University College Cork

University College Cork – National University of Ireland, Cork
Coláiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh
Latin: Universitas Hiberniae Nationali apud Corcagium
Motto Where Finbarr Taught Let Munster Learn
Established 1845
President Dr. Michael B. Murphy
Registrar Professor Caroline Fennell
Academic staff
762 (2010)[1]
Undergraduates 12,791 (2010–2011)[1]
Postgraduates 3,663 (2010–2011)[1]
Address Western Road
, Cork, Ireland
51°53′35″N 8°29′35″W / 51.893°N 8.493°W / 51.893; -8.493Coordinates: 51°53′35″N 8°29′35″W / 51.893°N 8.493°W / 51.893; -8.493
Affiliations AUA
Utrecht Network

University College Cork – National University of Ireland, Cork (UCC)[2] (Irish: Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh) is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland. The university is located in Cork.

The university was founded in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges located in Belfast, Cork, and Galway.[3] It became University College, Cork, under the Irish Universities Act of 1908. The Universities Act 1997 renamed the university as National University of Ireland, Cork, and a Ministerial Order of 1998 renamed the university as University College Cork – National University of Ireland, Cork,[4] though it continues to be almost universally known as University College Cork.

Amongst other rankings and awards, the university was named Irish University of the Year by the Sunday Times on four occasions; most recently in 2015/2016.[5] In 2015, UCC was also named as top performing university by the European Commission funded U-Multirank system, based on obtaining the highest number of "A" scores (21 out of 28 metrics) among a field of 1200 partaking universities.[6] UCC also became the first university to achieve the ISO 50001 standard in energy management in 2011.

Dr. Michael B. Murphy has been president of the university since February 2007.[7]


The "Long Hall" and the clock tower of the UCC quadrangle

Queen's College, Cork, was founded by the provisions of an act which enabled Queen Victoria to endow new colleges for the "Advancement of Learning in Ireland". Under the powers of this act, the three colleges of Belfast, Cork and Galway were incorporated on 30 December 1845. The college opened in 1849 with 23 professors and 181 students and a year later became part of the Queen's University of Ireland.

The original site chosen for the college was appropriate in that it is believed to have had a connection with the patron saint of Cork, Saint Finbarr. His monastery and school of learning were close by at Gill Abbey Rock and the mill attached to the monastery is thought to have stood on the bank of the south channel of the River Lee, which runs through the College lower grounds. This association is also reflected in the College motto "Where Finbarr Taught, Let Munster Learn" which is also the university motto.

The site, adjacent to Gillabbey, overlooked the valley of the river Lee. It was purchased for £2,560 in 1846. The Tudor Gothic quadrangle and early campus buildings were designed and built by Sir Thomas Deane (1792-1871) and Benjamin Woodward (1816-1861).

Queen's College Cork officially opened its doors in 1849. Over the coming years 'The College' gained a reputation for excellence in various fields, including mathematics, medicine and the humanities. Further buildings were added later, including the Medical/Windle Building.

In the following century, the Irish Universities Act (1908) formed the National University of Ireland, consisting of the three constituent colleges of Dublin, Cork and Galway, and the college was given the status of a university college as University College, Cork. The Universities Act, 1997, made the university college a constituent university of the National University and made the constituent university a full university for all purposes except the awarding of degrees and diplomas which remains the sole remit of the National University.


UCC Student Centre with the O'Rahilly Arts and Commerce Building opposite

Today the university has over 18,000 students, of which there are over 12,000 undergraduate degree candidates.[1] This student base is supported by 2,747 staff, of which 762 are faculty. There are 1153 non academic staff and 832 research staff.[1]

The university is one of Ireland's leading research institutes, with the highest research income in the state.[8] The university's internal research reputation spans all of its faculties where it offers over 120 degree and professional programmes through seven schools and 27 departments. The university had seven faculties in Arts and Celtic Studies, Commerce, Engineering, Food Science and Technology, Law, Medicine, and Science. In recent years, the University has been restructured so that it now has four colleges: Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science; Business and Law; Medicine and Health; and Science, Engineering and Food Science. UCC is home to the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies, which allows students to study Chinese culture as well as the language through Arts and Commerce. The department won the European Award for Languages 2008.[9]

