National University of Ireland, Galway

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National University of Ireland, Galway
Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh
Crest of NUI, Galway.png
Latin: Universitas Hiberniae Nationalis apud Galviam
Former names
Queen’s College, Galway
University College, Galway
Motto Deo Favente
Motto in English
With the favour of God
Established 1845
Type Public
President Dr. James J. Browne
Registrar Prof. Pól Ó Dochartaigh
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 17,318[1]
Undergraduates 12,464[1]
Postgraduates 3,623[1]
Other students
Location Galway, Ireland
53°16′40″N 9°03′43″W / 53.277784°N 9.061860°W / 53.277784; -9.061860Coordinates: 53°16′40″N 9°03′43″W / 53.277784°N 9.061860°W / 53.277784; -9.061860
Affiliations AUA
Coimbra Group
NUI, Galway.png

The National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) (Irish Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh or OÉ Gaillimh) is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland. It is a tertiary-level educational institution located in Galway, Ireland.

The university was founded in 1845 as Queen's College, Galway, and was more recently known as University College, Galway (UCG) (Irish: Coláiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh or COG).

NUI Galway is a member of the Coimbra Group, a network of 40 long-established European universities.


The Aula Maxima (Quadrangle)

The college opened for teaching in 1849 as Queen's College, Galway with 37 professors and 91 students and a year later became a part of the Queen's University of Ireland. The Irish Universities Act, 1908 made this college a constituent college of the new National University of Ireland, and under a new charter the name of the college was changed to University College, Galway. The university college was given special statutory responsibility under the University College, Galway Act, 1929 in respect of the use of the Irish language as the working language of the college. The university college retained the name University College, Galway until 1997 when the Universities Act, 1997 changed the name to National University of Ireland, Galway. The constituent universities of the National University of Ireland rank among the most prestigious centres of higher learning in the country.

The university is located near the centre of the city and stretches along the River Corrib. The oldest part of the university, the Quadrangle, designed by John Benjamin Keane, is a replica of Christ Church, one of the colleges at the University of Oxford. The stone from which it is built was supplied locally. Newer parts of the university sprang up in the 1970s and were designed by architects Scott Tallon Walker. The 1990s also saw considerable development including the conversion of an old munitions factory into a student centre. Recent developments include a state-of-the-art University Sports Centre (Ionad Spóirt), Áras Moyola, a new Health Science Building, Cairnes School of Business and Public Policy, the Engineering Building, the BioSciences Research Building and the Life Course Institute. A Clinical and Translational Research Building is under construction at present.

List of Presidents[edit]

J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics
Name of President Year
Rev. Dr Joseph W. Kirwan 1845–1849
Edward Berwick 1849–1877
Sir Thomas William Moffett 1877–1897
William Joseph Myles Starkie 1897–1899
Dr Alexander Anderson 1899–1934
Monsignor John Hynes 1934–1945
Monsignor Pádraig de Brún 1945–1959
Dr Martin J. Newell 1960–1975
Dr Colm Ó hEocha 1975–1996
Dr Patrick F. Fottrell 1996–2000
Dr Iognáid G. Ó Muircheartaigh 2000–2008
Dr James J. Browne 2008 to present

Galway University Foundation (GUF)[edit]

GUF was established in 1998 and has engaged in generating financial support for NUI Galway's programmes and activities from a range of private individuals and institutions. A core part of the Foundation's work is in nurturing relationships with donors who share NUI Galway's vision for the future. The Life Course Institute has just been built, within this building the GUF has many 'Priority Projects' in development.

Recent developments[edit]

Áras Moyola, Health Science Building
The New Engineering Building, North Campus

Like the other constituent universities of the National University of Ireland, the university follows the common college structure. The five Colleges of the University are:

  • College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies
  • College of Business, Public Policy and Law
  • College of Engineering and Informatics
  • College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
  • College of Science.

