Queen's University Belfast

Queen's University Belfast

Seal of Queen's University Belfast

Seal of Queen's University Belfast
Latin: Universitas Reginae Belfastiae
Motto Pro tanto quid retribuamus
Motto in English
For so much, what shall we give back?
Type Public research university
Established 1810 – R.B.A. Institution
1849 – Queen's College
1908 – University Status
Endowment £ 53.4 million (as of 31 July 2015)[1]
Chancellor Thomas Moran
Vice-Chancellor Patrick Johnston
Visitor HM The Queen
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 23,853 (2014/2015)
Undergraduates 18,857 (2014/2015)
Postgraduates 4,996 (2014/2015)
Other students
2,250[3] (Colleges)
Location Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK
54°35′3″N 5°56′5″W / 54.58417°N 5.93472°W / 54.58417; -5.93472Coordinates: 54°35′3″N 5°56′5″W / 54.58417°N 5.93472°W / 54.58417; -5.93472
Campus Urban
Newspaper The Gown
Colours Blue, black, green
Nickname QUB
Affiliations Russell Group
Universities UK
Universities Ireland
Website Official Website

Queen's University Belfast (informally Queen's or QUB) is a public research university in Belfast, Northern Ireland.[note 1] The university was chartered in 1845, and opened in 1849 as "Queen's College, Belfast", but has roots going back to 1810 and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.[4]

The university forms the focal point of the Queen's Quarter area of the city, one of Belfast's four cultural districts. It offers academic degrees at various levels and across a broad subject range, with over 300 degree programmes available.[5] Since 1 March 2014, Patrick Johnston has been the university’s 12th President and Vice-Chancellor. Its Chancellor is Thomas Moran.

Queen's is a member of the Russell Group of leading research intensive universities, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association, Universities Ireland and Universities UK. The university is associated with two Nobel laureates and one Turing Award laureate.


Queen Victoria and Charles Lanyon

Queen's University Belfast has its roots in the Belfast Academical Institution, which was founded in 1810, one of the United Kingdom's 10 oldest universities, and remains as the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.[4] The present university was first chartered as "Queen's College, Belfast" in 1845, when it was associated with the simultaneously founded Queen's College, Cork, and Queen's College, Galway, as part of the Queen's University of Ireland – founded to encourage higher education for Catholics and Presbyterians, as a counterpart to Trinity College, Dublin, then an Anglican institution.[4] Queen's College, Belfast, opened in 1849.[4] Its main building, the Lanyon Building, was designed by the English architect, Sir Charles Lanyon. At its opening, it had 23 professors and 343 students.. Some early students at Queen's University Belfast took University of London examinations.[6]

The Lanyon Building, Queen's University Belfast

The Irish Universities Act, 1908 dissolved the Royal University of Ireland, which had replaced the Queen's University of Ireland in 1879, and created two separate universities: the current National University of Ireland and Queen's University of Belfast.[4]

Parliamentary representation

The university was one of only eight United Kingdom universities to hold a parliamentary seat in the House of Commons at Westminster until such representation was abolished in 1950. The university was also represented in the Parliament of Northern Ireland from 1920–1968, where its graduates elected four seats.

Modern day

On 20 June 2006, the university announced a £259 million investment programme focusing on facilities, recruitment and research.[7] One of the outcomes of this investment has been a new university library; the McClay library was designed by Boston-based architects Sheply, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbott, working in association with Belfast architects, Robinson Patterson Partnership, and opened in July 2009. The building has been named in honour of Sir Allen McClay, a major benefactor of Queen's University and of the Library.[8]

In June 2010, the university announced the launch of a £7.5m Ansin international research hub with Seagate Technologies.[9]

Queen's is one of the largest employers in Northern Ireland, with a total workforce of 3,903, of whom 2,414 were members of academic, academic-related and research staff and 1,489 were administrative employees.[2]


Queen's Graduate School
Lanyon Quadrangle
Queen's University Main Campus Buildings

In addition to the main campus not far from the centre of Belfast, the university has two associated university colleges, these being St Mary's and Stranmillis both also located in Belfast. Although offering a range of degree courses, these colleges primarily provide training for those wishing to enter the teaching profession. The university has formal agreements with other colleges in Northern Ireland and operates several outreach schemes to rural areas.

While the university refers to its main site as a campus,[10] the university's buildings are in fact spread over a number of public streets in South Belfast, centring on University Road, University Square and Stranmillis Road, with other departments located further afield.



Queen's has been led by a distinguished line of Vice-chancellors, including Sir David Keir, Lord Ashby of Brandon, Michael Grant, Sir Arthur Vick, Sir Peter Froggatt, Sir Gordon Beveridge, Sir George Bain and Sir Peter Gregson.[4]

The university's Chancellors have included Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, Field Marshal Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, Sir Tyrone Guthrie, Eric Ashby, Baron Ashby,[11] and George J. Mitchell.[12] The current chancellor is the businessman Thomas Moran.

Faculties and schools

Academics at Queen's are organised into fifteen schools across three faculties. The three faculties are the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, the Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine, Health & Life Sciences. Each of the 20 schools operates as a primary management unit of the university and the schools are the focus for education and research for their respective subject areas.[13]

Other Academic Provision

Academic profile


(2016, national)
(2016, world)
(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2017, national)
The Guardian[22]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[23]
(2017, national)

Queen's University Belfast was admitted to the Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities in November 2006.[24][25] Queen’s University has been placed joint 8th in the UK for research intensity following the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF). The UK-wide research assessment of higher education institutions has placed Queen’s in the top 20 for research quality and impact. It also confirmed that over 75 per cent of our research is world-class or internationally leading with over 95 per cent of Queen’s academic staff returned for assessment, the University has 14 subject areas ranked within the UK’s top 20 with six of these in the top 10, and two in the top five.[26]

Rankings and reputation

The Times Higher Education rankings 2015/16 placed Queen’s 200th in world and in 2014 reported it in the top 25 most international universities.[27] In the 2016 QS World University Rankings Queen's was ranked 182nd..

In the National Student Survey 2013, Queen's was ranked 12th in the UK for student satisfaction.[28]

Queen's is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world according to the 2015-16 QS World University Rankings. They also commended Queen's for its leadership role in society and its life-changing research. The University is a global player in areas from cancer studies to sustainability, wireless technology to creative writing and from pharmaceuticals to sonic arts.[29] In the same year the university ranked 36th in the UK (The Complete University Guide 2016).[30]

The university has also been awarded by the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Further & Higher Education on several occasions, including for their work in comprehensive cancer services improving survival rates for patients in Northern Ireland. Most recently, in 2015, Queen's was awarded for its work in the field of engineering and technology[31]

Admissions and students

The McClay Library at Queen's University

Entrants to Queen's have, on average, 359 A/AS-level points and there are currently 5.3 applications per place.[32] The Sunday Times has described the Queen's admissions policy as "among the most socially inclusive in Britain and Northern Ireland".[32] 99.5 per cent of first degree entrants are from state schools,[33] although this is mainly due to the lack of private schools in Northern Ireland.

In the 2014/2015 academic year, the total student population was 23,853, of whom 18,857 were undergraduates and 4,996 postgraduates. Of the overall student population in 2014/15, 22,203 were from the EU, with the remaining 1,650 non-EU students. There was also a total student population of 2,250 at the University's St Mary's and Stranmillis University Colleges as of 2013/2014.[3]

Queen's was established as a non-sectarian institution, with the aim of attracting both Protestant and Catholic students. While the university does not publish data on the religion affiliation of its students, Rupert Taylor, who conducted his PhD research on the university during The Troubles, argued in an article published in 1988 that "Whilst in the past, especially before the Second World War, Catholics were under-represented this is not currently the case". Taylor cites data showing that Catholic representation amongst undergraduates rose from 21.9 per cent in 1958/59 to 27.4 per cent in 1968/69 and 42.5 per cent in 1978/79.[34] By the late 1990s, 54 per cent of Queen's students were Catholics, compared to a 48 per cent share of the Northern Ireland population aged 18–25.[35] The growing share of Catholics in the student population is in part due to the tendency of middle-class Protestants to go to university in Great Britain rather than Northern Ireland.[34]

In 2009, Queen's signed a joint venture partnership with INTO University Partnerships, creating INTO Queen's University Belfast. The INTO centre is based on campus and provides a foundation year for international students who want to study at the University.[36]

Student life

Students' Union

The Students' Union building

The Students' Union at Queen's (QUBSU) is located opposite the Lanyon Building on University Road, and is provided for under the University's Statutes. All students at the University are automatic members of the Union, making it one of the largest Unions on a single campus in Ireland and the UK. It is administered by the Students' Representative Council (SRC) (elected every October, on a Faculty basis) and an Executive (elected in March), who manage the operations of the Union in conjunction with several full-time staff.

