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    Top 10 Reasons to Study in UCD

    With only 2 weeks before the start of Orientation Week 2016, what is it about UCD that has so many students jumping at the chance to place it at No 1 on their list of preferences?


    1. UCD is Ireland’s largest university.


    With over 24,000 students on our 300-acre Belfield campus in South Dublin, UCD has more to offer than can be done in a few short years.


    UCD received more than 9,000 CAO first preferences in 2014, making it the most sought-after university in Ireland. Over the past 160 years of its history, UCD has ranked in the top 1% of the world’s universities, and now caters for 25% of all postgraduate students in Ireland (and 28% of all doctoral students), 30% of all international students, and has a network of 160,000+ alumni around the world.


    Who wouldn’t want to make the most of their ambition, talent and opportunities with the University that shares the same goals, and provides the resources, supports and range of programmes to help you make that happen.




    1. Our unique diversity.


    Possibly due to our sheer size, maybe due to our location close to Dublin, (who really knows!) UCD boasts near-perfect demographics.


    As Ireland’s Global University, we have 6,000 students enrolled from 127 countries (that equals 30% of all international students in Ireland) and 25% of our staff are from international backgrounds.


    70% of our student body are undergraduates with 30% in graduate programmes. 52% of our population are female and 48% male, in over 200 undergraduate programmes, seven Colleges, 38 Schools and over 3,000 staff.


    In a community that’s so large we could give Kilkenny City a run for its money, every day is a learning day!


    1. UCD’s range of undergraduate programmes.


    Ever dreamed of becoming a Vet? UCD is the only university in Ireland that offers a programme in Veterinary Medicine, and we’re the only university with programmes in Agricultural Science. UCD is one of only 4 institutions in the country that offers a programme in pre-registration Physiotherapy, the only institution to offer a degree in Radiography, and our School of Architecture has led the way for other universities on the Island.


    Since 2009, UCD has reduced the number of CAO entry codes from 84 to 45, meaning students can enter through a single degree, and specialise at a later stage when you have more experience and knowledge of the subjects.


    UCD Horizons, introduced in 2005, is the first programme in any Irish university that allowed for modularisation, and students can choose ‘elective’ modules from any part of the campus – so if you’re enrolled in the BSc Physiotherapy you can choose to study aspects of Human Nutrition, Psychology, or Marketing, or even Accounting and Management. You have complete control over your own degree!




    1. Events, events and more things to do!


    UCD has something for everyone! (I think we’ve heard that before somewhere…)


    Orientation Week introduces incoming first years to the campus, and gives a taster of what to expect – including BBQs, outdoor cinemas, comedy debates, coffee mornings with your class, tours of the campus and its facilities, and meetings with lectures and senior students.


    Freshers’ Week is Ireland’s largest student festival, is the highlight of the College Calendar and happens during the second week of term, where all societies and sports clubs promote their activities and encourage other students to join. Hundreds of smaller events take place throughout the week thanks to the hard work of the various student committees. Think free pizza, ice cream, popcorn, t-shirts, red bull, jellys, and much, much more! You may even catch a glimpse of Emeli Sandé, Jenna Marbles, Judge Judy or Neil Gaiman.


    UCD Students’ Union have organised the Mind, Body & Soul Festival during the first term, and the College Carnival for the second term. Both events promote cultural, arts and well-being awareness, with everything from Laughter Yoga and Puppy Cuddling, to Food Fairs and Outdoor Cinemas.


    There’s always something to look forward to, including the annual TEDxUCD conference, two full-scale productions from the award-winning UCD Musical Society, and UCD dramsoc’s Leaving Cert Shakespeare Christmas production, the UCD Fashion Show, Rás UCD, Malaysia Night, and dozens of charity days and weeks, including the annual UCD St Vincent de Paul Homeless Week, UCD Medical Society’s charity MedDay, and Law Soc and the L&H’s weekly house-debates.


    1. World-class facilities on your doorstep.


    Did you know that if UCD were classified as a town, it would be the same size as Kilkenny?


    2012 saw the opening of the new Student & Sport Centre complex, the largest of its kind in Europe. The €50million building includes a 50-metre, 10-lane, Olympic-sized swimming pool, a purpose-built state-of-the-art drama theatre, a 100-seater cinema (the only university in Ireland with a cinema!) and was voted Ireland’s Favourite New Building in the 2013 Irish Architecture Awards.


