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University of Edinburgh

                   

Coordinates: 55°56′50.6″N 3°11′13.9″W / 55.947389°N 3.187194°W / 55.947389; -3.187194

The University of Edinburgh
Latin: Universitas Academica Edinensis
Established 1583
Type Public
Endowment £236.512 million[1]
Chancellor HRH The Princess Royal
Rector Peter McColl
Principal Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea
Academic staff 3,315[2]
Admin. staff 4,605[2]
Students 30,377 (2011-12)[2]
Undergraduates 20,316[2]
Postgraduates 10,061[2]
Location Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Campus Urban
Colours
                                       
Affiliations Russell Group
Coimbra Group
LERU
Universitas 21
EUA
Website www.ed.ac.uk
University of Edinburgh logo.png

The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583,[3] is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland.

Regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world,[4][5][6] the university is ranked 6th and 7th in Europe according to the 2011 QS and Times Higher Education Ranking[7][8] and 20th in the world by the 2011 QS rankings.[7]

The university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the north. Graduates of the university include some of the major figures of modern history, including the naturalist Charles Darwin, physicist James Clerk Maxwell, philosopher David Hume, mathematician Thomas Bayes, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown, Deputy President of the British Supreme Court Lord Hope, surgeon and pioneer of sterilisation Joseph Lister, signatories of the American declaration of independence John Witherspoon and Benjamin Rush, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, first president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere, and a host of famous authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, J. M. Barrie, and Sir Walter Scott. The University is also associated with 9 Nobel Prize winners, 1 Abel Prize winner and a host of Olympic gold medallists.[9] It also continues to have links to the British Royal Family, with the Duke of Edinburgh being chancellor from 1953 to 2010, and Princess Anne from 2011.[10]

The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university.[11] Edinburgh receives approximately 47,000 applications every year, making it the third most popular university in the UK by volume of applicants.[12] Entrance is intensely competitive, with 12 applications per place in the last admissions cycle.[13]

It is the only Scottish university to be a member of both the elite Russell Group, and the League of European Research Universities, a consortium of 21 of Europe's most prominent and renowned research universities.[14] In addition, the University has both historical links and current partnerships with prestigious academic institutions in the United States and Canada, including members of the Ivy League and U15.[15][16][17]

Contents

  History

  King James's College, c.1647

  Founding

The founding of the university is attributed to Bishop Robert Reid of St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney, 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. This was an unusual move at the time, as most universities were established through Papal bulls. What makes the University of Edinburgh even more unusual is the fact that its funding was granted the following year by the Town Council, making it in many ways the first civic university. Known as the "Tounis College", it was renamed King James's College in 1617. It was the fourth Scottish university in a period when the much more populous and richer England had only two. By the 18th century Edinburgh was a leading centre of the European Enlightenment (see Scottish Enlightenment) and was regarded as one of the continent's principal universities.

  Development

  The university's 'Old College'.

Before the building of Old College to plans by Robert Adam implemented after the Napoleonic Wars by the architect William Henry Playfair, the University of Edinburgh did not have a custom-built campus and existed in a hotchpotch of buildings from its establishment until the early 19th century. The university's first custom-built building was the Old College, now the School of Law, situated on South Bridge. Its first forte in teaching was anatomy and the developing science of surgery, from which it expanded into many other subjects. From the basement of a nearby house ran the anatomy tunnel corridor. It went under what was then North College Street (now Chambers Street), and under the university buildings until it reached the university's anatomy lecture theatre, delivering bodies for dissection. It was from this tunnel that the body of William Burke was taken after he had been hanged.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Old College was becoming overcrowded and Robert Rowand Anderson was commissioned to design new Medical School premises in 1875. The medical school was more or less built to his design and was completed by the addition of the McEwan Hall in the 1880s.

  The University's New College building

The building now known as New College was originally built as a Free Church college in the 1840s and has been the home of Divinity at the University since the 1920s.