Union services

A range of services are provided by the Students' Union following its reopening in March 2007 after a £9 million redevelopment, including an Advice Centre with full-time staff to help with issues such as money problems, accommodation and welfare. Commercial services are also provided for by the Union and include a shop, canteen and coffee franchise. There are also four bars within the building, the biggest of which, the Mandela Hall, hosts numerous concerts each year as well as the majority the Students' Union's club nights.

Ashby building, Stranmillis

Clubs and societies

More than fifty sporting clubs and over 100 non-sporting societies are recognised by the Student's Union Council and therefore eligible to apply for an annual grant from the University.[37] The oldest society in Queen's University is the Literary and Scientific Society which focuses on debating political, cultural and social issues within Northern Ireland. Established in 1850 by Edwin Lawrence Godkin, the society has been very successful and produced some of the finest orators within Northern Ireland. The Dragonslayers Gaming Society hosts one of Ireland's largest games conventions, Q-Con, in June of each year, and cultural groups such as An Cumann Gaelach and the Ulster-Scots Society are also present.

The Queen's University Mountaineering Club is notable for producing three Everest summiteers including Ireland's first, Dawson Stelfox.[38] Roger McMorrow and Nigel Hart also summited in May 2007, and were subsequently jointly announced Queen's University Graduates of the year for 2006/07[39] for their role in rescuing a young Nepalese climber left for dead near the summit.[40]

QUB is one of only 20 Universities in the United Kingdom to have the privilege of an AIESEC Local Chapter, developing leadership, business and soft skills in highly motivated students, as well as providing international opportunities through their work abroad program.


Queen's provides housing for both undergraduates and postgraduates, although because of the compact size of Northern Ireland many students chose to live at home and commute to the university. In 2005/06, 36 per cent of Queen's students lived in private accommodation within Belfast, 29 per cent lived with parents or guardians, 20 per cent in private accommodation outside of Belfast, and 10 per cent lived in university maintained accommodation.[41]

Elm's Village, student accommodation

The university provides accommodation on a purpose-built 'student village' called Elms Village, which has its own bar and shop, located on the Malone Road, south of the main campus, as well as in a number of houses in the South Belfast area, including at College Gardens and on Mount Charles.[42]

Cultural life

The university had hosted the annual Belfast Festival at Queen's since 1961 but it was announced in March 2015 that Queen's would not continue with the festival.[43] In 2007 the university held the Irish Student Drama Association Festival. It runs the Queen's Film Theatre, which has been described as Northern Ireland's leading independent cinema,[44] the Brian Friel Theatre and an art gallery, the Naughton Gallery at Queen's, which is a registered museum.[45] In 2008 the Naughton Gallery was awarded the Times Higher Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts.[46] Housed in the Lanyon building since 2001 is a marble statue by Pio Fedi of the great physicist Galileo, portrayed deep in thought.[47]


Queen's Physical Education Centre
The first QUB side to win the Sigerson Cup (1958)

Queen's Physical Education Centre (abbreviated to and known widely as the PEC) recently went through an extension program was awarded 'Best Building 2007' by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Northern Ireland.[48] It is one of the largest sports centres in the British Isles. This building houses many squash courts, several climbing walls and is home to QUB's senior men's and women's basketball teams.

The University Playing Fields, also known as Malone Playing Fields, is located just over 2 miles (3.2 km) from the main campus, comprising 17 pitches for rugby, association football, Gaelic football, hockey, hurling, camogie and cricket. In addition, there are three netball courts, nine tennis courts and an athletics arena where the Mary Peters Track is situated. The area and its surrounding forest of Barnetts Demesne are mapped for orienteering.

Queen's Gaelic football team have won several Sigerson Cups, most recently in 2007. The university's association football team, Queen's University Belfast A.F.C., play in the Irish Second Division. Queen's snooker team have won the British intervarsity title on a record nine occasions and are the current champions.[49]

Queen's University Belfast Boat Club is one of the most successful clubs in the University. The QUB boathouse, home of Queen's University Belfast Boat Club (QUBBC) and Queen's University of Belfast Ladies Boat Club (QUBLBC), is located on the River Lagan near Stranmillis. In 2010 they were reigning Irish Champions in men's Intermediate and Senior 8's. They are also reigning Irish University Champions in Men's Senior 8's, Women's Novice 8's and Women's Novice 4's.[50] They are the only rowing club in Ireland to have a full-time rowing coach.[51]

Visual identity

The graphic identity, which includes the logotype, was originally created in 2000 by Lloyd Northover, the British design consultancy founded by John Lloyd (graphic designer) and Jim Northover. This identity was updated in 2011 by Belfast-based brand consultancy, Mammoth.

Notable alumni and academics

Great Hall

Queen's has a large number of now-famous alumni, including former President of Ireland Mary McAleese; Nobel Prize winners poet Seamus Heaney and politician Lord Trimble; former Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Lord Faulkner of Downpatrick; Lords Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Lord Hutton and Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore, Justice of The Supreme Court of United Kingdom; former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly Lord Alderdice and former and current Northern Ireland ministers Sir Reg Empey, Mark Durkan, Nigel Dodds and Conor Murphy, and former Irish Free State minister and prominent Sinn Féin member Eoin MacNeill. Irish Ambassador to Nigeria Sean Hoy graduated from Queen's.

Other alumni include poet Paul Muldoon; actors Liam Neeson and Stephen Rea; comedian & TV presenter Patrick Kielty; novelists Patrick Hicks and Brian McGilloway; broadcasters Nick Ross & Annie Mac; scientists John Stewart Bell, Frank Pantridge and Thomas Henry Flewett. Other alumni include John Bodkin Adams, Trevor Ringland and David Cullen (2007 winners of the Arthur Ashe for Courage Award), David Case (Air Commodore, the highest ranking Black officer in the British Armed forces) and Tim Collins (former Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment). Drew Nelson Current Grand Secretary of the Orange Order

Notable academics who have worked at Queen's include Paul Bew, Baron Bew, Sir Bernard Crossland, Tony Hoare, Michael Mann, poet and critic Philip Hobsbaum, John H. Whyte and writer Philip Larkin was a sub-librarian at the university in the early 1950s.

Four alumni had very long and distinguished careers in the Far East. Sir Robert Hart was the Inspector-General of China's Imperial Maritime Customs for almost 50 years. Sir Hiram Shaw Wilkinson served in British Consular Service in China and Japan for 40 years retiring as Chief Justice of the British Supreme Court for China and Corea. Sir James Russell was Chief Justice of Hong Kong. John Carey Hall served in the British Japan Consular Service for more than 40 years retiring as consul-general in Yokohama.

Links with other universities

In 2014 Queen’s announced the opening of China Medical University - Queen's University Belfast Joint College (CQC), a partnership between Queen’s School of Pharmacy and China Medical University (CMU) in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. CMU, had a long-standing relationship with the Queen's University's School of Pharmacy at Queen's prior to the joint college. Queen's also has links with Shenzhen University, which began in 1998 and continues to prepare approximately 40 students per year for a degree at Queen's.

Queen's participates in the European Union's ERASMUS programme, allowing undergraduate students to study for a period at universities in Austria, Finland, Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, France, Italy, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the Czech Republic, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland.[52] Queen's is also part of the Utrecht Network which works towards the internationalisation of higher education. The university also has exchange programmes with Fordham University School of Law in New York, USA, the University of Newcastle and the University of Tasmania in Australia, and two universities in Canada: Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta.[53] Ching Yun University in Zhongli District, Taoyuan City, Taiwan, lists Queen's as a 'sister institution'.[54] The university is also a member of the Top Industrial Managers for Europe (T.I.M.E.) Association.

