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About the University of Dundee
The University of Dundee (abbreviated as Dund. for post-nominals) is a public research university based in the city and Royal burgh of Dundee on the east coast of the central Lowlands of Scotland. It is consistently ranked within the Top 250 universities in the world and inside the Top 100 for some subject areas. It is also in the list of 39 elite UK universities, which includes the 22 non-Oxbridge universities of the Russell Group.
Founded in 1881 the institution was, for most of its early existence, a constituent college of the University of St Andrews alongsideUnited College and St Mary's College located in the town of St Andrews itself. Following significant expansion, the University of Dundee became an independent body in 1967 whilst retaining much of its ancient heritage and governance structure. Since its independence, the university has grown to become an internationally recognised centre for research.
The main campus of the university is located in Dundee's West End, which also contains the university's Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and the Dundee Dental Hospital and School. The university also has additional facilities at Ninewells Hospital – containing its School of Medicine, Perth Royal Infirmary – which houses a clinical research centre, and in Kirkcaldy, Fife – containing part of its school of Nursing and Midwifery. Dundee has developed a significant reputation for students entering the traditional professions, most notably law, medicine and dentistry as well as emerging areas such as life sciences and art.
School of Art and Design
Postgraduate courses and PhD opportunities at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design allow you to lead your own programme of study and research to critically contextualise your work and produce distinctive contributions to the field of art & design.
We support and encourage our students throughout their study by providing them with the skills and knowledge to launch their careers and realise their potential and ambitions.
We support and encourage our students throughout their study by providing them with the skills and knowledge to launch their careers and realise their potential and ambitions.
School of Dentistry
Our School of Dentistry traces its roots back to 1909 with the formation of the Dundee Dental Club to provide treatment for the local poor. Four years later the city’s Lord Provost Sir James Urquhart chaired a public meeting to consider establishing a clinic – and this led to the Dundee Dental Hospital opening in a four roomed flat at No.4 Park Place.
Since it’s founding in 1916 and the first dental students enrolling two years later, the Dundee School of Dentistry has changed beyond all recognition.
Back then, the Park Place premises comprised of the flat at No.4 plus the neighbouring house, No.2, which Mr. William Rettie generously equipped in memory of his son Philip who died in action at the Battle of Loos.
The School still occupies the old buildings, plus a 10 storey high tower block. The student count is now 400 there are 25 researchers 78 academic and support staff plus 100 NHS Honorary Staff. Dundee is recognized internationally for the quality of its dental education and research; it is ranked among the top dentistry schools in the UK.
School of Education and Social Work
Our primary purpose as part of the University of Dundee is to transform lives locally and globally through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge.
How do we do this?
- Within the School, we focus on transformation by preparing graduates for professional roles required for the social, cultural and physical well-being of our citizens and society.
- Our research focuses on how to best educate students across all levels of formal education, how to develop strong communities, and how to support our most vulnerable.
- Finally, through our community service or consultancy activities we are engaged with local, regional and international communities, professional organisations and governmental agencies.
We are an interdisciplinary school providing excellent professional education and research opportunities across undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels. Our programmes range from qualifying and post-qualifying programmes that are professionally recognised, to continuing professional development courses that meet the needs of busy professionals, to research opportunities that use rigorous scientific enquiry that underpin curriculum development while informing national policy making.
School of Humanities
The School of Humanities prides itself on its world class and research-driven commitment to promoting the critical understanding of culture and society through interdisciplinary linkages across its full range of subjects from Archives, English and History through to Languagesand Philosophy.
The School demonstrates such commitment to excellence across its discipline areas in particular via research clusters focused on Comic Studies, Continental Philosophy, Global History and Scottish Culture.
The Arts and Humanities Research Institute provides a focal point for driving such research; located in the School of Humanities, it supports evening lectures and seminars, conferences and visiting fellowships in ways that enable outward facing engagement with general and specialist audiences.
The School attracts over 1,000 students across the range of provision and has a firm focus on promoting interdisciplinary teaching, exemplified in its portfolio of degrees offered in conjunction with other Schools such as Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.
It is a key consortia member of the AHRC funded Scottish Doctoral Training Partnership and of the SFC funded Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities.
