Universities in Scotland

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Marischal College, Aberdeen

Universities in Scotland includes all universities and university colleges in Scotland, founded between the fifteenth century and the present day.

The first university college in Scotland was founded at St John's College, St Andrews in 1418 by Henry Wardlaw, bishop of St. Andrews. St Salvator's College was added to St. Andrews in 1450. The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451 and King's College, Aberdeen in 1495. St Leonard's College was founded in Aberdeen in 1511 and St John's College was re-founded as St Mary's College, St Andrews in 1538, as a Humanist academy for the training of clerics. Public lectures that were established in Edinburgh in the 1540s, would eventually become the University of Edinburgh in 1582. After the Reformation, Scotland's universities underwent a series of reforms associated with Andrew Melville. After the Restoration there was a purge of Presbyterians from the universities, but most of the intellectual advances of the preceding period were preserved. The Scottish university colleges recovered from the disruption of the civil war years and Restoration with a lecture-based curriculum that was able to embrace economics and science, offering a high-quality liberal education to the sons of the nobility and gentry.

In the eighteenth century the universities went from being small and parochial institutions, largely for the training of clergy and lawyers, to major intellectual centres at the forefront of Scottish identity and life, seen as fundamental to democratic principles and the opportunity for social advancement for the talented. Many of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment were university professors, who developed their ideas in university lectures. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Scotland's five university colleges had no entrance exams. Students typically entered at ages of 15 or 16, attended for as little as two years, chose which lectures to attend and left without qualifications. There was a concerted attempt to modernise the curriculum to meet the needs of the emerging middle classes and the professions. The result of these reforms was a revitalisation of the Scottish university system and growth in the number of students. In the first half of the twentieth century Scottish universities fell behind those in England and Europe in terms of participation and investment. After the Robbins Report of 1963 there was a rapid expansion in higher education in Scotland. By the end of the decade the number of Scottish Universities had doubled. In 1992 the distinction between universities and colleges was removed, creating a series of new universities.

There are fifteen universities in Scotland and three other institutions of higher education which have the authority to award academic degrees. All Scottish universities are public universities and funded by the Scottish Government (through its Scottish Funding Council). In 2008-09, approximately 231,000 students studied at universities or institutes of higher education in Scotland, of which 56 per cent were female and 44 per cent male. In the 2011-12 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, five Scottish universities are among the top 200 worldwide.

History[edit]

Middle Ages[edit]

Bust of Bishop Henry Wardlaw, founder of St. Andrews University

Until the fifteenth century, those Scots who wished to attend university had to travel to England, or to the Continent.[1] This situation was transformed by the founding of St John's College, St Andrews in 1418 by Henry Wardlaw, bishop of St. Andrews.[2] St Salvator's College was added to St. Andrews in 1450. The other great bishoprics followed, with the University of Glasgow being founded in 1451 and King's College, Aberdeen in 1495.[3] Initially, these institutions were designed for the training of clerics, but they would increasingly be used by laymen.[1] International contacts helped integrate Scotland into a wider European scholarly world and would be one of the most important ways in which the new ideas of Humanism were brought into Scottish intellectual life in the sixteenth century.[4]

Early modern era[edit]

St Leonard's College was founded in Aberdeen in 1511 and St John's College was re-founded as St Mary's College, St Andrews in 1538, as a Humanist academy for the training of clerics.[5] Public lectures that were established in Edinburgh in the 1540s would eventually become the University of Edinburgh in 1582.[4] After the Reformation, Scotland's universities underwent a series of reforms associated with Andrew Melville, who was influenced by the anti-Aristotelian Pierre Ramus.[4] King James IV's decreed, in 1617, that the town college of Edinburgh should be known as King James's College.[6] In 1641, the two colleges at Aberdeen were united by decree of Charles I (r. 1625-49), to form the "King Charles University of Aberdeen".[7] Under the Commonwealth (1652-60), the universities saw an improvement in their funding.[8] After the Restoration there was a purge of Presbyterians from the universities, but most of the intellectual advances of the preceding period were preserved.[9] The colleges at St. Andrews were demerged.[7] The five Scottish university colleges recovered from the disruption of the civil war years and Restoration with a lecture-based curriculum that was able to embrace economics and science, offering a high-quality liberal education to the sons of the nobility and gentry.[10]

Eighteenth century[edit]

Old College, University of Edinburgh, planned by Robert Adam and completed in the nineteenth century

In the eighteenth century the universities went from being small and parochial institutions, largely for the training of clergy and lawyers, to major intellectual centres at the forefront of Scottish identity and life, seen as fundamental to democratic principles and the opportunity for social advancement for the talented.[11] Chairs of medicine were founded at all the university towns. By the 1740s Edinburgh medical school was the major centre of medicine in Europe and was a leading centre in the Atlantic world.[12] Access to Scottish universities was probably more open than in contemporary England, Germany or France. Attendance was less expensive and the student body more representative of society as a whole.[13] The system was flexible and the curriculum became a modern philosophical and scientific one, in keeping with contemporary needs for improvement and progress.[11] Scotland reaped the intellectual benefits of this system in its contribution to the European Enlightenment.[14] Many of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment were university professors, who developed their ideas in university lectures. Key figures included Francis Hutcheson, Hugh Blair, David Hume, Adam Smith, James Burnett, Adam Ferguson, John Millar and William Robertson, William Cullen, James Anderson, Joseph Black and James Hutton.

Modern era[edit]

The purpose-built modern buildings of the University of Stirling

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Scotland's five university colleges had no entrance exam, students typically entered at ages of 15 or 16, attended for as little as two years, chose which lectures to attend and left without qualifications.[15] The curriculum was dominated by divinity and the law and there was a concerted attempt to modernise the curriculum, particularly by introducing degrees in the physical sciences and the need to reform the system to meet the needs of the emerging middle classes and the professions.[15] The result of these reforms was a revitalisation of the Scottish university system, which expanded to 6,254 students by the end of the century[11] and produced leading figures in both the arts and sciences.[16] In the first half of the twentieth century Scottish universities fell behind those in England and Europe in terms of participation and investment.[17] After the Robbins Report of 1963 there was a rapid expansion in higher education in Scotland. By the end of the decade the number of Scottish Universities had doubled. New universities included the University of Dundee, Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt, Stirling. From the 1970s the government preferred to expand higher education in the non-university sector and by the late 1980s roughly half of students in higher education were in colleges. In 1992, under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, the distinction between universities and colleges was removed.[18] creating new universities at Abertay, Glasgow Caledonian, Napier, Paisley and Robert Gordon.[19]

Present[edit]

Organisation[edit]

The Main Building of Queen Margaret University

There are fifteen universities in Scotland[20] and three other institutions of higher education which have the authority to award academic degrees. The most recent university is the University of the Highlands and Islands was created by a federation of 13 colleges and research institutions in the Highlands and Islands in 2001 and which gained full university status in 2011.[21]

All Scottish universities have the power to award degrees at all levels: undergraduate, taught postgraduate, and doctoral. Education in Scotland is controlled by the Scottish Government under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998. The minister responsible for higher education is the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, currently Mike Russell MSP of the Scottish National Party.[22] University status in Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom today is conferred by the Privy Council which takes advice from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.[23][24]

Funding[edit]

All Scottish universities are public universities and funded by the Scottish Government (through its Scottish Funding Council[25]) and financial support is provided for Scottish-domiciled students by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland. Students ordinarily resident in Scotland or the European Union do not pay tuition fees for their first undergraduate degree, but tuition fees are charged for those from the rest of the United Kingdom. All students are required to pay tuition fees for postgraduate education (e.g. MSc, PhD), except in certain priority areas funded by the Scottish Government, or if another source of funding can be found (e.g. research council studentship for a PhD). A representative body called Universities Scotland works to promote Scotland's universities, as well as six other higher education institutions.[26]

Students[edit]

St Andrews students in undergraduate gowns

In 2008-09, approximately 231,000 students studied at universities or institutes of higher education in Scotland, of which 56% were female and 44% male, with 75% being domiciled in Scotland, 12% from the rest of the United Kingdom, and the remainder international students. Of all these, approximately 130,000 were studying for their first degree (i.e. undergraduate level), 42,000 for a taught postgraduate degree (primarily a Masters degree) and 10,000 for a doctoral research degree (primarily PhD). The remainder were mostly on other programmes such as Higher National Diploma.[27] Of all these, 16,000 were studying in Scotland with the The Open University via distance-learning, and the Open University teaches 40 per cent of Scotland's part-time undergraduates.[28]

Rankings[edit]

In the 2011-12 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, five Scottish universities are among the top 200 worldwide: University of Edinburgh (at 36), University of St. Andrews (at 85), University of Glasgow (at 102), University of Aberdeen (at 151), and the University of Dundee (at 176).[29]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b B. Webster, Medieval Scotland: the Making of an Identity (St. Martin's Press, 1997), ISBN 0-333-56761-7, pp. 124–5.
  2. ^ P. Daileader, "Local experiences of the Great Western Schism", in J. Rollo-Koster and T. M. Izbicki, eds, A Companion to the Great Western Schism (1378–1417) (BRILL, 2009), ISBN 9004162771, p. 119.
  3. ^ J. Durkan, "Universities: to 1720", in M. Lynch, ed., The Oxford Companion to Scottish History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), ISBN 0-19-211696-7, pp. 610–12.
  4. ^ a b c J. Wormald, Court, Kirk, and Community: Scotland, 1470–1625 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991), ISBN 0-7486-0276-3, pp. 68–72.
  5. ^ J. E. A. Dawson, Scotland Re-Formed, 1488-1587 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), ISBN 0748614559, p. 187.
  6. ^ J. Wormald, Court, Kirk, and Community: Scotland, 1470–1625 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991), ISBN 0748602763, p. 185.
  7. ^ a b D. Ditchburn, “Educating the Elite: Aberdeen and Its Universities”, in E. P. Dennison, D. Ditchburn and M. Lynch, eds, Aberdeen Before 1800: A New History (Dundurn, 2002), ISBN 1862321140, p. 332.
  8. ^ J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, pp. 227-8.
  9. ^ M. Lynch, Scotland: A New History (Random House, 2011), ISBN 1-4464-7563-8, p. 262.
  10. ^ R. Anderson, "The history of Scottish Education pre-1980", in T. G. K. Bryce and W. M. Humes, eds, Scottish Education: Post-Devolution (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2nd edn., 2003), ISBN 0-7486-1625-X, pp. 219-28.
  11. ^ a b c R. D. Anderson, "Universities: 2. 1720–1960", in M. Lynch, ed., The Oxford Companion to Scottish History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), ISBN 0-19-211696-7, pp. 612-14.
  12. ^ P. Wood, "Science in the Scottish Enlightenment", in A. Broadie, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), ISBN 0521003237, p. 100.
  13. ^ R. A. Houston, Scottish Literacy and the Scottish Identity: Illiteracy and Society in Scotland and Northern England, 1600-1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), ISBN 0-521-89088-8, p. 245.
  14. ^ A. Herman, How the Scots Invented the Modern World (London: Crown Publishing Group, 2001), ISBN 0-609-80999-7.
  15. ^ a b R. Anderson, "The history of Scottish education pre-1980", in T. G. K. Bryce and W. M. Humes, eds, Scottish Education: Post-Devolution (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2nd edn., 2003), ISBN 0-7486-1625-X, p. 224.
  16. ^ O. Checkland and S. G. Checkland, Industry and Ethos: Scotland, 1832–1914 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1989), ISBN 0748601023, pp. 147-50.
  17. ^ C. Harvie, No Gods and Precious Few Heroes: Twentieth-Century Scotland (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 3rd edn., 1998), ISBN 0-7486-0999-7, pp. 78-9.
  18. ^ L. Paterson, "Universities: 3. post-Robbins", in M. Lynch, ed., The Oxford Companion to Scottish History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), ISBN 0-19-211696-7, pp. 614-5.
  19. ^ R. Shaw, "Institutional and curricular structures in the universities of Scotland" in T. G. K. Bryce and W. M. Humes, eds, Scottish Education: Post-Devolution (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2nd edn., 2003), ISBN 0-7486-1625-X, pp. 664-5.
  20. ^ "Briefing". Universities Scotland. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  21. ^ "''UHI is awarded taught degree awarding powers'', news release 26 June 2008, Highland Council website, accessed 20 March 2009". Highland.gov.uk. 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  22. ^ "Michael Russell MSP". Scottish Government. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  23. ^ "The Privy Council, Standard Note: SN/PC/3708". The Privy Council. 5 July 2005. pp. 5–6. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  24. ^ "A brief guide to QAA's involvement in degree-awarding powers and university title". Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  25. ^ "Higher Education". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  26. ^ "Universities Scotland". Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  27. ^ Scottish Government, Statistics Publication Notice Lifelong Learning Series: Students In Higher Education At Scottish Institutions (2001), retrieved 25 May 2011.
  28. ^ "The Open University in Scotland". The Open University. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  29. ^ World University Rankings 2011-2012 - Times Higher Education