These places will boost the number of students at Magee, which currently stands at approximately 4,300, but it will still fall short of the 10,000 student places promised in the New Decade, New Approach deal of 2020.
The Derry Campus is already the location of the Ulster University’s School of Medicine, Paramedic Practice and the award-winning School of Nursing.
Health Sciences includes diagnostic radiography, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, speech and language therapy, radiotherapy and oncology, as well as healthcare scientists.
The School of Health Sciences will remain at Jordanstown for the 21/22 academic year to enable sufficient time for transition arrangements to the new location.
Postgraduate Health Sciences teaching will move to the University’s Belfast campus at the same time.
This decision by the University reflects the benefits and opportunities presented by the co-location of the, all of which are based at the Magee campus, however, postgraduate Health Sciences teaching will be moved to the UU’s Belfast campus rather than Derry.
Professor Carol Curran, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences at Ulster University said bringing the new programme to Derry will open new opportunities and build on ongoing research at Magee.
She said: “Now, more than ever, in the context of a health service that continues to face sustained challenge in tackling COVID-19, we are acutely aware of the vital contribution of our allied health professionals.
“The Magee campus will best enable the NHS strategic emphasis on development of multi-disciplinary teams and rich opportunities for interprofessional learning.
“The programmes will be delivered alongside our new Paramedic teaching provision, and Graduate Entry School of Medicine, both of which are recruiting students for the start of the 2021 academic year.
“Bringing these programmes together will open up opportunities for an interdisciplinary student learning environment, as well as building on existing research collaborations in personalised medicine and cognitive analytics based at Magee. ”
Professor Curran said Belfast was a better site for the postgraduate programme.
She explained: “Belfast is the most appropriate location for postgraduate provision – supporting the existing health sciences workforce to access continued professional development, alongside our current postgraduate nursing provision.
“The decision reflects the University’s unique regional mission operating across three campuses at Derry, Coleraine and Belfast/Jordanstown, enabling access to educational opportunity across Northern Ireland and supporting wider efforts to achieve better regional economic balance.”
SDLP Foyle MLA and the party’s higher education spokesperson Sinead McLaughlin has welcomed the news.
She said: “I am very pleased, and relieved, that Ulster University has decided to relocate its health and life sciences undergraduate courses to Magee.
“This will expand the student population by about 850, itself providing an important boost to the economy of Derry.“But even more important, the focus on Magee for health and life sciences teaching supports the development of this sector in Derry, which is central to the City Deal.
“It is essential that Derry creates a substantial health and life sciences industry, building locally owned businesses and attracting inward investment in the sector.
“These student places, along with the university’s research expertise, will support this.
“We wanted the postgraduate students as well as the undergraduate places to be allocated here, and I regret that these are not coming to Magee.
“However, I welcome Ulster University’s commitment to Magee and I hope it will be followed by additional courses and students.
“The SDLP remains determined to achieve at least 10,000 higher education student places in Derry, as the basis for a highly skilled and well-paid economy that will improve the wellbeing for all our society.”Tags: