College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

Vet School

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is one of the oldest veterinary schools in the world, founded in 1823 by William Dick.

Dick plaque
William Dick (1793-1866)

The Vet School grew from humble beginnings: in 1823, William Dick founded the first veterinary school in Scotland with funding from the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (H&ASS). 

It was located in a courtyard in Clyde Street in the Georgian New Town of Edinburgh with a remit to promote the "public instruction in the veterinary art and the diseases of livestock".

By 1837, Dick had been appointed Veterinary Surgeon to the Queen in Scotland. Three years later, the directors of the Highland Society approved that the school should bear the name ‘Veterinary College’ and that Dick be given the title ‘Professor’. The college’s first chair was the anatomist John Barlow. 

By 1863, more than 1,600 men had attended the college, 740 of whom received Highland Society diplomas.

In the years that followed, an agreement was made with the veterinary governing body, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and in 1881, Dick Vet graduates began to be certified by the RCVS diploma.

In August 1906, the college was renamed the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College through an act of Parliament. It became a constituent part of the University of Edinburgh in 1951 and a full faculty in 1964.

Read more at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies website