Carnegie Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Training was established in 1905 by the Carnegie Trust, through the influence of Dr Alan Tuke a local medical general practitioner who was a Carnegie trustee. The establishment of the college was due to a need to train teachers in physical education that had become apparent after the Carnegie Trust had provided a new swimming bath, gymnasium and teachers to visit schools to instruct children. The College only took female students until 1908 when men were admitted for the first time. Because of the provision of a new college building and school clinic, the school changed its name to Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Education in 1914.
No sooner had the new college been provided but war broke out. Between 1914 and 1918 the college was used by the armed forces. In 1921 the College was affiliated to the National Committee for the Training of Teachers in Scotland. This meant that finances now came from national funds although the Trustees continued their administration of its work. The College had now received the status of a training college. 20 June 1930 the Central Executive Committee reached the decision that the women should be transferred to a University Centre as early as possible, and that male students should be transferred to Jordanhill College, Glasgow, from October 1931. As the trustees were not happy with a move away from Dunfermline money was used to build a new hostel for the women. In 1950 the College dropped 'Hygiene' from its title.
Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Education originally operated from the accommodation that had been built when the college changed its name in 1914. In 1919 a hostel was purchased for women students which had formerly been the house of the British Linen Bank Agent in Canmore Street, Dunfermline. Between 1939 and 1946 the college buildings were commandeered by the armed forces and the college temporarily removed to Aberdeen University. In 1950 Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Education transferred to Woolmanhill, Aberdeen due to problems at the Dunfermline site, particularly concerning overcrowding.
Elsie Cunningham probably attended the College from 1937, and completed her training in 1939.