THE Act of 1872, as an
outstanding feature in the history of education, has been dealt with as the
starting-point of our fourth school period from that date to the present
time. The Act of 1858, as conspicuous for its influence on university, as
that of 1872 on school life, has been chosen as the commencement of our
fourth university period.
There are two great landmarks
in the history of the Scottish universities, the remodelling which they
underwent in 1858 and again in 1889. Before 1858 in all the universities,
except Edinburgh, the administration was in the hands of the Senatus
Academicus. In Edinburgh it was largely in the hands of the municipality.
The commissioners of 1858 were instructed to have special regard to the
several reports which followed the visits of the commissions between 1826
and 1857. These instructions were faithfully carried out, and resulted in
the excellent Act of 1858, which may be said to have nationalised the
Scottish universities. The ordinances passed under it practically regulated
the action of them all for more than thirty years.
By the Act of 1858 larger
powers were given to the Senatus, and the University Court and General
Council were instituted. Henceforth in Glasgow and Aberdeen the Rector was
as hitherto elected by the matriculated students divided into four
'nations,' but in Edinburgh and St Andrews in such manner as the
commissioners might determine. The functions of the faculty were divided
between the Senate and the University Court. To this Court, consisting of
the Rector, Principal (and in Edinburgh the Lord Provost, in Glasgow the
Dean of Faculties), and four assessors, was transferred the appointment of
professors. It is more correct to say that the Crown's patronage was
retained, and that the Town's went to the Curators. The Court had charge of
the revenue and pecuniary concerns generally, the regulation of fees, and
internal arrangements. The General Council consisted of the Chancellor,
University Court, the professors, graduates and others who had attended four
sessions [As graduation had (except in Aberdeen) gone much out of fashion,
registration in the General Council was granted to all who had, prior to
1861, completed four sessions, at least two of them being in the Faculty of
Arts.]. It met twice a year and made representations to the Court on any
questions affecting the welfare of the university. By the Ordinance of 1858
bursaries were revised, new professorships were founded, and provision was
made for assistants to professors and examiners for degrees. The order in
which classes were to be taken was left to the student's choice, and the
subjects of examination for degrees were arranged in three departments in
Glasgow and Edinburgh, but in St Andrews and Aberdeen there were four
departments, chemistry being compulsory in the former, natural history in
the latter. The subjects might be taken in any order, the result of which
was a large increase in graduation and in the number of students.
This concession to individual
tastes and requirements, while necessary and in some respects desirable, was
by many thought to be not an unmixed good, inasmuch as it affected
injuriously the unbroken social intercourse that formerly existed among
young men engaged in common pursuits and studies during their residence at
the university [University of Glasgow Old and New, XXV - XXVI ]. The
experience of thirty years and the investigation of the commission of 1876
brought to light a number of facts clearly suggesting the expediency of
One of the aims of the Act of
1858 was increase of graduation, and giving to graduates, through their
General Councils, an interest, and, to that extent, a share in university
administration. Through the institution of University Courts, the somewhat
close professorial atmosphere was freshened and vitalised by a wholesome
current of ventilation from without. Other aims were increase of professors'
emoluments and the appointment of assistants and additional professors. On
this subject the municipal origin of the University of Edinburgh
necessitated exceptional treatment. The appointment to professorships, which
up to this time had been in the hands of the Town Council, was now to be
transferred to the University Court. In this matter the Town Council had
used their power on the whole well, and naturally objected to its being
taken from them. But in view of the squabbling between the municipality and
the Senatus which, with faults on both sides, had characterised a
considerable part of the 18th and 19th centuries, and which sectarian
feeling, aroused by the ecclesiastical disruption of 1843, would tend to
foster while interfering with wholesome administration, a moderate check on
the autocracy of the Town Council was thought desirable. A compromise was
accordingly adopted which assigned the patronage of the university to seven
curators, four of whom were to be nominated by the Town Council, and three
by the University Court.
It was certainly better that
the influence of the Town Council in making appointments to chairs should be
exercised in this way than by compelling candidates to canvass thirty
representatives of city wards. It was further ordained that the Rector was
to be elected by the students, and the Chancellor by the graduates or
General Council. In the House of Commons a permissive clause was proposed by
Mr Gladstone that the four universities should take the form of `colleges'
of a central university, which should conduct examinations for all Scotland
in a way somewhat akin to the London University. Some approved of this as
tending to secure uniformity of attainment and stimulate effort on the part
of both professor and student. The House of Lords thought it an innovation
undesirable on the ground of sentiment and tradition. As it was only
permissive it was allowed to remain part of the act.
A powerful executive
commission was appointed to carry out the purposes of the act. It was
entrusted with large powers which, injudiciously used, might have worked
ruin, but the interests of the universities were safe in the hands of such
men as the Duke of Argyll, Earls Stanhope and Mansfield, Lord President
McNeill, Stirling of Keir, Lord Moncrieff, and, most important of all, the
sagacious and energetic Lord Justice Clerk Inglis as chairman [" They acted
with the greatest wisdom and sagacity, and produced a system under which the
universities, and especially the University of Edinburgh sprang into new
life and development." Grant's .Story of Edinburgh University, II, p. 100.].
A proposal that principalships should not be confined to ministers of the
Established Church was carried. Of this change Sir David Brewster as
Principal of Edinburgh was the first fruit. In due course they proceeded to
frame regulations for graduation in medicine and arts, arranging for three
classes of medical degrees-Bachelor of Medicine (M.B.), Master in Surgery (C.M.),
and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). For the two lower degrees compliance with
Ordinance 5, which was merely supplementary to the arrangements adopted in
1833, was necessary. For M.D. the requirements were a lapse of two years
after the lower pass, age not less than twenty-four, and proof of
satisfactory attainments in the Faculty of Arts. The medical faculties in
their jealousy of extra-mural teaching made a protest against Ordinance 8
which sanctioned it, but without effect, and both ordinances were confirmed
in 186I. In 1866 the production of a thesis on some medical subject was
added, as necessary for the degree of M.D. Under these regulations, the
number of students and graduates in medicine rapidly increased till 1890,
when it fell off for about ten years and again increased. In the Faculty of
Arts the Commission of 1858 did not adopt the recommendation of the Royal
Commission of 1826-30 as to an entrance examination, but they instituted a
voluntary examination for a three years' course, and an examination testing
fitness for promotion from a junior to a senior class. They abolished the
system of B.A. and M.A. Of 1826, and also the B.A. instituted by the Senatus
Academicus in 1842, which was simply M.A. with the omission of some
subjects. Instead of this they established only one M.A. degree which could
be taken in three stages.
This was adopted to encourage
graduation and enlarge the General Council. It had this effect, and infused
a general spirit of work into the various classes. The subjects covered by
the Arts course were Latin, Greek, mathematics, natural philosophy, logic,
moral philosophy and rhetoric. For the ordinary M.A. degree examination in
these seven subjects was necessary.
Honours might be taken in
each of the following departments: (1) classical literature; (2) mental
philosophy, including logic, metaphysics, and moral philosophy; (3)
mathematics, including pure mathematics and natural philosophy, and (4)
natural science, including geology, zoology and chemistry. In each of the
first three of these departments, there were two grades of honour, but in
natural science only one [In St Andrews and Aberdeen Science was an eighth
compulsory subject. ].
While attendance at the
classes of these seven subjects was necessary for degree, it is scarcely
doubtful that the pitch of the examination was not high, but considerably
higher than that of Cambridge or Oxford even now. The scarcity, and
comparatively isolated position of secondary schools in our educational
system, in many parts of the country, was incompatible with a highly pitched
graduation scheme. The aim of the commissioners to increase graduation was
entirely laudable. They wished to promote general culture, and arouse
academic ambition in the only way then possible. It was in the interest of
general culture that the degree of M.A. conferring membership of the General
Council and consequently a share in the business of the university, should
be held out, as a possible result of four years' diligence and average
ability, to a lad whose education in a rural school was of a comparatively
humble type. That it was successful is beyond question. For a considerable
time not more than half the students took part in the class examination. Not
long after, eighty per cent. did. There was a gradual raising of test and a
strict examination in all the subjects was rigidly enforced.
