The Queen's University of Belfast Archive

Scope and Content

The Queen's University of Belfast Archive contains records that were created by Queen's College Belfast, the Queen's University in Ireland, the Royal University of Ireland and the Queen's University of Belfast. The vast majority of the records relate to the work of the Queen's University of Belfast and they include minutes of the University Senate, minutes of the Academic Council, Faculty and School records, University Calendars, student registers, student roll books and examination papers, records relating to the administration of the University Estate and the University Library and there are collections of papers of academics. There are also records from student clubs and societies and there are copies of student publications.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Queen's University of Belfast was initially established as Queen's College Belfast along with Queen's Colleges in Cork and Galway as part of the Colleges (Ireland) Act 1845 under Queen Victoria. The Queen's Colleges were intended to extend higher education in Ireland because up until then the only university in Ireland was the University of Dublin, Trinity College. Students who attended one of the three Queen's Colleges obtained their degrees from the Queen's Univerity in Ireland which was in existence from 1850-1882. In the late 1870s there was a change of government policy relating to higher education in Ireland which resulted in the Irish University Education Act, 1879 and the creation of the Royal University of Ireland in 1882. This meant that all students who attended Queen's College Belfast obtained their degrees from the Royal University of Ireland from 1882-1908. Again in 1908 there was a major re-organisation of higher education in Ireland with the passing of the Irish Universities Act, 1908 which abolished the Royal University of Ireland and created two new universities in its place, the National University of Ireland and the Queen's University of Belfast. Since 1908 the Queen's University of Belfast has continued as an independent university.


The collection is arranged on a functional basis, the records reflect the activities of Queen's.

Access Information

The collection is open to consultation on an appointment basis. Intending researchers should contact Special Collection and Archives in advance to request access to the collection and they have to complete an Application to Consult the University Archive form,


Description compiled by Clare McVeigh (RASCAL Project), entered by Deirdre Wildy, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue is being created and there is a hard-copy catalogue available for consultation on request.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to items in the Queen's University Archive collection is subject to the condition of the items and to copyright restrictions. All reproduction requests will be assessed by the Archivist.


The collection continues to expand on an irregular basis with transfers of records from departments in the University.


There have been three commissioned histories of Queen's and these are, Queen's, Belfast 1845-1949: the history of a university, T.W. Moody and J.C. Beckett (London, 1959), Degrees of Excellence, The Story of Queen's, Belfast 1845-1995, Brian Walker and Alf McCreary (Belfast, 1994) and A University in Troubled Times, Queen's Belfast, 1945-2000, L.A. Clarkson, (Dublin, 2004).