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University of Edinburgh

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh (abbreviated as Edin. in post-nominals), founded in 1583, is the sixth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's ancient universities. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university.

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The university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the North. Alumni of the university include some of the major figures of modern history, including the physicist James Clerk Maxwell, naturalist Charles Darwin, philosopher David Hume, mathematician Thomas Bayes, surgeon Joseph Lister, signatories of the American declaration of independence John Witherspoon and Benjamin Rush, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, first president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere, and a host of famous authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.M. Barrie and Sir Walter Scott. Associated people include 20 Nobel Prize winners, 2 Turing Award winners, 1 Abel Prize winner, 1 Fields Medal winner, 1 Pulitzer Prize winner, 3 Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, 2 currently-sitting UK Supreme Court Justices, and several Olympic gold medallists. It continues to have links to the British Royal Family, having had the Duke of Edinburgh as its Chancellor from 1953 to 2010 and Princess Anne since 2011.

Edinburgh receives approximately 47,000 applications every year, making it the third most popular university in the UK by volume of applicants. Entrance is competitive, with 2012–2013 having an acceptance rate of 11.5% and offer rate of 38.6%. Founded by the Edinburgh Town Council, the university began life as a College of Law using part of a legacy left by Bishop Robert Reid of St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney. Through efforts by the Town Council and Ministers of the City the institution broadened in scope and became formally established as a university by a Royal Charter, granted by James VI in 1582 after the petitioning of the Council. This was an unusual move at the time, as most universities were established through Papal bulls. Known as the "Tounis College", it was renamed King James's College in 1617. Instruction began in 1583 under the charge of a young St Andrews graduate Robert Rollock. It was the fourth Scottish university in a period when the much more populous and richer England had only two. By the 18th century Edinburgh was a leading centre of the European Enlightenment (see Scottish Enlightenment).

Before the building of Old College to plans by Robert Adam implemented after the Napoleonic Wars by the architect William Henry Playfair, the University of Edinburgh did not have a custom-built campus and existed in a hotchpotch of buildings from its establishment until the early 19th century. The university's first custom-built building was the Old College, now the School of Law, situated on South Bridge. Its first forte in teaching was anatomy and the developing science of surgery, from which it expanded into many other subjects. From the basement of a nearby house ran the anatomy tunnel corridor. It went under what was then North College Street (now Chambers Street), and under the university buildings until it reached the university's anatomy lecture theatre, delivering bodies for dissection. It was from this tunnel that the body of William Burke was taken after he had been hanged.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Old College was becoming overcrowded and Robert Rowand Anderson was commissioned to design new Medical School premises in 1875. The medical school was more or less built to his design and was completed by the addition of the McEwan Hall in the 1880s.

The University's New College building The building now known as New College was originally built as a Free Church college in the 1840s and has been the home of Divinity at the University since the 1920s.

The university is responsible for a number of historic and modern buildings across the City, including the oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland, and the second oldest in use in the British Isles, St Cecilia's Concert Hall; Teviot Row House, which is the oldest purpose built Student Union Building in the world; and the restored 17th-century Mylne's Court student residence which stands at the head of Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

The building that houses the University's Institute of Geography, was once part of the Royal Infirmary The two oldest Schools – Law and Divinity – are both well-esteemed in their respective subjects, with Law being based in Old College, and Divinity being based in New College, on the Mound. Students at the university are represented by Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA), which consists of the Students' Representative Council (SRC), founded in 1884 by Robert Fitzroy Bell, the Edinburgh University Union (EUU) which was founded in 1889. They are also represented by the Edinburgh University Sports Union (EUSU) which was founded in 1866.

The medical school is renowned throughout the world. It was widely considered the best medical school in the English-speaking world throughout the 18th century and first half of the 19th century. (The first medical school in the United States was founded at the University of Pennsylvania in 1765 by Edinburgh alumni John Morgan and William Shippen). It is currently ranked 1st in the UK's most recent RAE.

“ So far as science is concerned, no place in the world can pretend to competition with Edinburgh. ”

~ Thomas Jefferson writing to Dugald Stewart in 1789.

The University's McEwan Hall building In 2002 the University was re-organised from its 9 faculties into three 'Colleges'. While technically not a collegiate university, it now comprises the Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Science & Engineering (SCE) and Medicine & Vet Medicine (MVM). Within these Colleges are 'Schools' – roughly equivalent to the departments they succeeded; individual Schools have a good degree of autonomy regarding their finances and internal organisation. This has brought a certain degree of uniformity (in terms of administration at least) across the university.

On 1 August 2011, the Edinburgh College of Art (founded in 1760) merged with the University of Edinburgh. At a result of the merger, Edinburgh College of Art has combined with the University’s School of Arts, Culture and Environment to form a new (enlarged) Edinburgh College of Art within the university.

Along similar lines, all teaching is now done over two semesters (rather than 3 terms) – bringing the timetables of different Schools into line with one another, and coming into line with many other large universities (in the US, and to an increasing degree in the UK as well).The QS World University Rankings 2013 and 2014 ranked the University of Edinburgh 17th in the world.

The University of Edinburgh is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities and, along with Oxford and Cambridge, one of several British universities to be a member of both the Coimbra Group and the LERU (League of European Research Universities). The University is also a member of Universitas 21, an international association of research-led universities.

In the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework, the University of Edinburgh was ranked fourth in the UK and first in Scotland. The results also indicate that the University is home to over 35% of Scotland’s 4* research. In 2008, the RAE rated the medicine and informatics 1st in the UK.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013/2014 ranked it as 39th overall, one of only 7 UK universities to feature in the top 50. In 2012/2013 it was ranked 36th in the world. In 2011, the Academic Ranking of World Universities placed University of Edinburgh as 53rd overall, 14th in Europe and 6th in the UK. Despite its high international rankings, the University of Edinburgh was ranked bottom in the UK for teaching quality by its students in the 2012 National Student Survey.

In the 2012/2013 UK University Rankings, the university was ranked 15th in the UK overall by The Guardian, 16th by The Independent/The Complete University Guide, 27th by The Sunday Times and 15th by The Times.