College was established in Londonderry and 1849, when the School of Art and Design was inaugurated in Belfast. The university incorporated its four campuses in 1984 under the University of Ulster banner; these are located in Belfast, Coleraine (site of the administrative headquarters), Magee College in Londonderry, and Jordanstown. A fifth distance learning campus, Campus One, delivers online programmes; mainly at graduate level.

Ulster is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities,[8] the European University Association, Universities Ireland and Universities UK. High demand for places and a thriving development programme contributed to a record number of applications in 2004–05 to keep the University of Ulster in the top 10 of the UK's most popular universities.[9] The University of Ulster was shortlisted for the Sunday Times University of the Year award in 2001.

The university has one of the highest further study and/or employment rates in the UK, with 95% of graduates being in work or undertaking further study six months after they have completed their degree.[10] In the field of biomedical sciences, the University of Ulster obtained a 5* rating, as well as being ranked joint first in the UK, following the Research Assessment Exercises in 1996 and 2001. In the 2008 RAE 86% of research activity at the university was rated as being of international quality, with 20% being classified as world-leading. Of particular note are the submissions within Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Nursing and Health Research[11] and Celtic Studies which were all ranked within the top three UK universities[10]


The New University of Ulster (NUU) incorporated Magee College founded in 1865 in Londonderry. Magee College was a college of the Royal University of Ireland from 1880 and later became associated with the University of Dublin (better known as Trinity College) when the Royal University was dissolved in 1908 and replaced by the National University of Ireland. In 1953 Magee College broke its links with Dublin and became Magee University College. It was hoped that this university college would become Northern Ireland's second university after The Queen's University of Belfast. However, this did not happen and instead it was subsumed into the New University, primarily as a result of the unwillingness of the Unionist government at Stormont to have the second university sited in overwhelmingly nationalist Londonderry, in which "The Troubles" were just beginning to break out. The decision caused an outcry at the time.[12] The university was built at Coleraine as part of the UK government's expansion of higher education in the 1960s. Coleraine today is the university's headquarters and main campus. Following a review of higher education in Northern Ireland under the chairmanship of Sir Henry Chilver in 1982 the direct-rule government decided to merge NUU with the Ulster Polytechnic to form the University of Ulster. The merger took effect on 1 October 1984. This was the first, and as of 2010, only merger in UK higher education whereby what is now called a plate glass university merged with what would now be a post-1992 university.


The university's course provision is the largest in Northern Ireland, covering arts, business, engineering, information technology, life and health sciences, management, and social sciences. Courses have a strong vocational element and the majority include a period of industrial or professional placement.

The university has a strong reputation for innovation. In order to create new pathways into higher education the University of Ulster initiated its Online Distance Learning (ODL) project called Campus One. The Campus One programme provides an alternative mode of study, with a range of courses available online to students all over the world. Campus One courses range from full postgraduate programmes, professional development and continuing development courses; through to short business-focused courses all offered over the Internet.

The university contributes a higher than national average to local research and development activity and has a strategic research focus. There is particularly strength in the field of biomedical sciences, and a Centre for Molecular Biosciences (located at Coleraine) is one of the major projects developed by the university. The Biomedical Sciences department obtained the highest possible 5* rating as well as being joint first in the UK, following the UK – wide Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 1996. It was the only UK university to retain a 5* rating for biomedical sciences in the 2001 RAE - part of a performance that saw significant improvement and consolidation of the 1996 results. A 5* research rating was also awarded in the field of Celtic studies. The university performed well in the 2008 RAE.[13]

The university is a leading partner in the Northern Ireland Science Park development, with Science Park sites at the Coleraine and Magee campuses, and in Belfast. There are also Innovation Centres at Coleraine and Magee which provide incubation support to developing 'spin-out' and 'spin-in' companies.

Financial Restructuring

In autumn 2011 Vice-Chancellor Barnett announced a programme of financial restructuring with the aim of reducing the number of staff employed by the University from 3,150 to 3,000.[14] Staff at the University expressed concern about the proposed means and impact of the restructuring, citing "the use of the threat of compulsory redundancy to bully and intimidate staff" [15] and the belief that the University was "abdicating its responsibilities to the wider community that funds it".[16] In April 2012, the UU branch of the University and College Union (UCU) declared a formal dispute with university management over its implementation of the restructuring, stating that the recourse to "premature deadlines and unwarranted threats of compulsory redundancy" was "unreasonable as well as contrary to University policy and corporate goals".[17]


The faculties of the university (and the dean of each faculty listed after), are:

