University of Dundee

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 254 UR-DU
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Physical Description
      To be confirmed, c 10 linear meters to present The records are on paper and include plans and photographs with some videos and CD-Roms.

Scope and Content

Official records of the College including minutes, files of the Principal's and Secretary's offices, and calendars; papers of teaching staff; matriculation and other student records; student magazines; some departmental files; publications, plans and photographs, 1967-present.

Administrative / Biographical History

The University of Dundee was established by Royal Charter on 1 August 1967. The creation of the University was due to increasing political pressures to admit more students to higher education. Under these pressures it became untenable for Queens College, Dundee to continue as it was, as a college of the University of St Andrews. The Robbins Committee Report of 1963 stated that full-time education should be open to all who were qualified. Local town planning regulations prevented significant expansion in St Andrews but Thomas Malcolm Knox, then Principal of St Andrews, estimated that Dundee could, with modest building expansion, take 6000 students or about three times the existing number. In 1964 he moved that there should be an independent university in Dundee, this was accepted by Queen's College and by St Andrews despite there being a history of strong opposition to the idea at the latter. The first officers of the University were James Drever, Principal and previously Master of Queen's College, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Chancellor, and Peter Ustinov, Rector.

An increase in student numbers meant an expansion of the campus. In late 1967 a new Medical Sciences Institute opened in order to provide full pre-clinical teaching and this was closely followed in 1969 by an adjacent Biological Sciences building. Bonar Hall opened in 1977, the result of a public appeal run by the University of St Andrews from 1962-67 to build a College Hall in Dundee. 1969 saw much discussion over the use of the central part of the main campus precinct. Priorities were identified as being a students' union, a sports centre and a new library. The students' union was completed in 1974, after another University appeal, and incorporated a swimming pool for the use of students and staff. The sports centre was completed in 1979 but the library was not finished until 1986 after tenders initially being sought in 1973. The Ninewells hospital complex finally opened in 1973 after a lengthy building operation. The Medical Faculty expanded further in 1995 when the University of Dundee won the contract for pre-registration training of nurses and midwives in Fife and Tayside and took over the Tayside College of Nursing and the Fife College of Health Studies in Kirkcaldy. The most recent large building project that the University has undertaken is the Wellcome Trust Biocentre, completed in 1997. This was mainly funded by a donation of 10 million from the Wellcome Trust, believed to be the largest single charitable donation ever given to a Scottish institution.

Teaching in the University initially covered the same spectrum as in Queen's College, with generally more emphasis on applied subjects. The main areas where expansion was targeted were pre-clinical Medicine and the Arts. The needs of these two areas were somewhat different. Medicine needed space for greater student numbers since the infrastructure of departments and chairs were well established. Many Arts subjects however suffered from being seen as auxiliary disciplines. This was rectified to some extent by the establishment in 1969 of a Chair in English and in 1980 of a Chair in Modern Languages. The name of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Letters was changed in 1975 to Arts and Social Sciences with the intention of improving the image of Arts at the University. Since becoming a university, teaching in Dundee has improved to such an extent that many departments have five star ratings: Bioscience, English and Art are particularly strong. In 1994 the hitherto independent Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art became a faculty of the University. A significant trend in recent years has been the formation of multi-disciplinary units such as the Tay Estuary Research Centre combining several departments. There has also been a move towards fostering collaboration in teaching, research and other areas with St Andrews University.

In 1998 the University of Dundee won the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Educational Institutions. In 2000 the University's annual turnover was in excess of 100 million, bringing in the third highest research earnings in Scotland. There were more than 11,000 students and 2500 staff, accounting for eight per cent of Dundee's local population.


The material was previously arranged in order of accession. It is awaiting rearrangement under a proper structure.

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

The records were mainly transferred by the University of Dundee.


Fonds level description compiled by Lisa Strachan, GASHE Archivist, December 2000 and revised by Caroline Brown, June 2003.

Other Finding Aids

The items were numbered as accessioned and filed in the RU series. Lists of these records are available as are databases and source lists.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.


Regular accruals expected.

Related Material

UR-UCD University College Dundee

UR-QU Queen's College, Dundee


Shafe, Michael, University Education in Dundee 1881-1981: A Pictorial History, Dundee: University of Dundee, 1982

Additional Information

The material is original.

Corporate Names

Geographical Names