Northern Ireland: A world-leading location for study and research partnerships


Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom and is recognised as having one of the best education systems in Europe.

Every year thousands of international students travel to study at one of its universities, boarding schools, vocational education colleges or English language schools, drawn by their strong research base and international partnerships. As well as a world-class education system, Northern Ireland is also renowned for its vibrant cities and easy access to beautiful countryside and scenery. HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ is filmed in Northern Ireland and its famous locations receive many visitors every year.

Northern Ireland’s world-class universities, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University will be present at the Northern Ireland stand at this year’s NAJAH Education Exhibition at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi, in October to advise potential students, parents and education counsellors of the options for both undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s is in the top 1% of universities in the world (QS World Rankings 2018) and is part of an elite group of research intensive universities, known as the Russell Group; placing it alongside other UK heavyweights such as Oxford and Cambridge.

Located in the heart of Belfast, Queen’s is the ninth oldest University in the UK and is just a 15 minute walk from the vibrant city centre of one of Europe’s most dynamic and connected cities, and just one hour by plane from London.

Queen’s is ranked as 8th in the UK for Research Intensity in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), with over 75 per cent of research assessed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. The university is ranked 25th in the world for its global outlook and is a world-leader in food security, global health, cyber security, peace, security and justice.

With over 250 partner institutions across the world, including Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Dubai, as well as collaborations with over 3000 local, national and international employers, Queen’s is truly a global university. The University has more than 2000 international students and 160,000 alumni from more than 100 countries, and is committed to developing future ready leaders who can compete in a global job market.

Queen’s University is steeped in heritage yet is currently benefiting from over £700m in world-class, state-of-the-art facilities. The Queen’s Graduate School, a dedicated social and academic space for postgraduate students, is ranked 1st among 159 universities worldwide in comparison with other graduate school facilities (International Student Barometer 2015).

The university is dedicated to welcoming students from all over the world and helping them to achieve their ambitions. An investment of £1.5m in partial and fully funded international scholarships was made this year to help students on their journey.

Find out more information about Queen's University Belfast

Ulster University

Ulster University is one university with four distinct campuses across Northern Ireland - Belfast, Coleraine, Jordanstown and Magee. The university sets itself apart in how it prepares students for their careers after graduation with 2,000 students undertaking work placements each year. There are strong links with industry and professional bodies, many of which input directly into courses through ongoing partnerships. This ensures that studies are relevant, providing the knowledge and skills that employers need and the very best opportunity to flourish in a rewarding career. Its dedication to producing highly employable graduates is reflected in Ulster being one of the UK’s top ten entrepreneurial universities.

Many of the university’s programmes also provide professional accreditation upon graduation. Pioneering academic research inspires and informs teaching and postgraduate students regularly contribute significantly to discoveries and innovations, working alongside some of the best academics, who are leaders in their field. Ulster is also one of the world’s top 100 young universities renowned, both locally and internationally, for teaching excellence and the learning experience provided. Students are taught by leading academics who are passionate about their subject area, and who are always on hand to inspire and encourage students through every stage of the learning journey. Campuses offer an inclusive and stimulating learning environment welcoming students from all corners of the globe.

Ulster is a leading university for sport in the UK and Ireland, offering a wide variety of individual and team sports for fun or at a more competitive level. Its £250M Belfast campus redevelopment represents a new chapter for the university, providing a state-of-the art teaching and learning facility in the heart of Belfast city centre.

Find out more information about Ulster University

World-class education standards, a unique student experience, outstanding facilities and a stimulating learning environment are on offer from both our universities. Whatever your aspirations, you can shape your future by choosing to study in Northern Ireland.

- Conal Doherty, Regional Manager for International Education, IMEA

Technical and vocational training

TVET colleges are spread over 40 campuses in Northern Ireland. These colleges cover a comprehensive range of subject areas, the provision of foundation degrees in association with Northern Ireland’s universities and also leads on the delivery of apprenticeships. The colleges are also embracing modern educational technology and have experience in delivering online and blended learning in international environments.

Find out more information about technical and vocational training

Boarding schools

Northern Ireland offers a choice of excellent boarding schools, each with its own unique heritage and all sharing a rich history of academic and extra-curricular excellence. Campbell College Belfast, Rockport School, Royal School Armagh, Royal School Dungannon and Victoria College all offer nurturing and supportive environments. All have strong links with Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast, along with other top UK universities, offering progression routes to higher education.

Find out more information about boarding schools

English language training

There is a thriving English language sector in Northern Ireland with seven British Council accredited schools. Three are private businesses: International House, Foyle and North West Academy. Two TVET colleges (SERC and Belfast MET) are also accredited, as are Queen’s University and the Centre for English Language Teaching (CELT) at Ulster University. Schools offer a range of courses as well as specialist programmes aimed at learners wishing to specialise in areas such as ‘English for Medicine’ and ‘English for Oil and Gas’. Northern Ireland’s TVET colleges provide a range of English courses for those seeking to improve their employability, to communicate more effectively or develop knowledge of English for future study.

Find out more information about English language training