The Sunday Times University Guide named the university as Irish University of the Year 2002-2003, 2009-2010.[2] NUI Galway was placed at 232 in the 2010 THE–QS World University Rankings.[3] This increase to 232nd in the world, was the third consecutive jump for NUI Galway, and represented an increase of 252 places in just three years. This result confirmed NUI Galway’s position as one of Ireland’s leading universities, and a growing force in research on the international stage. More recently, NUI Galway was the only Irish university to move up in the 2014/2015 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. Having increased 53 places on its 2013/2014 position, NUI Galway now ranks at 261st in the world according to THE Rankings, and it was placed at 280th in the world in the QS World University Rankings for 2014/2015.[4]

Since January 2006 St. Angela's College, Sligo has been a college of the National University of Ireland, Galway; it was previously a recognised college of the National University of Ireland. This change in the relationship will mean that students of St. Angela's College, Sligo will be registered as students of the National University of Ireland, Galway; whilst degrees and diplomas awarded will be those of the National University of Ireland.[5]

NUI Galway has also announced details of plans[6] to make the university a 'campus of the future',[7] at a cost of around €400 million. Details of the future plans of the University also show a Human Biology building which will incorporate Anatomy, Physiology and other human sciences areas. .[8]

NUI Galway formed a strategic alliance with University of Limerick in 2010, allowing for shared resources.[9]

University rankings[edit]

QS World University Rankings
Overall Ranking Arts & Humanities Natural Sciences Engineering & IT Social Sciences Life Sciences
437 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
437 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
484 312 389 427 323 386
368 N/A N/A N/A N/A 260
243 272 N/A N/A N/A 250
232 274 301-350 301-350 351-400 301-350
298 389 379 367 N/A 357
287 345 388 N/A N/A 335

Student activities[edit]

With approximately 17,000 students, the university boasts an active and vibrant student life, with over 50 sports clubs,[10] over 110 active societies and many links with volunteering organisations.[11]

University Societies[edit]

NUI Galway has a vibrant university life and the numerous societies on campus play a huge part in that. There are five constituent types of societies: Debating & Political; Artistic & Performing; Social & Gaming; Religious & Socially Conscious; Academic.[12]

The oldest society on the campus is the Literary & Debating Society, founded in 1846. Another of the campus's oldest societies is appropriately enough that dedicated to the subject area of history, Cumann Staire (or History Society). It is a leading member of the Comhaltas na gCumann Staire - Irish History Students' Association and the International Students of History Association.


The Film Society produces original films and founded the NUI Galway Student Cinema; one of the most popular venues for students with multiple films per week. The Business Society aims to get more students thinking about business and opening their minds to new ideas or to help students who want to get involved in business in any form in the future. The Computer Society hosts all other societies emails and websites, and have one of the largest memberships. The Rotaract Society, part of the international Rotary family, hosts the annual charity fashion show, 'Socs in the City'. The University's Drama Society (Dramsoc)[13] has also been long regarded as one of the most important student societies for the arts in Galway having played a part in the formation of Macnas, Druid Theatre Company and The Galway Arts Festival. GUMS, the university's vibrant award winning musical society continues to draw large crowds to its annual musicals in the Dubhlann/Black Box Theatre. This event is one of the highlights of the University calendar, usually held in February during the Múscailt Arts festival.

The Martin Ryan Marine Science Institute.

In February, the university hosts annually an on-campus arts festival entitled Múscailt[14] (meaning to awake/inspire/celebrate in Irish). The annual festival showcases the emerging artists of the university. Almost every society on campus has input. Various shows, concerts and exhibitions are displayed throughout the college. The week often features various inter-varsity or on-campus competitions and award ceremonies.


The ALIVE Programme[15] - A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience - was established in 2003 by the National University of Ireland, Galway to harness, acknowledge and support the contribution that its students make by volunteering. The programme draws on a strong tradition of student engagement both on and off campus and assists students who wish to actively volunteer while developing tangible and transferable skills alongside practical volunteering experiences. The University announced it would be withdrawing its support for the Students' Union run RAG week in 2009 after the arrests of over 40 students.[16] €32,000 was raised for charity by the week.

International students[edit]

NUI Galway has a strong community of international students, which make up 13% of the student population.[17] It welcomes over 500 Visiting Students from colleges and universities around the world each year, from countries including the USA, Canada and Malaysia. Various societies are present in the University to cater for international students, including the International Students Society, Malaysian Society and many more.

Notable students[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]