University of Glasgow

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University of Glasgow
Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh Ghlaschu
University of Glasgow Coat of Arms.jpg
Latin: Universitas Glasguensis
MottoLatin: Via, Veritas, Vita
Motto in English
The Way, The Truth, The Life
TypePublic University
Research University
Ancient University
Established1451; 570 years ago (1451)
Endowment£177.2 million (2020)[1]
Budget£685.3 million (2019–20)[1]
ChancellorDame Katherine Grainger
RectorLady Rita Rae
PrincipalSir Anton Muscatelli
Academic staff
4,680 (2020) [2]
Administrative staff
Students32,465 (2019/20)[4]
Undergraduates21,165 (2019/20)[4]
Postgraduates11,300 (2019/20)[4]
  • Arts








    Social Sciences

    Veterinary Medicine

The Guild
Russell Group
Universitas 21
Universities Scotland
Universities UK

The University of Glasgow (abbreviated as Glas. in post-nominals; Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh Ghlaschu[5]) is a public research university in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded by papal bull in 1451, it is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Along with the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and St Andrews, the university was part of the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century.

In common with universities of the pre-modern era, Glasgow originally educated students primarily from wealthy backgrounds; however, it became a pioneer[citation needed] in British higher education in the 19th century by also providing for the needs of students from the growing urban and commercial middle class. Glasgow University served all of these students by preparing them for professions: law, medicine, civil service, teaching, and the church. It also trained smaller but growing numbers for careers in science and engineering.[6] The annual income of the institution for 2019–20 was £685.3 million of which £168.8 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £588.2 million.[1] It is a member of Universitas 21, the Russell Group[7] and the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities.

The university was originally located in the city's High Street; since 1870, its main campus has been at Gilmorehill in the City's West End.[8] Additionally, a number of university buildings are located elsewhere, such as the Veterinary School in Bearsden, and the Crichton Campus in Dumfries.[9]

High educational standards, strict entrance requirements (4th highest in the UK)[10] and a strong international research reputation have made the University a competitive destination for students worldwide. Glasgow is a World Top 100 university[11] so that the institution is positioned at the top 1% of world universities.[12] More specifically, the University of Glasgow ranked 53rd[13] and 67th[14] globally in the 2020 CWTS Leiden and 2020 QS World University Ranking respectively, as well as placing nationally among the top 10 UK universities.[15][16] According to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 81% of the research achievements were rated as "internationally excellent" and achieved the 10th position on research volume in the United Kingdom.[17] The University was awarded the "2020 THE University of the Year" in recognition of its contribution to reparative justice.[18]

The alumni of the University of Glasgow include some of the major figures of modern history, including James Wilson, a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence, 3 Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom (William Lamb, Henry Campbell-Bannerman and Bonar Law), 2 Scottish First Ministers (Nicola Sturgeon and Donald Dewar), economist Adam Smith, philosopher Francis Hutcheson, engineer James Watt, physicist Lord Kelvin, surgeon Joseph Lister along with 8 Nobel Prize laureates and numerous Olympic gold medallists, including the current chancellor, Dame Katherine Granger.


The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451 by a charter or papal bull from Pope Nicholas V, at the suggestion of King James II, giving Bishop William Turnbull, a graduate of the University of St Andrews, permission to add a university to the city's Cathedral.[19] It is the second-oldest university in Scotland after St Andrews and the fourth-oldest in the English-speaking world. The universities of St Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen were ecclesiastical foundations, while Edinburgh was a civic foundation. As one of the ancient universities of the United Kingdom, Glasgow is one of only eight institutions to award undergraduate master's degrees in certain disciplines.[20]

The university has been without its original Bull since the mid-sixteenth century. In 1560, during the political unrest accompanying the Scottish Reformation, the then chancellor, Archbishop James Beaton, a supporter of the Marian cause, fled to France. He took with him, for safe-keeping, many of the archives and valuables of the Cathedral and the university, including the Mace and the Bull. Although the Mace was sent back in 1590, the archives were not. Principal Dr. James Fall told the Parliamentary Commissioners of Visitation on 28 August 1690, that he had seen the Bull at the Scots College in Paris, together with the many charters granted to the university by the monarchs of Scotland from James II to Mary, Queen of Scots. The University enquired of these documents in 1738 but was informed by Thomas Innes and the superiors of the Scots College that the original records of the foundation of the university were not to be found. If they had not been lost by this time, they certainly went astray during the French Revolution when the Scots College was under threat. Its records and valuables were moved for safe-keeping out of the city of Paris. The Bull remains the authority by which the university awards degrees.

