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Queen's University, Belfast

2016 League Table Ranking 36
2016 Overall Score 755
View the 2016 league tables
Entry Standards 380 Help
Entry Standards
The average UCAS tariff score of new students entering the University.

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Student-Staff Ratio 15.1 Help
Student-Staff Ratio
The average staffing levels at the University.

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Research Quality 2.99 Help
Research Quality
A measure of the quality of the research undertaken in the University.

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Academic Services Spend 1,103 Help
Academic Services Spend
A guide to how much the University spends on supporting services such as libraries and IT.

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Student Satisfaction 4.10 Help
Student Satisfaction
A guide to how satisfied students are with the quality of teaching they receive.

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Facilities Spend 678 Help
Facilities Spend
A guide to how much the University spends on supporting facilities such as the careers service, health and counselling services and sport facilities.

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Graduate Prospects 74.9 Help
Graduate Prospects
A guide to the employability of graduates on completion of their courses at the University.

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Degree Completion 91.0 Help
Degree Completion
The proportion of students expected to successfully complete their studies and gain a degree from the University.

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Good Honours 75.8 Help
Good Honours
The percentage of graduates achieving a first or upper second class honours degree – the class of degree achieved can impact a graduate’s employment prospects.

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Green Score 31.6 Help
Green Score
This environmental & ethical ranking of the University is provided courtesy of the People & Planet Green League - the only comprehensive and independent green ranking of every UK university. Choosing a greener university can reduce your carbon footprint and improve your job prospects in a global low-carbon economy.

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  • Founded in 1845 as Queen's College Belfast, one of three Queen's Colleges in Ireland.
  • Became an independent university in 1908, and is the ninth oldest university in the UK.
  • Member of the Russell Group.
  • In the top 1% of global universities.
  • The UK-wide 2014 Research Excellence Framework exercise placed Queen’s 8th in the UK for Research Intensity.
  • Awarded a fifth Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2012, for world-class achievement in cancer research through its leadership of the Northern Ireland Comprehensive Cancer Services programme, which has seen cancer survival rates in Northern Ireland move from the bottom of the UK league table to the top. Previous Queen’s Anniversary Prizes have been awarded to the University for green chemistry, law, environmental research and palaeoecology.
  • Queen’s was one of the first universities in the UK and Ireland to form spin-out companies, establishing QUBIS Ltd in 1984 to create wealth through the commercialisation of research and innovation. QUBIS has been involved in the creation of 70 companies. It remains one of the leading companies in the UK and Ireland championing the impact agenda through the creation of jobs and wealth. Spin-out companies developed at Queen’s currently have an annual turnover of some £171m and sustain 1,500 high-value jobs.
  • As one of the UK’s leading Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Universities, Queen’s has helped more than 300 companies improve their products and services, working with companies across all sectors, ranging from multi-nationals to very small firms. Queen’s and Bullivant Taranto Ltd were named as the UK’s Best KTP in 2013’s national KTP Awards.
  • Queen’s is one of the leading institutions in the UK for tackling the unequal representation of women in science and engineering, as demonstrated by its success in the Athena SWAN awards, which recognise the commitment of institutions, and science, engineering and technology (SET) departments, to addressing gender inequalities and improving career progression for female academics. Queen’s was the first UK university to hold an Athena SWAN institutional Silver award, one of only three UK universities to hold a Gold departmental award, and has more departmental Silver awards than any other university in the UK.

Location and Transport

  • A 15-minute walk from the city centre, the University’s leafy campus gives its name to the attractive Queen’s Quarter, nestled between the buzz of nearby Botanic Avenue and the beautiful Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum. 
  • Modern transport infrastructure. All major UK cities within an hour's flying time.
  • Daily flights to UK and international destinations from the George Best Belfast City Airport and the Belfast International Airport. Regular ferry services to Scotland and England.

Entry Standards

  • Full details of entry requirements and selection criteria are provided in the University’s online course finder.  Please visit our website for details:
  • A wide range of different qualifications is accepted by the University.
  • In terms of A levels, offer grades generally range from BBB at A level to AAA at A-level + A in a 4th AS level subject.
  • Only Dentistry and Medicine require a 4th AS level subject in addition to 3 A levels.
  • For a small number of degree programmes the A* grade at A level is used as part of an alternative offer, e.g. for the MSci in Mathematics – AAA including Mathematics or A*(Mathematics)AB.
  • Differential offers may be made with a lower grade required where applicants are taking the A-level subject which provides the best preparation for the degree, even though it may not be an essential course requirement, e.g. for the BSc in Finance – ABB including Mathematics at A level or AAB at A level if Mathematics is not offered.
  • There is no cap or limit on the number of GB or International students which the University is permitted to admit (except in Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Midwifery, and Social Work).

Student Mix

The 23,320 students enrolled in the academic year 2013/14 comprise:

Level of study
Mode of study
Full Time
Part Time

Course Flexibility

  • Modular system: opportunities for student choice within courses based on need for appropriately focused and coherent programmes of study.
  • Flexibility varies across subjects according to requirements of accrediting bodies and national subject benchmark statements, where applicable.
  • Queen's offers a wide range of opportunities for students to develop and extend their academic, personal and employability skills.
  • Queen’s embraces enterprise and offers a dynamic curriculum attuned to the needs of students and employers. As a result, skills development is embedded in all Queen’s academic programmes to enhance student employability.
  • The approach taken to support employability is shaped by the subject, but key elements include practical opportunities to support skills development, opportunities for work related learning, engagement with employers and/or alumni and workshops focused on development of career management skills.

Teaching Standards

  • An excellent record of achievement in reviews of teaching quality; numerous teaching awards.
  • The QAA Institutional Audit (2009) said Queen's meets its highest level of confidence in the management of academic standards and in the quality of the learning opportunities offered to students.
  • Queen's Centre for Educational Development provides a comprehensive and systematic range of support to develop and enhance learning and teaching. Close to 500 of our staff are fellows of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Support for students has been enhanced by personal tutoring and peer mentoring schemes. An alumni mentoring scheme is also offered, with high-achieving graduates spending one-to-one time with undergraduates and passing on the benefits of their knowledge and experience.
  • Queen’s is significantly investing in the student experience, a fact reflected in high rates of student satisfaction, completion and graduate employment amongst both the undergraduate and postgraduate populations.
  • Students have opportunities to study abroad, improve employability and increasing numbers take part in work related opportunities as part of their degrees.
  • Work closely with employers to ensure that our curriculum equips our students for their new careers. Examples include new employer partnership degrees have been established with key companies across a range of sectors, integrating study, placement and a graduate job on completion.
  • Many of our courses are accredited by professional bodies.

Research Standards

  • Queen’s has established itself in the premier league of UK research-intensive universities and is a member of the Russell Group. The UK-wide 2014 Research Excellence Framework exercise placed Queen’s 8th in the UK for Research Intensity.
  • Over 75 per cent of research activity at Queen’s was judged to be internationally excellent or world-leading. 26 of the 28 subject areas submitted to REF 2014 were ranked in the UK top 20 for research intensity, with six of these in the top 10, and two in the top five.
  • Queen’s returned over 95 per cent of academic staff, which was the fifth largest percentage of staff returned in the REF 2014.
  • Research partnerships with leading research groups and multi-national companies throughout the world, including Dubai Healthcare City, the National Cancer Center, Georgetown University and Vanderbilt University in the USA; Petronas in Malaysia; InfoSys and Madras Christian College in Chennai, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in India; China Medical University and Harbin Institute of Technology.
  • Significant recent achievements include Professor Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute for Global Food Security, was chosen by the Government to head the inquiry into food safety in the UK. Professor Máire O’Neill, Director of Research for Secure Digital Systems at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) and one of Europe’s leading experts on digital security, was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal for 2014 for her contribution to society. Professor Stuart Elborn, new Dean of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, led pivotal studies of a new treatment for people with cystic fibrosis along with colleagues from the US and Australia. Professor Mike Clarke, Director of the All-Ireland Hub for Trials Methodology, based in the Centre for Public Health, was named among the top 400 global researchers by a major European journal. He has published more than 300 papers and received 30,000 citations.
  • Queen's is at the forefront of research globally in areas as diverse as Green Chemistry, Secure Information Technologies, Food Security, Collaborative Research in the Humanities, Conflict Transformation, Health Sciences and Astrophysics.
  • Spin-out companies developed at Queen’s currently have an annual turnover of some £171m and sustain 1,500 high-value jobs.
  • Queen’s is ranked No.1 in the UK for its participation in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with 39 active projects across the University, more than any other UK institution.

Academic Strengths

  • Research-oriented environment; teaching by people working at forefront of disciplines.
  • The University also has 14 subject areas ranked within the UK’s top 20 and 76 per cent of its research classified in the top two categories of world leading and internationally excellent. (REF 2014).
  • To ensure its global standing continues to grow and that its students are taught by those at the leading edge of their field, the University has been actively recruiting the world’s top innovators and inventors, including the appointment of academic leaders across all areas.

