University of Dundee

The University of Dundee (Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh Dùn Deagh) is a university in the city and Royal burgh of Dundee, Scotland.

Founded in 1881 and existing for most of its early existence as a constituent college of the University of St Andrews, the University of Dundee became an independent institution in 1967 whilst retaining much of its ancient heritage. Since independence, the university has expanded to become an internationally renowned centre for teaching and research.

The University of Dundee is one of the UK's leading universities, internationally recognised for its expertise across a range of disciplines including science, medicine, engineering and art.

In 2007, the University celebrated 40 years since it became an independent university after a 70 year relationship with the University of St. Andrews.

The University has seen some major changes in that time. The past decade has been a particularly exciting time of progression and change - since 1994 the University has more than doubled in size.


The University of Dundee has its roots in the earlier university college based in Dundee and the University of St Andrews.

During the 19th century, the increasing population of Dundee significantly increased demand for the establishment of an institution of higher education in the city and several organisations were established to promote this end, including a University Club in the city. At the same time, the University of St Andrews was, as were the other universities in Scotland at the time, suffering from significant financial problems.

Moreover, St Andrews' position, isolation and small size (160 students as opposed to the University of Aberdeen, with a roll of around 700) contributed to a significant decline. In a submission to a Royal Commission established to investigate the problems at St Andrews, Professor Heddle, a lecturer in chemistry, observed that“ If we could be transferred to Dundee, I believe we could live and perhaps flourish; but if not, I think we will gradually cease to live. ”

There was a significant movement with the intention of moving the entire university to Dundee (which the Royal Commission observed was now a "large and increasing town") or the establishment of a college along very similar lines to the present United College. Finally, agreement was reached that what was needed was expansion of the sciences and professions, rather than the arts at St Andrews.

In the early 1870s, construction began on the North British Railway's Tay Bridge which cut journey times between Dundee and St Andrews enormously and allowed for a third option between the status quo and complete movement: the creation of what was foreseen as a "University of Dundee and St Andrews", situated between two campuses, each with their own particular specialities.

A donation of £120,000 for the creation of an institution of higher education in Dundee was made by Miss Mary Ann Baxter of Balgavies, a notable lady of the city and heir to the fortune of William Baxter of Balgavies. In this endeavour, she was assisted by her relative, Dr John Boyd Baxter, an alumnus of St Andrews and Procurator Fiscal of Forfarshire who also contributed nearly £2,000,000. In order to craft the institution and its principles, it was to be established first as an independent university college, with a view from its very inception towards incorporation into the University of St Andrews.

In 1881 the ideals of the of the proposed new college were laid down, suggesting the establishment of an institute for "promoting the education of persons of both sexes and the study of Science, Literature and the Fine Arts". No religious oaths were to be required of members. Later that year, "University College, Dundee" was established as an academic institution and the first principal, William Peterson, was elected in late 1882. When opened in 1883, it comprised five faculties: Maths and Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Engineering and Drawing, English Language and Literature and Modern History, and Philosophy. The University College had no power to award degrees and for some years students were prepared for external examinations of the University of London.

Following several aborted attempts at various forms of incorporation and association, in 1890 the college began to establish closer links with the University of St Andrews, a process which was completed in 1897 when University College became part of the University of St Andrews. This move was of notable benefit to both, enabling the University of St Andrews (which was in a small burgh) to support a medical school.

Medical students could choose to undertake preclinical studies either in Dundee or St Andrews (at the Bute Medical School) after which all students would undertake their clinical studies at Dundee. Eventually, law, dentistry and other professional subjects were taught at the University College. By 1904 University College had a roll of 208, making up 40 per cent of the roll of the University generally.

The relationship between the University, still focused in St Andrews, and University College was often stormy. In 1947, the Principal of University College, Douglas Wimberley released the "Wimberley Memo" (resulting in the Cooper and Tedder reports of 1952), advocating independence for the College. In 1954, after a Royal Commission, University College was renamed "Queen's College" and the Dundee-based elements of the University gained a greater degree of independence and flexibility. It was also at this time that Queen's College absorbed the former Dundee School of Economics.

The publication of Robbins Report on Higher Education in 1963, which considered the question of university education expansion throughout the country, provided impetus to attain independent university status for Dundee. At this time, a number of new institutions were being elevated to this status, such as the University of Stirling, and second universities were created in Edinburgh and Glasgow (Heriot-Watt University and the University of Strathclyde) despite having fewer than 2,000 students. Queen's College's size and position, alongside a willingness to expand, lead to an eventual decision to separate from the wider University of which it remained an integral part. In 1966, St Andrews University Court and the Council of Queen's College submitted a joint petition to the Privy Council seeking the grant of a Royal Charter to establish the University of Dundee. This petition was approved and the Charter was granted which saw Queen's College become the University of Dundee, on 1 August 1967.

The institution has grown considerably since securing university status. The teaching of medicine, dentistry, law (Dundee is the only UK university where students can choose to read for an LLB in either English law or Scottish Law),nursing, social work and accountancy flourished, a new Faculty of Letters (later renamed the Faculty of Arts) was developed. In 1974 the University began to validate some degrees from Dundee's Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, and by 1988 all degrees from that institution were being validated in this fashion. In 1994 the two institutions merged with one another, with the college becoming a constituent faculty of the university.

In 1996 the Tayside College of Nursing and the Fife College of Health studies became part of the university as a school of Nursing and Midwifery. For several years, Dundee College of Education prepared students for degree examinations at the University of Dundee, and in December 2001 the university merged with the Dundee campus of Northern College to create a Faculty of Education and Social Work.

In October 2005, the university became home to the first UNESCO centre in the United Kingdom. The centre is involved in research regarding the management of the world's water resources on behalf of the United Nations.

Although it only became an independent university in 1967, Dundee is organised under the ancient university governance structure due to its status as a former college of St Andrews.


Colleges and Schools

College of Art, Science & Engineering
School of Architecture
School of Computing
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design
School of Engineering, Physics and Mathematics

College of Arts and Social Sciences
School of Accounting and Finance
Continuing Education
School of Education, Social Work and Community Education
School of Humanities
Communication and Language Studies
School of Law
Postgraduate School of Management and Policy
School of Psychology
Social and Environmental Sciences

College of Life Sciences
School of Research
School of Learning and Teaching

College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing
School of Dentistry
School of Medicine

School of Nursing and Midwifery

University of Dundee ranked:

171th in the 2007 THES-QS World University Ranking

199th in the 2011 QS World University Ranking

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