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NORTHERN IRELAND - ISEP University of Ulster

Ulster is a university with a national and international reputation for excellence, innovation, and regional engagement. We make a major contribution to the economic, social and cultural development of Northern Ireland and play a key role in attracting inward investment. Our core business activities are teaching and learning, widening access to education, research and innovation and technology and knowledge transfer.

This program would be suitable for students that are ready to be abroad, but would still like some of the academic services that a U.S. college provides.  It is a good choice for someone that is a world traveler OR has never left their hometown.

Learn more about the University of Ulster here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up.  Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).

Location

BELFAST CAMPUS: As the capital and major port city of Northern Ireland, Belfast offers a broad spectrum of social and cultural activities. The campus is located only five minutes from a renowned and enormous shopping mall and is only a ten-minute walk from the city center. Belfast Cathedral is directly next door, and the surrounding area is trendy and artistic with lovely architecture, plenty of museums, art galleries, cafes, and parks. In southern Belfast, where most student accommodations are found, the atmosphere is young and vibrant; in this neighborhood, more moderately-priced restaurants, pubs, theaters, live-music venues, and shops abound. A riverfront area adds to the nightlife options. Belfast can easily be explored by foot and students can access the other three campuses, as well as other sites in Northern Ireland, via public transportation. More information about the Belfast campus can be found here.

COLERAINE CAMPUS: The university headquarters are located to the north of Coleraine, a pleasant, medium-sized market town, situated about 90 minutes by train from Northern Ireland’s capital city, Belfast. The countryside here is beautiful. Views from the student lounges and cafes overlook rolling green hills and the laugh. The surrounding farmland and forest parks, the River Bann that borders the campus, and the beaches of the north coast offer opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, and surfing. The campus is a bit removed from the town, but frequent buses run to the city center or to the coastal towns of Portstewart and Portrush, which are popular among students for nightlife. Tourist attractions such as The Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills are only a few miles away and other sights throughout the rest of Northern Ireland are also easily accessible via public transportation. More information about the Coleraine campus is here.

JORDANSTOWN CAMPUS: The Jordanstown campus is at Newtownabbey, County Antrim, just seven miles north of Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland. Newtownabbey itself, surrounded by new housing developments, groups several old mill villages and towns along the north shore of the Belfast Lough, an inlet of the Irish Sea. The campus is a self-contained village on 114 acres and students are able to stroll down to the green banks of the Lough or visit the nearby Jordanstown Lough Shore Park. Quick and frequently running buses connect Jordanstown students to Belfast and all its entertainment, restaurants, and cultural activities. The historic town of Carrickfergus, complete with twelfth-century castle, is likewise just a short ways away, and other sites throughout the rest of Northern Ireland are easily accessible via public transportation. More information about the Jordanstown campus is here

MAGEE COLLEGE: Magee College is located in the city of Londonderry (also called Derry) on a wooded hillside overlooking the River Foyle. One of the oldest and most historically interesting cities in Northern Ireland, Londonderry has much to do, from walking the historical walls and learning about The Troubles to great shopping, pubs, and nightlife. County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland noted for its rugged terrain, beaches, and breathtaking scenery, is also close by. Belfast and other sights in Northern Ireland are easily accessible via public transportation. More information about the Magee campus is here.

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the Embassy of Northen Ireland Website

Academics

The University of Ulster is a community-based, comprehensive institution that stresses academic programs, social service, and vocational, technical and professional training. It is composed of four campuses, each with its own distinct character: Belfast, Coleraine, Jordanstown, and Magee College. Students are placed at a campus according to their academic needs and it is not possible for students to study at more than one campus at a time. Public transportation links the campuses.

 

BELFAST CAMPUS: The Belfast Campus is noted for its excellent and well-respected Art and Design programs. Facilities include a brand new building, plenty of studio space, and a superb library collection. Please note art and design students engage in very hands-on and self-directed learning in most courses, so only advanced students are admitted into the program.


COLERAINE CAMPUS: Coleraine is recommended for students interested in Literature (incl. Irish literature) and most Biomedical and Environmental Sciences. Coleraine is NOT good for Accounting, Music, Media, Physics, or Chemistry.

JORDANSTOWN CAMPUS: Jordanstown is recommended for students interested in Business Studies and Marketing, Communications (heavily includes public relations and advertising courses), Engineering, Health Sciences, or Sports Studies. The Communication department also includes interesting modules in Health Communications, Commercial Business, and Linguistics.


MAGEE COLLEGE: Magee College is especially recommended for its excellent and well-respected programs in Peace Studies, International Politics, and History. This campus is also recommended for students in Drama, Music, Dance, Psychology, and Sociology. Some Irish literature is available, although Magee is generally NOT recommended for literature students; they should apply to Coleraine instead.

Students enroll in modules at the start of the academic year or semester, during orientation. There are twelve weeks of teaching per semester, and students typically take 3 classes per semester, which is approximately equivalent to 15 US semester hours or 4 Lake Forest credits.

SPECIAL ACADEMIC CONDITIONS

Media Studies, Education, Social Work, and Community Youth Work are closed to ISEP students. Also, due to restrictions on professional training, students may not be able to study health sciences such as nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and social work. If interested in one of these fields, please inquire to ISEP Central before applying.

SPECIAL ISEP APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

The Art programs require students to have extensive experience and sufficient prerequisites to take studio art classes. Students should be at least Juniors or Seniors and demonstrate their experience by submitting a portfolio with their ISEP application.

HINTS FOR RESEARCHING COURSES

From the Module Database for all Topics, select a field of study you are interested in from the “topics” search engine. This will bring up a list of the “modules” (= “classes”) offered on that subject by campus. You can click on any module title to view a description, the level of the module, and the semester it is offered. You can also click on the “search” tab to search by keyword or topic. A “course” means a full degree program.

Please note the following factors about requesting modules when applying: 
1. Campus: ISEP students must choose all modules within the same campus. Students may sometimes mix modules from different departments as long as they are all offered at the same campus. Keep in mind that some fields of study are offered at multiple campuses (for example history), but one campus may offer a larger variety of module options in that subject than the other campuses. ISEP students are not eligible to take modules at Ulster’s partner institutions.

2. Module Levels: The first 3 letters are the academic department. The next 3 numbers are the course number. Courses in the 100-299 series are first year modules; the 300-499 series are second-year modules; 500-699 are final (senior) year modules. ISEP students are not allowed to take 000 modules (“Level A”), which are pre-undergraduate nondegree, or 700+ modules (“Level M”), which are postgraduate level.

3. Special conditions for art students: The Art and Design programs require students to have extensive experience and sufficient prerequisites to take studio art classes. Students should be at least Juniors or Seniors and demonstrate their experience in a portfolio (should show a range of art and design projects, including drawing, painting, photography, and/or other creative work). Introductory art students should not apply.

4. Full-time academic load at Ulster: Most students take 3 modules per semester, each usually worth 5 US credits. Not all modules listed online may be offered each semester, so students should select ample alternatives.

A full-time student in the United Kingdom will normally Carry 60 credits/semester, which is usually equivalent to 15 US credits or 30 ECTS credits/semester.

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 60 credit points.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 45 credit points.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.

TEACHING, LEARNING STYLES, AND ASSESSMENT

The UK education system generally emphasizes independent, self-directed study over class time, attendance, and participation. Coursework may be less structured than you are used to in your country and students may be assigned significant outside reading that they will not be tested on until their final exam. Required readings and definite assignments are given throughout the semester are less common. Students can expect an extensive reading list covering all topics to be discussed to be distributed at the start of the course. This will be used for independent research. British students typically consult a large number of sources from the library rather than intensively studying a few books purchased by everyone taking a course. In addition, students are required to write more essays and take fewer objective tests. Because there are usually fewer assignments counting towards the final grade, a final exam or paper carries much more weight. For these reasons, self-discipline, self-motivation, and good time management are very important in keeping up academically.