Queen's takes part in the British Council's Business Education Initiative study-abroad scheme sending a number of undergraduate students to study business and related subjects at participating higher-education institutions in the United States.[55][56]

See also



  1. The university's official title, per its charter, is The Queen's University of Belfast.


  1. "Financial Statements for the Year to 31 July 2015" (PDF). Queen's University Belfast. p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 December 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
  2. 1 2 3 Vice-Chancellor's Report 2009 – 2010 (PDF). Queen's University Belfast. 2010.
  3. 1 2 "Table 1 – All students by HE institution, level of study, mode of study and domicile 2009/10". Statistics Online. Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "History of Queen's". Queen's University Belfast. Retrieved 1 March 2008.
  5. "Teaching Quality". Queen's University Belfast. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
  6. "Student lists". Senate House Library. Archived from the original on 14 September 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  7. "Queen's invests £259 million in 'world-class future'". Queen's University Belfast. 20 June 2006. Retrieved 16 September 2006.
  8. "New library update – 27 July 2009". Library News. Queen's University Belfast. 27 July 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  9. "Queen's opens £7.5m Ansin tech centre". Insideireland.ie. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  10. See http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/TheUniversity/Location/Maps/MainCampus/, for example.
  11. Brian Walker and Alf McCreary (1994). Degrees of Excellence: The Story of Queen's, Belfast, 1845–1995. Belfast: Queen's University Belfast. p. 213. ISBN 0-85389-535-X.
  12. Clarkson, L. A. (2004). A university in troubled times : Queen's Belfast, 1945–2000. Dublin [u.a.]: Four Courts Press. p. 195. ISBN 1-85182-862-1.
  13. "Schools & Departments". Queen's University Belfast. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
  14. "Queen's University to close department that organised Charlie Hebdo event". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  15. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 - UK". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  16. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  17. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17 - United Kingdom". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  18. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  19. "World University Rankings 2016-17 - United Kingdom". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  20. "World University Rankings 2016-17". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  21. "University League Table 2017". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  22. "University league tables 2017". The Guardian. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  23. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2017". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  24. "The Russell Group appoints first Director General and expands membership to 20 top research universities". Russell Group. November 2006. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2008.
  25. "Queen's to join UK 'ivy league'". BBC News. 7 November 2006. Retrieved 1 March 2008.
  26. "research excellence work 2014". 18 December 2014.
  27. "The 25 most international universities in the world". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  28. "INTO Queen's University Belfast". INTO Higher. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  29. "Queen's University Belfast". Top Universities. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  30. "Top UK University League Tables and Rankings 2016". www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  31. "Previous Prize-winners". www.royalanniversarytrust.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  32. 1 2 Sunday Times University Guide, Queen's University Belfast, 10 September 2006. Retrieved 16 January 2007.
  33. "More state pupils in universities". BBC News. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
  34. 1 2 Taylor, Rupert (1988). "The Queen's University of Belfast: The liberal university in a divided society". Higher Education Review. 20 (2): 27–45.
  35. Clarkson, Leslie A (2004). A University in Troubled Times: Queen's, Belfast, 1945–2000. Dublin: Four Courts Press.
  36. intohigher.com accessed 5 September 2011
  37. Clubs and Societies, Queen's University website. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  38. "Mr Dawson Stelfox". Open University. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  39. "Past Graduate & Student of the Year winners". Queen's University Belfast. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  40. "BBC: NI doctors in Everest rescue drama". BBC News. 29 May 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  41. "Supplementary Document 1: Housing Market Analysis, Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs): Subject Plan for Belfast City Council Area 2015" (PDF). The Planning Service. p. 14. Retrieved 26 August 2007.
  42. "Where to stay at Queen's" (PDF). Queen's Accommodation and Hospitality. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  43. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/queens-university-withdraws-funding-for-belfast-festival-blaming-cuts-to-public-purse-31080165.html
  44. "Friday People with head of Queen's Film Theatre, Susan Picken". Belfast Telegraph. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  45. http://www.naughtongallery.org/sites/NaughtonGallery/AboutUs/
  46. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/the-awards-2008-shortlist/403650.article
  47. "Queen's University Belfast Architectural Heritage Trail" (PDF). Queen's University Belfast. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  48. "Queen's Physical Education Centre scoops top building award". Queen's Sport. 8 June 2007. Archived from the original on 3 September 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2007.
  49. Results History; British Universities & Colleges Sport – Snooker – Championships; retrieved August 2010
  50. "Queen's University Belfast Rowing | Home". Queensrowing.com. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  51. "Queen's University Belfast | Press Releases". Qub.ac.uk. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  52. "ERASMUS partners 2007–08". Queen's University Belfast. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  53. "University exchange programmes". Queen's University Belfast. Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  54. "清雲科技大學與外國學校(含學術機構)簽署學術交流合作協約". Ching Yun University. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  55. "Prospective students". British Council Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  56. "Business Education Initiative". Queen's University Belfast. Archived from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2008.

External links

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