Student numbers, at over 18,000 in 2012, increased greatly from the late 1980s, precipitating the expansion of the campus by the acquisition of adjacent buildings and lands. This expansion continued with the opening of the Alfred O'Rahilly building in the late 1990s, the Cavanagh Pharmacy building, the Brookfield Health Sciences centre, the extended Áras na MacLéinn (Devere Hall), the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in 2004, Experience UCC (Visitors' Centre) and an extension to the Boole Library – named for the first professor of mathematics at UCC, George Boole, who developed the algebra that would later make computer programming possible. The University also completed the Western Gateway Building in 2009 on the site of the former Cork Greyhound track on the Western Road as well as significant refurbishment to the Tyndall institute buildings at the Lee Maltings Complex.

Glucksman Gallery in UCC's lower grounds

The university has a number of related companies including: Cytrea,[10] which is involved in pharmaceutical formulations; Firecomms,[11] an ICT company concentrating on optical communications; Alimentary Health[12] a biotech healthcare company; Biosensia[13] who develop integrated micro-system analytical chips; Sensl developers of low light sensors and imaging systems; Luxcel[14] which is involved in the development of probes and sensors for the pharmaceutical and food safety industries; and Optical Metrology Innovations[15] who develop laser metrology systems.

The college was involved in some controversy in 2006 when one academic, Professor Des Clarke alleged that the university authorities were guilty of financial mismanagement, and called for a full independent inquiry into governance. The subsequent inquiry found that there was no evidence of financial mismanagement.

Also in 2006, the University re-opened the Crawford Observatory, a structure built in 1880 on the grounds of the university by Sir Howard Grubb. Grubb, son of the Grubb telescope building family in Dublin, designed the observatory and built the astronomical instruments for the structure. The University paid for an extensive restoration and conservation program of the building and the three main telescopes, the Equatorial, the Transit Circle and the Sidereostatic telescope.[16]

In October 2008, the governing body of the university announced that UCC would be the first institution in Ireland to use embryonic stem cells in research.[17]

In November 2009, many UCC buildings were damaged by flooding.[18] The floods also affected other parts of Cork City, with many students being evacuated from accommodation. The college authorities postponed academic activities for a week,[18] and indicated that it would take until 2010 before all flood damaged property would be repaired. A major scene of damage was the newly opened Western Gateway Building, with the main lecture theatre requiring a total refit just months after opening for classes.[19]

As of 2015, the university has planned a number of celebrations to mark the bicentenary of mathematician, philosopher and logician George Boole - UCC's first professor of mathematics.[20][21]


University College Cork has been ranked by a number of assessment bodies, including as "Irish University of the Year" by the Sunday Times in 2003, 2005, 2011 and 2016,[5] and was named a runner up in the 2015 edition.[22] In 2015, UCC was also named as top performing university by the European Commission funded U-Multirank system, based on a high number of "A" scores (21 out of 28 metrics) among a field of 1200 partaking universities.[6] Also in 2015, the CWTS Leiden Ranking placed UCC 1st in Ireland, 16th in Europe and 52nd globally from a field of 750 universities.[23] The 2011 QS World University Rankings assigned a 5-star rating to UCC,[24] and ranked the university amongst the top 2% of universities worldwide. UCC was ranked 230th in the 2014 edition of the QS World University Rankings.[25] 13 of its subject areas featured in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 (up from 10 subject areas in 2014), including the Pharmacy & Pharmacology disciplines, which were listed with the top 50 worldwide.[26] The Universitas Indonesia (UI) Greenmetric World University Ranking awarded UCC a second in the world ranking for the second year in a row in 2015 for its efforts in the area of sustainability, with 360 universities from 62 countries ranked overall.[27]

UCC has also been recognised for its digital and social media presence, including for 'Best Social Media Engagement' category at the 2014 Social Media Awards,[28] and as a finalist for 'Best Use of Social Media by a State Body' and 'Best Non-Profit/Organisation Twitter Account' at the 2015 Social Media Awards.[28] A previous finalist at the 2013 and 2014 Web Awards, UCC also made the 2015 finals in two categories,[29] 'Most Influential Irish Website Ever' and 'Best Education and Third Level Website'. University College Cork had the first website in Ireland in 1991[29] (only the ninth website in the world at the time), serving transcriptions of Irish historical and literary documents for the CELT project converted from SGML to HTML.

College of Medicine and Health

Medicine, Arts, and Law were the three founding faculties when Queen's College Cork opened its doors to students in 1849. The medical buildings were built in stages between 1860 and 1880, and the faculty quickly gained a reputation for the quality of its graduates. The first two women to graduate in medicine in Ireland did so in 1898 (this was notable as it was more than 20 years before women were permitted to sit for medicine at the University of Oxford).[30] UCC School of Medicine is part of the College of Medicine and Health, and is based at the Brookfield Health Sciences Centre on the main UCC campus and is affiliated with the 1000-bed University College Cork Teaching Hospital, which is the largest medical centre in Ireland. The UCC School Of Pharmacy is based in the Cavanagh Pharmacy Building.[30]


According to the 2009-2012 UCC Strategic plan,[31] UCC aimed to enhance research and innovation. In 2009, the university was ranked in the top 3% of universities worldwide for research.[32] UCC's published research strategy proposed to create "Centres of Excellence" for "world class research" in which the researchers and research teams would be given "freedom and flexibility to pursue their areas of research".[31] Research centres in UCC cover a range of areas including: Nanoelectronics with the Tyndall Institute; Food and Health with the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre,[33] NutraMara,[34] Food for Health Ireland Research Centre,[35] and Cereal Science Cork[36] (food research at UCC ranks 4th in the world); the Environment with the Environmental Research Institute[37] (with research in biodiversity, aquaculture, energy efficiency and ocean energy); and Business Information Systems.[38]

The Sunday Times "Good University Guide 2015", put UCC at the top of their rankings for "research income per academic".[22]

Knowledge transfer

Innovation and Knowledge transfer is driven by UCC's Office of Technology Transfer,[39] an office of the University dedicated to commercialising aspects of UCC's research and connecting researchers with industry. Recent spin outs from the college include pharmaceutical company Glantreo,[40] Luxcel Biosciences,[41] Alimentary Health, Biosensia, Firecoms, Gourmet Marine, Keelvar, Lee Oncology, and Sensl.[42]

Student life and societies

University College Cork has over 80 active societies[43] and 50 different sports clubs.[44][45] There are academic, charitable, creative, gaming/role-playing, political, religious, and social societies and clubs incorporating field sports, martial arts, watersports as well outdoor and indoor team and individual sports. UCC clubs are sponsored by Bank of Ireland, with the UCC Skull and Crossbones as the mascot for all UCC sports teams. 100 students received scholarships in 26 different sports in 2010.[44]

The regular activities of UCC's societies include charity work; with over €100,000 raised annually by the Surgeon Noonan society, €10,000 raised by the War Gaming and Role Playing Society (WARPS) through its international gaming convention WARPCON, €10,000 raised by the UCC Law Society for the Cambodia orphanage and the UCC Pharmacy Society supports the Cork Hospitals Children's Club every year with a number of events.[46] UCC societies also sometimes attract high-profile speakers such as Robert Fisk who addressed the Law Society, Nick Leeson[46] and Senator David Norris, who was the 2009/2010 honorary president of the UCC Philosophical Society.[47]

An Chuallacht (Irish pronunciation: [anˠ xuɐl̪ˠaxt̪ˠ], meaning "The Fellowship") is UCC's Irish language and culture society. Founded in 1912, this society promotes the Irish language, and was awarded the Glór na nGael "Irish Society of the Year Award" in 2009.[48]

The UCC Students' Union (UCCSU) acts as the representative body of the 17,000 students attending UCC. Each student is automatically a member by virtue of a student levy.