Teaching at the university began in the Chapter House of Glasgow Cathedral, subsequently moving to nearby Rottenrow, in a building known as the "Auld Pedagogy". The university was given 13 acres (5.3 ha) of land belonging to the Black Friars (Dominicans) on High Street by Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1563.[21] By the late 17th century its building centred on two courtyards surrounded by walled gardens, with a clock tower, which was one of the notable features of Glasgow's skyline—reaching 140 feet (43 m) in height[22]—and a chapel adapted from the church of the former Dominican (Blackfriars) friary. Remnants of this Scottish Renaissance building, mainly parts of the main façade, were transferred to the Gilmorehill campus and renamed as the "Pearce Lodge", after Sir William Pearce, the shipbuilding magnate who funded its preservation. The Lion and Unicorn Staircase was also transferred from the old college site and is now attached to the Main Building.

John Anderson, while professor of natural philosophy at the university, and with some opposition from his colleagues, pioneered vocational education for working men and women during the Industrial Revolution. To continue this work in his will, he founded Anderson's College, which was associated with the university before merging with other institutions to become the University of Strathclyde in 1964.

In 1973, Delphine Parrott became its first female professor, as Gardiner Professor of Immunology.[23]

In October 2014, the university court voted for the university to become the first academic institution in Europe to divest from the fossil fuel industry.[24]


University of Glasgow, Older Building Sign

The university is currently spread over a few campuses. The main one is the Gilmorehill campus, in Hillhead. As well as this there is the Garscube Estate in Bearsden, housing the Veterinary School, Observatory, ship model basin and much of the University's sports facilities, the Dental School in the city center, the section of Mental Health and Well Being at Gartnavel Royal Hospital on Great Western Road, the Teaching and Learning Centre at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Crichton Campus in Dumfries (operated jointly by the University of Glasgow, the University of the West of Scotland and the Open University).

The Imaging Centre of Excellence (ICE) was opened at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital on 29 March 2017, including a Clinical Innovation Zone spanning 11,000 square feet (1,000 m2) of collaboration space for researchers and industry.[25]

A model of the old High Street Building, in the Hunterian Museum

High Street

The University of Glasgow in 1650

The university's initial accommodation including Glasgow University Library[26][27] was part of the complex of religious buildings in the precincts of Glasgow Cathedral. In 1460, the university received a grant of land from James, Lord Hamilton, on the east side of the High Street, immediately north of the Blackfriars Church, on which it had its home for the next four hundred years. In the mid-seventeenth century, the Hamilton Building was replaced with a very grand two-court building with a decorated west front facing the High Street, called the 'Nova Erectio', or New Building. This foundation is widely considered to have been one of the finest 17th-century buildings in Scotland. Decorated fragments from it, including a complete exterior stairway, were rescued and built into its 19th-century replacement. In Sir Walter Scott's best-selling 1817 novel Rob Roy, set at the time of the Jacobite rising of 1715, the lead character fights a duel in the New Building grounds before the contest is broken up by Rob Roy MacGregor.

Over the following centuries, the university's size and scope continued to expand. In 1757 it built the Macfarlane Observatory and later Scotland's first public museum, the Hunterian. It was a center of the Scottish Enlightenment and subsequently of the Industrial Revolution, and its expansion in the High Street was constrained. The area around the university declined as well-off residents moved westwards with the expansion of the city and overcrowding of the immediate area by less well-off residents. It was this rapid slumming of the area that was a chief catalyst of the university's migration westward.


The new buildings of the University of Glasgow at Gilmorehill, circa 1895.
The night view of the University’s main building

In 1870, the university moved to a (then greenfield) site on Gilmorehill in the West End of the city, around three miles (5 km) west of its previous location, enclosed by a large meander of the River Kelvin. The original site on the High Street was sold to the City of Glasgow Union Railway and replaced by the College goods yard. The new-build campus was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic revival style. The largest of these buildings echoed, on a far grander scale, the original High Street campus's twin-quadrangle layout, and may have been inspired by Ypres' late-medieval cloth hall; Gilmorehill, in turn, inspired the design of the Clocktower complex of buildings for the new University of Otago in New Zealand. In 1879, Gilbert Scott's son, Oldrid, completed this original vision by building an open undercroft forming two quadrangles, above which is his grand Bute Hall (used for examinations and graduation ceremonies), named after its donor, John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute. Oldrid also later added a spire to the building's signature gothic bell tower in 1887, bringing it to a total height of some 85 metres (279 ft).[28] The local Bishopbriggs blond sandstone cladding and Gothic design of the building's exterior belie the modernity of its Victorian construction; Scott's building is structured upon what was then a cutting-edge riveted iron frame construction, supporting a lightweight wooden-beam roof. The building also forms the second-largest example of Gothic revival architecture in Britain, after the Palace of Westminster. An illustration of the Main Building currently features on the reverse side of the current series of £100 notes issued by the Clydesdale Bank.[29]

The university's Hunterian Museum resides in the Main Building, and the related Hunterian Gallery is housed in buildings adjacent to the University Library.[30] The latter includes "The Mackintosh House", a rebuilt terraced house designed by, and furnished after, architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Even these enlarged premises could not contain the expanding university, which quickly spread across much of Gilmorehill. The 1930s saw the construction of the award-winning round Reading Room (it is now a category-A listed building) and an aggressive program of house purchases, in which the university (fearing the surrounding district of Hillhead was running out of suitable building land) acquired several terraces of Victorian houses and joined them together internally. The departments of Psychology, Computing Science, and most of the Arts Faculty continue to be housed in these terraces.

The School of History building occupies what were formerly townhouses on University Avenue.

More buildings were built to the west of the Main Building, developing the land between University Avenue and the River Kelvin with natural science buildings and the faculty of medicine. The medical school spread into neighboring Partick and joined with the Western Infirmary. At the eastern flank of the Main Building, the James Watt Engineering Building was completed in 1959. The growth and prosperity of the city, which had originally forced the university's relocation to Hillhead, again proved problematic when more real estate was required. The school of veterinary medicine, which was founded in 1862, moved to a new campus in the leafy surrounds of Garscube Estate, around two miles (3 km) west of the main campus, in 1954. The university later moved its sports ground and associated facilities to Garscube and also built student halls of residence in both Garscube and Maryhill.

The growth of tertiary education, as a result of the Robbins Report in the 1960s, led the university to build numerous modern buildings across Hillhead, including several brutalist concrete blocks: the Mathematics building; the Boyd Orr Building and the Adam Smith building (housing the Faculty of Law, Business and Social Sciences, named after university graduate Adam Smith). Other additions around this time, including the new glass-lined Glasgow University Library, Rankine Building for Civil Engineering (named for Macquorn Rankine), and the amber-brick Gregory Building (housing the Geology department), were more in keeping with Gilmorehill's leafy suburban architecture. The erection of these buildings in the late 1960s, however, involved the demolition of a large number of houses in Ashton Road and rerouting the west end of University Avenue to its current position. To cater to the expanding student population, a new refectory, known as the Hub, was opened adjacent to the library in 1966. The Glasgow University Union also had an extension completed in 1965 and the new Queen Margaret Union building opened in 1969.

In October 2001 the century-old Bower Building (previously home to the university's botany department) was gutted by fire. The interior and roof of the building were largely destroyed, though the main façade remained intact. After a £10.8 million refit, the building re-opened in November 2004.

The Wolfson Medical School Building, with its award-winning glass-fronted atrium, opened in 2002,[31] and in 2003, the St Andrews Building was opened, housing the what is now the School of Education. It is sited a short walk from Gilmorehill, in the Woodlands area of the city on the site of the former Queens College, which had in turn been bought by Glasgow Caledonian University, from whom the university acquired the site. It replaced the St Andrews Campus in Bearsden. The university also procured the former Hillhead Congregational Church, converting it into a lecture theatre in 2005. The Sir Alwyn Williams building, designed by Reiach and Hall, was completed at Lilybank Terrace in 2007, housing the School of Computing Science.

In September 2016 in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life and the National Library of Scotland the transformed Kelvin Hall has been brought into new public use including in Phase I the Hunterian Collections and Study Centre.[32]

The university is investing £1 billion to expand its campus now that it has acquired what was formerly known as the Western Infirmary.[33]


Interior of the Chapel

The University Chapel was constructed as a memorial to the 755 sons of the university who had lost their lives in the First World War. Designed by Sir John Burnet, it was completed in 1929 and dedicated on 4 October. Tablets on the wall behind the Communion Table list the names of those who died, while other tablets besides the stalls record the 405 members of the university community who gave their lives in the Second World War. Most of the windows are the work of Douglas Strachan, although some have been added over the years, including those on the South Wall, created by Alan Younger.

Daily services are held in the chapel during term-time, as well as seasonal events. Before Christmas, there is a Service of Nine Lessons and Carols on the last Sunday of term, and a Watchnight service on Christmas Eve. Graduates, students, members of staff, and the children of members of staff are entitled to be married in the chapel, which is also used for baptisms and funerals. Civil marriages and civil partnerships may be blessed in the chapel, although under UK law may not be performed there.[verification needed]

The current chaplain of the university is the Reverend Stuart MacQuarrie, and the university appoints honorary chaplains of other denominations.

Library and archives

The university's library hosts over 3 million volumes.[34]

The University Library, situated on Hillhead Street opposite the Main Building, is one of the oldest and largest libraries in Europe. Situated over 12 floors, it hosts more than 3 million books and journals, as well as providing access to an extensive range of electronic resources including over 51,900 electronic journals. It also houses sections for periodicals, microfilms, special collections and rare materials.[35] Open between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m., 361 days of the year, the library provides a resource not only for the academic community.

In addition to the main library, subject libraries also exist for Medicine, Chemistry, Dental Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Education, Law, History of Art, and the faculty of Social Sciences, which are held in branch libraries around the campus.[36] In 2007, a state-of-the-art section to house the library's collection of historic photographs was opened, funded by the Wolfson Foundation.[36]

The Archives of the University of Glasgow is the central place of deposit for the records of the university, created and accumulated since its foundation in 1451.

Crichton campus, Dumfries

The university opened the Crichton campus in Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway during the 1980s. It was designed to meet the needs for tertiary education in an area far from major cities and is operated jointly by the University of Glasgow, the University of the West of Scotland and the Open University. It offers a modular undergraduate curriculum, leading to one of a small number of liberal arts degrees, as well as providing the region's only access to postgraduate study.[37]

Non-teaching facilities

As well as these teaching campuses the university has halls of residence in and around the North-West of the city, accommodating a total of approximately 3,500 students.[38] These include the Murano Street halls in Maryhill; Wolfson halls on the Garscube Estate; Queen Margaret halls, in Kelvinside; Cairncross House and Kelvinhaugh Gate, in Yorkhill. In recent years, Dalrymple House and Horslethill halls in Dowanhill, Reith halls in North Kelvinside and the Maclay halls in Park Circus (near Kelvingrove Park), have closed and been sold, as the development value of such property increased.

The Stevenson Building on Gilmorehill opened in 1961 and provides students with the use of a fitness suite, squash courts, sauna, and six-lane, 25-meter swimming pool. The university also has a large sports complex on the Garscube Estate, besides their Wolfson Halls and Vet School. This is a new facility, replacing the previous Westerlands sports ground in the Anniesland area of the city. The university also has use of half of the East Boathouse situated at Glasgow Green on the River Clyde where Glasgow University Boat Club train.

Governance and administration

A block of buildings in Gilmorehill campus

In common with the other ancient universities of Scotland the university's constitution is laid out in the Universities (Scotland) Acts. These Acts create a tripartite structure of bodies: the University Court (governing body), the Academic Senate (academic affairs), and the General Council (advisory). There is also a clear separation between governance and executive administration.

The university's constitution, academic regulations, and appointments are described in the university calendar,[39] while other aspects of its story and constitution are detailed in a separate "history" document.[40]


There are several officers of the university. The role of each involves the management of the operations of Glasgow.


The Chancellor is the titular head of the university and President of the General Council. They award all degrees, although this duty is generally carried out by the Vice-Chancellor, appointed by them.

The current Chancellor is Dame Katherine Grainger, a former rower who is Britain's most decorated female Olympian, the current chair of UK Sport, and former Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. She is an alumna of the university, with a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Medical Law and Medical Ethics. She is the first woman to hold the office in the University.


