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History & Heritage

The origins of the College can be traced back to 1900 when the Dominican Sisters opened St Mary’s Training College on the present Falls Road campus with an enrolment of 100 women students training to teach in primary schools.

In 1948, four-year courses for post-primary teachers were introduced and, by arrangement with Queen’s University, selected students could follow a combined course of university study and professional training.

In 1961 St Joseph’s Training College for men was established at Trench House.


In 1968 the Senate of Queen’s University granted St Mary’s and St Joseph’s recognition for the instruction of matriculated students of the university in courses leading to the degree of Bachelor of Education.

The Trustees decided to amalgamate St Mary’s and St Joseph’s in 1985, and the Colleges merged onto the original St Mary’s Falls Road campus in 1996, following a major programme of building and refurbishment having been undertaken there.

In 1999 the Privy Council conferred the title of University College, enabling the introduction of Liberal Arts and other degree programmes.

Hand made mosaic tiles in the entrance hall of St Marys University College