Between 1863 and the
commissioners' report in 1878 no new professorships or lectureships had been
founded in the University of Aberdeen. In St Andrews a professorship of the
Theory, History, and Practice of Education was instituted in 1876 on an
endowment provided for under the will of the Rev. Dr Andrew Bell of Egmore,
founder of the Madras system of education. In Glasgow two professorships,
one of clinical surgery and another of clinical medicine, were instituted by
the Senatus Academicus, with the approval of the University Court. An
endowment of £2500 was provided from private sources for each chair, and the
patronage was vested in the University Court. The incumbents of these chairs
were allowed to practise as a supplement to the endowment, which at 4 per
cent. would produce only £100. The respective rights, with regard to
graduation, of the two clinical professors on the one hand, and of their
medical colleagues on the other, especially the professors of practice of
medicine and systematic surgery, were subjects of keen controversy, for the
settlement of which the commissioners thought they had no authority, and
that it was more suitably left in the hands of the University Court.
Between 1863 and 1876 four
new professorships were founded in the University of Edinburgh by the
Senatus Academicus, that of engineering in 1868, that of geology and
mineralogy in 1871, that of commercial and political economy and mercantile
law in 1871, that of theory, history, and practice of education in 1876 [Reort
of Commissioners of 1876, pp. 51-3.].
The Senatus Academicus with
these additions was in 1876 the following.
In St Andrews, 2 Principals
and 13 Professors, in all 15.
In Glasgow, 1 Principal and 27 Professors, in all 28.
In Aberdeen, 1 Principal and 21 Professors, in all 22.
In Edinburgh, 1 Principal and 36 Professors, in all 37.
After discussing the general
propriety and expediency of the establishment of new chairs, the
commissioners urge caution in accepting offers of endowments for new
professorships. "Some of these may be highly beneficial, while others may be
of doubtful expediency ; and, to ensure that no chair shall be founded
without a full and unprejudiced consideration of the probable consequences
of its institution, and of the conditions under which its institution, if
resolved on, should be sanctioned, we think that some check on the power of
the universities to establish new chairs should be provided by legislation
[Report of Commissioners of 1876, p. 67]." They add however that the same
objections do not apply to lectureships, which are not necessarily of a
permanent nature, and may be discontinued if found to be unnecessary or
In the evidence given before
the commissioners in 1876 there was great variety of opinion about the
discontinuance of junior classes, in which the work done was more suitable
for school than university. The preponderance of evidence was against the
discontinuance, which was also the opinion of the commissioners themselves.
They accordingly advised their continuance, on the ground that, in many
parts of Scotland, the supply of such secondary education as would qualify
for entrance into a senior class is not to be had, and that university
education would be denied to many who might be able to turn it to good
account. They thought that any rule which would shut the gates of the
university against a student who failed to pass a certain examination would,
in the circumstances of Scotland, be injurious to the education of the
country ; that university attendance was unusually large in proportion to
the population; that educational conditions were very various, and not less
various the objects with which, and the ages at which, students came to the
university; that many of the backward students were beyond school age, and
could not be expected to return to school ; and, above all, that national
life and character had been for centuries most beneficially influenced by
the universities being accessible to all, even the poorest. With these views
the commissioners of 1889 agreed, adding, however, that while it would be
hard at present to discontinue junior classes in the interest of the
backward students, they thought it undesirable that they should be
permanent. They are now discontinued, but there are tutorial classes for
students preparing to pass the preliminary examination.
On the kindred question as to
enforcing a preliminary examination as a condition of entrance the
commissioners in 1876 took the same sound view. In this they were followed
by the commissioners of 1889 who held that the "first and indispensable
condition for the erection of a barrier at the gates of the university is
that candidates for admission should have sufficient means and opportunity
for preparing themselves for the university at school [Report of
Commissioners of 1889, p. x.]."
In 1892 in consequence of
representations made to the commissioners a preliminary examination was for
the first time instituted, in order (1) to maintain the distinction between
school and university education, and (2) at the same time avoid possible
injustice to candidates whose opportunities of getting advanced education
were unsatisfactory. The subjects of examination were English, Latin or
Greek, mathematics, and one of the following, French, German, Italian,
dynamics. As many candidates come from elementary schools which could
prepare students to pass in two, but not in the whole four subjects of the
preliminary examination, the commissioners ordained that "any student, who
had passed in Latin, Greek, or mathematics on the higher standard, may
attend a qualifying class in such subject or subjects without having passed
in the other subjects; but no candidate can present himself for examination
in any subject qualifying for graduation, till he has passed the whole
preliminary examination, nor can he be admitted to a degree in Arts, unless
he has attended qualifying classes for three years after completing the
preliminary examination [Ordinance 44, Section IV.]."
By this arrangement students
were permitted to attend the classes for which they had proved their
fitness. They could thereafter, either privately or in the summer vacation,
prepare to pass in the other subjects, instead of giving up the university
altogether. But for this modification of the original Ordinance students of
possibly great ability, though weak in classics and mathematics, would,
mainly owing to their distance from good schools, have been denied the
opportunity of reaching, as many such have done, high academic distinction.
A middle course between laxity and severity was chosen, a good deal being
left to judicious action on the part of the University Court, the Senatus,
and the examiners. Consideration was thus given to the unsatisfactory
condition of secondary education in schools, while at the same time the
standard of the preliminary examination was not lowered. It has been
contended with considerable cogency, that the gates of the university should
be open to all comers irrespective of attainments, provided, of course, that
teaching is not lowered to suit the ill-prepared, who must be content to
pick up whatever they can. Of the expediency of the policy of the open door,
Scotland's educational history can furnish many notable examples.
The standard for a pass in
the preliminary examination was prescribed by reference to the examination
for the three years' curriculum established in 1858, and to the leaving
certificate of the Scotch Education Department. To secure uniformity in all
the universities, a board of examiners was instituted consisting of
professors, lecturers on subjects qualifying for graduation, and additional
examiners appointed by the University Courts.
After passing this
examination, the curriculum extended over not less than three winter
sessions, or two winter and three summer sessions, a winter session
including not less than twenty, and a summer session not less than ten
teaching weeks. While the traditional number of seven subjects was
unchanged, it was felt that the course of study covered by them was wanting
in pliancy and adaptation to individual taste or bent of mind, and a great
variety of options was consequently introduced.
While the course was thus
widened and liberalised, care was taken that the humanistic culture
characteristic of an Arts degree was preserved, as will be seen below from
the specification of imperative and optional subjects. This widening of the
curriculum was thought to have a useful bearing on the relation of the
Faculty of Arts to the Faculty of Medicine, inasmuch as some of these
science subjects might be taken during the Arts course, and so shorten the
medical course by a year, and that its tendency would be in the direction of
enlarged liberal education for the medical student. In Aberdeen, where
natural history was compulsory, a medical student saved a year by taking
chemistry in his fourth year in Arts.
Candidates for the ordinary
M.A. degree might follow the curriculum, and graduate in the subjects
hitherto recognised for graduation according to the regulations laid down in
Ordinances 12, 14, 18 and 69 of the Act of 1858, or they might vary the
curriculum in the following way. They must attend full courses and pass in
seven subjects four of which must be (a) Latin or Greek; (b) English or a
Modern Language (French, German, Italian, Spanish) or History; (c) Logic and
Metaphysics, or Moral Philosophy; (d) Mathematics or Natural Philosophy. The
remaining three subjects might be chosen from the following departments,
subject to the condition that the group of seven subjects must include
either (a) both Latin and Greek, or (b) both Logic and Moral Philosophy, or
(c) any two of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and Chemistry.
There were four departments.
1. Language and Literature.
Arabic or Syriac
2. Mental Philosophy.
Logic and Metaphysics.
