Happy 600th St Andrews

Over six centuries it has established itself as on of Europe’s leading centres for education and research - and most recently, of course, it was the place where Prince William met his future wife.

Universities past

The history of university education in Scotland goes back to the earliest days of the European Renaissance. Independently minded artists and thinkers were re-examining the Greek and Roman Classics which had begun to flow back into the West from the Muslim world, preserved in Arabic translations throughout Europe’s Dark Ages.

In 1413 Pope Benedict XIII issued a Papal Bull awarding university status to the existing school at St Andrews Cathedral, making it the first university in Scotland and one of only 24 in the world at the time.

St Andrews is consistently judged as world-class for teaching and research and is consistently placed as the top university in Scotland. It is currently ranked as the third best university in the UK, according to annual league tables produced by The Times, Sunday Times and The Guardian. The Times Higher Education World Universities Ranking named St Andrews among the world’s Top 20 Arts and Humanities universities in 2010. It has maintained strong links with leading academic institutions in the United States and Canada, including members of the Ivy League.

St Andrews has a diverse student body and cosmopolitan character due to more than 30 per cent of its students being from well over 100 countries - 15 per cent of the current student body coming from North America.

Anniversary Celebrations

As part of a weekend of celebrations 600th anniversary, Historic Scotland have planned a series of events giving insight into the experience of medieval pilgrims and other historical figures over the centuries.

“St Andrews is now known around the world as the place where Prince William met his future bride, but it was also the central focus of Scotland’s religious power for centuries and as such was the chosen location for Scotland’s first university founded in 1413. This is a great opportunity to discover what led up to the founding of the University and the turbulent events that followed.” 

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Last updated 16 Dec 2014