History of the University of St. Andrews
Founded in the fifteenth century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. Teaching began in the community of St Andrews in 1410 and the University was formally constituted by the issue of a papal bull in 1413.
The early years of the young university were not without turbulence. In 1426, King James tried to move the university to Perth. In 1470, several masters and students were expelled for attacking the Dean with bows and arrows. In 1544 the University banned beards, the carrying of weapons, gambling and football.
By the middle of the 16th century, St Andrews had grown to encompass three colleges — St Salvator’s (1450), St Leonard’s (1511) and St Mary’s (1538). The buildings of St Mary’s College and St Salvator’s Chapel date from this period.
From the 1500s to the 1700s the University enjoyed a period of mixed fortunes. During this time St Salvator’s and St Leonard’s Colleges joined to form the United College which still survives today in a greatly enlarged form.
In the 19th century the University made considerable progress in developing teaching and research in the arts, divinity and the biological and physical sciences. In 1897 the University was joined by a new academic centre in nearby Dundee and with it gained notable achievements in medical and applied science. This association ended in 1967 with the foundation of a separate University of Dundee.
In the 1980s, St Andrews embarked on a broad programme of investment to boost its research capabilities, a strategy which has helped establish its reputation today as an international centre of research excellence.
In 2009, St Andrews became the first Scottish ancient to appoint a woman as Principal, recruiting Professor Louise Richardson from the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard, to lead it into its seventh century.
St Andrews recently celebrated 600 years of continuous existence during which time it has made an enduring contribution to the intellectual and cultural life of both Scotland and the wider world.