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The University of Ulster boasts a large student population of around 26,000 students spread across four campus in Northern Ireland. It’s all about widening access to higher education, promoting lifelong learning and it focuses on providing excellent teaching and research.
Although the University was established in 1984, it was formed out of a myriad of older institutions: the Magee College (1845), College of Art and Design (1849), New University of Ulster (1968) and Ulster College (1971). It has five faculties: the Faculty of the Arts, Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment, the Faculty of Computing and Engineering, the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Ulster Business School. These faculties offer a wide range of courses across its campuses: from marine sciences, hospitality and tourism, to law, drama and computing.
An ambitious redevelopment programme will bring campus extensions, new facilities and more students to the University of the Ulster over the next ten years. The University also aims to become Northern Ireland’s number one university for sport, an ambition belied by its significant investment in some top-notch sports facilities.
Notable ex-students to have passed through the University of Ulster or its previous institutions include: actor James Nesbitt, writer Brian Keenan, comedian Omad Djalili, Kate Hoey MP, and artist, author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers.
Jordanstown is the University of Ulster’s largest campus with over 13,000 students. The campus is all about science: housing the engineering, social sciences, business, communication, science and sports courses. It’s located about seven miles north of Belfast, within spitting distance of the Belfast Lough. Jordanstown campus has a villagey feel: there are banks, coffee shops, restaurants, sandwich bars, a supermarket and various other facilities interspersed between the teaching and learning buildings. Student accommodation on site, plus two nightlife venues, means that you have pretty much everything you need on campus.
An hour north of Jordanstown is the University of Ulster’s Coleraine Campus. Less than a mile out of Coleraine, the campus is located on the banks of the river Bann. It’s a great location for outdoorsy types, right on the Causeway Coast’s doorstep. The campus houses a wide range of courses from biomedical sciences and geography, to humanities and computing. Custom-built facilities and 312 acres of landscaped parkland make for an attractive campus. Students don’t go hungry or thirsty either, with a number of catering outlets available on site.
The award for most improved campus goes to the University of Ulster’s Magee site in Derry/Londonderry. Student numbers are on the increase in line with the new teaching, learning and living facilities, comprising of a student village, modern library, research centre and the Foyle Arts Building. The campus is only a short walk away from Derry/Londonderry’s city centre.
The Belfast campus is the smallest of the lot with around just 1,700 students. It has traditionally been mainly for art and design courses, but now offers hospitality, catering and event management courses and Irish language courses as well. The campus is comprised of two connecting buildings and facilities include television and editing studios, sound recording, mixing, and animation suites, exhibition areas and a library. There are three catering outlets on campus: Tao Noodle Bar, The Streat and the Academy Training Restaurant, staffed by students from the Department of Tourism and Hospitality.
Belfast itself is a beautiful city with a rich heritage and culture which attracts millions of tourists every year. There’s a good live music scene and plenty of museums and galleries.
Students looking for accommodation on Jordanstown Campus can take their pick from rooms in Courtyard Apartments or the Dalriada Student Village. Courtyard Apartments offers more privacy, while the Dalriada Student Village consists of en-suite rooms arranged in tower blocks. Off-campus (although only ten minutes from the campus) is the Glenville Road residence with rooms arranged in five person self-contained flats. Weekly rent is between £55 and £160 a week depending on room type.
On campus accommodation at the Coleraine campus consists of the Cranagh Village with 338 en-suite rooms and Errigal/Knocklayde’s 17 student houses. Off campus, students have a choice of three residences: Cromore/Atlantic Court which is just opposite the campus, Agherton Student Village three miles away, and the much smaller Maple Lodge with 84 bed spaces. Rent for accommodation on or near Coleraine Campus is between £56 and £120 a week.
There are 628 study bedrooms at Magree. Duncreggan Student Village offers mainly en-suite rooms on campus, although there are 158 single standard study bedrooms. Coppin House is next to the Magree Campus and has 72 rooms with shared facilities. Rent ranges between £62 and £114 a week for a room.
Unfortunately, there is no university student accommodation at the Belfast Campus but students can apply for accommodation at Jordanstown Campus or rent in Belfast privately.
The tuition fees for Northern Irish, Republic of Ireland and EU undergraduates starting in 2012/13 will be £3,465 a year. Undergraduate students from the rest of the UK aren’t so lucky and will be charged tuition fees of £6,000 a year. However, this is still cheaper than many other universities in the UK. Eligible students will be able to get a tuition fee loan from the government.
Living costs will vary depending on where you’re based, but broadly speaking living costs in Northern Ireland aren’t particularly steep. Accommodation is on average around £75 to £85 a week for a student living in a shared flat.
You can find details of Ulster’s bursaries and funding support here.
The University of Ulster Students’ Union runs a bar on the Coleraine Campus and the Bunker Bar on the Magee Campus with regular student club nights. Students at Jordanstown can sample on campus student entertainment at Lounge Bar and Arthur's Club Bar, whilst along with students at the Belfast Campus, they have the cream of Belfast’s nightlife at their fingertips (or a bus or train ride away).
Students at the Coleraine Campus head to Portrush and Portstewart for their nightlife kicks. Both places have plenty of pubs and bars. For clubbing, Portrush has Kelly’s Nightclub and Trax, whilst Portstewart has Havana Bar and The Anchor Bar complex.
Nightlife in Derry is centred around bars, which are lively, friendly and, yes, there’s plenty of craic. Oh, and let’s not forget live music: all the campuses have decent live music venues (be that pubs or larger venues) relatively nearby.
If sport’s your thing, the University of Ulster doesn’t disappoint with sports facilities at three of their campuses. Coleraine has its own fitness suite with the latest cardiovascular equipment, fixed weight training machines and a range of free weight equipment. It also has two sports halls, three squash courts, a solarium and steam room. Outdoor facilities include two tennis courts, plenty of pitches for football, rugby, Gaelic sports, cricket and a synthetic hockey pitch.
But it’s the facilities at the Jordanstown Cmapus that are really worth shouting about. The huge Ulster Sports Centre has an indoor 3G artificial pitch, indoor and outdoor athletics complex, a health suite with sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and plunge pool, two sports halls, a gymnasium, two squash courts and a strength and conditioning suite. Phew. If that wasn’t enough, there is also a floodlit outdoor 3G pitch, a water based hockey pitch, various grass pitches, three tennis courts and three more floodlit pitches.
Over at Magee campus, there is a sports hall, fitness and dance studio, a grass and synthetic pitch and various clubs and activities.
Each campus has their own student societies and clubs. You can check out A-Zs of the societies currently running here.
Freshers’ Week at the University of Ulster involves a Freshers’ Fayre, events and themed parties across all four campuses. The Student Union is in charge of co-ordinating entertainment and there’s bound to be a couple of events to ignite your interest and get you mixing with your fellow students.
The Careers Development Centre at the University of Ulster are there to help you on the way to a graduate career. They offer career development learning programmes, a collection of career resources, and personal advice and guidance. They maintain a vacancies database and keep students informed about work placements and volunteering opportunities.