Skip navigation to content

About St Leonard's College

St Leonard’s Doctoral and Postgraduate College is at the heart of the postgraduate community of St Andrews. Supporting both Masters students and PhD students St Leonard's College works to promote a culture in which postgraduate scholarship, creativity, and discovery flourish.

The role of St Leonard's college is to:

  • promote the interest of postgraduates across the University and champion the development of postgraduate education and research
  • foster a vibrant and intellectually stimulating postgraduate community and provide opportunities for postgraduates to come together and make new connections
  • work with partners across the University to support the effectiveness and coherency of services and support for postgraduates
  • foster interdisciplinary postgraduate education and scholarship through the Graduate School

The College is led by the Provost of St Leonard's College. The Provost works closely with the Pro Dean (Taught Postgraduate) and Pro Dean (Research Postgraduate).

History of St Leonard's College

St Leonard’s College was founded in 1512 by Archbishop Alexander Stewart and Prior John Hepburn. It was intended for the education of novices of the Augustinian Order and was administered by the Priory. The College was located at the north-west corner of the Priory precinct. These were arranged around a courtyard and comprised a church, library, common hall, schools, chambers, and lodgings for staff. The College disassociated itself from the Priory in 1545. The great humanist George Buchanan (1506-82) was Principal of St Leonard's College from 1566-70. ‌‌

In 1579 the Colleges of St Leonard and St Salvator (founded 1450) were reconstituted as colleges of arts and philosophy while teaching at St Mary’s College (founded 1538) focused on theology.‌

Historic Picture of St Leonard's College, University of St Andrews

Declining student numbers and the poverty of the University led to the union of the two arts colleges, in 1747, as the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard. Despite the fact that the buildings of St Leonard's College were in better condition, it was the St Salvator's site that was chosen to be the seat of the the new United College. In 1772 the buildings and gardens of St Leonard’s College were sold off, with the exception of the St Leonard's Chapel which remains a part of the University.

From that date St Leonard's College existed in name only until 1974 when it was reconstituted as a home for the University's postgraduate community. Today St Leonard's Doctoral and Postgraduate College supports both Masters students and research students and aims to provide opportunities for postgraduates to come together and make new connections.

This video from the University Library gives a brief account of the foundation and history of St Leonard's College.

(This section make use of a description of the Records of St Leonard's College by Rachel Hart, Deputy Head of Special Collections for the University Library)

News and Events from St Leonard's College

Keep up with the latest St Leonard's College news and events - follow us on social media:

Like us on Facebook St Leonard's College on FacebookFollow us on Twitter St Leonard's College on Twitter