    The National Hockey Stadium and Irish Hockey are both based on the Belfield campus, along with 12 natural grass playing pitches, including the UCD Bowl (FAI Sportsground of the Year 2009) and Devlin Park. Indoor facilities include 4 fitness centres, 2 large multipurpose sports halls, 3 squash courts and a climbing wall. Not forgetting the underground rifle range!


    UCD also has 14 food outlets, a convenience store, a bar, a bookshop, a health centre, a counselling centre, and a pharmacy.


    1. Get Involved with UCD student societies & sports clubs


    Interested in learning more about what UCD student life has to offer? With the wide range of interests from our 24,000 students, there are over 70 societies and 50 sports clubs to choose from – so there is something for everyone!


    UCD’s student organisations, through the societies and sports clubs, are the heart of the UCD student community. Whether it’s the Rugby Club’s tag tournaments and the International Students’ Society weekend trips around the country, Draw Society’s film-making classes, Japanese Society’s Anime nights, the Sub-Aqua Club’s new hobby of underwater hockey, and Classical Society’s toga-tying workshops, there is so much to choose from all in one day!


    UCD societies and sports clubs are all about trying something new, having fun, and making some great friends and memories along the way.




    1. Travel the world!


    UCD students have access to a variety of student abroad and international volunteering opportunities.


    UCD has exchange agreements with 400 universities in Europe and around the world, is the only Irish university to be invited to join Universitas 21 (a network of global research universities), has the largest outgoing cohort of Erasmus exchange programme of any English-speaking university in Europe, and has a full-time, dedicated, staffed office for all international queries.


    UCD has identified global engagement as one of its major strategic initiatives, having recently partnered with Beijing University of Technology to establish the first international university in the Chinese capital, and has over 5,600 students on overseas campuses.


    Travelling the world is high on our agenda!


    1. UCD’s scholarship options.


    College life can be expensive, that’s the price of newfound independence! Rent, bills, meals, laundry, social outings… “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”.


    UCD offer scholarships for students from a wide variety of backgrounds and abilities, from HEAR and DEIS schemes, the Ad Astra system which recognises those achieving at the highest level of academia, elite sports and the performing arts, agus Scoláireacht Bhord na Gaeilge dóibh súid a cuireann an Ghaeilge chun cinn thar champas.


    Good news for athletes, sportsmen and women from across the county as UCD was the first university to introduce Sports Scholarships in the 90s, covering everything from Strength & Conditioning to Physiotherapy, Performance Analysis, and access to some of the best facilities in the country.


    More good news for the musically gifted: scholarships are also available as part of the Choral Scholars and the Symphony Orchestra.




    1. Graduate studies, research, impact, and innovation.


    UCD is an internationally recognised and research-driven university, attracting students from around the world.


    Over 6,000 students are enrolled in graduate taught programmes, with a further 200 in masters by research and another 1,500 in PhDs. 30% of our 26,000 students in Ireland are graduate students.


    UCD attracted €114.1million in externally funded research contracts in 2013/14 and our citation impact is 56% above world average. UCD is home to the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences, the Irish Social Science Data Archive, the Irish Institute for Chinese Studies, the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research & Training, the National Virus Reference Laboratory, the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre, and many more.


    UCD’s Smurfit Graduate Business School is Ireland’s leading business school and research centre offering a world-class MBA, and our Executive MBA is ranked in the global top 100 by the Financial Times.


    NovaUCD is a centre for new ventures and entrepreneurs, and has supported 126 companies over the past 10 years, while 30 new UCD spin-out companies have been incorporated. It’s the hub for commercialisation and entrepreneurial activity and is delivering on UCD’s impact and excellence in research and innovation.


    UCD contributes over €1.3billion annually to the Irish economy, generating nearly 9,000 jobs across a range of sectors. Is there more of a reason to consider UCD as a world-leader in education?


    1. Experience life at UCD.


    It’s said that university is all about experiencing life, finding yourself, becoming independent, making lifelong friends and trying something new. We’ve never really been able to narrow down exactly what those notions mean in real terms, but it’s certainly something we hear every year as hundreds of students graduate.


    UCD offers a range of opportunities that allow students to make the very most of their time here, from international and global study abroad centres, the connections to get a summer internship and part-time job, and the day-to-day encounters that mean you know someone to sit with and have lunch with by the lake.



    Article posted August 21, 2016

    For more on life at UCD visit