All students at the university are eligible to vote in the election of the Rector (officially styled "Lord Rector"), who holds office for a three-year term and chairs the University Court. In the past, this position has been a largely honorary and ceremonial one, and has been held by political figures including William Gladstone, Benjamin Disraeli, Bonar Law, Robert Peel, Raymond Poincaré, Arthur Balfour, Charles Kennedy and 1970s union activist Jimmy Reid, and latterly by celebrities such as TV presenters Arthur Montford and Johnny Ball, musician Pat Kane, and actors Richard Wilson, Ross Kemp and Greg Hemphill. In 2004, for the first time in its history, the university was left without a Rector as no nominations were received. When the elections were run in December, Mordechai Vanunu was chosen for the post,[41] even though he was unable to attend due to restrictions placed upon him by the Israeli government. In 2014, Edward Snowden, an American computer specialist, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, and former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor—who came to international attention when he disclosed a large number of classified NSA documents to several media outlets—was elected.[42] In 2017, Aamer Anwar a Scottish lawyer and former student of the university was elected rector [43] until 2020 when rector elections had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 21, 2021, Rita Rae, Lady Rae a Scottish lawyer, judge and former Senator of the College of Justice was appointed Rector after a decisive victory.[44][45]


Day-to-day management of the university is undertaken by the University Principal (who is also Vice-Chancellor). The current principal is Sir Anton Muscatelli who replaced Sir Muir Russell in October 2009.[46]

There are also several Vice-Principals, each with a specific remit. They, along with the Clerk of Senate, play a major role in the day-to-day management of the university.

University Court

The governing body of the university is the University Court, which is responsible for contractual matters, employing staff, and all other matters relating to finance and administration. The Court takes decisions about the deployment of resources as well as formulating strategic plans for the university. The Court is chaired by the Rector, who is elected by all the matriculated students at the university. The University Secretary is the Head of University Services and assists the Principal in day-to-day management. The current University Secretary is David Duncan.[47]

Academic Senate

The Academic Senate (or University Senate) is the body which is responsible for the management of academic affairs, and which recommends the conferment of degrees by the Chancellor. Membership of the Senate comprises all Professors of the university, as well as elected academic members, representatives of the Student's Representative Council, the Secretary of Court and directors of university services (e.g. Library). The President of the Senate is the Principal.

The Clerk of Senate, who has a status equivalent to that of a Vice-Principal and is a member of the Senior Management Group, has responsibility for regulation of the university's academic policy, such as dealing with plagiarism and the conduct of examinations. Notable Clerks of Senate have included the chemist, Joseph Black; John Anderson, father of the University of Strathclyde; and the economist, John Millar.


There are also a number of committees of both the Court and Senate that make important decisions and investigate matters referred to them. As well as these bodies there is a General Council made up of the university graduates that is involved in the running of the university. The graduates also elect the Chancellor of the university.


There are currently four Colleges, each containing a number of Schools. They are:

Adam Smith lends his name to the business school

At the university's foundation in 1451, there were four original faculties: Arts, Divinity, Law, and Medicine. The Faculty of Divinity became a constituent school of the Faculty of Arts in 2002,[48] while the Faculty of Law was changed in 1984 into the Faculty of Law and Financial Studies, and in 2005 became the Faculty of Law, Business and Social Sciences.[49] Although one of the original faculties established, teaching in the Faculty of Medicine did not begin formally until 1714, with the revival of the Chair in the Practice of Medicine.[50] The Faculty of Science was formed in 1893 from Chairs removed from the Faculties of Arts and Medicine, and subsequently divided in 2000 to form the three Faculties of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Computing Science, Mathematics and Statistics (now Information and Mathematical Sciences) and Physical Sciences.[51] The Faculty of Social Sciences was formed from Chairs in the Faculty of Arts in 1977, and merged to form the Faculty of Law, Business and Social Sciences in 2005, the two having operated as a single 'resource unit' since 2002.[52] The Faculty of Engineering was formally established in 1923, although engineering had been taught at the university since 1840 when Queen Victoria founded the UK's first Chair of Engineering. Through a concordat ratified in 1913,[53] Royal Technical College (later Royal College of Science and Technology and now University of Strathclyde) students received Glasgow degrees in applied sciences, particularly engineering. It was in 1769 when James Watt's engineering at Glasgow led to a stable steam engine and, subsequently, the Industrial Revolution. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was established in 1862 as the independent Glasgow Veterinary College, being subsumed into the University in 1949 and gaining independent Faculty status in 1969.[54] The Faculty of Education was formed when the University merged with St Andrew's College of Education in 1999.[55][56]

On 1 August 2010, the former faculties of the university were removed and replaced by a system of four larger Colleges, intended to encourage interdisciplinary research and make the university more competitive.[57] This structure was similar to that at other universities, including the University of Edinburgh.

