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Saint Mary's University College Belfast

School Overview

    • Founded:
    • 1802
    • Size:
    • Small (<5000 students)
    • Type:
    • Public
    • Category:
    • Universities, colleges
      Religiously affliated
    • Specialization:
    • N/A
    • Climate:
    • Temperate
    • Location:
    • 191 Falls Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
    • Phone:
    • +442890327678
    • Email Address:
    • N/A
    • Setting:
    • Urban

The History of Saint Mary's University College Belfast

The present-day St Mary's can directly trace its existence back to the foundation in 1900 of St Mary's Training College to train women as teachers. St Joseph's Training College often abbreviated to Trench House and located on the Stewartstown Road, was established much later to train male teachers. The amalgamation of the two single-sex colleges in 1985 created the current institution.

Academic Highlights

The institution is located on the Falls Road in Belfast, and has approximately 60 academic staff and 1,045 students. The institution offers courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels for teacher training, especially for a Catholic ethos, including a PGCE for Irish Medium Education. The college diversified its offerings several years ago and now offers a BA degree in liberal arts as well.

The university college's legacy institutions have been associated with Queen's University Belfast, since 1949. Since 1968 Queen's degrees have been obtainable by St Mary's students.

The Chairman of the Board of Governors is, ex-officio, the Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor. This is currently the Most Reverend Noel Treanor of the Diocese.

Life in Saint Mary's University College Belfast

St Mary's University College celebrated the sporting success of its students at a special event on 26 April 2017 at the Falls Road campus. Governors, members of staff, students and many friends of St Mary's gathered to honor the College's winning teams in women's netball and men's Gaelic football. St Mary's won the All-Ireland Netball League title and also the prestigious Sigerson Cup this season

Former Irish News and BBC journalist Jerome Quinn was the master of ceremonies interviewing students past and present, as well as the legendary Mr Jim McKeever, who told stories about vital scores, saves and turnovers in addition to accounts of preparations, camaraderie and celebrations. Quinn was the journalist who reported on the College's previous Sigerson victory in 1989 and was well able to bridge the twenty-eight-year gap in conversation with players and coaches, past and present.

The presentation of video footage on a large screen brought tales of outstanding sporting performance to life in the packed College Hall and sparked conversations about the significant victories enjoyed by the students this year. Such conversations continued until late into the night at the social event which followed presentations made to players and managers.

School Ranking

St Mary's Ranked 4th for Education in the 2018 Guardian University Guide. St Mary's Ranked 2nd for Education in the 2017 Guardian University Guide.


When to Apply

Applications for entry will be accepted from 1st October each year.  The closing date for the receipt of applications will be published in the prospectus each year and can be viewed here. You should apply well before the closing date.

Late applications are not normally accepted and will only be considered when there are vacancies in the selected courses.

Degree Choices

When you apply to take the BEd degree you must identify an area for subject study. 

For the BEd Primary degree, subject study areas are English, History, Irish, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Religious Studies and Science. 

For the BEd Post-Primary degree, subject study areas are Business Studies, Mathematics with Science, Religious Studies and Technology and Design.

For the purposes of the application, the specific subject area together with the identification of Primary or Post-Primary Education is classified as a course. For example BEd Primary with Science or BEd Post-Primary with Technology and Design.

You may indicate up to three BEd (Hons) courses (as well as up to three BA (Hons) Liberal Arts courses) on your application. You should list your choices in order of preference.  Take care to enter the details of the courses clearly and correctly on the application form.

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