Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

University of Edinburgh (Scottish University)

 Organization

Dates

  • Existence: 1583-present

The University of Edinburgh was established by Royal Charter in 1582. It was originally called Tounis College, when part of a legacy left by Robert Reid, Bishop of Orkney in 1558 had established a college of which the Town Council had gained control to establish a College of Law on the South side of Edinburgh. The inception of the University took place in 1583. In 1617 when King James VI of Scotland (I of England) visited the College it was decreed that the College should change its name to King James' College, although the College continued to use the older title. The first change in the corporate body of the University was not until 1935 when the first merger took place. This was between the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Edinburgh and New College. This was due to the re-union of the Church of Scotland in 1932.The next merger was in 1951 when the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School was reconstituted as part of the University of Edinburgh. The Royal (Dick) Veterinary School achieved full faculty status in 1964. In 1998 Moray House Institute of Education became the Faculty of Education.
The first classes of the university were held in Hamilton House known as the Duke's Lodge. In 1582 a site that included St Mary in the Fields was acquired. Many new buildings and extensions were made to the site of Hamilton House after 1616. Two prominent stages of building for the University were those undertaken by Robert Adam and William Playfair. In 1869 the site next to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was acquired. Building on this project was completed by the end of the 19th century. The University today is situated around these areas in the centre of Edinburgh and Kings Buildings and there are also campuses at Holyrood and elsewhere.
Teaching began in 1583 under Robert Rollock, with a four year course in arts to gain a masters of arts. When Rollock was appointed as the first principal of the University, there were four Philosophy regents and one regent of Humanity, whilst Rollock specialized in Divinity. Until the beginning of the 18th century the University remained essentially an Arts College, with a Divinity School attached. Throughout the 17th century the Chairs of Divinity, Oriental Languages, Ecclesiastical History and Mathematics had been created. By the end of the 17th century there was also regular teaching in Medicine, and sporadic teaching in Law. The University was at the centre of European Enlightenment in the 18th century. By 1722 a Faculty of Law had been established. The first medical Chair had been established in 1685 and was closely followed in the first half of the 18th century by six more. Four more medical Chairs were created in the 19th century. New Chairs in other Faculties were not established after 1760 until the latter half of the 19th century when they followed in rapid succession, continuing in the 20th century, which include those produced by the mergers with New College, the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School and Moray House Institute of Education.
The University was governed by the town council until the Universities (Scotland) Act of 1858, when it received self governing status. The archaic teaching and management system of regents was abolished in 1708. The 1858 act dramatically changed the constitution of the University. A University Court and General Council were introduced which decided on matters and management pertaining to the whole University. The Senatus Academicus was already in place before 1858and this managed academic matters, but answered to the Court and Council. This system is still used.
The University of Edinburgh provides validation for a Master of Fine Arts that has run jointly with Edinburgh College of Art since 1943. A joint chair, the Hood Chair of Mining Engineering was established in 1923 with Heriot-Watt College which became Heriot-Watt University.
In 2002, the structure of the university was altered substantially, with the abolition of Faculties and the creation of the College of Humanities & Social Science, the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine and the College of Science & Engineering. Departments were replaced by Schools within each Faculty.

Found in 34 Collections and/or Records:

Edinburgh University CDA: Faculty of Music, Law, Divinity, Veterinary, 1965-1973

 File
Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/B/4.1
Scope and Contents The contents of this original file entitled "Edinburgh University CDA: Faculty of Music, Law, Divinity, Veterinary" consists of general correspondence, sub-committee papers and minutes relating to the implementation of the University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area (1962) and other development works relating to the buildings in the relevant faculties. These include papers relating to three sub-committees of the University Development Committee: the New College, Phase II Project...

Papers of the University of Edinburgh Development Committee, 1962-1985

 Sub-Series
Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/A/3
Scope and Contents Papers of the University of Edinburgh Development Committee consists of:
  1. committee papers and reports, (1962)
  2. committee minutes and papers, (1976-1984)
  3. miscellaneous sub-committee papers, (1978-1985)
  4. Old College courtyard and stone cleaning, (1976-1978)

Papers of the University of Edinburgh Works and Buildings Committee, 1973-1985

 Sub-Series
Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/A/2
Scope and Contents Papers of the University of Edinburgh Works and Buildings Committee consists of:
  1. minutes and correspondence, (1973-1978)
  2. committee papers, (1979-1985)
  3. subcommittee papers, (1972-1974)
  4. subcommittee and Working Party papers, (1984-1985)
  5. miscellaneous papers, (1976-1985)

University of Edinburgh: "An Expanding University" - exhibition of university development at Adam House, correspondence, papers and photographs, 1960-1984

 File
Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/F/3
Scope and Contents University of Edinburgh: Permanent exhibition of university development at Adam House, correspondence, papers and photographs file consists of: correspondence including notes concerning work required to set-up the exhibition, the possibility of reinstating it and concern about its future. completed information forms concerning the buildings to be profiled in the exhibition a...

University of Edinburgh campus wide development issues, 1957-1984

 Series
Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/F
Scope and Contents University of Edinburgh campus wide development issues consists of: site plans and site use survey, (1975) campus parking facilities, (1957-1972) "An Expanding University" - permanent exhibition of university development at Adam House, correspondence, papers and photographs, (1960-1984) development accounts, (1973-1980) published maps of the...

University of Edinburgh CDA: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 1975-1976

 File
Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/B/4.3
Scope and Contents The contents of this original file entitled "University of Edinburgh CDA: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences" consists a few notes regarding a possible lease of the Outlook Tower and departmental moves, across the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, due to building work related to the implementation of the University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area (1962).

University of Edinburgh CDA: Faculty of Medicine, 1973-1977

 File
Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/B/4.2
Scope and Contents The contents of this original file entitled "University of Edinburgh CDA: Faculty of Medicine" consists of general correspondence, sub-committee papers and minutes relating to construction of the medical library for the Faculty of Medicine, as part of the implementation of the University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area (1962) . Papers include correspondence concerning the case for and against the demolition of 10-14 George Square and papers of the North George Square Medical Project...

University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area (1962): general correspondence, sub-committee papers and minutes, 1973-1977

 Sub-Series
Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/B/4
Scope and Contents University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area (1962): general correspondence, sub-committee papers and minutes consists of 3 files entitled: Edinburgh University CDA: Faculty of Music, Law, Divinity, Veterinary, (1975-1976) University of Edinburgh CDA: Faculty of Medicine, (1973-1977) University of Edinburgh CDA: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, (1975-1976) ...

University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area (1962): interim reports, 1969-1970

 File
Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/B/2
Scope and Contents This file consists of 2 interim reports concerning conservation issues surrounding the implementation of the the University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area (1962).

University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area: feasibility studies of miscellaneous areas, 1971-1979

 File
Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/B/14.1
Scope and Contents Six reports, by three different consultants: Percy Johnson-Marshall & Associates, Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall and Partners and the University of Edinburgh Architecture Research Unit. Five concern feasibility studies for possible development of miscellaneous sites within the University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area. Locations considered are the Appleton Tower in George Square, the High School Yards site, the Buccleuch Church site, the Empire Theatre site and the Empire...