Ulster, University of

By Alice Tarleton

Published: 01 August 2006

Age: 36, from the birth of the New University of Ulster; 20, from merger with Ulster Poly

History: Origins date from Magee College in Londonderry/Derry founded in 1845. The Belfast campus has its roots in the College of Art and Design (1907) and the New University of Ulster and Ulster College date from 1968 and 1971 respectively. The University of Ulster was established in 1984.

Address: Four very different sites spread across Northern Ireland -up to 72 miles apart.

Ambience: Depends on campus. Belfast, housing art and design, architecture and law, is the smallest site. The attractive Magee campus, offering law, drama, and computing, is in Derry. Coleraine, the university's HQ running courses from media studies to marine science, is a small, quiet market town a few miles from the lovely Antrim coast and the seaside towns of Portrush and Portstewart. Verdant views surround. Jordanstown is the largest site and still expanding. Situated on the shores of Belfast Lough, it has good views over the bay and surrounding hills.

Vital statistics: More than 28,000 students - is the largest university in Ireland. Students from private schools are hard to find.

Added value: Mature students account for 21 per cent of full-time undergraduates. Has embarked on a development programme of £200 million over the next 10 years.

Easy to get into? Between 160 and 360 entry points required, depending on the course.

Glittering alumni: Kate Hoey, MP; Brian Friel, playwright; Brian Keenan, Beirut hostage and author; Ewan McGregor, filmstar; Seamus Heaney, poet.

Transport links: Trains and buses connect Coleraine, Belfast and Derry. There is a good Sustrans cycle network in Northern Ireland. And three airports nearby.

Who's the boss? Professor Richard Barnett, Vice-Chancellor

Teaching: Rated 22 out of 24 for economics, politics, molecular biosciences, mathematics, statistics and operational research, nursing; 23 for psychology, hospitality, leisure, sport and tourism, education and philosophy; 24 for business and management and celtic studies.

Research: Came joint 59th with Cranfield in the 2001 assessment exercise. Tip-top 5* in biomedical sciences and Celtic studies, and 5s in art and design, built environment and law.

Nightlife: Plenty of pubs in Londonderry. Social life for Coleraine students is mainly in the seaside towns of Portrush and Portstewart. Both the Belfast and Jordanstown campuses are close to the nightlife of the city.

Clubs & Societies: Include 8-ball Pool; Aikido; Camogie; Gaelic Football (Men's & Women's); Hurling; Ju-Jitsu; Mountaineering; Surf; Table Tennis; Applied Arts; Arts & Crafts; Civil Engineering; International; Irish Language; Law; Political; Silversmith.

Cheap to live in? Yes. Single room in halls are around at £48 a week. £55 a week renting privately.

Prospectus: 08700 400700; www.ulster.ac.uk;

UCAS code: U20

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