St Mary's University College, Belfast


History: The first teacher training college in Belfast. Opened as St. Mary's Training College for Women in 1900. Got its current name in 1999 when St Mary's became a college of Queen's University, Belfast.

Address: Falls Road in the west of Northern Ireland's capital, Belfast. Feeling the benefit of economic and social regeneration schemes.

Ambience: Catholic ethos. Irish language and culture prominent but the college considers itself non-political and inclusive. Relatively high number of European exchange students.

Who's the boss? Professor Peter Finn is principal.

Prospectus: 028 9032 7678 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: Not part of UCAS

What you need to know

Easy to get into? The BEd is competitive, with around AAB at A-level required for the primary qualification, and ABB for secondary; for the BA, it’s around BCC. The college is keen to accept equivalent qualifications such as AVCE, BTEC national diplomas and access courses.

Vital statistics: Small HE college, with 1,000 undergraduates and 100 postgraduates. Offers primary and secondary BEds, a PGCE in Irish medium education and a BA in liberal arts developed with the help of American colleges. Specialises in training teachers and its liberal arts degree.

Added value: You get a Queen's University degree. Big on team sports and very big on international opportunities. A wireless network in the library.

Teaching: 94 per cent of students said they were satisfied in the National Student Survey.

Research: Not big on research but it's growing in certain areas e.g. the PE department is looking at values in sport such as drugs issues. A new research office has been established.

Any accommodation? No halls of residence but plenty of good quality housing available to rent in the surrounding area.

Cheap to live there? Very - private rents can be as low as £60 per week.

Transport links: Frequent buses to Great Victoria Street bus and rail centre two miles away. Central station is 15 minutes by bus. Belfast City and Belfast International airports are easily reached by bus and taxi.

Fees: £3,465 per year to Northern Irish and EU students, while those from England, Scotland and Wales must pay the full tuition fee of £9,000.

Bursaries: Up to £1,350 per year is available as a means-tested bursary to students in receipt of a maintenance grant and with an annual household income of up to £41,065 in 2011.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Irish music and folk nights in local pubs near Queen's University are popular. St. Mary's students share taxis to Queen's and nightclubs in the city.

Sporting facilities: Gaelic games and a variety of sports teams. The facilities at nearby Queen's have been updated in recent years after the university invested £20m into them.

Glittering alumni: Seamus Heaney, Nobel prize-winning poet; Seamus Mallon, former deputy first minister of Northern Ireland.