Student Facilities

  • Queen’s award-winning £50m McClay Library opened in the summer of 2009 and provides over 2,000 reader places and accommodation for 1.5 million volumes. It provides a seamless range of services and user support (library, media, information and computing). A major project in summer 2013 has further enhanced the McClay Library adding over 200 PCs and study seats.
  • The McClay Library’s outstanding design, facilities and services were recognised in 2013 when it won the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) Award, presented every three years to a UK library that best meets the needs of users.
  • Queen's is at the forefront of using ICT to support learning and teaching; the University's virtual learning environment, Queen's Online, provides each student with secure online access to information and materials relating to their specific course components enhancing the learning experience.
  • In the National Student Survey 2014, students expressed very high levels of satisfaction (94%) with library and IT resources and services.
  • In 2015, a project will be completed to create a “Wireless Campus” with pervasive wi-fi coverage in all campus locations.
  • Extensive student support services, including Counselling, Disability Services, Childcare, Income and Student Finance, Widening Participation, Learning Development Unit.

Disability Services

  • For information about disability services at Queen's, telephone +44 (0) 2890 975251, email or visit the website

Students' Union

  • The 2014 National Student Survey ranked Queen's Students' Union 19th amongst universities in the UK in terms of student satisfaction with a 78% satisfaction rate.
  • Queen’s Students’ Union received National Union of Students runner-up awards in the categories of ‘Higher Education Students’ Union of the Year’ in 2013.
  • The Students’ Union has been awarded Gold Accreditation in the NUS Green Impact Programme in recognition of its environmental and ethical programmes.
  • Following a £9m refurbishment, the Students' Union building houses three bars and the famous Mandela Hall which has hosted everyone from U2 back in the day to, in more recent times, Passenger, 21 Pilots, Black Stone Cherry, Frightened Rabbit, The Coronas, Jessie Ware and many more bands and comedians.
  • The Students’ Union is also home to a variety of tenant traders including Blackwell’s Books, Clements Coffee Shop, SRL Electrics (electrical goods and computer repairs), Beauty at Queen’s and Santander Bank, in addition to the Students’ Union Shop which stocks a wide variety of soft drinks, snacks, stationery and branded clothing.
  • In addition to the Space and the Lounge (social areas), the Students’ Union has six bookable meeting rooms and a conference area.
  • There are more than 190 Sporting Clubs and Non-Sporting Societies for students.
  • Independently accredited for quality by the Students' Union Evaluation Initiative (SUEI) since 2010, and currently in receipt of a Bronze Award.
  • Enterprise SU is based in the Students' Union and provides a wide range of support to students wishing to develop their enterprise skills or thinking of starting a business. Support includes one to one advice as well as structured programmes, annual competitions and access to free business incubation space.
  • Volunteer SU provides extensive support to students wishing to volunteer, including the promotion of volunteering opportunities on behalf of over 200 volunteer involving organisations. Volunteer SU also runs the successful Homework Clubs initiative as well as the Volunteer Excellency Awards and a Student Leadership Programme (Inspiring Leaders). 


  • Queen's sporting facilities were selected as a training venue for the 2012 Olympics, and played a major role during the 2013 World Police and Fire Games that were held in Belfast.
  • The University's new £13m facility at Upper Malone features an arena pitch which can host football, rugby and GAA on one single platform, with a further 14 pitches right across the grounds to accommodate other sports such as hockey and multi-sports. A spectator stand adjoins the new clubhouse and there are more than 48 changing rooms around the site. There is a strength and conditioning suite, conference and hospitality facilities, and a 3km recreational trim trail.
  • Other facilities include a £7m extension to the Physical Education Centre (PEC), which provides an unrivalled sporting experience appealing to all levels of student interest – competitive, recreational and facilitating community interaction and a further £1.23m is currently being invested in a newly refurbished Boathouse on the River Lagan.

    The facilities include:
  • A 900m² fitness area containing over 140 pieces of fitness equipment, each with its own personal entertainment screen and motivation system, two strength and conditioning suites with the latest hydraulic assisted systems, an indoor cycling studio and two new exercise studios which enable Queen’s Sport to offer over 90 weekly dance, fitness, aquatic, and mind and body classes.
  • A two-storey climbing wall over 10m in height and 20m wide, with an abseil tower, chimney and bouldering facilities.
  • The PEC also offers a range of professional services including exercise programming, physiotherapy, sports massage and podiatry.
  • A cafe area offering students and members to opportunity to relax and socialise after their activity while overlooking the park and the River Lagan.
  • Two large multi-purpose sports halls, martial arts area, 8 squash and 2 handball courts, a 25m six-lane swimming pool and diving pool with viewing gallery and poolside sauna.
  • An outdoor 80m x 40m floodlit synthetic grass training area adjacent to the PEC which is suitable for team sporting activities including soccer, rugby and Gaelic sports.
  • The University also has a mountaineering cottage in the beautiful Mountains of Mourne.
  • A bursary and academy scheme offers awards and services to over 100 high-achieving student players/athletes.
  • The newly launched Elite Athlete Programme, now in its second year, provides a platform for prospective students to achieve their sporting and academic goals with a support package worth up to £8,000.