Modules (remember that in Britain “course” refers to a degree program) often take the following forms: lectures, which are sometimes completely optional; tutorials, in which a small number of students meet with the lecturer; and seminars, larger discussion classes often based upon seminar essays. Students should be aware that there is often less face time with professors, and that tutors are often your most hands-on academic contact. You will have to be self-motivated and proactive.

 

COURSE LOAD, CONTACT HOURS, AND LEVELS

The idea of an undergraduate being “undeclared” in their major is not common in the UK. British students tend to specialize in their field of study earlier; sometimes they may even start specializing in their majors during the final year of high school. General education or basic courses are not as commonplace at UK universities because they have already been covered at the GCSE level. Many faculties assume that a university student has a basic understanding of the concepts that will be addressed in the course. For this reason, it is common for third-year International students to take first-year and second-year courses at a UK university. The curriculum in these courses is not considered introductory or “lower-level.”

It may be more difficult to enroll in multiple modules across differing academic departments in the UK. Instead, students may need to focus on choosing classes within one or two departments. For specific details on your particular host institution, please carefully read the Academic Notes section of the Institutional Information Sheet.

ASSESSMENT

Assessment methods vary by the institution in the UK and tend to reflect the UK teaching method and style. Written examinations (at the end of a year or, in some cases, in the final undergraduate year only) are the most common form of study assessment.  It is not common to have regular quizzes, discussions, homework or group projects on a continuous basis throughout the semester.

For additional information, click here

Please review the ISEP country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette.

Student Life

ORIENTATION

ISEP participants participate in the compulsory overseas student orientation. The program includes an introduction to the university, meetings with staff to finalize classes, social events, and tours of the campus and local area. 

ARRIVAL DETAILS

The host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.

STUDENT ACTIVITIES

BELFAST CAMPUS: In cosmopolitan Belfast, students have access to many cultural activities and entertainment options; however, there may be more sports and clubs available at the nearby Jordanstown campus, which has a larger enrollment of students and offers excellent recreation facilities. Students can browse the Students’ Union website for University clubs they can get involved with at Ulster, which include sports, religious, and international societies. Make friends with local students by joining a walking club or learning to play rugby! Students who enter the UK on the Student Visa (not as a Student Visitor) are also eligible to get part-time employment.

COLERAINE CAMPUS: The University’s Students” Union offers a wide range of clubs to get involved with, including sports, religious, and international societies. Options for club sports include basketball, volleyball, camogie, rugby, sailing, fencing, Gaelic football, and more. Students at the Coleraine College often take buses a few miles away to the coastal towns of Portstewart and Portrush which offer a range of nightclubs, restaurants, shopping, and beach activities (surfing conditions are considered particularly good here, so that sport is especially popular). Make friends with local students by joining a surf club or learning to play rugby! Students who enter the UK on the Student Visa (not as a Student Visitor) are also eligible to get part-time employment.

JORDANSTOWN CAMPUS: The University’s Students” Union offers a wide range of clubs to get involved with, including sports, religious, and international societies. The Jordanstown campus offers superb indoor sports and fitness facilities for anyone interested. Unsurprisingly, all kinds of sports clubs are available at this campus: basketball is very popular; other options include mountaineering, camogie, rugby, cricket, volleyball, soccer, tennis, and more. Make friends with local students by joining a walking club or learning to play rugby! For more entertainment and other social and cultural activities, students can take the bus to Belfast. Students who enter the UK on the Student Visa (not as a Student Visitor) are also eligible to get part-time employment.

MAGEE COLLEGE: Students at the Magee College have the best of both worlds: Living in Londonderry, Northern Ireland’s “second city,” they have a wealth of social and cultural opportunities at their fingertips. Meanwhile, close proximity to the River Foyle and mountainous County Donegal make this campus the place to be for those who love outdoor activities like sailing, canoeing, rock-climbing, hiking, and even surfing! The University”s Students’ Union offers a wide range of clubs to get involved with, including sports, religious, and international societies. Options for club sports include basketball, rugby, surfing, soccer, Gaelic football, and more. Make friends with local students by joining a walking club or learning to play rugby! Students who enter the UK on the Student Visa (not as a Student Visitor) are also eligible to get part-time employment.

