College of Science & Engineering

Introduction to the College

Explaining what the College of Science and Engineering is, and what it does through its key functions, structures and aims.

Our vision

We deliver impact for society.

As part of a truly global university, rooted in Scotland’s capital city, we make a significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to the world.


Our mission

We discover, develop and share knowledge.

As a centre of academic excellence we aim to:

  • provide the highest-quality research-led teaching and learning;
  • challenge the boundaries of knowledge, research and disciplines;
  • enable our graduates and staff to be exceptional individuals equipped to address global challenges;
  • promote good health, economic growth, cultural understanding and social well-being.

University of Edinburgh Strategic Plan


Senior Management 

Dave Robertson photo

Head of College  

Professor Dave Robertson 






Bruce Nelson portrait

College Registrar

Dr Bruce Nelson


Full College Office staff contact list


Staff and student numbers

We currently have:

  • 10,018 total students (figures correct on 23 April 2018)
    • 6721 undergraduate students
    • 1376 taught postgraduate students
    • 1921 research postgraduates
  • 3431 total staff 
    • 1468 support staff
    • 1963 academic staff


College structure

The University of Edinburgh is comprised of 21 academic schools, each school belongs to one of three colleges:

  • College of Science and Engineering (CSE)
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS)
  • College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (MVM)

There is also an administrative office within each College which carries out specific centralised functions on behalf of their schools (see College Office).

We also have a centre of excellence in EPCC specialising in Supercomputing.

Simple structure diagram of University of Edinburgh


The Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library
The Library at King's Buildings

Our Schools and Centres

The seven College of Science and Engineering schools are:

Biological Sciences






Physics and Astronomy

We also have a centre of excellence:




As a major, comprehensive university we conduct research of the highest standard across a broad spectrum of disciplines.

Our discipline-specific research is impressive but we also focus on challenging our  researchers to explore the space between traditional disciplines, creating transformational discoveries that enrich society.

REF 2014 results

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

In the Research Excellence Framework assessment in 2014, as a University, we were fourth in the UK by research power and in the top five in most individual subjects.

Of our seven submissions from College of Science & Engineering schools, 3 were ranked top in the UK and all 7 were in the top 5 in their discipline in the Times Higher Power rankings, and over 95% of our staff were submitted.

More information on our Research


The College Office

The College Office is the central administrative function at CSE and carries out the following tasks:

  • central admissions and administration for undergraduate and postgraduate students in Science & Engineering
  • on-course administration for all students
  • administration of promotions and other academic staff affairs
  • estates, finance, procurement and human resources services for the College
  • public engagement and communications services for the College
  • support for research and strategic projects
  • a number of other cross-College or cross-University programmes

More information on the College Office



Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin - University of Edinburgh Alumni

Science has been taught at Edinburgh since the sixteenth century, when it was known as 'natural philosophy'. The seventeenth century saw the institution of the University Chairs of Mathematics and Botany, followed the next century by Chairs of Natural History, Astronomy, Chemistry and Agriculture. During the eighteenth century, the University was a key contributor to the Scottish Enlightenment and it educated many of the leading scientists of the time.

Many famous and important alumni have studied here including Charles Darwin.

More on the history of the College



The College is located across two sites within Edinburgh at King's Buildings and the Central Campus

Location & map


Related links

CSE Social Media

Latest CSE News & events

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science

The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine