Abertay University

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Abertay University, formerly the University of Abertay Dundee, is a modern university in Dundee, Scotland.

Abertay University
Abertay University logo.png
Established 1994 - granted University Status
1888 - Dundee Institute of Technology
Type Public
Chancellor Rt. Hon. Lord Cullen of Whitekirk
Principal Nigel Seaton
Chairman of Court Eddie Frizzell
Students 4894
Undergraduates 4445
Postgraduates 449
Location Dundee, Scotland
56°27′48″N 2°58′25″W / 56.46333°N 2.97361°W / 56.46333; -2.97361Coordinates: 56°27′48″N 2°58′25″W / 56.46333°N 2.97361°W / 56.46333; -2.97361
Affiliations Million+
Website www.abertay.ac.uk

Abertay University, is a public university in the city of Dundee, Scotland. It became a university in 1994, and originated from an educational institution founded in the 19th century. It is one of two universities in the city (the other is the older University of Dundee).

As a seat of learning it was described as an "industrial university" in a report prepared for the Scottish Office, then known as "The Scotch Office" as early as 1902. Today it continues to have a vocational focus and is closely associated with Dundee's rise as a centre for computer games.[1]


Dundee Technical Institute (1888)[edit]

The Institute was associated with the industrial life of Dundee from the start. It's expertise related to textiles and the jute industry in particular allowing it to provide training related to the needs of that industry.

Dundee Technical College and School of Art (1911)[edit]

University of London partnership (1951)[edit]

The University of London granted the Institute powers to award its external degrees to graduates in pharmacy, mechanical engineering, civil engineering and electrical engineering.

Council for National Academic Awards partnership (1965)[edit]

The CNAA was founded in 1965 following the recommendations of the Robbins Report. The Institute was the first Central Institution to apply for validation of its degree programmes in the same year.

Dundee College of Technology (1975)[edit]

Abertay University (1994)[edit]

Abertay University was created in 1994, under government legislation granting the title "University of Abertay Dundee" to the Dundee Institute of Technology. Since 2014 the University has promoted itself as Abertay University.[2]

Arts, Games and Technology (1997 to present)[edit]

Abertay was the first university in the world to offer a "computer games" degree in 1997.[3] Today it remains a leader in the field with two major new developments - the creation of the UK's first Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education, and a business support programme.[4] [5]

The Centre for Excellence is accredited by Skillset[6][7] and has strong links with industrial partners from across the broadcast, interactive and wider digital media sectors. These partners include BBC Scotland, BBC New Media, BBC Vision, BSkyB, Channel 4, Electronic Arts, Codemasters, Blitz, Rare, Sony Entertainment Europe, Microsoft and Disney Interactive. .


(2015, national)
The Guardian[9]
(2015, national)
Times/Sunday Times[10]
(2015, national)
The student library
Kydd Building

Abertay University is situated in the centre of Dundee. The campus buildings include the historic Old College buildings of Dundee Business School, the Bernard King Library, scenes of crime teaching facilities, specialist Ethical Hacking labs designed for research into computer hacking and misuse, and modern computer games labs in the UK Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education.


Logo of the University of Abertay on the side of the library

The University is composed of Schools and Divisions, rather than the usual Faculties and Departments. There are Five Schools, plus a number of support services.

The Graduate School[edit]

The Graduate School provides dedicated support including study and social spaces for postgraduate students. The School provides training targeted towards the postgraduate community, seeking to enhance professional and research careers.

School of Arts, Media and Computer Games[edit]

The School of Arts, Media and Computer Games has links with companies informing the contents of its courses, which range from games programming at the science and technology end to narrative-based animation at the arts end.

All the courses are Skillset accredited,[6] with the School being awarded Skillset Media Academy status.[7] The School’s teaching spaces are like the studio environments used by modern creative companies – games programmers work alongside animators and visual artists, and sound technologists create content for computer games and other interactive media products.

The School is also host to the international game design competition Dare to be Digital each year, which sees teams of students travelling to Scotland for nine weeks to develop a new game. The games are put on show to the public at the annual Dare ProtoPlay games festival in August, then three teams are picked to compete for the unique BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.

School of Science, Engineering and Technology[edit]

The School of Science, Engineering and Technology comprises the Division of Environment and Forensic Science, the Urban Water Technology Centre (UWTC), the SIMBIOS Centre, and the Division of Food and Life Sciences.

The courses on offer include Biomedical Science, Civil Engineering, Biotechnology, Energy and Environmental Management, Food Science and Technology, Policing and Security, and Forensic Sciences.

Within the School are laboratories for chemical analysis, building and testing engineering solutions, and training forensic science graduates using simulated crimes. The university's Rankin House - a fully furnished flat for recreating crime scenes - was named after and opened by internationally renowned crime writer Ian Rankin.

Dundee Business School

Dundee Business School[edit]

Dundee Business School has links with both young and mature industries, such as new media and energy and oil, and staff from a range of academic, professional and industry backgrounds. Courses available include a range of MBA pathways - including biotechnology, energy, finance and sports development – as well as programmes in accounting, law and marketing.

School of Social and Health Sciences[edit]

Courses on offer include Psychology, Nursing, Counselling Studies, Sport and Exercise Science, and Sociology. Courses offered by the Division of Psychology are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This means that students who complete a course of study and meet the requirements of the BPS, are eligible for entry to postgraduate training for professional practice.

The Division of Nursing and Counselling has a dedicated nursing bay on campus for real clinical practice, as well as a counselling suite for students to practice their therapeutic techniques. Video recording equipment allows the review of training sessions, to encourage personal and professional development of student counsellors.


The findings of the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) showed that Abertay is the most highly rated modern university in Scotland for research in environmental sciences, law and psychology.[11]

The RAE results 2008 showed that Abertay has significantly improved its overall performance since the last RAE in 2001:

  • 35% of Abertay academic staff were judged to be producing research of international quality
  • 10% of staff in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences are working at world-leading standards
  • 75% of staff are producing international quality research
  • 80% of Law staff are working at international level
  • 65% of General Engineering staff are working at international level

Research themes[edit]

Research at the Univrsity is organised into four main themes.

  • Creative Industries
  • Environment
  • Security
  • Society

Each theme is associated with areas of Expertise

Creative industries[edit]

Areas of expertise include

  • Games research
  • Digital cultures
  • Digital living


Areas of expertise include

  • Environmental science and engineering
  • Food science and innovation
  • Environmental and systems biology
  • Sustainable technology


Areas of expertise include

  • Cyber security
  • Forensic psychobiology
  • Forensic sciences
  • Law


  • Business, economics and management
  • Law of employment
  • Media and culture
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Sport performance and exercise

Research centres[edit]

The following research centres are linked to the environment theme. In the RAE 2008, the University was most highly ranked in the Environment area.

  • FIA - Food Innovation @ Abertay
  • SAVE - Sustainability Assessment, Visualisation and Enhancement
  • SIMBIOS - Scottish Informatics Mathematics Biology and Statistics
  • UWTC - Urban Water Technology Centre

Notable features[edit]

Abertay attributes[edit]

All programmes seek to develop a set of distinctive attributes.

Dare to be digital[edit]

The Dare to be Digital games design competition is hosted by the University. The competition involves teams of students from around the world competing to create a new game in the space of nine weeks. Working with industry mentors, the teams experience the same studio environment as they would working with a major company - as do the students on Abertay's courses. The winning teams are the sole nominees for a unique BAFTA Ones to Watch Award, which is announced at the British Academy Video Games Awards each year.

Electives for the 21st Century[edit]

An electives scheme provides the opportunity for all students to broaden their intellectual horizon beyond the standard single or joint Honours degree combinations on offer.

Student life[edit]


  • Alloway Halls
  • Lyon Street
  • Meadowside Hall
  • Parker Street - CRM Students Dundee
  • Victoria Chambers

Students' Union[edit]

Home to Abertay's 5000+ students, this building was constructed in 2005 at a cost of £6 million. The Union sits at the heart of the campus. It is the focal point for student entertainment and recreation and contains numerous outlets including Aroma coffee bar, Bar One, the Sports Bar, Hideout nightclub and Campus Shop.[12]

On the top floor of the building is the Hannah Maclure Centre (HMC), a cafe and art gallery. It also hosts university events and has a cinema which regularly has free film screenings, open to the public.

The University of Abertay Dundee Students' Association (UADSA) is based in the Union on the second floor. The UADSA co-ordinates all clubs and societies and acts as the voice and representation of all of Abertay's students. The President for 2014-2015 is Robyn Donoghue and the Vice-President is Bil Yuksell. [13]

Notable alumni and staff[edit]


  1. ^ BBC (2014-10-09). "How Dundee became a computer games centre". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
  2. ^ Laurie Taylor (2014-06-03). "You make me feel brand new". THE. Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
  3. ^ BBC (2014-10-09). "How Dundee became a computer games centre". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
  4. ^ "Abertay University £3 million funding for computer excellence". Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
  5. ^ BBC (2009-02-10). "Money for computer games centre". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
  6. ^ a b "Computer Games Industry Accredited Courses". London: Creative Skillset. 
  7. ^ a b "Accredited Computer Games courses: University of Abertay Dundee". London: Creative Skillset. 
  8. ^ "University League Table 2015". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "University league table 2015 - the complete list". The Guardian. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Times and Sunday Times University League Tables 2015". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Research Assessment Exercise 2008: the outcome". December 2008. 
  12. ^ "Abertay Students' Union | Your Union". University of Abertay Dundee Students' Association. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "The UADSA Executive". December 2014. 

External links[edit]