National University of Ireland

Not to be confused with National College of Ireland.
National University of Ireland
Ollscoil na hÉireann

Coat of Arms of the National University of Ireland
Latin: Universitas Hiberniae Nationalis
Motto Veritati (Latin)
Fír Fer (Irish)
Motto in English
Truth; Manhood's Truth
Established 1908
Chancellor Maurice Manning
Registrar Attracta Halpin
Students 77,500
Address 49 Merrion Square
Dublin 2
, Dublin,
, Ireland
Coordinates: 53°23′32″N 6°17′25″W / 53.3921699°N 6.2903045°W / 53.3921699; -6.2903045
Affiliations IUA, EUA

The National University of Ireland (NUI) (Irish: Ollscoil na hÉireann) is a federal university system of constituent universities, previously called constituent colleges, and recognised colleges set up under the Irish Universities Act, 1908,[1] and significantly amended by the Universities Act, 1997.[2]

The constituent universities are for all essential purposes independent universities, except that the degrees and diplomas are those of the National University of Ireland with its seat in Dublin.

In post-nominals, the abbreviation NUI is used for degrees from all the constituent universities of the National University of Ireland.[3]


The offices of the NUI, on Merrion Square in Dublin

Queen's Colleges at Belfast, Cork, and Galway were established in 1845; in 1849 teaching commenced and a year later they were united under the Queen's University of Ireland. The Catholic University of Ireland was created as an independent university on 3 November 1854 for the education of Catholics, this university however was neither a recognised university nor offered recognised degrees. In 1880 the Royal University of Ireland took over the degree awarding functions of the two former universities and offered recognised degrees to the graduates of the new University College Dublin and St Patrick's College, Maynooth, previously awarded under the Catholic University. The Catholic University became University College Dublin in 1882 under the direction of the Jesuits and its students, in the 1890s achieved more distinctions than their counterparts in Belfast, Cork and Galway which were established as secular institutions.

The 1908 reforms created the National University of Ireland and a separate Queen's University of Belfast. The Royal University was dissolved in 1909 and in 1910 Maynooth became a recognised college of the NUI. Initially the National University unlike the Royal University did not award degrees for part-time or external students, however like the Royal University the National University was still banned from awarding degrees in Theology.

In 1975 the teacher training colleges of Carysfort College, Blackrock, St. Patrick's College Drumcondra and Mary Immaculate College, Limerick became recognised colleges of the NUI, as was Thomond College of Education, Limerick for 1976 and 1977. In 1978 St. Angela's College, Sligo became affiliated to the NUI.

In 1996 the National College of Art and Design became a recognised college of the NUI. The 1997 reforms restructured the National University of Ireland, and an additional university at Maynooth was created from certain faculties of the previous recognised college, St Patrick's College, Maynooth. These reforms also removed the prohibition on theology that had been imposed on the National University and its predecessors.

Legislative constituency

Since 1918 the university's graduates have formed a constituency in parliamentary elections. In 1918 it was formed as a constituency for the UK House of Commons. After the first election Eoin MacNeill abstained from Westminster and sat in the first Dáil. The NUI graduates elected four TDs (to Dáil Éireann) from 1921 until 1934 when the university constituencies were abolished by Fianna Fáil.

Under the Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, the graduates of the university elect three members of Seanad Éireann (the senate). All graduates that are Irish citizens (regardless of living in the state or not) are entitled to vote if on the university's register of electors. An honorary degree does not give the entitlement to vote. The election is conducted by postal vote.

The most recent election was in 2011, for the 24th Seanad, and returned three independents: John Crown, Feargal Quinn, and Rónán Mullen.

University chancellors

The chancellor is the notional head of the university, and constituent universities and recognised colleges have their own heads, which exercise most powers in practice. When the university was established in 1908 by Royal Charter, the first chancellor was appointed; all subsequent chancellors are elected by convocation, as set out in university statutes. The chancellor is elected by graduates and staff whenever there is a vacancy.

University faculties

Within the university there is a common faculty structure in operation in the constituent universities. These ten faculties are: Agriculture; Arts; Celtic Studies; Commerce; Engineering & Architecture; Food Science & Technology; Law; Medicine & Health Sciences; Philosophy & Sociology; Science; and Veterinary Medicine.

Associated institutions of the University

The constituent universities are:

The recognised colleges are:

Former recognised colleges, and their years of recognition, are:

† St Angela's College maintains its links to the National University of Ireland by being "A College of the National University of Ireland, Galway" from January 2006. This in effect means that students of the college are registered as students of the National University of Ireland, Galway — the National University of Ireland continues to grant degrees and diplomas of such students when they graduate.

†† The National College of Arts and Design and the Institute of Public Administration maintain linked to the National University of Ireland by being now colleges of University College Dublin.

‡ In accordance with the Universities Act 1997 (Section 48)[4] graduates of the recognised college of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth who received a degree of the National University of Ireland before the commencement of the act are considered graduates of the constituent university known as the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

+++ Since April 2009 the Senate of the National University of Ireland (NUI) decided that medical graduates of RCSI Bahrain will be eligible to receive the NUI degrees of MB BCh BAO.

See also


  1. "Universities Act, 1997". 1997-05-14. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  3. "Universities Act, 1997, Section 48". Retrieved 2016-11-18.
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