Associate Student Scheme

QMU has worked with a number of local further education colleges to develop an alternative way to get onto a degree course. 

Our associate student places enable you to enrol on a Queen Margaret University degree but for the first year you will study at one of our college partners on a linked HNC course. Upon successful completion, you have a guaranteed place to complete your degree at Queen Margaret University.

Not everyone goes straight from school to university. People take different pathways into education depending on their circumstances. Our Associate Student scheme offers a different route to securing a place on a degree course at QMU. 

Associate students are fully enrolled as QMU students from day one, but study for the first year at a partner college on a relevant Higher National (HN) course. On successful completion, associate students will have a guaranteed place at QMU to complete their degree. A number of our degrees are available through the Associate Student scheme and are listed below. The entry requirements for all of our Associate Student routes are CCC at Higher, or equivalent.

Courses which are part of the Associate Student scheme

West Lothian College

  • BSc (Hons) Psychology and Sociology 
  • BSc (Hons) Public Sociology

Newbattle Abbey College

  • BSc (Hons) Psychology
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology and Sociology
  • BSc (Hons) Public Sociology

Fife College

  • BA (Hons) Media and Communication
  • BA (Hons) Public Relations and Marketing Communications


If you are unsure about making the leap from school to university, then studying at college can be a good way to prepare for the move, and one of the benefits may be the smaller classes at college. As you work through the HN, the college and QMU will prepare you for the more independent learning style and the academic standards required at university level.

If you have been out of education for a while, or have been working in industry and now want to gain a relevant qualification, college may be a more suitable entry route for you. Colleges specialise in helping people returning to education after a break and learning styles are a lot more vocational and practical than in higher education. The first year of the associate student routes is designed to reflect these types of learning styles.
You may have found that your Higher results after school are not good enough to get into university. The Associate Student routes offer entry to QMU degrees with slightly lower entry qualifications because the first year is spent at college.
As you progress through your HN course we will arrange visits to the University campus, workshops on academic skills and guest lectures — this will ensure you are well prepared for the transition to QMU.

You will be in a class where there are other associate students, so you will be able to make friends with the people you will study with for four years, before joining a bigger cohort of students at QMU to complete the degree.

Facilities and services

During the first year you will be enrolled at both institutions and can take advantage of the facilities at each. College facilities could include catering, library services, student support services, health and fitness facilities, spa and hair and beauty salons and sometimes accommodation. At QMU, you can use the Learning Resource Centre, student support services, the Sports Centre, the Students’ Union and its clubs and societies and our excellent accommodation and catering services — details of which can be found on this website.


You can apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for funding for your course. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, SAAS will pay the course fees and you can apply for a student loan to help with your living costs. When applying to SAAS you will need to have a conditional offer from QMU, and be sure to apply for the full Degree Fee Waiver (not the HNC Fee Waiver which is less). 

Transition Enquiries

For more information on our Associate Student Scheme or transitioning to QMU please get in touch.

Show Contacts

Transition Enquiries

Karen Cullen Transition and Guidance Adviser 0131 474 0000

How to Apply