  • Faculty of Arts, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh
  • Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment, Professor Ian Montgomery
  • Faculty of Computing and Engineering, Professor Richard Millar
  • Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, Professor Carol Curran
  • Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Paul Carmichael"
  • Ulster Business School, Professor Marie McHugh


The university currently maintains five sites in Northern Ireland, as well as one "online" site. In February 2009 the university announced the movement of many courses from the Jordanstown campus to the main Belfast campus and a consolidation of student numbers at Coleraine and the reuse of university grounds for a business park.[18]


The Coleraine campus (UUC) is the administration headquarters of the University and is the most traditional in outlook, with a focus on science and the humanities. The traditional focus is primarily as a result of it always being a university campus as opposed to the more vocational type courses offered at the polytechnic at Jordanstown. The internationally acclaimed School of Biomedical Science is based at Coleraine as is the Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE).The Coleraine campus also hosts the only optometry school in Northern Ireland and is indeed one of only two on the island of Ireland. In 2009 the University launched a new Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) course at Coleraine. The Coleraine campus includes the Riverside Theatre, the third-largest professional theatre in Northern Ireland. In July of 2011, in cooperation with Zhejiang University of Media and Communications (ZUMC), The Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster (CIUU) was developed. The Confucius Institute is part of a network of 322 institutes in over 50 countries which promote and teach Chinese language and culture and facilitate cultural exchanges aimed at fostering trade links with China. [19] The campus is situated on the banks of the River Bann with views to the North Coast and County Donegal hills.

Portrush Site

The Portrush site was part of the Coleraine Campus and home to the School of Hotel, Leisure and Tourism. Portrush is a town east of Coleraine on the North Coast of Northern Ireland. The site closed in 2008 and courses were relocated to the Coleraine and the newly developed Belfast campuses.


The Jordanstown campus (UUJ) is located in Jordanstown, 7 miles outside Belfast and concentrates on engineering, health and social science, and is the home of the highly successful Ulster Business School. The 114-acre (0.46 km2) Jordanstown campus is set in a leafy suburb approximately seven miles (11 km) from Belfast city centre and situated at the foot of the Antrim Hills overlooking Belfast Lough. UUJ is home to the Sports Institute for Northern Ireland and has a range of Sports facilities including a new high performance centre. The Buildings are mostly situated around a central Mall with on-site stores and services. A number of high-demand undergraduate courses at UUJ have extremely high entry requirements such as Physiotherapy, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiography, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Clinical Physiology, Communication Advertising and Marketing (CAM), Law, Sport and Exercise Science/Sports Studies.


Main article: Magee College

The Magee campus (UUM) in Londonderry City is a mixture of historic and new buildings in a Victorian residential area of the city. It was named after Martha Magee and opened in 1865 as a Presbyterian Christian arts and theological college.[20] Today, it has no religious affiliation and provides a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes in disciplines ranging from computer science, computer games and robotics to drama to psychology and nursing, as well as research excellence[21] with the Intelligent Systems Research Centre located there. The campus is within walking distance to the shopping and entertainment districts and is serviced by transport links. Since 1984, development of the university has focused on the expansion of the Magee campus.[20]


The Belfast campus is the home of the University’s Belfast School of Art, founded in 1849 and completed major redevelopment in 2008. The Building is situated in the Cathedral Quarter of the City. This is becoming a fashionable area of the city which has been developing rapidly in recent years. There are many social and cultural activities in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. Southern Belfast, where most student accommodations are found, has many restaurants, pubs, theatres and shops. Students at the Belfast campus can use the fine recreation facilities at the larger Jordanstown campus. Transportation between the two sites is quick and frequent. Total enrolment: 1,100 students.

Ballyronan, Ballymaguigan

The university had a former base named, 'The University of Ulster Freshwater Laboratory' in a small townland called Ballymaguigan in the village of Ballyronan, outside the town of Magherafelt in County Londonderry. The Freshwater Laboratory, although not a campus was a base of the university and consisted of on-campus accommodation, classrooms and testing labs. Courses offered were all based on studying agriculture, wildlife in Lough Neagh, water testing and other aquatic courses. The base closed about ten years ago, and though still standing, is in a run down state and now owned by Magherafelt District Council. The remaining site is located on the edge of Lough Neagh, along the Point Road in Ballymaguigan. The area today has become popular with the locals for camping, fishing and boating.

