Stranmillis University College / ardfern


History: Founded in 1922, after the partition of Ireland, to provide state-funded teacher education in the North. 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. Close by is Stranmillis village, home of the acclaimed Lyric Players Theatre.

Who's the boss? Dr Anne Heaslett, who took over from Prof. Richard McMinn in August 2007.

Prospectus: 028 9038 1271; download the prospectus here.

UCAS code: S79

what do you need to know

Easy to get into? Not particularly. For teacher education, you need AAB at A-level; for early childhood studies BBB at A-level, and health and leisure studies, BCC at A-level.

Vital statistics: Small, friendly college, welcoming 1,300 students from diverse backgrounds. Specialises in teacher education but also offers other degrees including early childhood studies, health and leisure studies and a range of part-time masters' courses.

Added value: Academically integrated with Queen's University, so graduates obtain a Queen's degree. High graduate employment rate. Exchange partnerships with institutions in Europe, USA and South Africa.

Teaching: 74 per cent of students said they were satisfied with teaching in the most recent Nationl Student Survey.

Any accommodation? Yes. Situated within the College grounds in an attractive, quiet setting among trees and shrubs are over 400 modern rooms laid out in six blocks. A standard Catered room costs £98 per week and an en-suite catered room £138 per week.

Cheap to live there? Yes. Private rents are available from £55 per week.

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

Fees: £3,465 per year for full-time Northern Ireland/EU undergrads. For full-time UK students it's £9,000.

Bursaries: Up to £1,100 per year as a means-tested bursary for full-time students in receipt of a maintenance allowance and with an annual household income of up to £24,204 in 2014. A limited number of free places in halls are available to students who fulfill certain criteria.

the fun stuff

Glittering alumni: Award-winning Irish playwright Graham Reid; politician Ken Maginnis; rugby player Willie Anderson, Jonathan Bell, Gaelic footballer Stephen O'Neill, Irish international hockey player Bridget McKeever.

Nightlife: Students' union is called Scholars after a famous rugby team which produced ace players. The 'Golden Mile' with bars and nightclubs is a short walk - or stagger - from halls.

Sporting reputation:The Health and Physical Education Department has a four badminton court sports hall, a gym, and a fitness suite, so there is no excuse to pack on those fresher pounds. Queen’s University Physical Education Centre is nearby and open to all University College students. It offers a wide range of activities including swimming, climbing walls and recreational classes.