Skip to content Exit mobile menu

St Mary’s University offers postgraduate programmes within the Gillis Centre (formerly St Margaret's Convent and School) in Edinburgh

“The arrangement that we have made with St Mary’s will provide invaluable means for Catholics to grow in the knowledge and love of their faith. In this way we are also responding to Pope Francis’ call to invest in the intellectual formation of the laity, and the evangelization of professional and intellectual life.” Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, the Most Reverend Leo Cushley

An introduction to the Gillis Centre

Edinburgh campus open evening

Why study with St Mary’s?

St Mary’s School of Education has been graded ‘Outstanding’ for its initial teacher education by Ofsted. St Mary’s has over 170 years’ experience training teachers. St Mary’s School of Theology is a highly-respected and research-active institution, which houses the Mater Ecclesiae College, established in 1614.

Our founding values are inspired by the teachings of St John Henry Newman, promoting higher education and developing individuals to create a more humane, just and sustainable world.

St Mary’s success lies in the flexible structure of our courses, bespoke delivery and quality of teaching offered. You will apply your learning to practical situations, using your knowledge to drive change, whilst engaging in contemporary debates.


Our MA courses are open to graduates of most academic disciplines in addition to individuals with relevant experience and/or other forms of prior learning. 

A Master’s degree is normally required to study for a PhD but with some exceptions.  

Our EdD is open to those with a Master’s degree which matches the descriptor for a Level 7 qualification in the UK Framework of Higher Education Qualifications; or an equivalent academic qualification; or evidence of equivalent experience and learning acquired in a professional context.  

Our DMin is open to those with an Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent. In some circumstances, other qualifications will be accepted after interview, or (exceptionally) other relevant experience and study with evidence of the ability to engage with such a programme (subject to approval by the Academic Registrar on the advice of the Programme Director). 

Please see course pages for more details.  

Match-funded bursaries

We are offering bursaries of £500 to parishioners of all dioceses in Scotland participating in a full Masters programme at the Gillis Centre this Autumn, provided this is matched by a similar contribution towards the fees from the parish.

To find out more information about these bursaries, please register your interest.

Please note: it is hoped this programme will be delivered face-to-face, but should legal restrictions render this impossible we have a range of platforms with which we can deliver the programme online with no loss of quality. If any students are unable to attend face-to-face lectures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be as flexible as possible in accommodating this.

What you can study

Masters Programmes

Our suite of part-time Masters Programmes provides development opportunities for teachers, those with a keen interest in education and others interested in deepening their faith. It provides an excellent opportunity for Catholics and non-Catholics at any stage of life to advance their understanding of education or applied Catholic theology.

Our postgraduate part-time MA courses will enable you to study flexibly in the evening and at weekends, meaning that you can fit your studies around your existing work and personal commitments.

There are two semesters each academic year. As a student on this course you will study two modules every semester for the first three semesters. Teaching will take place in evening sessions, usually two per week, and on some Saturdays, which will give you flexibility to pursue your studies alongside other commitments.

For programmes in education there are some potential sources of funding available. Teachers can apply to the Scottish Government via their local authority. Also, teachers can apply to the Legacy fund of the Scottish College of Educational Leadership though there is currently no information on 2022 funding availability.

Postgraduate Research

We offer a range of postgraduate research opportunities: a Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD), a Professional Doctorate in Ministry (DMin) and a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD).

We have a thriving PhD programme with all students supported by a supervisory team of active researchers in the student’s subject area. PhD programmes are available in numerous areas but, in particular, we welcome proposals from those wishing to undertake a PhD in theology and education or related fields.

PhD supervision and teaching on the DMin and EdD through St Mary’s Edinburgh Campus at the Gillis Centre will principally be online. Select in-person supervision in Edinburgh may be arranged as well as opportunities to visit the Twickenham campus. 


Applied Catholic Theology MA

  • Provides a thorough grounding in key aspects of Catholic theology while developing the necessary skills and aptitudes to apply Catholic theology to the challenges and opportunities of the contemporary world.
  • Suitable for graduates of most academic disciplines. 
  • Teaching is expected to take place on two weekday evenings a week, with the occasional Saturday study day.
  • The programme will include studies in Scripture, Doctrine, Christian Spirituality, Catholic Social Teaching, and Ethics.

Education: Leading Innovation and Change MA

  • Enables current and aspiring middle and senior leaders to engage in critical reflection on their experience and understanding of leadership, whilst developing scholarly knowledge and linking theory with practice.
  • Open to teachers and other education professionals at all stages of their careers including: school administrators; chaplains; business managers; and librarians.
  • Taught part-time, with Saturday sessions from 10am - 4pm. Lecture contact time is supplemented by bespoke one-to-one tutorials (either face-to-face or via zoom) and regular email correspondence.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

  • The opportunity to study for a PhD working on your research project alongside highly experienced researchers.
  • St Mary’s has a thriving PhD programme with over 150 students, all supported by a supervisory team of active researchers in the student’s subject area.
  • Our aim is to give all students the opportunity to work together and collaborate across disciplines if they so wish.

Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD)

  • Students are part of a vibrant research culture where the focus is on the process of development as a researcher in relation to personal and professional concerns and practices.
  • The curriculum and learning and teaching methods foster reflection on personal, professional and academic values and on the links between them. This knowledge is then related to evolving professional identities and roles as researchers.
  • Modes of learning and teaching forge meaningful links to policy, political and practitioner contexts. Readings, video and audio images, graphics, and online forums are some of the various stimuli provided to provoke thought and critical debate in weekend sessions and in personal student engagement.

Professional Doctorate in Ministry (DMin)

  • The DMin is a unique opportunity to combine theological reflection and ministerial practice leading to a doctoral level.
  • Bespoke tutoring from St Mary’s world-leading theological faculty.
  • An opportunity to combine study and practice at a higher educational level.

Edinburgh campus Open Events

We run a range of Open Events and webinars for students in wanting to study at the Gillis Centre. Upcoming events are listed below:

Sorry, no upcoming events are currently scheduled.

Make sure to submit an enquiry so we can keep you updated about the courses you're interested in studying.

Your next steps

Not ready to apply?

We're here to answer any questions you have about our Edinburgh campus and courses.

Begin your application

Apply now to begin your studies at the Gillis Centre in September.

Apply now