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University College Dublin
An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath
Latin: Universitas Collegium apud Dublinum
Motto Ad Astra
Cothrom Féinne
Motto in English To the stars
Fair play
Established 18 May 1854, 1880, 1908
President Dr Hugh R. Brady
Registrar Dr Philip Nolan
Faculty 1,322
Staff 3,267
Students 17,214 (2008/2009)[1]
Undergraduates 13,547 (2008/2009)[1]
Postgraduates 3,667 (2008/2009)[1]
Location Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland
Campus Urban, 148 hectares (365 acres)
Affiliations AMBA
Universitas 21
UCD Dublin.png

University College Dublin (UCD) (Irish: An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath) - formally known as University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin (Irish: An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath - Ollscoil na hÉireann, Baile Átha Cliath) is the Republic of Ireland's largest, and Ireland's second largest, university, with over 1,300 faculty and 17,000 students. It is located in Dublin, capital of Ireland.

Descended from the body founded in 1854 as the Catholic University of Ireland with John Henry Newman as the first rector, re-formed in 1880 and chartered in its own right in 1908, today the university is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland. The Universities Act, 1997 renamed the university as National University of Ireland, Dublin, and a Ministerial Order of 1998 renamed the university as University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin.[2]

Originally located in Dublin city centre, most of the university's faculties have since been relocated to a 148 hectares (365 acre) park campus at Belfield, four kilometres to the south of the centre of Dublin city.



The university can trace its history to the institution founded in 1854 as the Catholic University of Ireland, was established as UCD in 1880 under the auspices of the Royal University, and received its charter in 1908.


The Catholic University of Ireland

Newman house, St Stephen's Green, Dublin. The original location of UCD.

In the years following Catholic Emancipation in Ireland, a movement led by Paul Cullen attempted to make higher-level education accessible to Irish Catholics taught by fellow-Catholics for the first time. The Anglican Trinity College Dublin had imposed a religious test, though Catholics had studied there since the 1780s. As a result of these efforts a new Catholic University of Ireland was opened in 1854 and John Henry Newman was appointed as its first rector. Initially only seventeen students enrolled, the first of these being the grandson of Daniel O’Connell.

As a private university the Catholic University was never given a royal charter, and so was unable to award recognized degrees and suffered from chronic financial difficulties. Newman left the university in 1857 and it subsequently went into a serious decline. This trend was reversed in 1880 with the establishment of the Royal University of Ireland. The Royal Universities charter entitled all Irish students to sit the Universities examinations and receive its degrees. Although in many respects the Catholic University can be viewed as a failure, the future University College inherited substantial assets from it including a successful medical school (Cecilia Street) and two beautiful buildings, Newman House on St Stephen's Green and the adjoining University Church.

Foundation of University College, Dublin

Government buildings, Dublin. The former location of the UCD science and engineering faculties

In order to avail of the benefits of the Royal University of Ireland arrangement, the Catholic University was re-formed as University College, Dublin. The college rapidly attracted many of the best students and academics in Ireland including Gerard Manley Hopkins and James Joyce and quickly began to outperform the other three colleges in the Royal University system - in the fifteen years before the establishment of the National University the number of first class distinctions in Arts awarded by the Royal University to University College was 702 compared with a total of 486 awarded to the combined Queen's Colleges of Belfast, Galway and Cork. Many of the college’s staff and students during this period would later contribute substantially to the formation and development of the future Irish state, the most famous being Francis Skeffington, Pádraig Pearse, Hugh Kennedy, Eoin MacNeill, Kevin O’Higgins, Tom Kettle, James Ryan, Douglas Hyde and John A. Costello.

In 1908, the Royal University was dissolved and a new National University of Ireland founded to replace it. This new University was brought into existence with three constituent University Colleges - Dublin, Galway and Cork. By this time the college campus consisted of a number of locations in and around St Stephens Green in Dublins city centre, the main sites being Earlsfort Terrace, Cecilia Street, College of Science Merrion Street, and Newman House on St Stephen's Green. Under the Universities Act, 1997, University College Dublin was established as a constituent university within the National University of Ireland framework.

UCD and the Irish War of Independence

The James Joyce Library and Administration buildings, Belfield campus, UCD.

In 1913 in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force, Eoin MacNeill, professor of early Irish history (who viewed the movement as a threat to the Home Rule movement), called for the formation of an Irish nationalist force to counteract it. The Irish Volunteers were formed later that year and MacNeill was elected its Chief-of-staff. At the outbreak of the First World War in view of the Home Rule Act 1914 the majority of the volunteers opted to support the British war effort, including many UCD staff and students. Many of those who opposed this move later participated in the Easter Rising.

