Magee College (Irish: Ollscoil Uladh ag ColŠiste Mhig Aoidh) is a campus of the University of Ulster located in Derry. It opened in 1865 as a Presbyterian Christian arts and theological college. Today, it has no religious affiliation and provides a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate academic degree programmes in a wide range of disciplines ranging from computer science, computer games and robotics to psychology and nursing.


Magee offers a large number of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes through the University of Ulster's six faculties:

Art, Design & Built Environment
Computing and Engineering
Life and Health Sciences
Social Sciences
Ulster Business School

Within each faculty there are a number of schools offering programmes for their relative disciplines. The schools based on the Magee campus are:

Arts - School of Creative Arts
Computing and Engineering - School of Computing and Intelligent Systems
Life and Health Sciences - School of Nursing, School of Psychology
Social Sciences - School of Policy Studies, Graduate School of Professional Legal Education, School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies
Ulster Business School - Marketing and Business

Programmes taught at Magee include business studies, drama, education, computer science, computer games, robotics, electronics, modern languages, music, nursing, psychology, and social sciences.


Research activities include several research centres.

Magee is the location for the Intelligent Systems Research Centre (ISRC) dedicated to the creation of intelligent computational systems through research in neural networks, fuzzy systems, artificial intelligence and cognitive robotics. Other research areas include ambient intelligence, wireless sensor networks, robot vision, brain computer interfacing and serious games.

Magee is home to the Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages (AICH) which focuses on cultural studies related to Ireland and the Irish Diaspora and the Institute of Ulster Scots Studies, founded in 2001, which looks at the history and heritage of the Ulster-Scots.

It also houses International Conflict Research (INCORE), a joint venture between the United Nations University and the University of Ulster. Established in 1993, it aims to address issues of the conflict in Northern Ireland and seek to promote conflict resolution internationally.


Magee College gained its name from Martha Magee, the widow of a Presbyterian minister, who, in 1845, bequeathed £20,000 to the Presbyterian Church of Ireland to found a college for theology and the arts. It opened in 1865 primarily as a theological college, but accepted students from all denominations to study a variety of subjects.It was a college of the Royal University of Ireland from 1880 and later became associated with the Trinity College, Dublin when the Royal University was dissolved in 1909 and replaced by the National University of Ireland.

In 1953, Magee Theological College separated from the remainder of the college, eventually moving to Belfast in a 1978 merger that formed Union Theological College. Also 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 Queen's University of Belfast, but in the 1960s, the Stormont Parliament, made a controversial decision to pass it over in favour of a new university in Coleraine, a decision which was one of the pivotal points in the history of The Troubles. Instead it was incorporated into the two-campus New University of Ulster in 1969.The next fourteen years saw the college halve in size, while development focused on the main Coleraine campus. In 1983, the New University merged with the Ulster Polytechnic, and Magee became the early focus of development of a new four-campus university, the University of Ulster. Student and faculty numbers recovered and grew rapidly over the next ten to fifteen years, accompanied by numerous construction projects.


1845 - Foundation endowment from Martha Magee.
1865 - Magee College opened.
1880 - Magee College joined the new Royal University of Ireland.
1909 - Royal University dissolved. Government funding greatly reduced. Magee College became an autonomous university college, with students completing their degrees at Trinity College, Dublin.
1953 - Magee University College received major government grant funding for the first time.
1969 - Magee University College merged with the New University of Ulster.
1978 - Magee Theological College closed, merging with Assembly's College to form Union Theological College in Belfast.
1984 - New University merged with the Ulster Polytechnic, Jordanstown, to form the University of Ulster.
Historical notes:

Florence Nightingale visited Magee College on 31 May 1867.
The Magee College bequest is mentioned on the founder's graveyard memorial in Lurgan, County Armagh, where her husband was a minister.


The central feature of the campus is the original 1865 building. This is surrounded by Victorian red brick houses, and several modern buildings in red brick and glass, constructed since the formation of the University of Ulster.

The campus is used for education, but also as a convention centre. For example, Magee hosted the 2006 Tomo-Dachi convention.

Timeline of recent construction:

1988 - Phase I building
1989 - Carrickmore House, extension of main building
1990 - Phase II library building
1991 - Refurbished main building
1992 - Extension of 3/4 College Avenue
1993 - Strand Road student residence
1995 - Phase III buildings (sports complex and informatics), Duncreggan Road student residences, floodlit all-weather sports ground

Tip O'Neill Chair:

Based at Magee, the Tip O'Neill Chair in Peace Studies was established in commemoration of the former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. a well-known supporter of the Northern Ireland Peace Process. The chair was inaugurated by the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton in 1995. Currently funded by The Ireland Funds the chair has been held by the Nobel Peace Laureate, John Hume since 2003. Under the tenure of Professor Hume Magee has hosted a series of guest lectures involving key national and international policy-makers:

Mitchell Reiss, United States Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, 2006
John Kerry, United States Senator, 2006
Garret Fitzgerald, former Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, 2005
Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States Senator, 2004
Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, 2004
Romano Prodi, EU Commission President, 2004
Pat Cox, MEP and President of the European Parliament, 2004
Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland and President of the European Council, 2003
Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, 2003
Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister of France, 2003

Notable alumni:

Gregory Campbell (politician), 1982
Mark Durkan, Deputy First Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive, c.1980s
Brian Keenan (writer), c.1985
Dill Macky, 1866, founder of The Scots College school in Sydney

Honorary graduates:

Notable figures have received honorary degrees in graduations hosted by Magee:

Rt Hon Lord Ashdown (Paddy Ashdown), former Liberal Democrat Leader and former UN High Representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2006
Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States Senator, 2004
Fiona Shaw, actor, 2004
Stephen Rea, actor, 2004
Amanda Burton, actor, 2002
Bill Clinton, then President of the United States, 1995