Academic profile

Rankings and reputation

National rankings
Complete (2022)[58]16
Guardian (2022)[59]11
Times / Sunday Times (2022)[60]12
Global rankings
ARWU (2021)[61]151–200
CWTS Leiden (2021)[62]36
QS (2022)[63]73
THE (2022)[64]86
Cloisters between quadrangles

The university generates a total income of over £450 million per year, amongst the top 10 in the UK.[65] The University is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities[66] and was a founding member of the organisation, Universitas 21,[67] an international grouping of universities dedicated to setting worldwide standards for higher education. The university currently has fifteen Regius Professorships, more than in any other UK university.[68]

In the QS World University Rankings Glasgow climbed from 59th overall in 2011[69] to 54th in 2012,[70] then to 51st in 2013.[71] Glasgow places within the top 20 in the UK and 3rd in Scotland for the employability of its graduates as ranked by recruiters from the UK's major companies.[72]

In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), almost 70% of research carried out at the university was in the top two categories (88% in the top three categories). Eighteen subject areas were rated top ten in the UK, whilst fourteen subject areas were rated the best in Scotland. The 2008 Times RAE table ranks according to an 'average' score across all departments, of which Glasgow posted an average of 2.6/4. The overall average placed Glasgow as the thirty-third-highest of all UK universities, perhaps reflecting the broadness of the university's activities. In terms of research 'power', however, Glasgow placed fourteenth in the UK and second in Scotland.[73][74]

Admission and enrolment

UCAS Admission Statistics
2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Applications[75] 35,160 33,750 31,845 29,620 34,120
Offer Rate (%)[76] 71.3 71.4 74.3 69.1 62.4
Enrols[77] 5,600 5,600 5,150 4,640 5,135
Yield (%) 22.3 23.2 21.8 22.7 24.1
Applicant/Enrolled Ratio 6.28 6.03 6.18 6.38 6.64
Average Entry Tariff[78][note 1] 196 200 420 467 465

As of 2019/20, the university had 21,165 undergraduate and 11,300 postgraduate students.[4] Glasgow has a large (for the UK) proportion of "home" students, with almost 40 per cent of the student body coming from the West of Scotland.[79] In the 2016–17 academic year, the university had a domicile breakdown of 71:11:18 of UK:EU:non-EU students, respectively, with a female-to-male ratio of 59:41.[80]

For undergraduate entry, course requirements range from A*A*A* (for second year entry) to BBB (for minimum requirements for Primary Teaching) in A-levels.[81] Glasgow had the 23rd highest average entry qualification for undergraduates of any UK university in 2015, with new students averaging 420 UCAS points,[82] equivalent to ABBbb in A-level grades.

Scottish and EU students, with the exception of students from the Channel Islands, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, do not pay tuition fees.[83] As the number of places available for Scottish and EU students are capped by the Scottish Government, students applying from the rest of the UK and outside of the European Union have a higher likelihood of an offer.[84] For most courses, with the exceptions of Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine and Law, the university guarantees unconditional offers to applicants who have achieved AAAA or AAABB in one sitting at Scottish Highers. The other components of the applicant's UCAS form (such as predicted grades and the personal statement) are only taken into account if the applicant has not achieved these grades.[85]

Climate change

The quadrangle at the University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow was the first university in Europe to divest from fossil fuel companies in October 2014. The 12-month campaign was led by the Glasgow University Climate Action Society and involved over 1,300 students.[86]

Student life

Unlike other universities in Scotland, Glasgow does not have a single students' association; instead, there exist a number of bodies concerned with the representation, welfare, and entertainment of its students. Due to the university's retention of its separate male and female students' unions, which since 1980 have admitted both sexes as full members, there are two independent students' unions, as well as a sports association and the students' representative council. None of these are affiliated to the National Union of Students: membership has been rejected on a number of occasions, most recently in November 2006, on both economic and political grounds. A student-run "No to NUS" campaign won a campuswide referendum with more than 90% of the vote.[87]

In common with the other ancient universities of Scotland, students at Glasgow also elect a Rector.

The university has an eclectic body of clubs and societies, including sports teams, political and religious groups, and gaming societies.

Students' Representative Council

Glasgow University Students' Representative Council is the legal representative body for students, as recognized by the Universities (Scotland) Act 1889. The SRC is responsible for representing students' interests to the management of the university, to local and national government, and for health and welfare issues. Under the Universities (Scotland) Acts, all students of the university automatically become members of the SRC; however, they are entitled to opt-out of this. Members of the SRC sit on various committees throughout the university, from the departmental level to the Senate and Court.

The SRC organizes Media Week, RAG (Raising And Giving) Week, and Welfare Week, as well as funding some 130 clubs and societies.


The Glasgow University Union's building at No. 32 University Avenue

In addition to the Students' Representative Council, students are commonly members of one of the university's two students' unions, the Glasgow University Union (GUU) and the Queen Margaret Union (QMU).[88] Unlike many other student unions in the UK, membership to either GUU or QMU is not automatic and students must apply, for free, to become a member of either. Students are also permitted to be a member of both. These are largely social and cultural institutions, providing their members with facilities for debating, dining, recreation, socializing, and drinking, and both have a number of meeting rooms available for rental to members. Postgraduate students, mature students and staff were previously able to join the Hetherington Research Club;[89] however, large debts led to the club being closed in February 2010.[90][91] However, in February 2011, students gained access to the old HRC building, situated at 13 University Gardens (Hetherington House) and "reopened" it as the Free Hetherington, a social centre for learning and lectures, as well as protesting the shutting down of the club. Attempts to evict this occupation resulted in complaints of heavy-handed policing and much controversy on campus.[92][93]

The separate unions exist due to the university's previous male-only status; the GUU was founded before the admission of women, while the QMU was originally the union of Queen Margaret College, a women-only college which merged with the university in 1892. Their continued separate existence is due largely to their individual atmospheres. The GUU's focus is mainly towards people involved in sports and debates (as among its founders were the Athletic Association and Dialectic Society), the QMU is one of Glasgow's music venues, and has played host to Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Biffy Clyro and Franz Ferdinand.

In 1955, the GUU won the Observer Mace, now the John Smith Memorial Mace, named after the deceased GUU debater and former leader of the British Labour Party. The GUU has since won the mace debating championship fourteen more times, more than any other university. The GUU has also won the World Universities Debating Championships five times, more than any other university or club in the series' history.[94]

Sports association

Sporting affairs are regulated by the Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) (previously the Glasgow University Athletics Club) which works closely with the Sport and Recreation Service. There are a large number of varied clubs, including Squash, Gaelic Football, Basketball, Cycling, Football, Hockey, Netball, Martial Arts and Rowing, who regularly compete in BUCS competitions. Students who join one of the sports clubs affiliated with the university must also join GUSA. However, there are also regular classes and drop-in sessions for various sports which are non-competitive and available to all university gym members.[citation needed]

Mature Students' Association

The community of mature students—that is those students aged 21 or over—are served by the Mature Students' Association located at 62 Oakfield Avenue. The MSA aims are to provide all mature students with facilities for recreation and study. Throughout the year, the MSA also organizes social events and peer support for the wide range of subjects studied by the university's mature students.[95]


There is an active student media scene at the university, part of, but editorially independent from, the SRC. There is a newspaper, the Glasgow University Guardian; Glasgow University Magazine; Glasgow University Student Television; and Subcity Radio. In recent years, independent of the SRC, the Queen Margaret Union has published a fortnightly magazine, qmunicate,[96] and Glasgow University Union has produced the G-you magazine, formerly known as GUUi.[97]

Mountaineering Club

Glasgow University Mountaineering Club is an outdoor association whose membership is composed of students and staff. Its origins are known from the late 1930s when students were already meeting on the Arrochar Alps; however, the Club was officially constituted at the University in March 1941.[98]

Notable alumni and staff

Many distinguished figures have taught, worked and studied at the University of Glasgow, including seven Nobel laureates and three Prime Ministers, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and Bonar Law. Famous names include the physicist Lord Kelvin, his pupil, and later partner of the Carnegie Steel Corporation, George Lauder, 'father of economics' Adam Smith, engineer James Watt, inventors Henry Faulds and John Logie Baird, chemists William Ramsay, Frederick Soddy and Joseph Black, biologist Sir John Boyd Orr, philosophers Francis Hutcheson, Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart, mathematician Colin Maclaurin, ethnologist James George Frazer, missionary David Livingstone, writers James Boswell, John Buchan, A. J. Cronin, Amy Hoff, Tobias Smollett and Edwin Morgan, and surgeon Joseph Lister. Famous orientalist and president of the Asiatic Society of Bengal Henry Beveridge, University of Aberdeen founder Bishop William Elphinstone also graduated from Glasgow. In June 1933 Albert Einstein gave the first Gibson Lecture, on his general theory of relativity; he subsequently received an honorary degree from the university.[99] Also John Macintyre, pioneer of radiology and Jocelyn Bell Burnell who discovered radio pulsars.[100] In 1974, professors Graham Teasdale and Bryan Jennett developed the Glasgow Coma Scale.

In more recent times, the university was the focus of the "Glasgow Group" of poets and literary critics, including Philip Hobsbaum, Tom Leonard and Alasdair Gray. The university boasts one of Europe's largest collections of life scientists,[citation needed] as well as having been the training ground of numerous politicians including former Prime Ministers Bonar Law and Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, former First Minister Donald Dewar, former leader of the Liberal Democrats and former Rector Charles Kennedy, Defence Secretaries Liam Fox and Des Browne, the founder of the UK Independence Party Alan Sked, former Labour Party leader John Smith, Business Secretary Vince Cable, former leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Menzies Campbell, and current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Other notable alumni include banker Fred Goodwin, actor Gerard Butler, Rangers and Scottish footballer Neil Murray, actor, writer, television and radio broadcaster Colin Lamont (aka Scottie McClue), novelist Robin Jenkins, founder of the world's largest non-governmental development organisation BRAC Fazle Hasan Abed, television writers Armando Iannucci and Steven Moffat, comedian Greg Hemphill, television presenter Neil Oliver, journalists Andrew Neil and Raman Bhardwaj, and musicians Emeli Sandé and Simon Neil.

World Changing Alumni Award

With the World-Changing Alumni Award, formerly the Young Alumnus of the Year Award, the university is recognizing and celebrating the achievements of alumni who have graduated within the last 15 years and made a major contribution to the community, arts, sciences, or business.

The award was established in 2001 as part of the university's 550th-anniversary celebrations and is given out once per year. The trophy was donated by the Old Boys of Allan Glen's School, is presented to the winning candidate at one of the year's graduation ceremonies or flagship events.[101]


  • 2019: Eunice Ntobedzi (MSc 2016)[102]
  • 2018: Amal Azzudin (BA 2011, MSc 2014)[103]
  • 2017: Susanne Mitschke (MSc 2015); Patrick Renner (MSc 2015)[104]
  • 2016: Matt Fountain (MA Hons 2011)
  • 2015: Mhairi Black MP (MA 2015)[105]
  • 2014: Martin Patience (MA 2002)
  • 2013: Karina Atkinson (BSc 2007)
  • 2012: Katherine Grainger MBE CBE (MPhil 2001)
  • 2011: Emeli Sandé (BSc 2009)
  • 2010: Patrick Gunning (BSc 2001, PhD 2005)
  • 2009: Euan Murray (BVMS 2003)
  • 2008: Mark Beaumont (MA 2006); John Tiffany (MA 1994)
  • 2007: Vanessa Munro (LLB 1997, PhD 2001)
  • 2006: Richard Dixon (BVMS 1993, PhD 2000)
  • 2005: Christopher Brookmyre (MA 1989)
  • 2004: Colin McInnes (BSc 1988, PhD 1991)
  • 2003: Emma Richards (BSc 1996)
  • 2002: Mark Johnston (BVMS 1983); Lorraine Clinton (MA 1986)

See also


  1. ^ New UCAS Tariff system from 2016


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  • Elliot, Walter. "Glasgow University 1451 - 1951." History Today (Aug 1951) 1#8 pp58–64.
  • Moss, Michael, et al. University, City & State: The University of Glasgow since 1870 (2000)
  • Robertson, Paul L. "The Development of an Urban University: Glasgow, 1860–1914", History of Education Quarterly, Winter 1990, Vol. 30#1 pp 47–78
  • "Building Knowledge – An Architectural History of the University of Glasgow" published by Historic Scotland in association with the University (2013)
  • "The University of Glasgow Library: Friendly Shelves" published by The Friends of Glasgow University Library in association with the Library (2016)

External links

Coordinates: 55°52′19″N 4°17′15″W / 55.87194°N 4.28750°W / 55.87194; -4.28750