Queen Margaret University

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (formerly Queen Margaret University College and Queen Margaret College) is a public university located in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland. It is named after Saint Margaret, wife of King Malcolm III of Scotland. Its predecessor, Queen Margaret University College, was awarded full university status becoming Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in January 2007.

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Former names
Queen Margaret University College, Queen Margaret College
Established2007 - granted University Status
1875 - The Edinburgh School of Cookery
ChancellorPrue Leith
PrincipalSir Paul Grice
Students5,210 (2016/17)[1]
Undergraduates3,460 (2016/17)[1]
Postgraduates1,750 (2016/17)[1]
Other students
20 further education[2]
55°55′53″N 3°04′23″W


The University was founded in 1875, as The Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy, by Christian Guthrie Wright and Louisa Stevenson,[3] both members of the Edinburgh Ladies' Educational Association. The School was founded as a women-only institution, with twin aims of improving women's access to higher education and improving the diets of working class families.[3] Teaching was initially delivered via lectures at the Royal Museum, supplemented by a programme of public lectures and demonstrations delivered nationwide, but in 1877 the School established a base at Shandwick Place, in Haymarket.

The school moved in 1891 to Atholl Crescent, expanding its courses and offering residential places to students. In 1909, the School was designated a Central Institution and brought under the public control of the Scottish Education Department. The first Principal appointed was Ethel De la Cour.[4] De la Cour retired in 1930, and in the same year the School became the Edinburgh College of Domestic Science.[5]

In 1961, the College acquired its Corstorphine campus, purchasing a portion of the Clermiston estate from developers. The campus was first occupied by the College in 1970, opened by Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester who was Patron of the institution until her death in 2004.[3] In 1972, the name Queen Margaret College was adopted to dissociate the College from the narrow field of domestic science.[3] Thereafter, the College broadened its range of courses, especially in the dramatic arts and paramedical healthcare fields. The following institutions have since been absorbed by Queen Margaret College:[3]

  • The Edinburgh College of Speech and Drama (established 1929, joined 1971)
  • The Edinburgh School of Speech Therapy (established 1946, joined 1975)
  • The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh School of Physiotherapy (established 1940, joined 1978)
  • The Astley Ainslie Hospital Occupational Therapy Training Centre (established 1937, joined 1979)
  • The Edinburgh Foot Clinic and School of Chiropody (established 1924, joined 1984)
  • The Edinburgh School of Radiography (established 1936, joined 1992)
  • The Edinburgh University Settlement School of Art Therapy (established 1992, joined 1997)

In 1992, the Privy Council granted Queen Margaret College powers to award its own taught degrees, and in 1998, the College was granted full degree powers, which enabled it to award its own research and higher degrees.[5] As a result, in 1999 the College took the name Queen Margaret University College. After the University College attained the final criteria of acquiring a minimum of 5000 students (something that could not be gained earlier as the campuses could not accommodate this number of students), the institution was awarded full university status, becoming Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in January 2007.[6]

In 2012, QMU became the first university in Scotland to have a Business Gateway [7] on campus.

Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond announced in May 2010 that QMU was to be the official host of the archives for Homecoming Scotland 2009. The Homecoming Scotland Archive [8] will provide the University with a unique opportunity to collect, catalogue and preserve materials associated with Scottish Homecoming 2009 for the benefit of people in both Scotland and across the world.


Former campuses

Before moving to a new campus in Musselburgh, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh had been based in campuses in Corstorphine (to the West of Edinburgh), in Leith, and at the Gateway Theatre – Scotland's International Drama Centre – (a former television studio previously owned by Scottish Television) on Elm Row, Leith Walk.

Musselburgh campus

In 2007-2008, the university brought together students from its three campuses in Edinburgh by moving to a new purpose-built campus in Musselburgh. Costing £100 million, the new campus covers 35 acres (14 hectares) and holds educational buildings, a students union, a small gym and halls of residence of more than 800 rooms.

QMU has been "touted as the country's greenest University campus".[9] The campus was designed by Dyer Architects to exceed current environmental standards and sets a new benchmark in sustainable design. The entire development transformed a 35-acre (14-hectare) site from low-grade farmland into landscaped parkland.

In June 2015, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh announced it would hold public consultations for plans to build a new innovation park and shopping hub on open land around the Musselburgh campus. Site proposals are being developed by CAM-SCI, a Cambridge-based economic consultancy, which has developed science parks across the UK.[10]

Learning Resource Centre

The Learning Resource Centre (LRC) comprises approximately 4,500 square metres (0.45 hectares) of the main academic building. Located at the heart of the campus, it provides library, IT and AV services to students, staff and visitors of the university. The LRC consists of a facility for both directed and self-directed study, based on an integrated library and information service provision. The LRC has 1,000 study spaces organised as a mixture of silent and group study areas, bookable group study rooms, training rooms, assistive technology, student learning support and a postgraduate study room.

Education Resource Centre

The Education Resource Centre provides audio-visual services to the university. This includes the provision of AV equipment in classrooms and lecture theatres as well as more specialised services such as graphics, photography, video-conferencing and TV studio facilities.


