Dublin City University is a young university, situated on an 85 acre campus three miles north of the River Liffey in the city centre and just a 15-minute drive from Dublin airport. With the city just a 10-minute bus drive away, students of DCU have the best of both worlds; the social and cultural benefits of city life, but with the security and vibrancy of a university campus built very much for today.
Dublin City University was initially set up to fulfil the national requirement for a highly-trained workforce with skills in the areas of business, science and electronics, computer technology, communications and languages and as an agent for change in its local community. The first students came through the door in 1980 and the university is now recognised nationally and internationally as a centre of academic excellence.
It was awarded university status in 1989 and was considered at the time to be an 'unconventional' university. It broke with the traditional mould and introduced a number of ideas, which had enormous impact on the Irish education system. DCU was the first university in Ireland to introduce work placement (INTRA) as part of its degree programmes. The aim is for students to put their academic skills into practice in the work environment. Its degree programmes were also the first to be interdisciplinary, with, for example science students taking business courses, business students taking languages and language students taking computing. Many DCU students study at universities in Spain, France, Germany and Austria as part of their degree programmes under Erasmus exchange agreements.
DCU has developed its own research specialisms, creating a number of national centres of excellence that collaborate with other universities and industry internationally. These research centres have transcended traditional boundaries and have been extended to include combinations of academic disciplines such as biotechnology, electronic engineering, physics and chemistry.
The design of the campus and the bright modern architecture make DCU a vibrant and attractive place to study. The campus is laid out to encourage community interaction with the John & Aileen O'Reilly Library at the East end and the restaurant and Helix Arts Centre at the West end. It is a place where young people can live, learn and develop in a dynamic but intimate environment. One of the objectives of the university is the strengthening of the campus as a vibrant social and learning environment and the pursuit of a holistic approach to student development. DCU prides also itself on the range of its facilities, both academic and recreational.
The John and Aileen O'Reilly library is the focal point of the entire campus. It is symbolic of the importance the university places on knowledge and learning, and the technology for acquiring information. The library has over 1,200 seats and 18 collaborative rooms where students can study in groups. There are 400 computer workstations, all of which are connected to the Internet.
DCU library is the first ever to put live electronic information on an equal footing with the older medium of the printed book and journal. Although there are over 250,000 volumes in the library, DCU will continue to grow with the technological information revolution.
The accommodation service provides 995 undergraduate rooms and 105 postgraduate rooms in four residential apartment blocks. There are three different types of accommodation. Standard, Superior and Deluxe. All the rooms available to the students are equipped with services such as broadband internet connections and cable connections in all Hampsted & College Park apartments. Accommodation is also available for conference attendees and groups during the summer months.
The Hub (the student centre)
The Hub is the social centre of student-based activities and services. The student union is based here, as well as other services such as travel shop, bookshop, recreational areas and venues for student events. This is a vibrant and energetic place for students to meet, socialise and make friends.
The sports facilities that are provided on the DCU campus are outstanding. Indoor and outdoor facilities are available and there is a 25m swimming pool. Sporting activity as a whole is encouraged through team sports or individual activities such as aerobic fitness, weight-training, rock-climbing and athletics. Highly-skilled specialist sports trainers are always on hand in the Sports Complex to advise on fitness regimes. DCU also has a special advisor for students with disabilities. New sporting events are being devised whereby students with and without a disability can take part in team sports together.
Oscail, the National Distance Education centre has been providing distance courses to Irish adults since 1982. No previous qualifications are required for Oscail's undergraduate courses for adults over 23 years of age. Oscail's flexible system of educational delivery and support is an attractive option for people who, because of other commitments or distance, cannot attend full-time university courses. Oscail offers its students a unique opportunity to achieve an Irish university qualification without having to forfeit other commitments that they may have.
Over the past few years, the number of students with disabilities in DCU has risen. We have put a large number of support services in place to help students participate in and enjoy university life.
The disability service currently offers confidential support to people with disabilities who have specific educational requirements. The service promotes and actively supports the equal participation of students in all aspects of university life. The nature of disability is diverse, ranging from those with visual, communication or physical impairments as well as those with specific learning difficulties, medical conditions and mental health issues.
The type of support provided to each student differs in accordance with each individual's needs. Practical supports can include the provision of lecture notes and the use of assistive technologies. Arrangements can also be made on request in relation to additional tuition, reading assistants/notetakers and advice on specific examination/assessment arrangements.
DCU's North Dublin Access Programme, established in 1996, works with 16 designated disadvantaged schools in the North Dublin area to encourage second-level school leavers to continue their education. It is aimed at students from communities who traditionally do not go to third-level education.
DCU also sponsors the Science bus which visits the national schools who are in the scheme. The bus allows the students to do experiments for one hour, and helps generate an interest in science in a way that is relevant for them.
Pupils from the participating schools may apply to the university as direct applicants. Research undertaken shows that students accessing third level under such programmes do as well if not better than students entering through the conventional pathways. This year 55 students were taken in under the Access programme. Since the scheme started in 1996, two students have gone on to Masters level, and one has registered for a PhD.
DCU is home to Ireland's largest arts centre. The Helix hosts a wide range of musical, theatrical and dance performances to suit every taste.
We know going to University isnt all about lectures and books. Its also about getting out there, getting involved and having some of the best experiences of your life. When you come to DCU we want you to get the best all-round education you can get, so we encourage you to get involved in campus life outside the lecture theatre. Thats why we were the first university to offer credits towards your degree for extracurricular activities and why we encourage high performing athletes with sports scholarships. Clubs and Societies are where youll make lasting friendships and find the people youve most in common with during your time in University.
So when youre finished with lectures you might be wondering what DCU has for you to do with the rest of the evening? Whether youre interested in some amateur dramatics, kicking back and playing some Halo with the lads, or even strutting your stuff down a catwalk, DCUs society life covers it all. Drama or Debate; Paintballing or Style; Celtic Supporters or Home and Away; DCU has a society for almost any interest you can imagine. Societies generally meet at least once a week to hold their regular activities and even more often if theyre planning something big. Like say when Style Soc host their Fashion Show in front of an audience of 1000 people or when the Media Production Society is running a full time radio station. If you get to DCU and you have an interest that isnt covered by our current list of societies, say you prefer Neighbours to Home and Away, its very easy to set up your own society, the Office of Student Life is there help you to do this and before you know it youll be organising your own events.
Sport has a special place in DCU, we want to encourage everyone to get involved in some sort of sport and we have around 50 Clubs covering everything from Soccer, Rugby and GAA to Archery, Fencing and even Ultimate Frisbee. These clubs take members at every level from beginner upwards so if theres some sport youd like to try that youve never done before this is the perfect opportunity. Every year our Sports Clubs compete all around the country and indeed all around the world and are constantly earning bragging rights wherever they go.
As well as over 100 Clubs and Societies, the Students Union also runs (usually massive) events all throughout the year. Orientation Week 09 for instance had the Lock and Key Ball, County Colours Night, Michael Jackson Ball, an old time Ceili and PJ Gallagher doing a stand up comedy night. And thats just the first week. There are events going on all during the year and theres rarely a quiet night. Nothing is more spectacular than seeing the Hub Student Centre or the Helix turned into one massive niteclub holding 2000 people.
So whatever your interests, DCU has something to offer outside of the classroom too. They say University Life is what you make of it, make yours epic.
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