University College Dublin
Not to be confused with our last uni spotlight, Trinity College Dublin, or London’s University College London (the UK has some serious overlap in uni nomenclature,) we’re here tonight to talk about another one of Dublin’s esteemed schools: University College Dublin (or UCD.) UCD is Ireland’s largest university at over 33,000 students and has been in existence (though the name has changed multiple times over the years) since 1854. Divided into six colleges and 37 schools within the larger umbrella of the university, there’s almost no subject your dancer wouldn’t be able to study at UCD.
Despite its size, the focus at UCD always remains on the academics—this research-intensive university (with research endowments in the multi-millions) is regularly ranked in 1% of schools, ranking 185th worldwide. With five Nobel laureates amongst its current alumni and staff and the highest percentage of graduate study in Ireland taking place there, it’s known for cutting-edge research across all academic fields, as well as its thriving arts and literature programs. UCD’s archives rank as some of the most extensive in all of Europe with its National Folklore collection that concentrates on Irish history, oral tradition, and folklore (and which was added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2017.)
But it’s not just about the school itself at UCD, they help prepare their students for the real world, too. UCD ranks top in graduate employability, above all other Irish unis (as well as 78th in the world,) while a study in 2015 reported that UCD graduates contribute 1.5 billion to Ireland’s economy annually. It’s also considered Ireland’s top networking university, with over a quarter million current alumni out in the world, making an impact in wide-ranging areas from the arts and sciences to politics and industry.
Known as Ireland’s “global university,” UCD has approximately 8,000 international students from over 138 countries. But it doesn’t stop its global reach at Ireland’s borders—UCD has global centers all over the world to help find and support their international students complete with high school outreach, partner institutions, and points of contact for parents (and students!) within home countries.
UCD’s campus used to reside on St. Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin, but continued expansion and desires for more modern facilities for students and research purposes led to its exodus to Belfield—only 4 kilometers outside the city center. And it’s a good thing they did as UCD now has one of the largest urban campuses in Europe and some of the most updated and extensive student accommodations in Ireland. It also ranks as one of Ireland’s safest campuses, as beyond the relative safety of Dublin there’s 24-hour security.
Student life is considered a happy one at UCD, with an activism-centered focus to match the school’s motto: Ad Astra; Cothrom na Féinne or “To the Stars; Justice and Equality.” Between their active Students’ Union and their multiple student newspapers (not to mention radio stations!), UCD students have gained worldwide attention multiple times over the years for their focus on social justice and human rights. But there’s fun to be had too—over 60 sports clubs (not to mention that the Leinster Rugby team’s headquarters reside on campus,) and an equal number of student societies. There’s a community feeling, despite the number of students, with touches like every new student being given a scarf with the school’s colors—St. Patrick’s blue, saffron, and navy—at their welcome ceremony that students also wear to their graduation.
With a uni this large, there’s almost too much to say! Tune back in next time for Ireland’s smallest undergraduate population: Maynooth University in County Kildare.
This post is part of a series. Read our modern Ireland post, all about contemporary Irish poetry, here. Check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram.
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