Home > Institutions in United Kingdom > Queen's University Belfast, School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts


 History of Queen's
Queen's University Belfast has a record of academic achievement which stretches back more than 150 years.

Founded by Queen Victoria, the Queen's University in Ireland, was designed to be a non-denominational alternative to Trinity College Dublin which was controlled by the Anglican Church.

The University was made up of three Queen's Colleges - in Cork, Galway and Belfast. Although it was the first University in the north of Ireland, Queen's drew on a tradition of learning which goes back to 1810 and the foundation of the Belfast Academical Institution.

Its collegiate department, which provided University-style education, closed with the establishment of Queen's and four of its professors and many of its students transferred to the new college.

Founded in 1845, Queen's opened in1849 when the first students entered the magnificent new college building designed and built by Charles Lanyon. Since then, the University estate has grown to more than 300 buildings - many of them listed for their architectural importance. The first batch of students numbered 90. Today there are some 24,000.

Queen's during the 1880s
The most significant date in the early years of the University's life was 1908 when the three Queen's Colleges, and the Royal University (which replaced the Queen's University in Ireland in 1879), were dissolved and replaced by the Queen's University of Belfast and the National University of Ireland.

As an independent institution, governed by its own Senate, Queen's flourished. Increasing student numbers and new staff were accommodated in a number of new buildings and the academic programme increased in range. Arts, Science, Law and Medicine were supplemented by Faculties of Commerce, Applied Science and Technology, Agriculture, and Theology.

Throughout the 20th Century, Queen's continued to expand and develop. It has become one of the most respected universities in the British Isles, and its research tradition has gained it an international reputation.

It has been led by a series of Vice-Chancellors who are regarded as figures of national significance, among them: Sir David Lindsay Keir, who led the University through the years of the Second World War; Lord Ashby of Brandon, took the University through the fifties. He was succeeded by Dr Michael Grant and Sir Arthur Vick.

The past quarter of a decade has seen three Vice-Chancellors in post. Sir Peter Froggatt served a 10-year term. He was succeeded by the late Sir Gordon Beveridge, who was followed by Professor Sir George Bain, a Canadian of Irish and Scottish descent, who oversaw a major restructuring of the University and a programme designed to put it in the first flight of international research universities.

Under his leadership, the University committed itself to an ambitious programme which will see it play a leadership role in higher education in the United Kingdom, Ireland and beyond. In 2001 it launched a £150 million campaign which will transform the campus, and provide resources to invest in teaching, learning, research and development.

The current Vice-Chancellor is Professor Peter Gregson, who took up office in August 2004.

The University's Chancellor, former United States Senator, George Mitchell. One of the main architects of the peace process in Northern Ireland, and an international statesman, Senator Mitchell is one of a distinguished line of chancellors stretching back to the Ninth Earl of Shaftesbury, and including Field Marshall the Viscount Allenbrooke, the actor-manager Sir Tyrone Guthrie and Lord Ashby.

Located in refurbished Georgian houses in picturesque University Square, the School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts consists of seven subject areas:

Drama Studies
Film Studies
French Studies
German Studies
History of Art
Irish and Celtic Studies
Spanish and Portuguese Studies

The School provides a thriving academic and social environment for over a thousand undergraduate and around 90 postgraduate students, together with its 40 full-time staff and 25 teaching assistants.

The School's recognised excellence in teaching is supported by the nationally- and internationally-known research of its staff, and this scholarship feeds into the wide variety of courses on offer.

Institution courses and Masters

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