Tuesday 27 September 2016

St Patrick's and MU two distinct entities with a shared history

Published 03/08/2016 | 02:30

Although St Patrick's shares a campus with Maynooth University (MU), the two institutions are separate entities. Picture: Arthur Carron
Although St Patrick's shares a campus with Maynooth University (MU), the two institutions are separate entities. Picture: Arthur Carron

St Patrick's College, Maynooth was founded as the National Seminary in 1795 to train students for the Catholic priesthood. Although it shares a campus with Maynooth University (MU), the two institutions are separate entities.

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St Patrick's continues to be home to the National Seminary and is also a Pontifical University, specialising in theology and awarding degrees in the name of the Catholic Church.

It offers specialised diploma and degree programmes and also has two courses on the CAO, one in theology and arts, and the other in theology.

While St Patrick's and MU operate as two distinct institutions, their history is intertwined.

One of Ireland's oldest educational institutions, St Patrick's celebrated its centenary with elevation to Pontifical University status.

Wider social change in 19th Century Ireland saw the foundation of the National University of Ireland (NUI) in 1908, with colleges in Dublin (UCD), Cork (UCC) and Galway (NUI Galway).

St Patrick's also became a Recognised College of the NUI with faculties in arts, philosophy and Celtic studies, as well as being a Pontifical University. In 1966, it admitted lay students for the first time.

Fewer vocations and a growth in student numbers generally saw a shift in the make-up of the student body and when the NUI was restructured 1997, two colleges emerged in Maynooth: the NUI Recognised College became the independent, and secular, NUI Maynooth, now MU. St Patrick's is a separate entity, which does not receive funding from the Higher Education Authority.

For historical reasons and because of the close geographical proximity, St Patrick's nominates three of the 31 members of the MU governing authority, but the two colleges have separate governance, finance and academic structures, although students of theology and arts in St Patrick's sit in on arts lectures in MU.

Irish Independent

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