The University of Edinburgh was founded in 1583, making it one of Scotland’s four ancient universities. Today, the university is a leading European centre of academic excellence. As a great civic university, Edinburgh especially values its intellectual and economic relationship with the Scottish community that forms its base and provides the foundation from which it will continue to look to the widest international horizons, enriching both itself and Scotland.
The university's academic disciplines are structured into 21 Schools in three Colleges: Arts, Humanities and Social Science; Medicine and Veterinary Medicine; and Science and Engineering. The College structure underpins a broad range of courses with students able to choose their studies from more than 300 degree programmes. The university's operations are spread throughout the city in an estate ranging from some of the oldest buildings in Edinburgh to modern, purpose built and highly specialised facilities.
Edinburgh is one of the UK’s larger, more diverse research universities, with a current student population of over 49,500 (roughly 30,000 undergraduates and 19,500 postgraduates). The University of Edinburgh is the largest university in Scotland and, with over 24,000 international students drawn from more than 130 different countries, our student body is extremely cosmopolitan.
Distinguished former students or staff members include philosopher David Hume; chemist Joseph Black; physicist James Clerk Maxwell; geologist James Hutton; medical pioneer Elsie Inglis; Charles Darwin; Joseph Lister; Niels Bohr and the novelists Walter Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J.K Rowling and Ian Rankin; the former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown; and Julius Nyerere the first President of Tanzania.
Edinburgh is Scotland's leading research-intensive university, with a very strong profile across a wide subject range. The university’s position as one of the world’s leading research universities is reaffirmed by the 2021 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) results, with Edinburgh ranked 4th overall in the UK and top in Scotland by volume of ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ (4*/3*) research. The university's engagement with industry is significant and in addition to technology licensing, commercially-funded research and patent activities, Edinburgh actively supports knowledge transfer and the creation of start-up companies.
Edinburgh collaborates extensively around the world in numerous research fields and is known worldwide for its cutting-edge research in a large number of areas, including Informatics and Medicine. It makes significant contributions to Scottish society in areas such as Law, Education, Divinity and Management.
The University of Edinburgh sends students to various Universitas 21 events annually. We see these as valuable opportunities for our students to participate in international learning forums and to showcase the quality of our learning and teaching. Student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we are looking forward to increasing and enhancing our participation in such projects.