Edinburgh Medical School


By bringing the right individuals together, both clinical and non-clinical, we catalyse and create the opportunities to develop exciting and cutting edge work that makes a difference to people’s lives.

Edinburgh Medical School delivers a first class education in first class facilities by excited people who are at the cutting edge. They offer an excellent experience in an environment where research is cherished and prosecuted.

We believe research is an important component of the life of every student as a means of understanding a way of thinking that will equip them to deliver positive change for humanity.

An Optima researcher examines a specimen

Edinburgh Medical School and Deaneries

Edinburgh Medical School is a large medical school by UK standards, divided into three deaneries. These are associated with the three campuses on which we conduct most of our research and teaching.

The three Deaneries are the Deanery of Clinical Sciences, which is largely based on the Royal Infirmary site, the Deanery of Biomedical Sciences, which is mainly based around the George Square campus in the centre of Edinburgh, and the Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences.

One Medicine, One Biology, One Health

Together we form a unique grouping in the UK where Vets, Medics and Biomedical Scientists work together and study the common causes of disease that affect our populations. Our campuses, our structure, and the organisation of our degrees ensures that we have people from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and Edinburgh Medical School breathing the same air, designing projects together, and teaching in their specialist areas.

Every student a researcher, every researcher a teacher

We believe firmly that understanding research and delivering research as part of your undergraduate or postgraduate degree will equip you with a way of thinking that will allow you to effect real change in the world in whatever context you end up working.


Edinburgh Medical School has been influencing the world of medicine for centuries. The University of Edinburgh grew out of an incredible tradition in Scotland where education was not only valued but to a certain extent was made mandatory. James IV of Scotland determined that each parish should have a priest or a teacher who would tend to the education of the parishioners. Formed in 1583 in a surprisingly modern approach, the Town Council felt that the formation of a civic University, indeed the first civic University in Scotland, would strengthen Scotland’s economy. The Faculty of Medicine, as it was then known, was founded in 1726.

The University of Edinburgh Medical School is now a recognised brand the world over, and continues to push at the cutting edge of medicine.


Edinburgh Medical School has many notable alumni, and very familiar names include Joseph Black, considered in chemistry circles to be the father of modern chemistry; James Young-Simpson, credited with developing modern anaesthesia with Chloroform; Arthur Conan Doyle, whose based his most famous character, Sherlock Holmes, on his old mentor Joseph Bell; and Charles Darwin, whose Edinburgh education unquestionably contributed to the development of natural selection as a vehicle for evolution that made him a very famous scientist and arguably developed the most important idea of the 19th century.

Joseph Black

James Young-Simpson

Arthur Conan Doyle

Charles Darwin

Trailblazing Women

We’ve named one of our major student facilities on the Royal Infirmary site in our Chancellor’s building after Sophia Jex-Blake. Sophia fought valiantly for the rights of women to enter medical school and to qualify as doctors. She led the Edinburgh Seven, an important nucleus of individuals who drove the process of equality for women within medical education. Isabel Thorne, Edith Pechey, Matilda Chaplin, Helen Evans, Mary Anderson, and Emily Bovell were the first group of women to matriculate from any British University.

They were commemorated with a plaque by Historic Scotland at the University of Edinburgh on the 10th of September, 2015.