The university is responsible for a number of historic and modern buildings across the City, including the oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland, and the second oldest in use in the British Isles, St Cecilia's Concert Hall; Teviot Row House, which is the oldest purpose built Student Union Building in the world; and the restored 17th-century Mylne's Court student residence which stands at the head of Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

  The building which houses the university's Institute of Geography, was once part of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

Edinburgh University Library pre-dates the university by three years. Founded in 1580 through the donation of a large collection by Clement Littill, its collection has grown to become the largest university library in Scotland with over 2 million periodicals, manuscripts, theses, microforms and printed works. These are housed in the main University Library building in George Square – one of the largest academic library buildings in Europe, designed by Basil Spence – and an extensive series of Faculty and Departmental Libraries.

The two oldest Schools – Law and Divinity – are both well-esteemed in their respective subjects, with Law being based in Old College, and Divinity being based in New College, on the Mound. 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, the Edinburgh University Union (EUU) which was founded in 1889. They are also represented by the Edinburgh University Sports Union (EUSU) which was founded in 1866.

  The University's McEwan Hall building

In 2002 the University was re-organised from its 9 faculties into three 'Colleges'. While technically not a collegiate university, it now comprises the Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Science & Engineering (SCE) and Medicine & Vet Medicine (MVM). Within these Colleges are 'Schools' – roughly equivalent to the departments they succeeded; individual Schools have a good degree of autonomy regarding their finances and internal organisation. This has brought a certain degree of uniformity (in terms of administration at least) across the university.

On 1 August 2011, the Edinburgh College of Art (founded in 1907) merged with the University of Edinburgh. At a result of the merger, Edinburgh College of Art has combined with the University’s School of Arts, Culture and Environment to form a new (enlarged) Edinburgh College of Art within the university.[18]

Along similar lines, all teaching is now done over two semesters (rather than 3 terms) – bringing the timetables of different Schools into line with one another, and coming into line with many other large universities (in the US, and to an increasing degree in the UK as well).

  Reputation

  A graduation ceremony taking place on the square outside McEwan Hall.
Rankings
ARWU[19]
(2011/12, national)
6
ARWU[19]
(2011/12, world)
53
QS[20]
(2011/12, national)
5
QS[20]
(2011/12, world)
20
THE[21]
(2011/12, national)
5
THE[21]
(2011/12, world)
36
Complete/The Independent[22]
(2013, national)
13
The Guardian[23]
(2013, national)
16
The Sunday Times[24]
(2012, national)
27
The Times[25]
(2012, national)
15

According to QS Academic Reputation 2011-2012, University of Edinburgh is placed first in Scotland, 5th in the UK, and 28th in the world in terms of academic reputation.[26] It is ranked 49 in the world, 6 in the UK in reputation by Times Higher Education 2012.[27]

The University of Edinburgh is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities and, along with Oxford and Cambridge, one of the only British universities to be a member both of the Coimbra Group and the LERU (League of European Research Universities): two leading associations of European universities. The University is also a member of Universitas 21, an international association of research-led universities.

The University’s position as one of the world’s leading research universities has been reaffirmed by the 2008 UK RAE results: the University of Edinburgh was ranked in the top five in the UK and first in Scotland by the volume of four star,‘world-leading’ research (63% of the University’s research activity was in the highest categories (4* and 3*), of which one third was recognised as “world-leading”).The results also indicate that the University is home to 37% of Scotland’s 4* research. It was rated at the highest level in veterinary medicine, informatics and linguistics. It also has an excellent performance in Art, Chemistry and Mathematics [28]

The QS World University Rankings 2011 ranked the University of Edinburgh 20th in the world,[29] while the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011/2012 ranked it as 36th overall, 7th in Europe and 5th in the UK.[30] In 2011, the Academic Ranking of World Universities placed University of Edinburgh as 53rd overall, 14th in Europe and 6th in the UK.[31]

In the 2012/2013 UK University Rankings, the university was ranked 15th in the UK overall by The Guardian,[32] 16th by The Independent/The Complete University Guide,[33] 27th by The Sunday Times[34] and 15th by The Times.[35]

University Rankings
2011 World/National 2010 World/National 2009 World/National 2008 World/National 2007 World/National 2006 World/National 2005 World/National 2004 World/National 2003 World/National
QS University Rankings
20th / 5th [36]
22nd / 5th[37]
20th / 5th [38]
23rd / 5th [39]
23rd / 5th [40]
33rd / 5th [41]
33rd / 5th [42]
48th / 5th [43]
--
Times Higher Education University Rankings
36th / 5th [44]
40th / 5th [45]
20th / 5th [38]
23rd / 5th[39]
23rd / 5th[40]
33rd / 5th [41]
33rd / 5th [42]
48th / 5th [43]
--
Academic Rankings (ARWU)
53rd / 6th [46]
54th / 6th [47]
53rd / 6th [48]
55th / 6th [49]
54th / 6th [50]
52nd / 6th [51]
49th / 5th [52]
47th / 5th [53]
43rd / 5th [54]