In this way UCD was a reflection of the Irish nationalist community in general, with several staff and students participating in the rising, such as Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, Michael Hayes and James Ryan, and a smaller number, including Tom Kettle and Willie Redmond, fighting for the British in World War I during the same period.

Many UCD staff, students and alumni fought in the Irish War of Independence that followed the rising. Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty four UCD graduates joined the government of the new Irish Free State. It is notable that Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament) was located in UCD's Earlsfort Terrace campus from 1919 to 1922, when they moved to their current location in Leinster House.

The university's graduates have since had a large impact on Irish political life - four of the eight Presidents of Ireland and six of the twelve Irish Taoisigh have been either former staff or graduates. Of the fifteen current members of the Irish cabinet, nine are former UCD students.

Move to Belfield

'Noah's egg' outside the Veterinary School by Rachel Joynt (2004)

By the early 1940s the College had become the largest third level institution in the state. In an effort to cope with the increased numbers unsuccessful attempts were made to expand the existing city centre campus. It was finally decided that the best solution would be to move the College to a much larger greenfield site outside of the city centre and create a modern campus university. This move started in the early 1960s when the faculty of science moved to the new 1.4 square kilometres (350 acres) park campus at Belfield in a suburb on the south side of Dublin. The Belfield campus has since developed into a complex of modern buildings and inherited Georgian town houses, accommodating the colleges of the University as well as its student residences and many leisure and sporting facilities. One of UCD's previous locations, the Royal College of Science on Merrion Street is now the location of the renovated Irish Government Building, where the Department of the Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) is situated. University College Dublin had also a site in Glasnevin for much of the last century, the Albert Agricultural College, the southern part of which is now occupied by Dublin City University, the northern part is where Ballymun town is located.[3]

Recent developments

In April 2006, the University announced an ambitious building and redevelopment plan of its Belfield campus. The new developments include the redevelopment and expansion of the Newman Building, the James Joyce Library, the Science Complex (which will be transformed at a cost of €300 million) and an extension to the Student Centre (including a new swimming pool, debating chamber and theatre). In addition a new Gateway centre will be built at eastern, main entrance to the Belfield campus that will include a welcome centre, an art house cinema, an exhibition centre, hotel and conference facilities, office space for campus companies, some retail space and new student residences (with space for an extra 3,000 students). The whole plan is currently budgeted at a cost of over €800 million.

In May 2006 it was announced that Universitas 21 accepted the university as a member.[4]


Colleges and schools

The biological and geological sciences building of the Science Centre, Belfield campus, UCD.
Health Sciences building, Belfield campus, UCD.

The University consists of five colleges, their associated schools (34 in total) and eighteen research institutes and centres. Each college also has its own Graduate School, for postgraduates.

List of colleges and their respective schools:

School of Archaeology
School of Art History & Cultural Policy
School of Classics
School of English, Drama & Film
School of History & Archives[5]
School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore & Linguistics
School of Languages & Literatures
School of Music
School of Business
School of Law
School of Architecture, Landscape & Civil Engineering
School of Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering
School of Computer Science & Informatics
School of Electrical, Electronic & Mechanical Engineering
School of Geological Sciences
School of Mathematical Sciences
School of Physics[6]
School of Applied Social Science
School of Economics
School of Education
School of Geography, Planning & Environmental Policy
School of Information & Library Studies
School of Philosophy
School of Politics & International Relations
School of Psychology
School of Social Justice
School of Sociology
School of Agriculture, Food Science & Veterinary Medicine
School of Biology & Environmental Science
School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science
School of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
School of Medicine & Medical Science[7]
School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems
School of Public Health, Physiotherapy & Population Science

UCD Horizons

At the beginning of the 2005/2006 academic year, UCD introduced the Horizons curriculum,[8] which completely semesterised and modularised all undergraduate programmes enhancing the quality and flexibility of the standard university education. Under the Horizons curriculum, new undergraduate students have greater choice in what exactly they study in their programme. Under the new curriculum, students choose ten core modules from their specific subject area and two other modules, which can be chosen from any other programme across the entire University (this applies in the majority of programmes, however some exceptions, as in Arts Omnibus and Business & Law, can apply). For example, a student studying Stage 1 Commerce as his primary degree programme can also choose one module (or two) from the Stage 1 Law programme (subject to space availability, timetable constraints and so on).



