The University of Edinburgh (abbreviated as Edin. in post-nominals) is a public research university in Edinburgh, Scotland. Granted a royal charter by James VI in 1582 and officially opened in 1583, the university is the sixth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities. The university has five main campuses in the city of Edinburgh, which include many buildings of historical and architectural significance such as those in Old Town. The university played an important role in Edinburgh becoming a chief intellectual centre during the Scottish Enlightenment, contributing to the city being nicknamed the “Athens of the North”.
The university is a member of a number of prestigious academic organisations, including the Russell Group, the Coimbra Group, the Universitas 21, and the League of European Research Universities, a consortium of 23 leading research universities in Europe. It has the third largest endowment of any university in the United Kingdom, after the universities of Cambridge and Oxford. In 2019-20, the university has a consolidated annual income of £1,125.3 million, of which £296.1 million was from research grants and contracts.
The alumni of the university include some of the major figures of modern history. From naturalist Charles Darwin and mathematician Thomas Bayes to philosopher David Hume, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, surgeon Joseph Lister, physicist James Clerk Maxwell, three signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence, nine heads of state and government (including three Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom), and a myriad of famous writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, and Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
As of 2020, Edinburgh's alumni, faculty members and researchers include 19 Nobel laureates, three Turing Award laureates, an Abel Prize winner and Fields Medalist, two Pulitzer Prize winners, two currently sitting UK Supreme Court Justices, and several Olympic gold medallists. It continues to have links to the British Royal Family, having had Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as its Chancellor from 1953 to 2010 and Princess Anne since 2011.
The university receives approximately 60,000 applications every year, making it the second most popular university in the United Kingdom by volume of applications. It has the 4th-highest average UCAS entry tariff in Scotland, and 7th overall in the United Kingdom.