Student accommodation

Students attending UCC occupy a variety of accommodation types, with some opting to live with family while others live in rented accommodation. UCC's campus accommodation company manages more than 1000 beds in several apartment complexes within 1.5 km of the UCC main campus,[49] and offer a search service to students looking for private accommodation near UCC.[50]

International students

The largest number of the 2,400 international students at UCC in 2010 came from the United States, followed by China, France and Malaysia.[51] UCC participates in the Erasmus program with 439 students visiting UCC in 2009–2010.[51] 201 UCC students studied in institutions in the United States, China and Europe in the same period.[51]

UCC was rated highly in the 2008 International Student Barometer report.[52] This survey polled 67,000 international students studying at 84 institutions, and was carried out by the International Insight Group.[52] The report held that 98% of UCC's international students (who participated in the survey) reported having "Expert Lecturers". And over 90% of these students said that they had "Good Teachers".[52] In 3 categories of the survey, "sports facilities", "social facilities" and "university clubs and societies", UCC was in the top three of the 84 Institutions that took part in the survey. UCC's International Education Office was given a 93% satisfaction rating and UCC's IT Support was given a 92% satisfaction rating.[52]


Notable alumni
George Boole, mathematician and philosopher
Charles Donovan, physician and scientist
Fiona Shaw, actress
Declan Kidney, rugby coach
Ronan O'Gara, rugby coach

Notable alumni of the University include graduates from different disciplines.

In mathematics, George Boole (not an alumnus) was the first professor of mathematics at UCC. He developed Boolean algebra that would later make computer programming possible.[53] Irish mathematician Des MacHale is a leading researcher on George Boole, and is an alumnus of UCC.[54]

In arts and literature,[55] alumni include: novelist Seán Ó Faoláin, short-story writer Daniel Corkery, composer Seán Ó Riada, author, academic and critic Robert Anthony Welch, actress Fiona Shaw, novelist William Wall, poets Paul Durcan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Trevor Joyce, Thomas McCarthy and Greg Delanty, singer SEARLS, comedian Des Bishop, and journalists Brendan O'Connor and Eoghan Harris.[56] Actor Cillian Murphy and BBC presenter Graham Norton both attended UCC but did not graduate.[57][58]

From the business community, alumni include: Kerry Group's Denis Brosnan, Kingfisher plc's former CEO Gerry Murphy, former head of CRH Anthony Barry, and current CEO, Myles Lee.[59]

In medicine, alumni include: Sir Edwin John Butler, Charles Donovan, Sir Bertram Windle, Dr. Paul Whelton, President & Chief Executive Loyola University Health System, Dr. Barry O'Donnell, Former President of Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Dr. Colm Quigley, Chairman of the Medical Council of Ireland; Dr. Pixie McKenna, doctor and TV presenter and Dr. Eamonn MM Quigley, President of the World Gastroenterology Organisation & Vice President of the American College of Gastroenterology.[60] In physics, alumni have included: professor Richard Milner of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science at M.I.T., Professor Margaret Murnane of the University of Colorado, Professor Patrick G. O'Shea of the University of Maryland, and Professor Séamus Davis of Cornell.[61]

Politicians and public servants that attended UCC, include former Taoiseach Jack Lynch, leader of Fianna Fáil and former Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin,[62] Supreme Court justice Liam McKechnie and High Court judge Bryan MacMahon.[63]

In sport, rugby coach Declan Kidney,[64] Gaelic footballers Séamus Moynihan, Maurice Fitzgerald and Billy Morgan, hurlers Pat Heffernan, Joe Deane, James "Cha" Fitzpatrick and Ray Cummins, rugby players Moss Keane, Ronan O'Gara and Donnacha Ryan, and Olympian Lizzie Lee have all attended UCC.[65]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "University College Cork (UCC) – About UCC – UCC Facts & Figures". Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  2. "History of the NUI".
  3. "University College Cork – History". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  4. About NUI – Constituent Universities Archived October 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. 1 2 "UCC named The Sunday Times University of the Year". UCC. UCC.
  6. 1 2 "UCC News > UCC leads international rankings…". Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  7. "UCC Biography– ''President's Biography'' – February 2007". 2007-02-01. Retrieved 2015-09-14.
  8. The Higher Education R&D Survey 2006 (PDF) (Report). Forfás – Ireland's national policy advisory body for enterprise and science. Page 3
  9. – IICS Wins European Award for Languages
  11. "Firecomms - Fiber Optic Solutions and Optical Transceivers".
  12. "Alimentary Health • Home".
  13. "Biosensia – cutting edge point of care in vitro diagnostics". Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  14. "Luxcel Biosciences Homepage". Luxcel.
  16. – Crawford Observatory re-opens at University College Cork
  17. "UCC gives go-ahead for embryonic stem-cell research – 10 Oct 2008". Irish Times. 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  18. 1 2 "UCC welcomes 18,000 back following closure – 1 December 2009". Irish Times. 2009-12-12. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  19. "Revised Report on Major Flood Damage" (PDF). November 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 April 2016.
  20. "Bicentenary of mathematician George Boole to be celebrated". Irish Times. Irish times. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  21. "About George Boole". George Boole. UCC. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  22. 1 2 "UCC News Archive > Press Releases > UCC thrives in university guide". Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  23. "UCC News > UCC excels in global ranking". Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  24. "UCC Press Release – ''Ireland's first five star university'' – September 2011". 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  25. "University College Cork QS Ranking and Stats". Top Universities. Top Universities. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  26. "QS top 50 for Pharmacy & Pharmacology". University College Cork. UCC.
  27. "UCC News > Green thumbs up for UCC". Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  28. 1 2 "UCC among leading social media influencers". UCC. UCC. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  29. 1 2 "UCC makes finals of Web Awards 2015". UCC. UCC. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  30. 1 2 "UCC School of Medicine History". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  31. 1 2 Strategic Plan 2009–2012 pg20-22
  32. Times Higher Education Supplement university ranking 2009 – rank 207 out of 9,000 Archived January 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  33. "APC Website".
  34. "Home". 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  35. "FHI Website".
  36. "UCC Cereal & Beverage Science". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  37. "University College Cork (UCC): Environmental Research Institute". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  38. "Business Information Systems - Research and Development". Archived from the original on 22 January 2010.
  39. Insight Multimedia. "Office of Technology Transfer". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  40. "Glantreo Ireland". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  41. "Luxcel Biosciences - Company". Archived from the original on 1 February 2010.
  42. Insight Multimedia. "Organisation Overview – Office of Technology Transfer". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  43. "societies information". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  44. 1 2 – Facts and Figures about UCC – Sport 2010
  45. "Where UCC Sported and Played".
  46. 1 2 – facts and figures Societies Archived March 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  47. "UCC Philosoph". UCC Philosoph. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  48. "(Press Release) Award for An Chuallacht". 27 May 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  49. "Students Get a Lesson in the Rental Market". Evening Echo. 23 June 2015.
  50. "Accommodation Search". Retrieved 2016-06-13.
  51. 1 2 3 – Facts and Figures about UCC – Student figures 2010 Archived March 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  52. 1 2 3 4 – UCC Top of the Class for International Students Archived December 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  53. "George Boole". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  54. "Des MacHale - The Best Friend George Boole Ever Had". mathsireland. November 2016.
  55. – Alumni – Who's Been Here? – Arts Archived September 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  56. Shoot ... And You Could Be A Winner. "Exorcising the dark, bloody secrets of IRA in West Cork – Eoghan Harris". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  57. Jackson, Joe (2004-02-08). "Sunday Independent Life Magazine – "From Cork to Gotham" – Jackson, Joe. 8 February 2004". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  58. – 12:57 (2004-05-02). "BBC Radio 4 – Factual – Desert Island Discs -Graham Norton". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  59. – Alumni – Who's Been Here? – Business Archived September 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  60. "Alumni – Who's Been Here? – Medicine". Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  61. "Alumni – Who's Been Here? – Science". Archived from the original on 27 March 2010.
  62. – Alumni – Who's Been Here? – Public Service Archived September 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  63. – Alumni – Who's Been Here? – Law Archived September 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  64. – 2008 Alumni Achievements Awards Archived March 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  65. – Alumni – Who's Been Here? – Sports Archived September 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.

Further reading

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