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Universities in Aberdeen The Granite City is home to two universities, the University of Aberdeen [map], Scotland's third oldest university and the fifth oldest in the UK, and the Robert Gordon University [map].

Set mainly in the picturesque and historic area of Old Aberdeen, a mile from the city centre, the University of Aberdeen [map] has more than 13,000 students and over 3,000 staff. Teaching is split into three colleges; the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, the College of Physical Sciences, and the College of Arts and Social Sciences.

Founded in 1495 by William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland, as the King’s College, the university’s primary role was to train doctors, teachers and clergy for communities in northern Scotland.

The university opened with just 36 staff and students and, in 1497, had the honour of being home to the first chair of medicine in the English-speaking world. But the college also looked outward to Europe and beyond, taking the great universities of Paris and Bologna as its model, embracing all the known branches of learning – arts, theology, and canon and civil law.

In 1593, George Keith, fourth Earl of Marischal, created a second university in the heart of Aberdeen’s New Town and the two educational institutions worked separately until 1860 when they merged to form the modern-day University of Aberdeen.

The university first allowed women to study in all faculties in 1892, and in 1894 the first 20 matriculated female students began their studies. Four women graduated in arts in 1898 and by the following year women made up a quarter of the faculty.

Throughout the 20th century, particularly since the 1950s, Aberdeen University has consistently increased student recruitment, while staff have made their presence felt in the world of research. A custom-built Institute of Medical Sciences was completed in 2002, and now provides state-of-the-art facilities for medical researchers and their students.

In 1999, the university launched an ambitious fundraising scheme, The Sixth Century Campaign, to mark the start of the institute’s sixth century of existence. With the support of The Prince of Wales as Campaign Patron, the university aims is to raise £150 million by 2010.

Located on Schoolhill in central Aberdeen and at its smaller Garthdee campus, the Robert Gordon University (RGU) [map] is one of the UK’s ‘new’ universities and has an international reputation for its high quality of teaching.

With a diverse and exciting range of degree programmes including business, law, engineering, science, computing, art, architecture and pharmacy, the RGU firmly sets its students on the path to their chosen career. In fact, research undertaken in 2002 showed that 98 per cent of the university’s students were in employment or further study six months after graduation.

As well as full-time and part-time undergraduates and postgraduates studying at the city centre campus, a further 8,000 students from 113 countries undertake courses from RGU via the Virtual Campus – an Internet study programme.

The University of Aberdeen
King's College, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX
(0)1224 272000
www.abdn.ac.uk

Robert Gordon University
Schoolhill, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB10 1FR
(0)1224 262000
www.rgu.ac.uk

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