Housing and Meals

BELFAST CAMPUS: Students at the Belfast campus are either housed at the Jordanstown campus (about 7 miles away) or are assisted in finding suitable off-campus accommodation near the university in Belfast. Public transport between the campuses is quick and frequent. Cooking facilities are available in each apartment or residence hall. Exchange students will receive a stipend to cover expenses for groceries and/or meals at cafeterias and restaurants. Please note: due to administrative procedures at Ulster, the stipend check will not be available until one or two weeks after the student’s arrival on campus and students will need to open a bank account to deposit it. Students should, therefore, be prepared to pay for some meals up front until the stipend is issued. The stipend does not apply to ISEP Direct students; they should budget appropriately to pay directly for their groceries and/or meals. ISEP Central can provide guidance on the average cost of meals per semester if needed.

COLERAINE CAMPUS: Students at Coleraine College are normally housed on campus in single-occupancy bedroom-studies in residence halls or student houses. Cooking facilities are available in each apartment or residence hall. ISEP Exchange students will receive a stipend to cover expenses for groceries and/or meals at cafeterias and restaurants. Please note: due to administrative procedures at Ulster, the stipend check will not be available until one or two weeks after the student’s arrival on campus and students will need to open a bank account to deposit it . The stipend does not apply to ISEP Direct students; they should budget appropriately to pay directly for their groceries and/or meals. ISEP Central can provide guidance on the average cost of meals per semester if needed. 

JORDANSTOWN CAMPUS: Students at the Jordanstown College are normally housed on campus in residence halls or student houses that are about a five-minute walk from the main academic buildings. Students have single, wifi-equipped bedrooms, their own bathrooms, and share a kitchen with the floor. ISEP Exchange students will receive a stipend to cover expenses for groceries and/or meals at cafeterias and restaurants. Please note: due to administrative procedures at Ulster, the stipend check will not be available until one or two weeks after the student’s arrival on campus and students will need to open a bank account to deposit it. The stipend does not apply to ISEP Direct students; they should budget appropriately to pay directly for their groceries and/or meals. ISEP Central can provide guidance on the average cost of meals per semester if needed.

MAGEE COLLEGE: Students at Magee College are normally housed on campus in single-occupancy bedroom-studies in residence halls or student houses. Cooking facilities are available. ISEP Exchange students will receive a stipend to cover expenses for groceries and/or meals at cafeterias and restaurants. Please note: due to administrative procedures at Ulster, the stipend check will not be available until one or two weeks after the student’s arrival on campus and students will need to open a bank account to deposit it. The stipend does not apply to ISEP Direct students; they should budget appropriately to pay directly for their groceries and/or meals. ISEP Central can provide guidance on the average cost of meals per semester if needed. 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange to the University of Ulster includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week. The Direct fee includes all of the above plus insurance.  

ISEP costs for Exchange are usually the most cost-effective, as it is intended to promote mobility of students around the world. Direct options are available for those students that prefer to attend a school with limited availability for Exchange, though costs may be different as they are set by the host school. However, the program fee may be different than that of Exchange, which tend to be less expensive to promote more exchange opportunities for all schools.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item

EXCHANGE

Amount

DIRECT

Amount

Lake Forest College Tuition

$23,840

$23,840

Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.

TBD

TBD

Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College

 TBD

TBD

ISEP Confirmation and Application Fees

 $475

$475

ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance, which may be instead of, or in addition to, ISEP insurance. Check ISEP

 $360

(included)

Additional Meals

 $700

$2,400

Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award

 $1,200

$1,200

Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)

 $1,600

$1,600

Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses

 $4,335

$5,675

Total

TBD

TBD

Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office
    847-735-5231
    aolson@lakeforest.edu