Education (Theory, History and Art of).
Philosophy of Law.
4. History and Law.
Constitutional Law and History.
Archaeology and Art (History of).
A candidate for the M.A.
degree was not required to submit himself to examination in groups of
subjects. He might be examined in any subject, as soon as he had completed
attendance on the corresponding class. For the honours degree in Arts it
was, up to this time, necessary to pass in all the pass subjects, except in
the department in which the honours examination was taken. By the new
Ordinance exemption was allowed from some pass subjects in order that the
candidate might be free to devote his energies to the subjects in the
honours group in which he proposed to graduate.
The degree of M.A. might be
taken with honours in any of the following groups, provided honours classes
had been established in at least two subjects in that group:
(b) Mental Philosophy.
(c) Mathematics and Natural Philosophy.
(d) Semitic Languages.
(e) Indian Languages.
(f) English (Language, Literature, and
(g) Modern Languages and Literature.
(i) Economic Science (i.e.
Political Economy, with either (a) Moral Philosophy, or (b) History, as
Supplementary Honours subjects).
In each group there were three grades of
honours - first, second, and third class.
The candidate for honours
must take up at least five subjects, two of which must be selected from his
honours group. The five subjects must include one from each of the
departments of Language and Literature, Mental Philosophy, and Science.
The commissioners framed
Ordinances 31 and 45 instituting Faculties of Science (Report, p. xix).
These faculties vary in each university because the chairs in each are not
To enter in detail into the
matter of these two ordinances would far exceed our limits. It is perhaps
sufficient to say that "The Commissioners ordained that two degrees in
science may be conferred by each of the Universities of Scotland, viz.
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) and Doctor of Science (D.Sc.). These degrees may
be given in Pure Science and in Applied Science. To obtain the degree of
B.Sc. the ordinance prescribed the passing of a preliminary examination,
attendance on at least seven courses of instruction during not less than
three academical years and the passing of two science examinations."
In the University of
Edinburgh the prescribed subjects are (1906-7):
I. Preliminary Examination:
(2) One of the following - Latin, Greek, French or German.
(4) One of the following - Latin, Greek, French or German (if not already
taken); Italian, or such other language as the Senatus may approve,
II. First Science
(1) Mathematics or Biology
(i.e. Zoology and Botany).
(2) Natural Philosophy.
III. The Second Science
Examination is on a higher standard in any three or more of the following
(2) Natural Philosophy.
(5) Human Anatomy including Anthropology.
(6) Physiology including Histology and Physiological Chemistry.
(7) Geology including Mineralogy.
(8) Zoology including Comparative Anatomy.
(9) Botany including Vegetable Physiology.
Doctor of Science (D.Sc.).
Bachelors of Science of not
less than five years' standing may offer themselves for the degree of Doctor
of Science (D.Sc.) and must profess one of the branches of science
prescribed for the second science examination, in which they " will be
expected to show a thorough knowledge " as well as to present a thesis to be
approved by the Senatus.
In applied science the
degrees of B.Sc. and D.Sc. are conferred in the departments of engineering,
public health and agriculture.
Of the 169 ordinances issued
by the Commission Of 1889 41 are general and applicable to all the four
universities. It will be convenient to deal first with the most important of
these, and leave as far as possible those that have special reference to
each university to be taken up separately.
New Constitution of University
The new constitution of the
University Court marks a change of very great importance. In 1858 the number
of members was in St Andrews and Aberdeen 6, in Glasgow 7, and in Edinburgh
8. In the new Courts the number in each was raised to 14, independently of
possible additions of 4 in the event of new colleges being affiliated. This
increased membership was brought about by introducing the Provosts of the
four university towns, and giving additional assessors to the Senatus and
General Council. It was only in Edinburgh that the Lord Provost and his
assessor were formerly members, a very proper recognition of the strictly
municipal origin of the university. By the introduction of the Provosts a
popular element of great value in keeping with the temper of the time was
Increase in the membership
had a very distinct motive, and was accompanied by a large transference of
power and responsibility. Formerly, the Court was little more than a Court
of Appeal from the Senatus Academicus, which had the administration of
property and revenues, as well as discipline and education. In some of the
universities this power was thought excessive and
almost autocratic. By the new ordinance,
responsibility for discipline and education was left with the Senatus, but
the business management of property was vested in the University Court.