School of Life Sciences
Life Sciences at the University of Dundee is the highest-rated for Biological Sciences in the UK by the main standard of University research performance REF2014. With the highest number of citations-per-paper for biological sciences in Europe (2013 and 2014 QS World University Rankings), over £100 million of research income in 2013 and nearly 900 staff from over 60 countries worldwide, the School enjoys a reputation as one of the most dynamic international centres for molecular cell biology, with outstanding laboratory and technology facilities. The School of Life Sciences is internationally recognised as one of the fastest growing and most productive research institutes in Europe. Our academic and support staff and research-student numbers have increased by an average of 5% each year since 2001.
School of Medicine
The Dundee Medical School celebrated its 40th Anniversary in September 2007 but this belies its history and origins which are intrinsically linked with the ancient University of St Andrews founded in 1411, and the University College of Dundee (UCD), founded in 1883. The Medical School building opened in 1904 as part of UCD which became Queens College of St Andrews in 1954. The University Charter was awarded to Queens College becoming the University of Dundee in 1967; a natural extension of this change of status was the formation of an independent Dundee Medical School.
In 1974 the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School was officially opened by The Queen Mother. The commissioning of Ninewells changed the services previously undertaken at Dundee Royal Infirmary (DRI) the original acute care and teaching hospital, ultimately leading to its closure in the late ‘90s.The University Teaching Hospital at Ninewells is well supported by the other two main acute University Teaching Hospitals, Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI), in the South and Stracathro near Brechin in the North. Stracathro has a wide range of clinics, day surgery and imaging services forming what is known as an Ambulatory Diagnostic and Treatment Centre (ADTC). Perth has a similar health service profile to Ninewells inclusive of a busy A&E facility, O&G, General Medicine and Surgery.
The School has evolved over the years providing an excellent medical education and training for future doctors and in doing so promoting leadership and innovation in medical teaching and research.
With its annual intake of 154 students (inclusive of 11 overseas students) it is small enough for staff and students to get to know each other while still being regularly found at the top of research and teaching league tables.
School of Nursing and Health Sciences
Our aim is to be an international leader in developing healthcare graduates who will then influence improvement in health outcomes through education and research. We work closely with our partners in practice to support this generation of nurses and health professionals with the knowledge and skills to make a difference, locally and globally.
In addition to our range of undergraduate and postgraduate education for nurses and health professionals, we have focused programmes in the areas of infection prevention and control and mother and infant health.
The School is recognised as one of the top Schools in Scotland in relation to its research portfolio, with over 85% of research being recognised internationally. The portfolio is focused in the areas of health and well-being and is being undertaken in collaboration with clinical colleagues, both nationally and internationally.
The School has an excellent international profile and reputation which has grown significantly over the years as a result of the distance learning education that is provided to our students across the world. This allows us to deliver programmes in different settings as well as offering students the opportunity to study in Dundee.
School of Science and Engineering
We are dedicated to nurturing academic excellence and preparing students for rewarding and successful careers.
The School has built a long and successful international reputation for excellent teaching and topical research, particularly in addressing global challenges in energy, the environment, health care, technology and infrastructure. Our unique combination of disciplines provides students and the School with research and education opportunities across many fields of study.
The School of Science and Engineering is an ambitious and vibrant constituent of The University of Dundee and comprises:
- Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification
A key defining strength of our School is the positive interactions between these areas. This interdisciplinary ethos ensures that the School is dedicated to both nurturing academic excellence and fully preparing students for rewarding and successful careers in an increasingly competitive market.
The School of Science and Engineering offers students a supportive and friendly environment to study in, provides top quality teaching and research and gives students the opportunity to live in one of the most attractive areas of Scotland. Every year hundreds of undergraduate and postgraduate students from all over the world make the decision to study at the University of Dundee.
School of Social Sciences
The School of Social Sciences is one of Scotland’s major centres for teaching and research aimed at addressing the major challenges arising in society, business and the environment.
We educate the future generations of architects, accountants, economists, energy experts, environmentalists, lawyers, managers, marketing executives, politicians, psychologists and planners.
The School brings together academic experts from a broad range of disciplines to produce interdisciplinary research that makes an impact, transforming people’s lives around the world.
History of the University of Dundee
The University of Dundee has its roots in the earlier University college based in Dundee and the University of St Andrews. During the 19th century, the growing population of Dundee significantly increased demand for the establishment of an institution of higher education in the city and several organisations were established to promote this end, including a University Club in the city. At the same time, the University of St Andrews was, as were the other universities in Scotland at the time, suffering from significant financial problems. Moreover, St Andrews' position, isolation and small size (160 students as opposed to the University of Aberdeen, with a roll of around 700) contributed to a significant decline. In a submission to a Royal Commission established to investigate the problems at St Andrews, Heddle, a lecturer in chemistry, observed that
|“||If we could be transferred to Dundee, I believe we could live and perhaps flourish; but if not, I think we will gradually cease to live.||”|
There was a significant movement with the intention of moving the entire university to Dundee (which the Royal Commission observed was now a "large and increasing town") or the establishment of a college along very similar lines to the present United College. Finally, agreement was reached that what was needed was expansion of the sciences and professions, rather than the arts at St Andrews.
In the early 1870s, construction began on the North British Railway's Tay Bridge which cut journey times between Dundee and St Andrews enormously and allowed for a third option between the status quo and complete movement: the creation of what was foreseen as a "University of Dundee and St Andrews", situated between two campuses, each with their own particular specialities.
A donation of £120,000 for the creation of an institution of higher education in Dundee was made by Miss Mary Ann Baxter of Balgavies, a notable lady of the city and heir to the fortune of William Baxter of Balgavies. In this endeavour, she was assisted by her relative, Dr John Boyd Baxter, an alumnus of St Andrews and Procurator Fiscal of Forfarshirewho also contributed nearly £20,000. In order to craft the institution and its principles, it was to be established first as an independent university college, with a view from its very inception towards incorporation into the University of St Andrews.
In 1881 the ideals of the proposed new college were laid down, suggesting the establishment of an institute for "promoting the education of persons of both sexes and the study of Science, Literature and the Fine Arts". No religious oaths were to be required of members. Later that year, "University College, Dundee" was established as an academic institution and the first principal, William Peterson, was elected in late 1882. When opened in 1883, it comprised five faculties: Maths and Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Engineering and Drawing, English Language and Literature and Modern History, and Philosophy. The University College had no power to award degrees and for some years students were prepared for external examinations of the University of London.
The policy of no discrimination between the sexes, which was insisted upon by Mary Ann Baxter, meant that the new college recruited several able female students. Their number included the social reformer Mary Lily Walker and, later, Margaret Fairlie who in 1940 became Scotland's first female professor.
Incorporation into the University of St Andrews
Following several aborted attempts at various forms of incorporation and association, in 1890 the college began to establish closer links with the University of St Andrews, a process which was completed in 1897 when University College became part of the University of St Andrews. This move was of notable benefit to both, enabling the University of St Andrews (which was in a very small burgh (roughly equivalent to a conurbation), and remains so) to support a medical school. Medical students could choose to undertake preclinical studies either in Dundee or St Andrews (at the Bute Medical School) after which all students would undertake their clinical studies at Dundee. Eventually, law, dentistry and other professional subjects were taught at University College. By 1904 University College had a roll of 208, making up 40 per cent of the roll of the University generally. By session 1909-10 234 students were studying at University College, 101 of whom were female. Among the notable students at this time were Robert Watson-Watt, the radar pioneer; William Alexander Young the epidemiologist who later died in Accra while studying yellow fever; and David Rutherford Dow who would go on to be a senior member of staff at the college.
University College's development in the early twentieth century has been described as "slow and fitful" and the interwar period saw virtually no new building projects, leaving large parts of the college housed in buildings which were not fit for purpose. Attempts were made to raise income. In 1923 Rudyard Kipling, then the Rector of the University of St Andrews, visited University College and asked the merchant princes and leading citizens of Dundee to give the College their money and support. Kipling implored those who had lost their sons in the Great War to consider giving a donation so that their names would live on. Staff of a high calibre continued to be employed by the University including Alexander Peacock and Margaret Fairlie, who in 1940 was appointed as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and thus became the first woman to hold a professorial chair at a university in Scotland.
In 1947, the Principal of University College, Douglas Wimberley released the "Wimberley Memo" (resulting in the Cooper and Tedder reports of 1952), advocating independence for the College. In 1954, after a Royal Commission, University College was renamed "Queen's College" and the Dundee-based elements of the University gained a greater degree of independence and flexibility. It was also at this time that Queen's College absorbed the former Dundee School of Economics.
