Our alumni

By choosing to pursue further study or research at Edinburgh you will be joining a community of scholars that have been at the forefront of knowledge since 1583.

Dr Piers Sellers in a spacesuit

For more than 400 years the University has played host to scientists, philosophers and politicians who have shaped the modern world.

Our graduates signed the United States’ Declaration of Independence, founded Ivy League universities, brought modern medicine to China, post-colonial government to Africa, and wrote some of the world’s most widely read books.

They have been awarded Nobel Prizes, won Olympic events and travelled into space.

A proud heritage

Some of our distinguished former students include:

  • Charles Darwin - naturalist and author of “The Origin of Species”
  • David Hume - philosopher and leading figure of the Enlightenment
  • James Clerk Maxwell - physicist
  • James Simpson - pioneer of chloroform in midwifery and surgery
  • Alexander Graham Bell - inventor

Novelists Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson also studied here.

Recent alumni

Recent alumni include:

  • Dr Piers Sellers - third Briton to go into space in 2002
  • Stella Rimington - former MI5 director
  • Gordon Brown - Former UK Prime Minister
  • Sir Charles Tupper - Canadian Prime Minister
  • Lord Hamilton - Scotland’s most senior judge

Alumnus of the year

Recent recipients of this award have included novelists Ian Rankin, Philippa Gregory and Alexander McCall Smith and Olympic medallists Chris Hoy and Katherine Grainger.

Photograph copyright NASA.


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