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The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is one of the ancient universities of Scotland and is amongst the largest and most prestigious in the United Kingdom. [1][2] [3][4]


Main article: History of Edinburgh University

The founding of the University is attributed to Bishop Robert Reid of St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, who left the funds on his death in 1558 that ultimately provided the University's endowment. The University was established by a Royal Charter granted by James VI in 1582, becoming the fourth Scottish university at a time when the much more populous and prosperous England had only two.

By the 18th century Edinburgh was a leading centre of the European Enlightenment and became one of the continent's principal universities.

Students at the university are represented by Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA), which consists of the Students' Representative Council (SRC), founded in 1884 by Robert Fitzroy Bell, and Edinburgh University Union (EUU) which was founded in 1889.

In 2002 the University was re-organised from its 9 faculties into three ‘Colleges’, and is now comprised of the Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Science & Engineering (SCE) and Medicine & Vet Medicine (MVM). Within these Colleges are ‘Schools’, which are roughly equivalent to the departments they replaced.


File:University of Edinburgh, Old College.jpg

The 2006 Times Higher Education Supplement [THES] World University Rankings ranked the University of Edinburgh as follows:

  • 6th in the UK
  • 8th in Europe overall
  • 33rd in the world overall
  • 13th in the world for arts and humanities
  • 14th in the world for biomedicine
  • 38th in the world for science

The Academic Ranking of World Universities 2006 [ARWU] ranked the University of Edinburgh as follows:

  • 6th in the UK
  • 11th in Europe
  • 52nd in the world

The Times Good University Guide 2007 has ranked the University of Edinburgh as the eleventh best university in the UK. In 2005, the University was the Sunday Times Scottish University of the Year.

Newsweek ranked 2006 the University of Edinburgh 11th in Europe and 47th in the World


The university has the third largest financial endowment among UK universities at £183m and the third largest endowment per student, according to the Sutton Trust (2002).


The University of Edinburgh is a member of the Russell Group of large, research-led British universities. It is also the only Scottish university (and the only British university apart from Oxford and Cambridge) to be a member of both the Coimbra Group and the LERU: two associations of leading European universities. The University is a member of Universitas 21, an international association of research-driven universities.

Colleges and SchoolsEdit

File:University of Edinburgh coat of arms.JPG

The College of Humanities & Social ScienceEdit

The College of Medicine & Veterinary MedicineEdit

The College of Science & EngineeringEdit


Queen's University, a Canadian university founded in 1841, was modelled after the University of Edinburgh, and continues to display strong Scottish roots and traditions today.

McGill University, another Canadian university, founded in 1821, has strong Edinburgh roots and links to the University of Edinburgh as McGill's first (and, for several years, its only)faculty, Medicine, was founded by four physicians/surgeons who had trained in Edinburgh.

The University of Pennsylvania, a US Ivy League institution founded in 1740, has long-standing historical links with the University of Edinburgh, including modelling UPenn's School of Medicine after Edinburgh's.


File:Edinburgh University 1827.jpg

Edinburgh is one of the greenest and most architecturally beautiful cities in Europe often referred to as the "Athens of the North". The University plays an integral role in the city, contributing to its vibrant atmosphere. However, as well as the architectural gems cited above, it has contributed several of the most ugly buildings in the city. These include the Appleton Tower and the University Library (at George Square) and the Darwin building (at the south Edinburgh King's Buildings site).

With the expansion in topics of study the university has expanded its campuses such that it now has seven main sites:

  • The Chancellor's Building was opened on 12 August 2002 by The Duke of Edinburgh and houses the new £40 million Medical School at the New Royal Infirmary in Little France. It was a joint project between private finance, the local authorities and the University to create a large modern hospital, veterinary clinic and research institute and thus the University is currently (2003) in the process of moving its Veterinary and Medical Faculties there (and quite possibly also the School of Nursing). It has two large lecture theatres and a medical library. It is connected to the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary by a series of corridors.
  • Central Area including George Square, Old College, and surrounding streets in the southern central area of the city is the oldest region, occupied primarily by the schools of art, social science, medicine and law, as well as the main university library. It is also used for teaching first year undergraduates in science and engineering. Nearby are the main EUSA buildings of Potterrow, Teviot Row House and the Pleasance Societies Centre. Old residents of George Square include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at Summerhall, at the East end of The Meadows. This houses Veterinary Medicine.
  • The King's Buildings, further south, houses most of the Science and Engineering schools including a Biology School that is a world leader in genetics. The Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) and British Geological Survey (BGS) also have a presence on campus.
  • New College, on the Mound, which houses the School of Divinity parts of which are also used by the Church of Scotland.
  • Moray House School of Education just off the Royal Mile, used to be the Moray House Institute for Education until this merged with the University in August 1998. The University has since extended Moray House's Holyrood site to include a redeveloped and extended major building housing Sports Science, Physical Education and Leisure Management facilities adjacent to its own Sports Institute in the Pleasance.
  • Pollock Halls, adjoining Holyrood Park to the east, provides accommodation (mainly half board) for a minority of students in their first year. The majority is provided by Self-catered flats. Two of the older houses in Pollock Halls were demolished in 2002 and a new building has been built in their place, leaving a total of ten buildings. Most other students in the city live in private flats in the Marchmont, Newington, Bruntsfield, New Town and Leith areas, although some university-owned flats are also available there.

Alumni and facultyEdit

Main article: Alumni of the University of Edinburgh

There have been many notable alumni of the university, including Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Darwin, Arthur Conan Doyle, David Hume, James Clerk Maxwell and Robert Louis Stevenson.

See alsoEdit


External links Edit

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