Blogs

Keep up with all the latest thoughts and opinions.

We make it happen.

Discover Ulster University

Friday, December 10th, 2021

Ulster-University-logoPerhaps you’ve come across one of our distance learning courses and you’re intrigued by our offering. Or you’re curious to know what kind of student experience or career outcomes to expect from an Ulster degree.

But maybe you’re holding off from enrolling because you’re not that familiar with the University of Ulster.

If you’re wondering who we are, what we do, and what it’s like being an online student at UU, then read on. You might find out some things that surprise you…

Who are Ulster?

Most people in the UK could probably tell you that Ulster is a region of Ireland, but perhaps not much more. For anyone outside Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, Ulster University might not be as well-known as some more famous English or Scottish higher education institutions.

However, Ulster University is the second largest university on the island of Ireland and the largest in the North. We have a character, history, and academic expertise all of our own, and we’re worth taking notice of. First, a little background:

A (very) brief history of Ulster University

Ulster is a relatively young university, officially founded in 1984 with the merger of the New University of Ulster and Ulster Polytechnic – but our origins go back as far as the mid-19th century with our two other constituent colleges, the Belfast School of Art and Magee College.

Since then we’ve grown across four regional Northern Irish campuses (as well as bases in London, Birmingham, and even Qatar) with an academic body of 27,000 students and over 2,000 staff.

UU was one of the first universities to offer fully online degree courses in the early 2000s in biomedical science. Our distance learning courses have since expanded and remain an important offering to online students from the UK and around the world.

So, although we may be relatively young, we have old roots and forward-thinking ideas beyond our years.

Ulster’s reputation and goals

We’re not small as a university, but we’re not huge either. However, we do punch well above our weight – for instance, being shortlisted as one of the top 5 candidates for the University of the Year for the whole UK.

In many disciplines we’re rated increasingly high in yearly rankings, making our mark on academia, teaching, research power, and student satisfaction.

We see ourselves as Northern Ireland’s civic university. Community is part of our DNA. We’re a publicly funded research university with charitable status. Making a positive impact on the wellbeing and prosperity of the community is at the heart of what we stand for.

This might sound like a high-minded ideal – in reality, it just means Ulster is a place where local people can be inspired, educated, improve their skills, and take that knowledge and experience back to improve society around them. We want to be a force for good in Northern Ireland and beyond.

Our other aim is academic excellence. We’ve scored very highly in recent Research Excellence Framework assessments as well as other rankings and league tables for our student satisfaction and the quality of our teaching.

Ulster is a university with a global vision, producing world-leading research and leading our students with the latest developments in academia and student experience.

About Ulster’s online courses

Ulster has been running online programmes for over 20 years. We’ve developed our distance learning platforms and methods into an efficient, flexible, and rewarding model to reach students who can’t or would prefer not to physically attend one of our campuses.

All of our online courses offer the same level of qualifications that students receive on campus. It’s also really important to us that distance learners feel as much a part of Ulster University life and community as their on-campus peers.

What is studying online at Ulster like?

Our online courses cover a range of subjects and disciplines and Ulster’s distance learning portfolio is expanding. For our 1,500+ remote learners, the online student experience is flexible, rewarding, and inclusive.

There’s an online learning community enabled by our e-learning platform. Remote students are fully supported, not just by their academic tutors, but with dedicated Student Success Advisors who are on hand from the moment they enrol right up to graduation. Moreover, distance learning students are given all the resources, readings, and access to lectures and staff that they need via UU’s online platforms.

The main advantage of online learning with Ulster is the flexibility of the programme design, with the same quality teaching that you would get in person.

What courses does Ulster University offer?

Ulster covers a wide range of programmes and disciplines. In many of these we produce world-leading research from state-of-the-art facilities.

UU has four main faculties:

  • Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
  • Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
  • Ulster University Business School

At the Coleraine campus on the coast we focus on science and health, benefiting from such facilities as the new mass spectrometry centre for Biomedical Science.

On the Belfast campus, arts and humanities subjects are at home in the cultural hub of the Cathedral Quarter, with architecture, hospitality, and digital animation amongst many more innovative programmes.

Jordanstown, the largest Ulster University campus, is home to the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland (SINI). It also has a strong sciences offering, with engineering, computing and the built environment just a few of the disciplines based here.

The Magee campus in Derry-Londonderry offers a wide range of subjects, including cinematic arts, law, nursing, and drama.

Regardless of whether you’re based at one of these campuses or an online student based at home, you’ll benefit from the expertise of our staff, the research enabled by our modern facilities, and the wide reach of our faculties across the region.

Vocationally led education at Ulster

Whether you’re studying in the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences or with the Ulster University Business School (UUBS), on an undergraduate or postgraduate programme, your qualification will be career-focused.

Vocational education is key to our goals as a civic university – with the aim of bringing meaningful skills and knowledge to bear on improving society.

All of our courses are designed with practical, professional applications in mind. Our course and curriculum committees regularly discuss vocational elements of their modules and rely on real-world case studies and practical work as much as theory.

UU’s links with industry

Across our disciplines, Ulster maintains strong connections to industry organisations and bodies, locally, regionally, and internationally. This is a crucial part of our ethos – ensuring that learning outcomes for students are going to be directly applicable to their current or future working practices.

For instance, UUBS not only collaborates with the Harvard Business School, but we have links to business organisations and industry individuals who help us design some of our courses and keep our teaching relevant.

Another example: our online Biomedical Science MSc is taught by research-active academics, many of whom are core members of Ulster’s Biomedical Sciences Research Institute (BMSRI). The faculty are active in the NICHE (Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health) research group, Cancer Research UK, and other industry bodies.

We encourage our staff to deliver the highest quality research and foster links with other institutions and industry organisations. Not only does this put them in touch with the latest developments in their field, it makes Ulster a place where these disciplines have an international reach. This in turn produces career-focused programmes and graduates who leave ready to face the world of work immediately.

Study online with Ulster University

There’s a lot more to discover about UU and the career-enhancing programmes we offer. If you have a particular course in mind we can answer any questions about that particular faculty, or about our online courses in general.

Have a look at our distance learning programmes and if you have any queries about a particular subject or the University as a whole, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Related blogs