Campus One

Campus One, the Virtual Campus of the university, was launched on 8 October 2001.[23] It represents a revolutionary new route to learning via the World Wide Web and was selected by the World's First Higher Educational Programme in Hydrogen Safety Engineering. It developed the world's first ever fully on-line Masters programme in biomedical sciences. Campus One, a 'University at Your Fingertips', provides an online portal through which all of the university's e-learning courses are made available on a global scale. The virtual campus incorporates existing e-learning courses with new postgraduate and undergraduate programmes, all of which can be accessed and completed via Campus One from anywhere in the world. Campus One is the first e-learning network of its kind in the UK and Ireland, and has been developed in association with academic partners in the USA and Hong Kong, ensuring its e-learning programmes have global reach and relevance.

University Officers


Noted academics and alumni

Ulster has a large body of famed alumni, including MP's Kate Hoey, Gregory Campbell, Michelle Gildernew, Roberta Blackman-Woods and former deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Mark Durkan, MLA's Alban Maginness, Basil McCrea and Sean Neeson, writers and authors including Anne Devlin, Colin Duriez and Aodán Mac Póilin, poets including Gerald Dawe and Brendan Hamill, and artists including Oliver Jeffers, Victor Sloan, Andre Stitt, John Luke and John Kindness. Other alumni include composer Brian Irvine, musician David Lyttle, comedian Omid Djalili, former hostage and writer Brian Keenan, historian Simon Kitson, biomedical scientist and former vice chancellor P G (Gerry) McKenna, filmmaker Brian Philip Davis, visual artist Willie Doherty, photographer Mary Fitzpatrick, film producer Michael Riley, rugby player Brian Robinson, radio and television personality Gerry Anderson and distinguished academic of nursing Alison Kitson.

Notable academics who have worked at Ulster include historian Antony Alcock, ecologist Amyan Macfadyen, political scientist Monica McWilliams, poets Andrew Waterman and James Simmons, literary critic Walter Allen, physicists Robin Williams and Gareth Roberts, mathematician Ralph Henstock, law professors Brice Dickson and Denis Moloney, Professor of Nursing Research Brendan McCormack and former principal theologian Edwin Ewart Turner Prize nominated video artist Willie Doherty and Official War Artist Paul Seawright. Academics who were elected to Membership of the Royal Irish Academy (Ireland's highest ranking academic body) while based at Ulster include: Bertie Ussher (Classics), Norman Gibson (Economics), Amyan Macfadyen (Biology), Bill Watts (Chemistry), P G (Gerry) McKenna (Biomedical Sciences, Genetics), Sean Strain (Biomedical Sciences, Nutrition), Marshall McCabe (Geology), Peter Flatt (Biomedical Sciences, Diabetes), Séamus MacMathúna (Celtic Studies), Robert Anthony Welch (Literature), Vani Borooah (Economics), Máréaid Nic Craith (Celtic Studies), Graham Gargett (French), Helene McNulty (Biomedical Sciences, Nutrition), Pól Ó Dochartaigh (German), Robert McBride (French), Ullrich Kockel (ethnography), John McCloskey (Geosciences), and Rosalind Pritchard (Education).

Honorary degrees have been received by many famed individuals including former President of the United States Bill Clinton, former President of Ireland Mary McAleese, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, poet Seamus Heaney, writers Seamus Deane, Brian Friel, Frank McGuinness and Colm Tóibín, activists May Blood and Aung San Suu Kyi, actors Amanda Burton and Ewan McGregor, racehorse trainer Vincent O'Brien, bishops Seán Brady, Robin Eames, James Mehaffey, Edward Daly and Desmond Tutu, singers Enya, Van Morrison and Tommy Makem, politician John Hume, biotechnologist Charles Hamner, politicians and writers Garrett Fitzgerald and Conor Cruise O'Brien, US lawyer John Connorton, US diplomat Jim Lyons, Gaelic football player Peter Canavan, rugby player David Humphreys, golfers Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, last governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten and triple jumper Jonathan Edwards.

Those elected as Academicians of the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS)whilst at Ulster include Professor Rosalind Pritchard (Education), Professor John Offer (Social Policy), Professor Paul Carmichael (Public Administration), Professor Greg LLoyd (Urban Planning),and Professor Colin Knox (Comparative Public Policy)

See also


External links

    • Belfast
    • Coleraine
    • Jordanstown
    • Magee
    • London
    • Birmingham
  • Students' Union Website
  • Campus One online
  • History of Magee College at at UU Library website
  • Ulster College and founding vice-chancellor of University of Ulster
  • Intelligent Systems Research Centre website
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.