Sally Mapstone FRSE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Prof Dame

  • KY16 9AJ

    United Kingdom

Personal profile


Professor Sally Mapstone FRSE is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, the second woman in succession to hold this role there. She is a board member of Universities UK, a trustee of UCAS and of the Europaeum, and a member of the advisory board of the Higher Education Policy Institute. She leads on widening access work for Universities Scotland. She is chair of the international advisory board for the University of Helsinki. In 2017 she received the Foreign Policy Association of America medal for services to higher education. In 2019 she was elected to the fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. As an academic Sally is a medievalist, with expertise in the area of medieval and Renaissance Scottish literature. She is President of the Saltire Society, which champions Scottish culture.

Research overview

My research is primarily on Older Scots literature, of the 14th to 17th centuries (this includes literature in Latin) and on book history. I have also published on Chaucer and on Malory; and on Shakespeare. A number of my publications concern the identification of previously unrecognised textual witnesses to Older Scots texts.

Teaching activity

Older Scots (to 1707); Middle and Renaissance English; Old English.

External examining

Final Honours External for the University of Edinburgh 2007 to 2009.

External doctoral examining has included for Aberdeen; Cambridge; Edinburgh; Glasgow.

Doctoral supervision and current graduate teaching

Over the past 20 years I have supervised 25 doctoral or M.Phil. theses. All my doctoral students have been successfully examined on the first occasion.

Other expertise

I am Honorary President of the Scottish Text Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, and a Fellow of the English Association.

I was formerly Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education) at the University of Oxford, having previously servied as  Pro-ViceChancellor (Personnel & Equality). As Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), I was responsible for the University’s strategy and policies for teaching, learning, student support, and admissions.


I regularly assess work for publication for eg. Boydell and Brewer, Chicago University Press, The Chaucer Review, Transactions of the Edinburgh Bibliographical SocietyRenaissance and Reformation.

Academic/Professional Qualification

1975-8 Wadham College, Oxford, BA lst Class, English Language and Literature

1981-4 Wadham College, and St Cross College, Oxford, Graduate Scholar; Distinction in research methods examination.

1985 D.Phil. University of Oxford, ‘The Advice to Princes Tradition in Scottish Literature, 1450-1500’

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education