Queen Margaret University

Queen Margaret University
Former names
Queen Margaret University College, Queen Margaret College
Type Public
Established 2007 - granted University Status
1875 - The Edinburgh School of Cookery
Chancellor Prue Leith
Principal Petra Wend
Students 5,270 (2014/15)[1]
Undergraduates 3,600 (2014/15)[1]
Postgraduates 1,670 (2014/15)[1]
Other students
20 further education[2]
Location Musselburgh, Scotland, UK
55°55′53″N 3°04′23″W / 55.93139°N 3.07306°W / 55.93139; -3.07306Coordinates: 55°55′53″N 3°04′23″W / 55.93139°N 3.07306°W / 55.93139; -3.07306
Website www.qmu.ac.uk

Queen Margaret University (formerly Queen Margaret University College and Queen Margaret College) is a modern university located in Musselburgh, East Lothian near Edinburgh in Scotland. It is named after Saint Margaret, wife of King Malcolm III of Scotland.


Queen Margaret 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 paramedical and healthcare fields. The following institutions have since been absorbed by Queen Margaret College:[3]

Musselburgh campus, Queen Margaret University.

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 further improvements to the college, the institution was awarded full university status, becoming Queen Margaret University in January 2007.[6]


Former campuses

Before moving to a new campus in Musselburgh, Queen Margaret University 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

Student accommodation at the 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, just east of Edinburgh. Costing £100 million, the new campus covers 35 acres (140,000 m2) 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".[7] 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 (140,000 m2) site from low-grade farmland into landscaped parkland.

In June 2015, Queen Margaret University 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.[8]

Learning Resource Centre

The Learning Resource Centre (LRC) comprises approximately 4500 m2 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.

Asia Campus

The Queen Margaret University, Asia Campus opened in April 2008 and provides business degrees to about 1,600 students. The campus is located in a former school building in the Balestier District of Singapore and is a joint venture with a private education provider.

Sustainability commitment

In 2012, QMU won a silver award in the UK Green Apple Awards (education category) for its work in ensuring that environmental awareness and sustainability are key components of QMU’s daily work. The University also won the Scottish Green Apple trophy in autumn 2012.

QMU won the e-Government National Award 2010 [9] in the category for sustainable, ‘green IT’ or ‘carbon-efficient’ services. In autumn 2010 it picked up gold at the Scottish Green Awards,[10] and in 2009 it won an award [11] for a waste management project, as well as a Green Apple Award.[12]


(2017, national)
The Guardian[14]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[15]
(2017, national)


School of Arts and Social Sciences

Following restructing in early 2010, the Schools of Social Sciences, Media and Communication, Business, Enterprise and Management, and Drama and Creative Industries were merged. The Dean is Dr Richard Butt. The School offers courses in 'Business, Enterprise and Management'; 'Governance, Justice and Public Management'; 'Hospitality and Gastronomy'; Creativity and Culture'; and 'Public Relations' .[16]

QMU is part of the Scottish Drama Training Network [17] 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.[18]

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.[19] The School's Bachelor of Science (BSc) courses in psychology; MSc in Health Psychology are accredited by the British Psychological Society.[20]

BA (Hons) in Media graduate, Agata Jagodzinska, was awarded for Best Writer at the BAFTA in Scotland New Talent Awards 2012.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23]


The university has the highest proportion of research active staff of all the 'modern' Scottish universities and develops pioneering expertise that cuts across its specialist fields. The university has three flagships: health and rehabilitation; creativity and culture; and sustainable business.[24]

Queen Margaret University has four research centres:

In the last five years, researchers in the institution have secured, as principal investigators, research grants from the UK Research Councils (e.g. EPSRC, ESRC, MRC). In addition, researchers have attracted income from the NHS, Chief Scientist Office, central and local government and major charities and industry, e.g. Kelloggs, Mars, Postwatch.

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.

Recent achievements

Queen Margaret University has launched a new master's degree in Gastronomy. This is a unique qualification and the first of its kind in Scotland, which allows students to acknowledge the truly complex nature of food. Topics of study include nutrition, production and consumer culture, but also deeper considerations into food culture within the contexts of anthropology, environment, sustainability, politics and communications.[25]

Queen Margaret University is the first higher education institution in the east of Scotland to host the Children’s University. The Queen Margaret Children’s University aims to help school children, aged between 7 and 14 years of age, become confident learners and broaden their horizons. It will be the second Children’s University established in Scotland but the first initiative for young people in the east of the country.

The South East Scotland Academies’ Partnership (SESAP) is a ground breaking collaboration which is helping young people maximise their educational opportunities and develop transferable skills; smooth the transition between school, college, university and employment; and support the development of Scotland’s most important industries. The Academy model was borne out of a highly successful collaboration between Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh College and East Lothian Council which, in 2012, launched the East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy.

In 2012, QMU became the first university in Scotland to have a Business Gateway [26] on campus.

Queen Margaret University 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.[27] They were awarded ‘Sustained Partnership of the Year.’ Queen Margaret University was the only new university to win an award at the event.

In June 2012 the management team at Queen Margaret University was presented with the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Team Award.[28] This award represents outstanding leadership, management, financial and business skills in the UK higher education institution sector.

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 [29] 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. Conceived by QMU’s International Centre for the Study of Planned Events, the idea to host the archive allows the University to harness its expertise in event management, tourism and IT solutions with the aim of safeguarding the legacy of Homecoming Scotland 2009.


In October 2016, celebrity chef Prue Leith became Chancellor, succeeding Sir Tom Farmer.[30]

Principal and Vice Chancellor

Petra Wend joined Queen Margaret University as Principal and Vice-Chancellor in September 2009.[31] 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.

Notable alumni

Notable graduates include:


  1. 1 2 3 "2014/15 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  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 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2007-04-05.
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  4. Tom Begg, ‘Cour, Ethel Maud De la (1869–1957)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, OUP, 2004 accessed 11 April 2007
  5. 1 2 "Consultation on Award of University Title to Queen Margaret University College". Scottish Executive. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  6. QM relocates Archived August 31, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
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  11. "Award proves recycling is not a lot of rubbish". Archived from the original on January 26, 2007. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
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  14. "University league tables 2017". The Guardian. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
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  18. "BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen". Archived from the original on January 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
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  20. "Undergraduate Psychology Courses: Queen Margaret University". British Psychological Society. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  21. "QMU graduate wins BAFTA". Archived from the original on January 26, 2007. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
  22. "Health Sciences". Queen Margaret University. Archived from the original on January 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  23. "Speech Science Research Centre: Queen Margaret University". QMU. Archived from the original on January 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
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  30. "Celebrity chef becomes Queen Margaret University chancellor". BBC News. 6 October 2016.
  31. "Professor Petra Wend". Archived from the original on January 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
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