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University College, Cork


University College, Cork

Coordinates: 51°53′37″N 8°29′31″W / 51.893497°N 8.491873°W / 51.893497; -8.491873

University College Cork - National University of Ireland, Cork
Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh
File:UCC - NUI, Cork.png
Motto Where Finbarr Taught Let Munster Learn
Established 1845
President Dr. Michael B. Murphy
Registrar Prof. Paul Giller
Academic staff 762 (2010)[1]
Undergraduates 12,578 (2009-2010)[1]
Postgraduates 3,663 (2009-2010)[1]
Location Cork, Ireland
Affiliations AUA
Utrecht Network
corporate logo

University College Cork - National University of Ireland, Cork (UCC)[2] (Irish: Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh) is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland. The university is located in Cork.

The university was founded in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges located in Belfast, Cork, and Galway.[3] It became University College, Cork, under the Irish Universities Act of 1908. The Universities Act 1997 renamed the university as National University of Ireland, Cork, and a Ministerial Order of 1998 renamed the university as University College Cork - National University of Ireland, Cork,[4] though it continues to be almost universally known as University College Cork.

The university was named Irish University of the Year by the Sunday Times in 2003,[5] 2005, and 2011. In 2011, the QS World University Rankings[6] ranked the university amongst the top 2% of universities worldwide. The university also received a 5-star rating in the QS University Rankings 2011.[7] Also in 2011, University College Cork became the first university worldwide to achieve the ISO 50001 standard in energy management. Moreover, UCC ranks 4th worldwide in terms of food research.[8] Dr.Michael B. Murphy has been president of the university since February 2007.


Queen's College, Cork, was founded by the provisions of an act which enabled Queen Victoria to endow new colleges for the "Advancement of Learning in Ireland". Under the powers of this act, the three colleges of Belfast, Cork and Galway were incorporated on 30 December 1845. The college opened in 1849 with 23 professors and 181 students and a year later became part of the Queen's University of Ireland.

The original site chosen for the College was particularly appropriate in that it is believed to have had a connection with the patron saint of Cork, Saint Finbarr. His monastery and school of learning were close by at Gill Abbey Rock and the mill attached to the monastery is thought to have stood on the bank of the south channel of the River Lee, which runs through the College lower grounds. This association is also reflected in the College motto "Where Finbarr Taught, Let Munster Learn" which is also the current university motto.

On this site (on a hill overlooking the valley of the Lee), the Tudor Gothic quadrangle and early campus buildings were built by Deane and Woodward. Over the coming years the College gained a standing for excellence in various fields, including mathematics, medicine and the humanities.

In the following century, the Irish Universities Act (1908) formed the National University of Ireland, consisting of the three constituent colleges of Dublin, Cork and Galway, and the college was given the status of a university college as University College, Cork. The Universities Act, 1997, made the university college a constituent university of the National University and made the constituent university a full university for all purposes except the awarding of degrees and diplomas which remains the sole remit of the National University.


Today the university has over 18,000 students - of which there are over 12,000 undergraduate degree candidates.[1] This student base is supported by 2,747 staff - of which 762 are faculty. There are 1153 non academic staff and 832 research staff.[1]

The university is one of Ireland's leading research institutes, with the highest research income in the state.[9] The university's internal research reputation spans all of its faculties where it offers over 120 degree and professional programmes through seven schools and 27 departments. The university had seven faculties in Arts and Celtic Studies, Commerce, Engineering, Food Science and Technology, Law, Medicine, and Science. In recent years,the University has been restructured so that it now has four colleges: Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science; Business and Law; Medicine and Health; and Science, Engineering and Food Science.

UCC is home to the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies, which allows students to study Chinese culture as well as the language through Arts and Commerce. The department recently won the European Award for Languages 2008.[10]

Student numbers, currently at over 18,000, have increased greatly since the late 1980s, precipitating the expansion of the campus by the acquisition of adjacent buildings and lands. This expansion continues to the present day to meet the needs of an ever growing student population, with the construction of the Alfred O'Rahilly building, the Cavanagh Pharmacy building, the Brookfield Health Sciences centre, the extended Áras na MacLéinn (Devere Hall), the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Experience UCC (Visitors' Centre) and an extension to the Boole Library - named for the first professor of mathematics at UCC, George Boole, who developed the algebra that would later make computer programming possible. The University also recently opened the Western Gateway Building on the site of the former Cork Greyhound track on the Western Road as well as significant refurbishment to the Tyndall institute buildings at the Lee Maltings Complex.

