The University is one of the world’s top universities. It is ranked number 1 in Scotland and 4th in the UK for the research power.

Edinburgh has been influencing the world for over 400 years. In the 2015/16 QS World University rankings it was ranked 20th.

  • Established in 1583 by Edinburgh’s Town Council, the University is the 6th oldest university in the UK and the oldest civic foundation in the English-speaking world.
  • Edinburgh is Scotland’s largest and most successful university, generating an annual turnover of more than £840 million.

It is made up of more than 13,000 staff and 35,000 students, with more than 23,000 undergraduates and 12,000 postgraduates. Over 2 million students worldwide have enrolled in Edinburgh’s MOOCs (massive open online courses)

Non-UK students now make up more than 40 per cent of our student body – the largest contingent from China. Edinburgh attracts staff from 120 countries.

As a research-intensive university, a founding member of the UK’s Russell Group of leading research universities in the UK and a member of the League of European Research Universities, Edinburgh won £305 million in competitive research grants in 2014/15.

In 2015 the University of Edinburgh received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the fourth time in recognition of its reputation for excellence in research into cardiovascular disease.

Historically, the University played an important role in shaping Edinburgh’s reputation as a major intellectual centre during the Enlightenment.

Alumni include physicist James Clerk Maxwell, naturalist Charles Darwin, philosopher David Hume, chemist Joseph Black, mathematician Thomas Bayes, physician Sophia Jex-Blake, surgeons Joseph Lister and James Lind, pioneer of anaesthetics James Young Simpson, geneticist Charlotte Auerbach, signatories of the American declaration

of independence James Wilson, John Witherspoon and Benjamin Rush, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, sculptor Phyllis Mary Bone, peace campaigner Chrystal MacMillan, astronaut Piers Sellers, painters Anne Redpath and Elizabeth Blackadder, and a host of famous authors such as Sir Walter Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, JM Barrie and JK Rowling.

The University is associated with 20 Nobel Prize winners, most recently in the case of Professors Edvard and Mary Britt Moser in 2014 and Professor Peter Higgs in 2013, three UK prime ministers and a number of Olympic gold medalists.