James Joyce attended UCD from 1898 to 1903.

Among its most accomplished alumni and faculty are four former presidents of Ireland and five former taoisigh. Examples of other well known UCD alumni include writers (e.g. James Joyce, Flann O'Brien and Roddy Doyle), actors (e.g. Gabriel Byrne and Brendan Gleeson), film directors (e.g. Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan), comedians (e.g. Dermot Morgan and Dara Ó Briain), humanitarians (e.g. John O'Shea (humanitarian)), Cardinals (e.g. Tomás Ó Fiaich and Desmond Connell), businessmen (e.g. David J. O'Reilly, Tony O'Reilly, Eddie O'Connor (businessman) and Denis O'Brien), economists (e.g. Dr.Garret FitzGerald and Prof.Patrick Lynch), sportspeople (e.g. Brian O'Driscoll and Michelle Smith) and politicians (e.g. V V Giri and Eoin MacNeill).


The university is consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the Republic of Ireland on worldwide metrics.

  • Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2010.
98th globally, 1st in Ireland.[9]
  • The Economist (Full-time MBA ranking) 2009.
37th globally, 1st in Ireland.[10]
  • Times Higher Education Supplement Global Ranking 2009.
89th globally, 2nd in Ireland.[11]
  • Financial Times European Business School Rankings 2009.
22nd in Europe, 1st in Ireland.[12]
  • Academic Ranking of World Universities.
303-401 globally and 2nd in Ireland.[13]


  • The Sunday Times University of the Year 2006.[14]

Research and innovation

The University is a leading research centre within Ireland with a research income of €114.7 million during 2007/8. UCDs research community of approximately one thousand faculty members, one thousand post doctoral researchers and two thousand PhD students work in the various schools and research institutes of the University.

Research Institutes

Research administration building, Belfield campus, UCD.
The Conway Institute, Belfield campus, UCD.
Front entrance, NovaUCD

Amongst the research institutes of the university are:

External collaborations

Wide partnerships in which the university is involved include:

Current and former campus companies

The most prominent university-related company is the IE Domain Registry; many of the university's academics continue to sit on the board of directors. The university originally gained control of the .ie domain in the late 1980s.

There are a number of related companies, many concentrated as the NovaUCD initiative, to commercialise research results and opportunities; many of these reflect the university's expertise in the life sciences and information technology. These companies include:

Academic publications

Academic journals and other publications issued by or associated with UCD include:

  • The History Review, published by the Department of History
  • Trowel, postgraduate archaeological research journal published by the School of Archaeology

Student life


The Student Centre, Belfield campus, UCD

UCD has very strong sporting traditions and a very successful competitive record in a great range of sports. The most successful clubs during 2005/2006 were the Senior Hurling team (winners of the Dublin County Championship), the Senior Hockey team (winners of the Leinster Senior Cup), the Senior Basketball team (University Championship winners), the Ladies Volleyball team (which won the University Championships and the English Student Cup), the Under-20 Rugby team (which won a league and cup double), the table tennis team (which won the Irish Universities Championships for the 7th year in a row), the Soccer teams (winning a variety of cups and leagues), the Senior Men's Cricket Team (Varsity Plate Winners) and the Ultimate Frisbee Open Team (winners of Div 2 UK Nationals).

The most successful clubs in 2006/2007 were the Table Tennis Club (Irish Universities Champions for the 8th year in a row, Leinster Cup Champions & SuperLeague Champions, qualifying for the ETTU European Cup), the Fencing Club (Intervarsity winners 5th year in a row, Colours winners 10th year in a row, Darius Vasseghi Team Foil Cup winners, Trinity Team Cup Winners) and the Cricket Club (joint inter-varsity winners).

The Belfield campus is home to some of the best sports facilities in Ireland. These include the national hockey stadium (which has previously hosted the Women's Hockey World Cup Finals and the Men's Hockey European Championship Finals), a full size athletics track, two other stadia (one for rugby and one for soccer), one of the largest fitness centres in the country, squash courts, tennis courts, an indoor rifle range, over twenty sports pitches (for rugby, soccer and gaelic games), an indoor climbing wall and two large sports halls. It is hoped that a swimming pool will be added before 2010. There are currently over fifty sports clubs in UCD.[15] These cater for archery to windsurfing and just about everything in between. Probably the three largest and most successful clubs are the soccer club (currently the only university team to compete in the top division of the national league in Western Europe), the rugby club (currently playing in the AIB League Division 2) and the Gaelic Sports club.

The University hosted the IFIUS World Interuniversity Games in October 2006.

University College Dublin RFC
University College Dublin A.F.C.
UCD Marian
UCD Fencing Club


The main restaurant building, with the corner of the Quinn School of Business visible on the left, Belfield campus, UCD.

There are currently over fifty student societies in the university. They cater for many interests ranging from large-scale party societies such as Ag Soc, Arts Soc, Commerce and Economics Society ,Qsoc,, and B&L,. There are religiously-interested groups such as the Christian Union, the Islamic Society and the Humanist Society, a television station Campus Television Network, academic-oriented societies like the Philosophy Society, Mathsoc, Classical Society, Filmsoc and everything in between, including such great charities as St. Vincent de Paul, UCDSVP. All Irish political parties are represented on campus including Young Fine Gael, Ogra Fianna Fáil, The Socialist Party, The Socialist Workers Party, Sinn Féin, The Green Party and UCD Labour Youth. The college has two debating unions. The largest and oldest student society is the Literary and Historical Society, which is currently in its 155th session. The University College Dublin Law Society is a debating society based in the Law Faculty, aside from debating it also acts as a class, academic and professional development society. The UCD Medical Society will celebrate it's Centenary Year in the 2009-2010 academic year. Away from politics and debating the UCD Dramsoc is the university drama society, it is noted for an active membership and a number of notable alumni. The university also has a successful sinfonia called University College Dublin Symphony Orchestra.

Students' union

Glenomena student residences, Belfield campus, UCD.

The students' union, UCDSU in the college has been an active part of campaigns run by the National Union, USI, and has played a highly significant role in the life of the college since its foundation in 1974.

The Union has also taken significant stances on issues of human rights that have hit the headlines in Ireland and around the world, particularly in becoming the first institution in the world to implement a ban of Coca-Cola products in Student Union controlled shops on the basis of alleged human and trade union rights abuses in Colombia. However, the union did not take a stand for students against imposed change by college authorities of the exam marking system, which saw anonymous marking eliminated to the detriment of student welfare.

The Union's main Governing Body is the Union Council which meets every two weeks during term. Council membership consists of 180+ seats for Class Representatives, ten directly elected officers of the Union Executive and five Executive officers elected by Union Council at its first meeting each year. Their term commences on 1 July in the year of their election and lasts for twelve months. Sabbatical elections take place in late February of each year. To date, students from Arts, Social Science and Law have predominated in holding council seats.

Student publications and media


The university has two student papers, the broadsheet The University Observer and the tabloid College Tribune. Both papers are usually published on a fortnightly basis throughout the academic year.

The University Observer

The University Observer won the Newspaper of the Year award at the National Student Media Awards in April 2006, an accolade it has achieved many times. Founded in 1994, its first editors were Pat Leahy and comedian Dara Ó Briain. Many figures in Irish journalism have held the position of editor including The Irish Times deputy news editor Roddy O'Sullivan, The Sunday Business Post political correspondent Pat Leahy, AFP business reporter Enda Curran, Sunday Independent journalist Daniel McConnell, RTÉ News reporter Samantha Libreri and TV researcher Alan Torney. The efforts of its staff were noted by the prestigious Guardian Student Media Awards with a nomination for "Best Newspaper", the first Irish student publication to receive such recognition. In 2001, in addition to several Irish National Student Media Awards, the University Observer under McConnell and Curran took the runner up prize for "Best Publication" at the Guardian Student Media Awards in London. To date, The University Observer has won no fewer than 29 Irish Student Media Awards.

The main sections within the paper are: campus, national and international news, comment, opinion and sport. In addition, each edition includes a pullout arts and culture supplement called O-Two, with music interviews, travel, fashion and colour pieces. The University Observer is funded by the UCD Students' Union, but its content remains editorially independent, barring one 'Union Page' per issue.

College Tribune

The The College Tribune was founded in 1988, with the assistance of noted political commentator Vincent Browne, then an evening student in the college, who noted the lack of an independent media outlet for students and the college in general. Financially, it is supported by commercial advertising in the paper and is completely independent of college and union authorities. Former editors include Conor Lally, Crime Correspondent of the Irish Times, The Sunday Times journalist Richard Oakley, former Sunday Tribune reporter Eoghan Rice, Paul Lynch, film critic of the Sunday Tribune, Irish Independent soccer correspondent Daniel McDonnell, and brothers Gary and Fergus O'Shea, both now in the Irish Sun, who were editors in 1996-97 and 2001-02 respectively.