Recent/Prospective New Builds

  • Transformation of the Queen’s estate through a major capital investment programme is continuing. Key projects completed in the last few years include the award-winning McClay Library; the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology; a new home for the Queen's University Management School and the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute; new sports facilities; and redevelopment of the student residential Elms Village.
  • The current programme of investment in the estate – a further £350m over the next decade – involves a new-build Centre for Experimental Medicine as part of the developing Institute of Health Sciences. The Institute is recruiting the world’s best thinkers, innovators, scientists and clinicians to Queen’s - eventually this will see over 1,000 leading scientists and clinicians working together on one site.
  • A major redevelopment in the quadrangle will provide a prestigious new home for the School of Law, a new Graduate School, and a Student Hub at the heart of the historic campus. The Graduate School reflects the vibrant postgraduate and postdoctoral culture across the University and the significant increases in postgraduate taught, postgraduate research and postdoctoral numbers.
  • The expansion of Computer Science is an institutional priority for the University and is closely aligned with the priorities set out in the current Northern Ireland Programme for Government. A major redevelopment of Computer Science’s accommodation will create a high-quality transparent building, integrating both teaching and research and delivering a stimulating environment for staff and students.
  • Elsewhere on the campus, a new teaching and research building is being designed for the School of Biological Sciences, including the Institute for Global Food Security. The IGFS is a world leader in national and global efforts to provide the world’s growing population with a sustainable safe and secure supply of high quality food.
  • Finally, the phased refurbishment of the Ashby building is nearing completion, realizing the University’s vision to create an Engineering complex offering teaching, research and support accommodation to rival that of the most prestigious institutions around the world.

Availability of Part-Time Work

  • Part-time, temporary and vacation work on-campus, is available through the Queen’s On campus Jobshop (part of Careers, Employability and Skills).
  • Work experience, summer internships and other vacation opportunities at home and abroad are promoted through Queen's Careers, Employability and Skills and the new MyFuture careers platform
  • As part of its pioneering approach to ensuring its graduates have the edge in the job market, Queen’s also offers a unique Degree Plus programme formally recognising skills acquired during extra curricular work. Students receive the award alongside their degree on graduation.
  • Enterprise SU, within the Students’ Union, promotes opportunities for extra curricular work.
  • While the national graduate unemployment rate stands at nine per cent, at Queen’s 95 per cent of its graduates are in employment or further study 6 months after graduation.

Careers Guidance

Whatever stage a student is at in their career planning process, Queen's Careers Consultants can help with a wide range of queries through the confidential and impartial one-to-one appointments we offer, including:
  • Quick query which lasts for approximately 15 minutes and great for an initial discussion about career plans, help with simple questions or CV and application form checks.
  • detailed guidance interview appointments of 45 minutes which are ideal for discussing careers plans in depth and getting help with more substantial, complex issues.
  • All appointments can be made through MyFuture the online careers management system. All of our appointments are impartial, confidential and focussed on each student's individual needs.

Notable Alumni

  • Queen’s has over 160,000 alumni, spread across the globe. Maintaining their contact with the University – and with each other – is all part of maintaining a lifelong relationship.
  • Many of the University’s alumni are notable figures in business, industry, academia, politics, the arts and the media, not just in Northern Ireland, but also around the world.
  • They include: Nobel Laureate Lord David Trimble; Oscar-nominated actor Stephen Rea; Bill Neely, Chief Global Correspondent for NBC News; Air Commodore David Case , RAF; Mike Brown, MD, London Underground; Christine Browne, COO of Mainstream Aviation for TUI Travel; Brian Conlon, CEO First Derivatives plc; Manus Cranny, European markets editor, Bloomberg TV; Lord Brian Mawhinney – former Chairman of the Conservative Party; Patrick Kielty, TV presenter/comedian; Annie Mac, BBC Radio 1 presenter; Alan Green, Radio 5 Live broadcaster; Andrea Begley, winner of The Voice (BBC1); Karen Hassan, actress (The Fall & Hollyoaks); Dr Michael McKay, European Space Agency; Mark Gillan, former Chief Operations Engineer, Williams F1; Lord Brian Kerr, Justice of UK Supreme Court; Professor Paul Muldoon, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; and Dr Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland.

For further information

  • +44 (0) 28 9097 3838
  • Queen's University Belfast
    University Road
    Northern Ireland
    BT7 1NN
UCAS Code Q75

Content was accurate at the time of compilation.

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