St Mary's College
The University of St Andrews is Scotland's oldest university, founded in 1410, and throughout its history has enjoyed a reputation as one of the finest universities in Britain.
St Mary's College, the home of the teaching of Divinity in the University, was founded in 1539 and is still housed in its fine sixteenth-century buildings. These buildings have provided a focus for the College and have encouraged close social contact between staff and students in theology. Adjoining the College is the King James Library and Reading Room, which houses the books used for teaching purposes in Divinity.
St Mary's has a particularly high proportion of postgraduate research students, testimony to the great esteem in which academic staff are held in their respective spheres of theological and biblical studies. This international student body clusters around series of weekly research seminars at postgraduate level and, at undergraduate level, lectures and small-group tutorials bring people of diverse backgrounds together in their scholarly pursuits.
Principal of St Mary's College
The position of Principal of St Mary's College reflects the former collegial structure of University of St Andrews and is a role that is retained in acknowledgement of the deep historical roots of the teaching of Divinity within the University. The Principalship of St Mary's College also expresses the long-standing links between the University and the Church of Scotland; for centuries St Andrews has been, along with the other ancient Scottish Universities, one of the contexts in which Kirk ministers have received their theological education.
In its present form, the Principal of St Mary's College is a largely ceremonial role, involving participation in graduation ceremonies and other major University occasions. In addition, the Principal is the main point of contact with the Church of Scotland and has particular pastoral responsibilities towards candidates for ministry. The management of the School of Divinity lies with the Head of School.
The current Principal of St Mary's College is Very Rev. Dr Ian C. Bradley.