The University of Ulster (Formerly shortened to UU; Irish: Ollscoil Uladh) is a multi-campus, coeducational university located in Northern Ireland. It is the largest single university in Ireland, discounting the federal National University of Ireland. UU was established in 1968 as the New University of Ulster and can trace its roots back to 1845 when Magee College was established in Derry and 1849, when the School of Art and Design was inaugurated in Belfast. The university incorporated its four campuses in 1984 under the UU banner; these are located in Belfast, Coleraine (site of the administrative headquarters), Magee College in Derry, 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, 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. 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 . In the field of biomedical sciences, UU obtained a 5* rating, as well as being ranked joint first in the UK, following the Research Assessment Exercise in 2001. 86% of research activity at the university has been rated in the 2008 RAE as being of international quality, with 20% being classified as world-leading.
The New University of Ulster incorporates Magee College founded in 1865 in Derry. 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 Derry, in which "The Troubles" were just beginning to break out. The decision caused an outcry at the time. 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. The University incorporated the campus site of the former Ulster Polytechnic in 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 of Ulster 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.
The University of Ulster is particularly strong 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 5* ratings as well as being joint first in the UK, following the UK - wide Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2001. 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 strongly in the 2008 RAE. Full details of Ulster's RAE results are available at http://research.ulster.ac.uk/rae/rae2008.html
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.
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 Hugh McKenna
Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Ann Moran
Ulster Business School, Professor Marie McHugh
The University of Ulster currently maintains 5 sites across 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.
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 Coleraine campus includes the only optometry school in Northern Ireland and is indeed one of only two on the island of Ireland. 2009 will see the University launch a new Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) course at Coleraine. The campus includes the Riverside Theatre, the third-largest professional theatre in Northern Ireland. The Coleraine campus is situated on the banks of the River Bann with views to the North Coast and County Donegal hills.
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, County Derry.
The Portrush Campus 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.
The Magee campus (UUM) in Derry 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. 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 psychology and nursing, as well as research excellence 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.
The Belfast campus (UUB) is the University's home of the School of Art and Design, 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 enrollment: 1,100 students.
The University of Ulster formally had a 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 Derry.
The Freshwater Laboratory, despite not a campus was a base of the University and consisted of on-campus accommodation, classrooms and testing labs. Courses offererd were 0all based on studying agriculture, wildlife inLough Neagh, water testing and other aquactic courses.
The base closed around ten years ago, and still remains standing, the buildings and on-site accommodation is in a run down state and was recently bought by Magherafelt District Council.
The remaining site is located on the edge of Lough Neagh, down the Point Road in Ballymaguigan. The area today has become popular with the locals for camping, fishing and boating.
Campus One, the Virtual Campus of the University of Ulster, was launched on 8 October 2001. It represents a revolutionary new route to learning via the World Wide Web and was selected by the European Commission to deliver World's First Higher Educational Programme in Hydrogen Safety Engineering. Campus One, a 'University at Your Fingertips', provides an online portal through which all of the University of Ulster's e-learning courses are made available on a global scale. The virtual campus incorporates existing e-learning courses with new post 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 to have global reach and relevance.
Sir Derek Birley (1983-1991)
Trevor Arthur Smith, Baron Smith of Clifton (1991-1999)
Gerald McKenna (1999-2005)
Richard Barnett (2005-present)
Noted academics and alumni:
Ulster has a large body of famed alumni, including MP's Kate Hoey, Gregory Campbell, Michelle Gildernew 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, comedian Omid Djalili, former hostage and writer Brian Keenan, Historian Simon Kitson, filmmaker Brian Philip Davis, visual artist Willie Doherty, photographer Mary Fitzpatrick, film producer Michael Riley (film producer), Irish 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 Antony Alcock, political scientist Monica McWilliams, psychologist Richard Lynn, poets Andrew Waterman and James Simmons, Law professor Denis Moloney and former Principal and theologian Edwin Ewart.
Honorary degrees have been received by many famed individuals including former President of the United States Bill Clinton, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, writer Seamus Deane, activist May Blood, actor Amanda Burton, playwright Brian Friel, writer Colm Tóibín, playwright Frank McGuinness, actor Ewan McGregor, singer Van Morrison, Nobel peace Prize Winner and former MP, MEP, MLA John Hume, Ulster and Ireland rugby union international David Humphreys, Gaelic footballer Peter Canavan, last Governor of Hong Kong and former MP Chris Patten, Olympic gold medal winning and world record holding triple jumper Jonathan Edwards, singer Enya, Nobel Laureate and Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, Irish folk musician, artist, poet and storyteller Tommy Makem and Nobel Peace laureate and Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.