Creation of the University of Dundee
The publication of the Robbins Report on Higher Education in 1963, which considered the question of university education expansion throughout the country, provided impetus to the movement to attain independent university status for Dundee. At this time, a number of new institutions were being elevated to this status, such as the University of Stirling, and second universities were created in Edinburgh and Glasgow (Heriot-Watt University and the University of Strathclyde) despite their having fewer than 2,000 students. Queen's College's size and location, alongside a willingness to expand, led to an eventual decision to separate from the wider University of which it remained an integral part. In 1966, St Andrews University Court and the Council of Queen's College submitted a joint petition to the Privy Councilseeking the grant of a Royal Charter to establish the University of Dundee. This petition was approved and the Charter was granted which saw Queen's College become the University of Dundee, on 1 August 1967. The university continued a number of the traditions of its originator college and university and continues to be organised under the ancient university governance structure.
The University of Dundee has grown considerably since securing independent university status. The teaching of medicine, dentistry, law, engineering, nursing, social work and accountancy flourished, and a new Faculty of Letters (later renamed the Faculty of Arts) was developed. Dundee is the only university in the UK to offer an LLB in both English law and Scottish Law and to allow law students to dual qualify.
In 1974 the University began to validate some degrees from Dundee's Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, and by 1988 all degrees from that institution were being validated in this fashion. In 1994 the two institutions merged, with the college becoming a constituent faculty of the university. In 1996, the Tayside College of Nursing and the Fife College of Health studies became part of the university, as a school of Nursing and Midwifery. For several years, Dundee College of Education prepared students for degree examinations at the University of Dundee, and in December 2001 the university merged with the Dundee campus of Northern College to create a Faculty of Education and Social Work.
In October 2005, the university became home to the first UNESCO centre in the United Kingdom. The IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science is involved in research regarding the management of the world's water resources on behalf of the United Nations.
The 2000s brought extensive renovation to the university's central campus, culminating in a number of new and upgraded buildings being introduced around 2007 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the university's independence. Large extensions have been placed on the Main Library and sports centre, and a number of new halls of residence (Heathfield, Belmont, West Park and Seabraes) have been gradually phased into operation. The Dalhousie building was erected during this period as dedicated teaching accommodation for the University, in part replacing space previously at the Gardyne Road campus of Northern College, which has now been taken up by Dundee College. Significant improvement works have taken place in old buildings such as the Old Technical Institute, Medical Sciences Institute and Old Medical School buildings.
Institutional Accreditation or Recognition - Privy Council
Year of first Accreditation - 1967
Student life at the University of Dundee
Students at Dundee are represented by the University's Students' Representative Council and the Rector in common with other universities in Scotland sharing the ancient organisational structure.
The Dundee University Students' Association (DUSA), unlike many other students' unions in the United Kingdom, is not affiliated to the National Union of Students, mainly due to cost concerns and political objections. It is instead affiliated to the Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland (CHESS) and the National Postgraduate Committee. Membership of the Students' Association is automatic for all students of the university, although it is possible under statutes to renounce this membership at any time. The Association, as with its neighbours in the other ancient-organised universities in Scotland, is co-existent with the University's Students' Representative Council.
The DUSA building is located in Airlie Place, in the centre of the University's Main Campus and caters as a private members' club offering bar, nightclub and refectory services for students. DUSA also provides a number of other typical students' union services such as advocacy on behalf of its membership and assistance to individual students. In addition the DUSA facilitates the creation of student societies, as of 2016 there are over 140 student-led societies on campus.
As of 2016, there are 43 clubs affiliated with the Sports' Union. There is an annual award ceremony for the sports clubs, and a Blues & Colours Ball (see Blue (university sport)) to provide social interaction between the clubs. A popular but informal event is sports clubs joining together on Wednesday night to attend the Students' Union, enabled by the university ending most classes early on a Wednesday afternoon to allow for sports participation - which is particularly appropriate in winter when the sun can set in the mid-afternoon due to Dundee's northerly location.
The Institute of Sport and Exercise, unlike the Sports Union, is directly controlled by the university, but works closely with the students' organisations. Its chief building is located on Old Hawkhill in the main campus, which contains the main indoor sporting facilities and the university's gym.
Following a multimillion-pound refurbishment, the resources and amenities now available at the Institute of Sport & Exercise (ISE) include a 'state-of-the-art' gym with the latest download technology (the first gym in the UK with mp3/mp4 compatible personal viewing screens).
Outdoor facilities are mainly based in the Riverside Sporting Ground, within a reasonable walking distance and bordering the Tay, although there are others - such as tennis courts - spread throughout the main campus. The ISE's 25m swimming pool is located within the Students' Association building on Airlie Place.