  Colleges and Schools

  The coat of arms of the University of Edinburgh, displayed on St Leonard's Land

  College of Humanities and Social Science

The College of Humanities and Social Science is the largest of the three Colleges in the University of Edinburgh. It has 11 Schools, 16,300 students and 1,460 staff. An advantage of its size is the very wide range of subjects and research specialisms. There are over 300 undergraduate and 200 taught postgraduate programmes. Its research strength, as affirmed in the 2008 RAE, has attracted over 1200 researchers.[55]

  College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

  The Edinburgh Medical School's historical main building on Teviot Place.

The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine has a long history as one of the best medical institutions in the world.[56] In the last research assessment exercise, it was rated top in the UK for medical research submitted to the Hospital-based Clinical Subjects Panel. All of the work was rated at International level and 40% at the very highest “world-leading” level.[57]

The eight original faculties formed four Faculty Groups in August 1992. Medicine and Veterinary Medicine became one of these, and in September 2002, became the smallest of three Colleges in the University.

  College of Science and Engineering

  Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh

From Natural Philosophy to Science and Engineering

In the sixteenth century science was taught as 'natural philosophy'. The seventeenth century saw the institution of the University Chairs of Mathematics and Botany, followed the next century by Chairs of Natural History, Astronomy, Chemistry and Agriculture. During the eighteenth century, the University was a key contributor to the Scottish Enlightenment and it educated many of the leading scientists of the time. It was Edinburgh's professors who took a leading part in the formation of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783. In 1785, Joseph Black, Professor of Chemistry and discoverer of carbon dioxide, founded the world's first Chemical Society.[58] The nineteenth century was a time of huge advances in scientific thinking and technological development. The first named degrees of Bachelor and Doctor of Science were instituted in 1864, and a separate 'Faculty of Science' was created in 1893 after three centuries of scientific advances at Edinburgh.[58] Chairs in Engineering and Geology were also created. In 1991 the Faculty of Science was renamed the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and in 2002 it became the College of Science and Engineering.

  Campus

  The Edinburgh College of Art forms (since 2011) part of the 'central' university campus.

With the expansion in topics of study the university has expanded its campuses such that it now has six main sites [59]:

  • The Central Area includes George Square, the Informatics Forum, The Dugald Stewart Building, Old College, New College, McEwan Hall, St Cecilia's Hall, Teviot Row House, the old Medical School buildings in Teviot Place, and surrounding streets in Edinburgh's Southside. It is the oldest region, occupied primarily by the College of Humanities and Social Science, and the Schools of Computing & Informatics and the School of Law, as well as the main university library. The Appleton Tower is also used for teaching first year undergraduates in science and engineering. Meanwhile, Teviot Place continues to house pre-clinical medical courses and biomedical sciences despite relocation of the Medical School to Little France. 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. A number of these buildings are used to host events during the Edinburgh International Festival every summer. The main library (Edinburgh University Library) is also located at George Square. New College, overlooks Princes Street and only a short walk from Waverley Rail Station and other Edinburgh landmarks. The building is on the Mound, which houses the School of Divinity - parts of which are also used by the Church of Scotland.
  • The King's Buildings is located further south of the city. Most of the Science and Engineering College's research and teaching activities take place at the King's Buildings, which occupy a 35 hectare site. It includes C H Waddington Building( the Centre for Systems Biology at Edinburgh ), James Clerk Maxwell Building( the administrative and teaching centre of the School of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Mathematics), The Royal Observatory, William Rankine Building (School of Engineering’s Institute for Infrastructure and Environment) and other schools' buildings. There are three libraries at KB: Darwin Library, James Clerk Maxwell Library and Robertson Engineering and Science Library. A new library called The King's Buildings Library will open in time for the 2012/13 session. It also houses National e-Science Centre (NeSC), Scottish Microelectronics Centre (SMC), Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC), Scottish Institute for Enterprise, etc.
  St Leonard's Hall, Pollock Halls of Residence
  • Pollock Halls, adjoining Holyrood Park to the east, provides accommodation (mainly half board) for a minority of students in their first year. Two of the older houses in Pollock Halls were demolished in 2002 and a new building (Chancellor's Court) has been built in their place, leaving a total of ten buildings. Self-catered flats elsewhere account for the majority of university-provided accommodation. The area also includes a £9 million redeveloped John McIntyre Conference Centre, which is the University's premier conference space.
  • Little France , the Chancellor's Building was opened on 12 August 2002 by The Duke of Edinburgh and houses the £40 million Medical School at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. 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. It has two large lecture theatres and a medical library. It is connected to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh by a series of corridors. Queen's Medical Research Institute was opened in 2005, which provides facilities for research into the understanding of common diseases.
  • 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.

  Student organisations

  The University's Teviot Row House building

  Students' Association

The Edinburgh University Students' Association consists of the unions and the Student Representative Council. The unions include Teviot Row House, Potterrow, Kings Buildings House, the Pleasance, and shops, cafés and refectories around the various campuses. Teviot Row House is claimed to be the oldest purpose-built student union building in the world.[64] The Student Representative Council represents students to the university and the outside world. It is also responsible for Edinburgh's 222 student societies. The association has four sabbatical office bearers – a president and three vice presidents. The association is affiliated to the National Union of Students.

  Media

Newspapers:

  • Student is a weekly Scottish newspaper produced by students at the University of Edinburgh. Founded in 1887 by Robert Louis Stevenson, it is the oldest student newspaper in the United Kingdom. It has held the title of Best Student Newspaper in Scotland, awarded by the Herald Student Press Awards, for four years running, from 2006 to 2010.

  Student sport

Edinburgh University's student sport consists of 67 clubs from the traditional football and rugby to the more unconventional korfball or gliding. Run by the Edinburgh University Sports Union, these 67 clubs have seen Edinburgh rise to 4th place in the British Universities' Sports Association (BUSA) rankings in 2006-07 and have been in the British Top 5 sporting Universities since 2005.

During the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the University of Edinburgh alumni and students secured four medals - three gold and a silver.[65] The three gold medals were won by the cyclist Chris Hoy and the silver was won by Katherine Grainger in female rowing.

  Student activism

There are a number of campaigning societies at the university. The largest of these is environment and poverty campaigning group People & Planet, which is affiliated to the national People & Planet net. International development organisations include Edinburgh Global Partnerships, which was established as a student-led charity in 1990. There is also a significant left-wing presence on campus,[66] including an active anti-cuts group, an anarchist society, Edinburgh University Socialist Society, feminist society, Young Greens, and a Students for Justice in Palestine group.[67]

  Alumni and faculty

  Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, first studied at the University of Edinburgh.

Alumni and faculty of the university have included economist Adam Smith, signatories to the US Declaration of Independence James Wilson and John Witherspoon, Prime Ministers Gordon Brown, Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell (the latter matriculated at Edinburgh, but did not graduate), engineers Alexander Graham Bell and William Rankine, naturalist Charles Darwin and biologist Ian Wilmut, physicists James Clerk Maxwell, Max Born, Sir David Brewster, Tom Kibble, Peter Guthrie Tait and Peter Higgs, writers Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.M. Barrie, Sir Walter Scott and Alistair Moffat, actor Ian Charleson, composers Kenneth Leighton, James MacMillan, and William Wordsworth, chemists Joseph Black, Daniel Rutherford, Alexander R. Todd and William Henry, botanist Robert Brown, medical pioneers Joseph Lister and James Simpson, mathematician Colin Maclaurin, philosopher David Hume, geologist James Hutton, former BP CEO Tony Hayward, chemist and two-time recipient of Alexander von Humboldt research prize for senior scientists Narayan Hosmane, Dr. Valentin Fuster, the only cardiologist to receive all four major research awards from the world's four major cardiovascular organizations,[68] and mathematician and president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Sir Michael Atiyah.

At graduation ceremonies, the Vice-Chancellor caps graduates with the Geneva Bonnet, a hat which legend says was originally made from cloth taken from the breeches of John Knox or George Buchanan. The hat was last restored in 2000, when a note from 1849 was discovered in the fabric.[69][70] In 2006, a University emblem taken into space by Piers Sellers was incorporated into the Geneva Bonnet.[71]

  Heads of state and government

  Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is an alumnus and former rector of the University of Edinburgh.
State/Government Leader Office
 Canada Charles Tupper Prime Minister of Canada (May 1, 1896 - July 8, 1896)
 Malawi Hastings Banda President of Malawi (1966–1994)
 Syria Najah al-Attar Vice President of Syria (2006–present)
 Nicaragua William Walker President of Nicaragua (1856–1857)
 South Korea Yun Po Sun President of South Korea (1960–1962)
 South Korea Jang Taek-sang Prime Minister of South Korea (May 6, 1952 – October 6, 1952)
 Tanzania Julius Nyerere President of Tanzania (1964–1985)
 UK Gordon Brown Prime Minister (2007–2010)
 UK John Russell, 1st Earl Russell Prime Minister (1846–52 and 1865 – 66)
 UK Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston Prime Minister (1855–58 and 1859 – 65)
 USA Arthur St. Clair President of the Continental Congress (February 2, 1787 - November 4, 1787)

  Historical links

  • Dalhousie University, Canadian U15 university, founded in 1818. In the early 19th century, George Ramsay, the ninth Earl of Dalhousie and Nova Scotia Lieutenant-Governor at the time, wanted to establish a Halifax college open to all, regardless of class or creed. The earl modeled the fledgling college after the University of Edinburgh, near his Scottish home.[72][73]
  • McGill University, Canadian U15 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.[74][75]
  • Queen's University, Canadian U15 university founded in 1841, was modelled after the University of Edinburgh, and continues to display strong Scottish roots and traditions today.
  • University of Pennsylvania, an American Ivy League university, has long-standing historical links with the University of Edinburgh, including modelling Penn's School of Medicine after Edinburgh's.[15][16][76]

  See also

  References

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  2. ^ a b c d e "University of Edinburgh Fact Sheet". http://www.docs.sasg.ed.ac.uk/gasp/factsheet/StudentFactsheet310112.pdf. 
  3. ^ "History of Edinburgh University". Websiterepository.ed.ac.uk. http://websiterepository.ed.ac.uk/explore/history/timeline/. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  4. ^ McIntosh, Lindsay (10 October 2011). "Edinburgh is top Scots university". http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/edinburgh-is-top-scots-university/story-e6frgcjx-1226161319595. 
  5. ^ Kemp, Jackie (12 September 2011). "Competition for places at Scottish universities will be fierce in 2012". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/12/scottish-universities-uk-students-fees. 
  6. ^ BBC News - Edinburgh institutions agree to merge
  7. ^ a b QS World University Rankings | Top Universities
  8. ^ Top 400 - The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011-2012
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  11. ^ "Edinburgh - Inspiring Capital". City of Edinburgh Council. 28 September 2010. http://www.edinburgh-inspiringcapital.com/study/higher%20education%20institutions/the%20university%20of%20edinburgh%20-.aspx. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
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  13. ^ "University of Edinburgh Admissions Statistics". Admissions Office. 28 September 2010. http://www.ed.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.50503!fileManager/UoE%20Admissions%20Statistics%202010-11.pdf. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  14. ^ Home - LERU : League of European Research Universities
  15. ^ a b "School of Medicine: A Brief History, University of Pennsylvania University Archives". Archives.upenn.edu. http://www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/features/schools/med.html. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Lisa Rosner (1 April 1992). "Thistle on the Delaware: Edinburgh Medical Education and Philadelphia Practice, 1800–1825 — Soc Hist Med". Shm.oxfordjournals.org. http://shm.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/5/1/19?ck=nck. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  17. ^ North America | Regional Focus | Edinburgh Global
  18. ^ "Introduction | ECA Merger | Edinburgh College of Art". Ed.ac.uk. http://www.ed.ac.uk/news/merger-discussions. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
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  22. ^ "University League Table 2013". The Complete University Guide. http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  23. ^ "University guide 2013: University league table". The Guardian. 21 May 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/table/2012/may/21/university-league-table-2013. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
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  27. ^ "THE International Reputation 2012". 28 December 2011. http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2011-2012/reputation-rankings.html. 
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