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2015 Press Releases

UCC named The Sunday Times University of the Year

14 Oct 2015
The Quad at University College Cork, which has just been named University of the Year for the fourth time in the history of The Sunday Times Good University Guide. Picture courtesy of Rowan Davenport (see and Chris Jussi Wright (

University College Cork (UCC) has been named The Sunday Times University of the Year for a record-breaking fourth time. 

UCC is the University of the Year for the fourth time in the history of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, which was first published in 2002.

UCC follows up its triumphs in 2003, 2005 and 2011, with the guide commenting that UCC has a growing international reputation based on its high performance in research, attracting students and staff from across the world.

UCC President Dr Michael Murphy welcomed the announcement, commenting:

"We are very pleased to have been named University of the Year for a fourth time, coming as it does during our celebration of the life and legacy of George Boole. The award recognises UCC's tradition of independent thinking, exceptional student experience, considerable track record for innovation and particularly our rate of graduate employment. It is also welcome recognition of the hard work of staff, students and all those who contribute to our success.”

Maynooth University is the runner-up University of the Year. In a double triumph for higher education in the city of Cork, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) is named The Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year, with IT, Sligo the runner-up.

The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016, a special 16-page supplement, will be published free with The Sunday Times this Sunday, October 4, with extended coverage in its tablet and online editions. 

(The following extracts taken from the original Sunday Times press release)

This year, UCC was recognised by a new ranking system initiated by the EU Commission. The U-Multirank, which assesses 1,200 universities and higher education institutions in 83 countries, placed UCC at the top of the table. It was measured by grading 30 different headings, A for excellent down to E for poor and got 21 A grades across the 30 headings.

One of the main factors in UCC’s success in the league table is its ability to generate research income. It is the top institution nationally for this measure, generating the equivalent of more than €120,000 for every member of academic staff in research income, a total of €83.9m last year.

The investment has paid off, with UCC now placed 52nd out of 750 leading universities based on research papers published in top academic journals.

The college hasn’t taken its eye off the undergraduate ball, either. It has the best progression rate from first to second year of all higher education institutions nationally — just 7% drop out. It also has one of the higher proportions of students from disadvantaged backgrounds — 21%.

UCC, has seen its graduate employment rate improve — 6% of 2014 graduates are actively looking for a job, compared with 7.6% last year. Work placements that students take are carefully planned and assessed. Learning outcomes are clearly defined and post placement critical analysis catergorises and validates experience so that employers can rely on transcripted certification.

The student experience at UCC is one of the best in the country, not least because of the students themselves. The university was the first third-level institute in the world to be awarded international Green Flag status for its environmental work and and the student body has been credited for initiating this.

Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said:

“UCC has won our University of the Year award on more occasions than any other university in Ireland – and with good reason. It displays an academic restlessness that keeps it striving for the constant improvement that maintains its position ahead of many of its peers, both nationally and internationally. It maintains a perfect balance between teaching and research, seeking excellence in both. The proof comes in coming top in two of the seven performance measures we use to rank universities and Institutes of Technology – generating the most research income per capita of any university in Ireland and seeing the greatest proportion of students progress from the first year to the second year of their courses.

 Students at UCC get a great deal – and they know it.”

The Sunday Times Good University Guide is now in its 14th year of publication. It provides the definitive rankings for Irish third-level institutions, together with profiles of each institution and a view from students of what it is like to study there. It also contains the first full listing of 2016 courses and the first round entry points needed to access these courses from the recently-completed 2015 admissions cycle.

There is a tablet edition, plus extended online coverage at features fully searchable tables on each of the measures on which institutions are ranked, together with extended profiles of each. It also contains full access to the newspaper’s UK university guide published on 20 September, 2015.

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF