Education: A to Z of Higher Education Colleges - Stranmillis University College, Belfast

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The Independent Culture
Age: 77

History: Founded in 1922 after the partition of Ireland to provide state- funded teacher education in the North. Began to diversify out of teacher education in 1996. Became a university college in 1999.

Address: Leafy South Belfast in Country Life's "perfect Victorian suburb".

Ambience: Divine purpose-built campus in a conservation area, occupying an enclosed site of 46 acres of woodland rich in wildlife. Main building is Strawberry Hill Gothic; other buildings followed in the Thirties and Sixties. It's on the edge of Queen's University district and Belfast city centre. Close by is Stranmillis village, home of the acclaimed Lyric Players Theatre.

Vital Statistics: Small, friendly college with 700 full-time and swarms of part-time students. From early 1999, became an integral part of Queen's University, Belfast. Specialises in teacher education - BEds and PGCEs - but has recently begun some new degrees including early childhood studies, and health and leisure studies.Goes into Ucas system this autumn.

Added value: Part of Queen's University. Your degree will be a Queen's degree.

Easy to get into? For teacher education, you need BBC at A-level; for early childhood studies, and health and leisure studies, you need CCC.

Glittering alumni: Award-winning Irish playwright Graham Reid; well- known politicians such as Ken Maginnis and Dermot Nesbitt; international rugby player Willie Anderson.

Transport links: Close to air and sea ports. An hour by air from London and 90 minutes from most other large cities.

Who's the boss? Professor Richard McMinn, an eminent Irish historian.

Teaching: Teacher education has been assessed by the Department for Education Northern Ireland, but nothing has yet been made public. No quality assessments have been done yet on other degrees.

Research: Did not enter the 1996 research assessment exercise. But is now investing more heavily in research, especially in early years.

Financial health: In the black.

Nightlife: Student union is called Scholars after a famous rugby team which produced ace players. Otherwise, use the Bunatee Bar and Speakeasy at Queen's University.

Cheap to live in? It costs pounds 60 a week for a room in hall, which includes bed, breakfast and evening meal. Private-sector rents are pounds 35 to pounds 55 a week.

Buzzphrase: Great craic (as in great time/ conversation).

Next week: Southampton Institute

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