The university has a number of related companies including: Cytrea,metrology systems.

The college was involved in some controversy in 2006 when one academic, Professor Des Clarke alleged that the university authorities were guilty of financial mismanagement, and called for a full independent inquiry into governance. The subsequent inquiry found that there was no evidence of financial mismanagement.

Also in 2006, the University re-opened the Crawford Observatory, a structure built in 1880 on the grounds of the university by Sir Howard Grubb. Grubb, son of the Grubb telescope building family in Dublin, designed the observatory and built the astronomical instruments for the structure. The University paid for an extensive restoration and conservation program of the building and the three main telescopes, the Equatorial, the Transit Circle and the Sidereostatic telescope.[17]

In October 2008, the governing body of the university announced that UCC would be the first institution in Ireland to use embryonic stem cells in research.[18]

In November 2009, many UCC buildings were damaged by unprecedented flooding.[19] The floods also affected other parts of Cork City, with many students being evacuated from accommodation. The college authorities postponed academic activities for a week,[19] and indicated that it would take until 2010 before all flood damaged property would be repaired. A major scene of damage was the newly opened Western Gateway Building, with the main lecture theatre requiring a total refit just months after opening for classes.[20]

College of Medicine and Health

Medicine, Arts, and Law were the three founding faculties when Queen's College Cork opened its doors to students in 1849. The medical buildings were built in stages between 1860 and 1880, and the faculty quickly gained a reputation for the quality of its graduates. The first two women to graduate in medicine in Ireland did so in 1898 (this was notable as it was more than 20 years before women were permitted to sit for medicine at the University of Oxford).[21] UCC School of Medicine is part of the College of Medicine and Health, and is based at the Brookfield Health Sciences Center on the main UCC campus and is affiliated with the 880-bed University College Cork Teaching Hospital, which is the largest medical center in Ireland. The UCC School Of Pharmacy is based in the Cavanagh Pharmacy Building.[21]

UCC Research

According to the UCC Strategic plan,[22] UCC aims to enhance research and innovation and was ranked in the top 3% of universities worldwide.[23]

UCC's research strategy involves creating "Centres of Excellence" for world class research in which the researchers and research teams would be given great freedom and flexibility to pursue their areas of research.[22] Research centres in UCC cover a wide range of areas including:

Nanoelectronics with the Tyndall Institute; Food and Health with the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre,[24] NutraMara,[25] Food for Health Ireland Research Centre,[26] and Cereal Science Cork[27] (food research at UCC ranks 4th in the world[8]); the Environment with the Environmental Research Institute[28] (with research in biodiversity, aquaculture, energy efficiency and ocean energy); and Business Information Systems.[29]

Knowledge Transfer

Innovation and Knowledge transfer is driven by UCC's Office of Technology Transfer,[30] an office of the University dedicated to commercialising aspects of UCC's research and connecting researchers with industry. Recent spin outs from the college include pharmaceutical company Glantreo,[31] Luxcel Biosciences,[32] Alimentary Health, Biosensia, Firecoms, Gourmet Marine, Keelvar, Lee Oncology, and Sensl.[33]

Student life

University College Cork has over 85 active societies[34] and 50 different sports clubs.[35] There are Academic, Charitable, Creative, Gaming/Role-playing, Political, Religious, and Social Societies and Clubs incorporate field sports, martial arts, watersports as well outdoor and indoor team and individual sports. UCC clubs are sponsored by Bank of Ireland, with the UCC Skull and Crossbones as the mascot for all UCC sports teams. 100 students received scholarships in 26 different sports in 2010.[35]

The regular activities of UCC's societies have included significant charity work with over €160,000 raised by the Surgeon Noonan society, €10,000 raised by the War Gaming and Role Playing Society (WARPS) through its international gaming convention WARPCON which was attended by over 700 people, €10,000 raised by The Law Society, University College Cork, for the Cambodia orphanage and the UCC Pharmacy Society supports the Cork Hospitals Children's Club every year with a number of events.[36] UCC societies also regularly attract high-profile speakers such as Robert Fisk who addressed the Law Society, Nick Leeson[36] and Senator David Norris, who was the 2009/2010 honorary president of the UCC Philosophical Society or "Philosoph".[37]

UCC Students' Union (UCCSU) acts as the representative body of the 17,000 students attending UCC. Each student is automatically a member by virtue of a student levy.