School of Arts and Social Sciences

Following restructuring in early 2010, the Schools of Social Sciences, Media and Communication, Business, Enterprise and Management, and Drama and Creative Industries were merged. The present Dean is Professor Brigid Daniel. The School offers courses in 'Business, Enterprise and Management'; 'Governance, Justice and Public Management'; 'Hospitality and Gastronomy'; Creativity and Culture'; and 'Public Relations' .[11]

QMU is part of the Scottish Drama Training Network [12] which was set up by the Scottish Funding Council in 2010 to foster cohesion across stage and screen professional practice, education and training. Through the Network, QMU in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University delivers the BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen.[13]

The School is the only institution in Scotland that is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations to deliver the postgraduate CIPR Diploma in Public Relations.[14] The School's Bachelor of Science (BSc) courses in psychology; MSc in Health Psychology are accredited by the British Psychological Society.[15]

BA (Hons) in Media graduate, Agata Jagodzinska, was awarded for Best Writer at the BAFTA in Scotland New Talent Awards 2012.[16]

It is also only one of three places in Scotland to offer a degree in Costume.

School of Health Sciences

The School of Health Sciences offers courses in dietetics, nutrition and biological sciences; nursing; speech and language therapy, audiology, occupational therapy and art therapy; physiotherapy; podiatry; radiography; art psychotherapy, dance movement psychotherapy and music therapy.[17]

The subject area of Speech and Hearing Sciences won the Queen's Anniversary Prize for research into the clinical applications of speech technology in 2002 carried out in the Speech Science Research Centre.[18]


In October 2016, celebrity chef Prue Leith became Chancellor, succeeding Sir Tom Farmer.[19]

Sir Paul Grice assumed the role of Principal and Vice Chancellor in October 2019. He was Chief Executive and Clerk of the Scottish Parliament prior to his appointment at Queen Margaret University succeeding Professor Petra Wend.

Petra Wend joined Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, as Principal and Vice-Chancellor in September 2009.[20] She originally read Italian and French Language and Literature, and Education at the University of Münster in Germany and gained a PhD in Italian Language and Literature at University of Leeds. Following a series of positions at UK universities, she joined Oxford Brookes University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Deputy Chief Executive in 2005. She retired from her position in 2019.

Academic profile

Rankings and reputation

National rankings
Complete (2020)[21]68
Guardian (2020)[22]84
Times / Sunday Times (2020)[23]97=

In June 2012 the management team at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, was presented with the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Team Award.[24]

QMU won the e-Government National Award 2010 [25] in the category for sustainable, ‘green IT’ or ‘carbon-efficient’ services. In autumn 2010 it picked up gold at the Scottish Green Awards,[26] and in 2009 it won an award [27] for a waste management project, as well as a Green Apple Award.[28]


The university has three flagships: health and rehabilitation; creativity and culture; and sustainable business.[29]

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, has seven[30] research centres:

  • Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research
  • Centre for Applied Social Sciences
  • Centre for Person-centred Practice Research
  • Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre
  • Institute for Global Health and Development
  • Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies
  • Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation

The University operates an open access repository of the research output of the university, called eResearch, with the intention of making the work of researchers open and available to the public via the web.

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, researchers in food and drink in partnerships with Advanced Microwave Technologies Ltd (AMT), won two major awards for innovation and partnership in 2012 for their collaboration to explore the application of microwave technologies to the food and drink sector.[31]

Notable alumni






  • Jamie Wilson, Rugby Union Player

Politics and Public Administration


  1. "2016/17 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (CSV). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  2. "Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2005/06". Higher Education Statistics Agency online statistics. Archived from the original on 15 May 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2007.
  3. "History: From Edinburgh School of Cookery to Queen Margaret University". Queen Margaret University. Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  4. Tom Begg, ‘Cour, Ethel Maud De la (1869–1957)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, OUP, 2004 accessed 11 April 2007
  5. "Consultation on Award of University Title to Queen Margaret University College". Scottish Executive. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  6. QM relocates Archived 31 August 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Business Gateway to be based at Queen Margaret University". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  8. "Homecoming Scotland Archive to be hosted by Queen Margaret University". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  9. "Press release: Royal opening for UK's 'greenest' university". Queen Margaret University. Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  10. "QMU pushes plan for Musselburgh business park". East Lothian News. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  11. "School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management". Queen Margaret University. Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  12. "Scottish Drama Training Network". Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  13. "BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  14. "The CIPR Diploma in Public Relations". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  15. "Undergraduate Psychology Courses: Queen Margaret University". British Psychological Society. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  16. "QMU graduate wins BAFTA". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  17. "Health Sciences". Queen Margaret University. Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  18. "Speech Science Research Centre: Queen Margaret University". QMU. Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 11 May 2008.
  19. "Celebrity chef becomes Queen Margaret University chancellor". BBC News. 6 October 2016.
  20. "Professor Petra Wend". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  21. "University League Table 2020". The Complete University Guide. 1 May 2019.
  22. "University league tables 2020". The Guardian. 7 June 2019.
  23. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2020". Times Newspapers.
  24. "Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Team Award". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  25. "QMU wons eGovernment National Award". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  26. "QMU picks up gold at green awards". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  27. "Award proves recycling is not a lot of rubbish". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  28. "Queen Margaret University awarded 'Green Apple'". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  29. "Queen Margaret University Postgraduate Prospectus 2013 = 2012-14-11". QMU. Archived from the original on 26 January 2007.
  30. "Research Centres, Institutes and Knowledge Exchange Centres". Queen Margare University. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  31. "Microwave experts revolutionise global food processing". Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
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