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The University of Aberdeen is a public research university located in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. The renowned school is an ancient university, founded in 1495 when William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen, petitioned Pope Alexander VI on behalf of James IV, King of the Scots, to create King's College, the original name given to the University of Aberdeen.

Based on the date of its founding, the University of Aberdeen is Scotland's third-oldest university, with only the University of St. Andrews and the University of Glasgow preceding it.  It is also the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the English-speaking world. The university, as it is today, was formed in the year 1860 via a merger between King's College (which had always referred to itself as the University of Aberdeen) and Marischal College, a second university, founded in 1593 in the Aberdeen city center as a Protestant alternative to King's College. Today, the University of Aberdeen is consistently ranked among the top 150 universities in the world and is one of two universities situated in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland—the other being the Robert Gordon University.

More about the University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen’s iconic buildings act as symbols of the City of Aberdeen, particularly Marischal College in the city center and the spire of King's College in Old Aberdeen. The school has two campuses; the main King's College campus is at Old Aberdeen approximately two miles north of the city center, around the original site of King's College, although most of the campus buildings were reconstructed in the 20th century during a period of expansion. The university's second campus, the Foresterhill campus, which is located next to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, houses the university’s School of Medicine and Dentistry as well as the School of Medical Sciences.

The University of Aberdeen has approximately 13,500 students, ranging from individuals studying at the undergraduate level to those pursuing doctoral studies, including a good number of international students. In addition, the university’s Center for Lifelong Learning acts as an extension college, offering higher education courses to the local community, even for those without the usual qualifications for admission to degree-level studies. A full range of disciplines and courses of study are offered at the University of Aberdeen, and in 2012 the school offered over 650 undergraduate degree programs.

As of this date, there are five Nobel Prize winners that are associated with the University of Aberdeen.  Other academics and graduates of the University include many distinguished figures, including: physicist James Clerk Maxwell; Thomas Reid, the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense and an important figure in the Scottish Enlightenment; philosopher Robert Adamson; educationalist and philosopher Alexander Bain; and the theologian William Robinson Clark.

The University of Aberdeen:  Student Representation and Organizations at the

The University of Aberdeen is home to nearly 14,000 students, of which approximately 3,900 are studying for some type of postgraduate degree.  The diverse student community is made up of individuals from roughly 120 different countries throughout the world, with about 46% of the student body being men, and 54% women. Of all of the undergraduates at the University of Aberdeen, 19% were mature students (i.e. aged 25 years or more).

Currently, the university has more than 650 different undergraduate degree (bachelor-level) programs and more than 120 postgraduate programs (programs for Master’s, PhD and Specialty degree candidates).

Student Representation

The student body at the University of Aberdeen is represented by a Students' Association known as the Aberdeen University Students' Association (AUSA). Additionally, the elected Rector of the University of Aberdeen serves alongside the Rector's Assessor and the AUSA President as the students' representatives on the University Court. The Rector of the university is currently businessman Maitland Mackie.

The Aberdeen University Students' Association does not currently operate a traditional Student's Union (although students of the University of Aberdeen are able to use that of The Robert Gordon University). A large Student's Union formerly occupied an impressive granite building on the corner of Gallowgate and Upperkirkgate in the city center, but it closed in 2003. The building has been derelict since that time. A second, smaller union opened at nearby Littlejohn Street a couple of years later but by 2010 it too had closed.

The AUSA has been involved in the creation of "The Hub," a dynamic and student-friendly university-owned dining and social center created by an extensive renovation of the former Central Refectory at the King's College campus. It provides facilities for the whole university community (students and staff) and opened in 2006.

A more traditional social space for students, the Butchart Student Center, opened in 2009. It acts as the headquarters of the Students' Association and provides a wide range of student facilities, but due to city council licensing regulations there is no bar. Facilities at the Butchart Center include a large cafe, second-hand bookstore, facilities for student societies, office accommodation and various others amenities. The Butchart Center was converted from what had been the campus sports center before the opening of the Aberdeen Sports Village nearby.

Student Organizations

Although the University of Aberdeen is renowned for its academic programs and the success of its graduates and faculty, the school also offers plenty of opportunities for extracurricular activities that help complete the students’ university’s experience.

There are currently over a hundred clubs and societies that are formally affiliated with the University of Aberdeen’s students' association. The students' association is also responsible for sports at the institution, which are managed by the Aberdeen University Sports Union, an AUSA committee. All registered students are eligible to join any of these clubs or societies.

The oldest or longest-running student organization at the university is the Aberdeen University Debater, founded in 1848 as the King's College Debating Society.  The first successful university newspaper, Alma Mater, began under the auspices of the University of Aberdeen Debating Society in 1883. In 1884, the society also took the first steps towards the introduction of a Students' Representative Council under the support of Alexander Bain, the then Rector. The creation of the Union in 1895 provided a new debating chamber in Marischal College and the first permanent home of the society. The chamber beneath Mitchell Hall in Marischal College is the oldest purpose-built debating chamber in Scotland.

The university’s Aberdeen Future Fund is run by the Development Trust, a registered charity of Scotland, which seeks positive relationships and generosity of Aberdeen Alumni, in order to contribute to the high quality of the school’s student experiences. Since its founding in 1998, Aberdeen Future Fund has raised over £2.5 Million of unrestricted funds, thanks in large part to alumni. The individuals who speak to alumni to create and develop these relationships are students of the University of Aberdeen, so alumni can relate to younger generations through the University.

In recent years, projects supported by the Aberdeen Future Fund have included the New Library, Sports clubs and societies, student scholarships, and medical research. Past projects have included a book fund for the Heavy Demand section in the library, providing "Safe Campus" leaflets, contributing to the student hardship fund, providing training mannequins for Clinical Skills, the organ for King's College Chapel, and funding for intramural sports.

The University of Aberdeen: Accommodations

Halls of residence at the University of Aberdeen are managed wholly by the University. Two large concentrations of University accommodation are provided on the campus in Old Aberdeen, consisting of Crombie-Johnston Halls (both individual but sister halls) and King's Hall.

About a mile to the north of these dorms, between Seaton Park and the bend in the River Don, lie the Hillhead halls of residence site. Here there are a large number of self-catering flats, as well as a social center with security staff, catering, sports and computer facilities, in addition to on-site launderettes, a bar (billed as "The Union") and a shop that specializes in student essentials. In addition, there are other student accommodations in the city that are owned and operated by private providers such as the Unite Group.

Following their first year of study at the University of Aberdeen, the majority of students move to private accommodation off-campus or in privately owned halls of residence such as those of the Unite Group. However, in recent years the rising rents and limited availability of these private accommodations have seen more and more second and third year students returning to the university halls.

Although the University of Aberdeen has previously advertised a "First-Year Accommodation Guarantee," in recent years the high demand for rental property in the rapidly growing city has made it increasingly difficult to fulfill that promise.

The University of Aberdeen: Sports, Music and Media


The students' association is responsible for all sporting teams and activities at the University of Aberdeen, which are collectively managed by the Aberdeen University Sports Union, an AUSA committee.

There are currently a number of large playing fields at the back of King's College; and across the road and down another street lies the Aberdeen Sports Village, a partnership between the University of Aberdeen, the Aberdeen City Council and a group known as sportscotland. The venue includes a nine-court, indoor hall, full-sized synthetic football pitch, synthetic cricket wicket, fitness suite, squash courts and a sports performance lab among other facilities.

The Aberdeen Sports Village served as one of the official pre-games training venues of the Cameroon Olympic Team prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games. An aquatics center featuring a 10 lane 50m pool and diving complex is currently being constructed on the site and is expected to open in early 2015.


There are a large number of ensembles at the University of Aberdeen. Some of these are directed by academic staff, while others are run by students both in and out of the department and include; Balinese Gamelan, Baroque Ensemble, Big Band, Cantores ad Portam, Chapel Choir, Choral Society, Concert Band, Elphinstone Fiddlers, Flute Choir, New Music Ensemble, Steel Pans, String Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Viol Consort.

Student media

There are a number of student media organizations at the University of Aberdeen. These include The Gaudie (student newspaper) and the Aberdeen Student Radio (ASR)

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SRAS, University Office, King's College, Aberdeen, The United Kingdom, AB24 3FX

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