Other past contributors include Dave Kelly, now rugby correspondent with the Irish Independent and Katherine Smyth a former associate producer with BBC Current Affairs. The College Tribune was tied to the national Sunday Tribune through its connections with Vincent Browne, but such links ended in 1999. The Tribune has also been distinguished on several occasions at national student media awards, particularly in sportswriting, where it has a strong tradition. The paper won the Student Newspaper of the Year at the USI/Irish Independent media awards in 1996. The then editor, Conor Lally, won Student Journalist of the Year in 1996. Tribune stalwart Peter Lahiff was a recipient of a Guardian Award for Diversity in 2003, the only Irish-based recipient of any Guardian award to date.

College Tribune sections include news, features, opinion, music, film, sport and colour writing, and it is famous for the launch of the satirical page The Evil Gerald, a 'paper within a paper'. The Gerald was succeeded by The Turbine in 2003, and they have featured such satirical stories as the Provisional IRA dropping its pursuit of a United Ireland in favour of occupation of the Isle of Man, and Osama Bin Laden stealing the Magic Door from Bosco which allowed him access to anywhere in the world.

Radio and Television

UCD also has a student radio station, Belfield FM, broadcasting at selected times throughout the academic year across the campus on 89.9 FM and online at the station's website. The station is funded by the students' union and has nurtured current RTE presenters Ryan Tubridy and Rick O'Shea. BelfieldFM has become widely recognised as a leader in Irish student media.[citation needed]

At the beginning of the academic year 2005-2006, the creation of a student television station, titled Campus Television Network (CTN) was announced. The station began creating programmes in November 2006 and distributing them online, at its old website, and across the campus in the student bars and student centre. CTN does not actually broadcast any shows themselves, either through the college network or via traditional analogue or satellite methods, rather it allows downloads and viewing of programmes on their website and distributes DVDs to on campus venues. It currently produces a variety of shows from their entertainments show 'Ent...This!' to their fashion shows 'Nu Look' and 'Slick'. CTN can be viewed on its new website at

University College Dublin scarf colours

University College Dublin
University College Dublin, Colours
Sailing and Swimming Clubs Rugby Club Boat Club
Agricultural Science Arts Chemical Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering Commerce Electronic, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering
Law Medicine Radiography
Science Social Science Veterinary Medicine

Presidents of UCD

UCD In Popular Culture

Maeve Binchy's novel, Circle of Friends, deals with three female friends starting college in UCD in the 1950s. Ironically, shots of Trinity College were used in the Circle of Friends (1995 film), and resulted in the comical picture of actors playing 'UCD' students wearing UCD scarfs attending lectures in Trinity College.{{citation needed|date=February 2010}}

Johnny Jurex & The Punk Pistols, predecessors to Rocky De Valera & The Gravediggers had a song called 'Anarchy in Belfield' which they played at their only gig during Rag Week in 1976.[16]

The second Ross O'Carroll-Kelly book follows Ross as he enters UCD.

Conor McPherson's third film 'Saltwater' was filmed in Belfield, UCD.

James Joyce’s novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is partially set in UCD where Stephen Dedalus is enrolled as a student.

James Joyce's posthumously-published autobiographical novel Stephen Hero contains stories of his time in UCD.

Brian O'Nolan’s novel At Swim-Two-Birds features a UCD student who writes a meta-novel wherein the author is put on trial by the characters of his novel

Christy Moore wrote a tongue in cheek song about UCD's Literary and Historical Society called "The Auditor of the L and H"

In Boston Legal, Season 2, Episode 21 "Word Salad Day", there is a reference to a study from UCD that "found that the effects of divorce on children are far more damaging than the death of a parent" [17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c About UCD - University College Dublin
  2. ^ About NUI - Constituent Universities
  3. ^ The development of the Ballymun housing scheme, Dublin, 1965-1969,Sinéad Power, Department of Geography, University of Edinburgh
  4. ^ Universitas 21
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ UCD
  9. ^ Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
  10. ^ The Economist (2009 full-time MBA ranking). Retrieved 2009-11-12.
  11. ^ 'Times Higher Education Supplement Global Ranking 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
  12. ^ Financial Times European Business School Rankings 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
  13. ^ Academic Ranking of World Universities, Retrieved 2009-11-12.
  14. ^ Sunday Times
  15. ^ UCD - UCD Sport
  16. ^
  17. ^

External links

Coordinates: 53°18′30″N 6°13′20″W / 53.30833°N 6.22222°W / 53.30833; -6.22222


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