Role and Structure of Higher Education Division
The role of the Department for Employment and Learning is to formulate policy and administer funding to support education, research and related activities in the Northern Ireland higher education sector.
Higher education in Northern Ireland is delivered through three universities and two university colleges
- The Queen’s University of Belfast
- University of Ulster
- The Open University in Ireland
- St. Mary’s University College
- Stranmillis University College
Higher education courses are also delivered in the six Institutes of Further and Higher Education.
Unlike other parts of the UK, Northern Ireland has no higher education funding council; the Department fulfills the roles of both a government department and a funding council.
How the Departments Higher Education Division is split
The Department’s higher education division is split into five branches.
1. Student Finance
This branch is responsible for student support including student loans and grants, Postgraduate Awards, and Education Maintainance Allowance.
- Postgraduate Awards
- Education Maintainance Allowance
2. Higher Education Finance
This branch is responsible for financial support of the sector and the promotion of good financial practice.
3. Higher Education Policy
This branch formulates and implements policies relating to learning and teaching, higher education quality assurance, international higher education, and sign language. It is also responsible for the administration of initial teacher education and administering the All-Ireland Scholarships on behalf of the McManus Trust.
4. Higher Education Widening Participation branch
Widening participation in higher education facilitates and increases the participation of those groups which are currently under represented in HE in particular students from disadvantaged backgrounds and students with learning difficulties and disabilities.
5. Higher Education Research Policy
This branch administers funding and formulate policy for research and knowledge transfer activities.
More information for potential students, as well as more information about higher education in the United Kingdom, is available at the Higher Education and Research Opportunities website.