The University College has a history to be proud of. It was founded in 1922 to provide state-funded teacher education in the northern portion of the recently partitioned island. The new Northern Ireland government decided to open its own non-denominational College and purchased Stranmillis House, with its very attractive and historic campus of 18 hectares only three kilometres from the centre of Belfast. The College's track record in teacher education since 1922 has been second to none.
The Courses We Offer
To complement our teacher education courses at BEd, PGCE and MEd level, a new BA (Early Childhood Studies) degree was launched in September 1996. A BSc (Health and Leisure Studies) degree was then introduced in September 1998, along with a part-time MA (Arts in the Community). A part-time Master of Teaching degree and a part-time MA (Early Childhood Studies) are now also available. We also offer an innovative Certificate in Working with Schools and the Community.
However, teacher education at pre-service and in-service levels remains our core activity. Our four year, full-time BEd degree prepares students to teach in nursery, primary and special schools. There is also a more restricted full-time BEd provision for those wishing to teach Business Studies, Mathematics/Science, Religious Studies and Technology and Design in the post-primary and further education sectors. A one year, full-time PGCE course is available for Early Years specialists.
Curriculum Development and Research
In recent years the University College has hosted a number of curriculum development and research projects in various subject areas, for example in Early Years education, and has produced a range of publications. There is also a significant commitment by individual staff to academic research.
In 2001, the Education teaching provision at Stranmillis was judged by the Quality Assurance Agency to merit a maximum score of 24 out of 24 - a result which put the College within the top five-per-cent of university schools of education nationally.
The Northern Ireland Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) has recently (2003) commended the College on the following strengths in teacher education:
The National Student Surveys undertaken in 2005 and 2006 produced very positive outcomes for all Stranmillis undergraduate programmes and the Sunday Times University Guide has consistently rated Education provision at Stranmillis as 'Excellent'.
A Supportive Learning Environment
All members of our academic staff are themselves caring professionals who maintain close links with schools and other professional partners. Students who come to the University College therefore benefit from a supportive learning environment and contact with individuals who are at the leading edge of their profession. As students of Queen's University Belfast, they have access to all the usual university facilities just a short distance from the College campus, as well as those available on site. We have an especially close working relationship with St. Mary's University College , since both Stranmillis and St. Mary's are Colleges of Queen's University, and through a common interest in promoting the concepts of Diversity/ Education for Mutual Understanding.
The University College is strongly committed to international outreach and has established staff and student exchange partnerships with higher education institutions throughout the European Union, in the United States of America, Zambia, Uganda, South Africa and China. These offer students the opportunity to study and work in other countries as part of their undergraduate course.
The quality of our students is evidenced by the very significant excess of applicants over available places and the fact that the academic qualifications of new entrants are amongst the very highest in the UK . Another simple measure of our achievement is the success rate of our students in obtaining employment after completing their courses. Statistics have regularly shown that over 96% per cent of our graduates gain employment within a year of completing their course.