Student Accommodation

Students attending UCC occupy a wide variety of accommodation types. Some opt to live with family while others live in rented accommodation. UCC has its own Accommodation and Student Activities office which provides students with advice and information on renting accommodation in Cork City[38] while UCC's Campus Accommodation company looks after approximately 860 beds in four different apartment complexes within a mile of the UCC main campus.[39]

International students

The largest number of the 2,400 international students at UCC comes from the USA, followed by China, France and Malaysia.[40] UCC participates in the Erasmus program with 439 students visiting UCC in 2009-2010.[40] 201 UCC students studied in institutions in the USA, China and Europe.[40]

UCC was rated highly in the 2008 International Student Barometer report.[41] This survey polled 67,000 international students studying at 84 institutions, and was carried out by the International Insight Group.[41] The report held that 98% of UCC's international students (who participated in the survey) reported having "Expert Lecturers". And over 90% of these students said that they had "Good Teachers".[41] In 3 categories of the survey, "sports facilities", "social facilities" and "university clubs and societies", UCC was in the top three of the 84 Institutions that took part in the survey. UCC's International Education Office was given a 93% satisfaction rating and UCC's IT Support was given a 92% satisfaction rating.[41]


Notable alumni of the University include graduates from different disciplines.

George Boole was the first professor of mathematics at UCC. He developed Boolean algebra that would later make computer programming possible.[42]

In arts & literature,[43] alumni include: novelist Seán Ó Faoláin, short-story writer Daniel Corkery, composer Seán Ó Riada, author, academic and critic Robert Anthony Welch, actress Fiona Shaw, novelist William Wall, poets Paul Durcan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Trevor Joyce, Thomas McCarthy and Greg Delanty, comedian Des Bishop, and journalists Brendan O'Connor and Eoghan Harris.[44] Actor Cillian Murphy and BBC presenter Graham Norton both attended UCC but did not graduate.[45][46]

From the business community, alumni include: Kerry Group's Denis Brosnan, Kingfisher plc's former CEO Gerry Murphy, former head of CRH Anthony Barry, and current CEO, Myles Lee.[47]

In medicine, alumni include: Charles Donovan, Sir Bertram Windle, Dr.Paul Whelton, President & Chief Executive Loyola University Health System, Dr.Barry O'Donnell, Former President of Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Dr.Colm Quigley, Chairman of the Medical Council of Ireland, and Dr.Eamonn MM Quigley, President of the World Gastroenterology Organisation & Vice President of the American College of Gastroenterology.[48] In physics, alumni have included: professor Richard Milner of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science at M.I.T., Professor Margaret Murnane of the University of Colorado and Professor Séamus Davis of Cornell.[49]

Several noted politicians and public servants have attended UCC, including former Taoiseach Jack Lynch, leader of Fianna Fáil and former Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin,[50] Supreme Court justice Liam McKechnie and High Court judge Bryan MacMahon.[51]

In sport, rugby coach Declan Kidney,[52] Gaelic footballers Séamus Moynihan, Maurice Fitzgerald and Billy Morgan, hurlers Pat Heffernan, Joe Deane, James "Cha" Fitzpatrick and Ray Cummins, rugby players Moss Keane, Ronan O'Gara and Donnacha Ryan have all attended UCC.[53]

See also


Further reading

Parkes, H.M. 1953. Some notes on the herbarium of University College, Cork. Ir. Nat. J. ll: 102 - 106.

External links

  • Official site
  • Students' Union
  • Cork University Press
  • Alumni Lists

Template:Cork City

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