The University has been included within the official London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp Guide, opening up Dundee as a potential training venue for athletes preparing for the Olympics.
Notable sporting achievements of the University include winning the British University Gaelic football Championship in 1994 and being the first team in Scottish rugby history to win the league and SUS Cup double in the 2007/08 season.
The University Chaplaincy Centre was constructed in 1974 and extended in 1987 and houses both the University Chapel and a number of other related social facilities. The chapel is often used for concerts.
The university has a full-time chaplain, the Revd Dr Fiona Douglas (since 1997) who is a minister of the Church of Scotland. There are also several part-time associate and honorary chaplains representing other faiths and denominations.
Dundee students participate in a number of traditional events during the academic calendar. Towards the start of the year, a standard British Freshers' Week is organised, with a secondary one held when the University reconvenes after the Christmas vacation.
Traditions remaining from Dundee's days as a college of the University of St Andrews include the Gaudie Night (taking its name from the first line of the students' anthem, De Brevitate Vitae) - held early in the first semester and organised both as a Students' Union night and an event organised by the individual schools (for example by the Life Sciences, Medical, Law and Dentistry Societies) where students are assigned academic "parents" from the senior years. Some weeks later, a Raisin (alternatively spelled "Raisen") weekend is held to all new students to repay their academic parents' hospitality. Generally the school society run events are more traditional in nature than the Students' Union event.
Since 2004, the University has organised the Discovery Days series of public lectures hosted by University and visiting academics and persons of note, providing introductions into a number of major fields of work taking place at Dundee.
The University has a number of student residences spaced around the city. There is at present an attempt to move some of these halls of residence closer to the main campus. With the closure and re-building of West Park Hall in 2005, all of the halls are now self catered ensuite.
At present, there exist the following university residences:
- Belmont Tower (including Balfour Flats) - Based in the main campus and consisting of two main sections: Belmont Tower, a 1950s construction; the Balfour Flats, a long and low building connected to the tower.
- Belmont Flats - Opened in 2006, these halls are of identical style to those of Heathfield and the new Seabraes halls. It is located on Old Hawkhill, across from the ISE.
- Heathfield - Built at the same time as Belmont Flats. It is located on Old Hawkhill, immediately across from Belmont Tower.
- Seabraes - A number of buildings containing flats, with a new hall identical in style to the new Heathfield and Belmont Halls being built at the foot of the complex. Located near to the south side of the main campus on Roseangle.
- West Park - Located some distance to the west of the main campus, these halls were traditionally popular with medicine students due to their proximity to Ninewells Hospital. Consists of a relatively new complex known as West Park Villas, which are essentially student flats. The old hall (separate from the Villas) was largely torn-down in 2005 (leaving behind only the listed parts of the building) and the new complex (generally known as 'West Park Flats' by the University) will be available from the start of the 2007/08 term.
Some older halls, despite remaining open in the interim until building works were finished, are now out of use - the last students moved out in early 2007. These are:
- Airlie Place & Springfield - A number of flats located in old terrace housing on the main campus, consisting of two streets mainly owned by the University. Both are architecturally noteworthy and have mostly been converted to offices.
- Peterson Hall - An almost brutalist style building to be found further down Roseangle from Seabraes. This hall was traditionally a non-smoking hall of residence, and is now ear-marked for private development.
- Wimberley Houses - The furthest university residences from the main campus, Wimberley - also the closest to Ninewells Hospital in the far west of the city. The residences themselves were a complex of buildings, each comprising a "house" which served as an independent flat for a number of students.
Services of the University of Dundee
- Botanic Garden and Grounds
- Campus Catering
- Conference Facilities
- Estates and Buildings
- Tower Reception
Library & Learning Centre
- Directorate Office
- Enquiry Centre
- International Advice & Immigration Compliance
- Residences (Accommodation)
- Central Timetabling & Room Bookings
- Examinations & Graduation Office
- Fees Office
- Programmes and Assessment
- Student Records Office
- Student Support Services
- Centre for the enhancement of Academic Skills, Teaching, Learning and Employability (CASTLE)
- Academic Skills
- Counselling Service
- Disability Services
- Health Service
- Nursery - see Childcare
- Peer Connections
- Student Funding Unit
- English for International Students
- Careers and Enterprise Hub
- Careers Service
- Enterprise Gym
- Commitment & Advanced Procurement Service (CAPS)
- Procurement Office