Initially called Assembly’s College, it was later renamed Union Theological College by Act of Parliament. In 1881 the college was awarded a Royal Charter empowering it to grant its own degrees in theology. This authority resides in the theological professors of the college who together constitute the Presbyterian Theological Faculty, Ireland (PTFI). Union Theological College programmes are awarded by this body.
The PTFI is recognised as a university under UK law and the work of the college is regulated by the independent body that maintains standards within UK higher education sector and by the Council for Training in Ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.