The University of Glasgow (abbreviated as Glas. in post-nominals) 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 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: the law, medicine, civil service, teaching, and the church. It also trained smaller but growing numbers for careers in science and engineering.
The annual income of the institution for 2017–18 was £626.5 million of which £180.8 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £610.1 million. It is currently a member of Universitas 21, the Russell Group 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 West End of the city. Additionally, a number of university buildings are located elsewhere, such as the Veterinary School in Bearsden, and the Crichton Campus in Dumfries.
Alumni or former staff of the university include James Wilson (a founding father of the United States), philosopher Francis Hutcheson, engineer James Watt, philosopher and economist Adam Smith, physicist Lord Kelvin, surgeon Joseph Lister, seven Nobel laureates, and three British Prime Ministers.
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. 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.
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 chapterhouse 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. 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, and a chapel adapted from the church of the former Dominican (Blackfriars) friary.
Remnants of this Scottish Renaissance building, mainly parts of the main facade, 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.
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.
Ranking and Reputation
The university generates a total income of over £450 million per year- amongst the top 10 in the UK. The University is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities and was a founding member of the organisation, Universitas 21, an international grouping of universities dedicated to setting worldwide standards for higher education. The university currently has fifteen Regius Professorships, nearly twice the number held by the next nearest, Oxford.
In the QS World University Rankings Glasgow climbed from 59th overall in 2011 to 54th in 2012, then to 51st in 2013. 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.
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.