Thomas Ferguson Rodger was born in Glasgow on 4 November 1907. His father, Thomas, was an insurance agent. He attended North Kelvinside School. He matriculated to study at the University of Glasgow in 1923 at the age of 15 and graduated BSc in 1927 and MB ChB with commendation in 1929. He married Jean Chalmers in 1934 and had three children. His eldest son, Alan Ferguson Rodger, went on to become Baron Rodger of Earsferry, a Scottish lawyer and Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
After completing his post-graduate medical training Rodger became assistant to Sir David Henderson at the Glasgow Royal Mental Hospital at Gartnavel and to Professor Adolph Meyer at the Department of Psychiatry in Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (1931-1932). He returned to Gartnavel as the hospital's Deputy Superintendent and also worked as an Assistant Lecturer in Psychiatry at the University of Glasgow (1933-1940). During the Second World War he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps until 1944 and then with the Army Medical Services in India as a consultant in Psychiatry (1944-1945). He became an international authority on the techniques of officer selection and personnel deployment technique and rose to the rank of Brigadier.
Rodger returned to Scotland as Senior Commissioner to the General Board of Control and held this position until 1948. When he was appointed to the new Chair at the University in 1949 his department was based at the Southern General Hospital, and Rodger was instrumental (with the surgeon J Sloan Robertson) in establishing that hospital's reputation as a pioneer in combining Psychological Medicine and Neurological Sciences. An acknowledged leader in his field, Rodger was a consultant psychiatrist to the Southern General and the Glasgow Western Infirmary; Honorary Consulting Psychiatrist to the Army in Scotland; Vice-President of the Royal College of Psychiatry, and he served on Government and World Health Organisation committees. He was appointed CBE in 1967 and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry in 1972.
He retired in 1973 and died in Glasgow in 1978.