There were also certain decisions of the Senatus which it was competent for
the Court to supervise and review. This diminution of power had a partial
compensation for the Senatus in increased representation in the Court, and a
two-third share in the superintendence of libraries and museums.
Another new and valuable
element was the Students' Representative Council which had come
spontaneously into existence in 1884 and was now recognised by statute. It
is elected annually, and consists of representatives from the different
Faculties, and the recognised students' societies. Its functions are (1) To
represent the students in matters affecting their interests. (2) To afford a
recognised means of communication between the students and the university
authorities. (3) To promote social life and academic unity among the
students. Its constitution had to be approved by the University Court, and
it was entitled to petition the Senatus or the University Court about any
matter within their respective jurisdictions affecting the interests of the
Among the most important of
the new features of the act was the provision for the extension of
universities by the affiliation of new colleges, such as the University
College of Dundee with the University of St Andrews.
Another feature was the
institution of the Universities' Committee of the Privy Council. This
committee was to consist of the Lord President of the Privy Council, the
Secretary for Scotland, and, if they are Privy Councillors, the Lord Justice
General, the Lord Justice Clerk, the Lord Advocate, the four Chancellors,
the four Lord Rectors of the universities, one member of the judicial
Committee of the Privy Council, and such other members of the Privy Council
as the Sovereign may appoint. This committee may be appealed to by the
Sovereign for advice, as to giving or withholding consent to any of the
Ordinances of the commissioners. For the purpose of this Ordinance any three
or more are sufficient, provided one is a member of the judicial Committee
of the Privy Council, and one a Senator of the College of Justice in
Scotland. In the entire field of university administration the Universities'
Committee was the supreme tribunal. Other changes of greater or less
importance were introduced. Power was given to the General Council to have
special meetings, in addition to the two statutory meetings, which formerly
were alone permitted. In universities where the Rector was elected by
`nations' the election was settled by the majority of votes and not, as
formerly, by the casting vote of the Chancellor, when there was an equality
of 'nations.' Where the election is not made by 'nations,' as in Edinburgh
and St Andrews, it is settled by the majority of votes.
It is a noteworthy
circumstance in connection with the Act of 1889, that while a period of two
years (with power to extend if necessary) was mentioned as probably to be
required for the work of the commissioners, it was not till after 251
meetings had been held that their task was completed in 1897, eight years
after their first meeting in 1889. The very extensive powers with which they
were invested sufficiently account for the greatly extended time. They had
before them the whole university system to examine and, if necessary, to
reconstruct. They were empowered to regulate the foundations,
mortifications, gifts and endowments held by any of the universities ; to
combine or divide bursaries and make rules for exercising the patronage of
them; to transfer to the University Court the patronage of all
professorships except those vested in the Curators of the University of
Edinburgh. This extensive charge however was accompanied by judicious and
necessary safeguards against hurried legislation. It is approximately
correct to say that draft ordinances, by whomsoever proposed, had, according
to definite arrangements as to times and seasons and order of procedure, to
run the gauntlet of criticism by the commissioners, the Senatus Academicus,
the General Council, the University Courts of the four universities, and
indeed by any person affected by such Ordinances, before they could be
submitted for approval by the Queen, who might further ask the advice of the
Universities' Committee, as the supreme tribunal in university proceedings.
The Ordinances having passed this ordeal, and having been laid before both
Houses of Parliament, received the royal assent and became law. The
publicity thus given to the Ordinances, and the keen scrutiny to which they
were subjected by all who, from different points of view, were interested in
them, might be expected to afford strong presumption of the general
soundness of the conclusions at which the commissioners arrived.
Subsequent experience however
has shown that this presumption was wrong. It was at any rate found after an
experience of ten or twelve years that though the Act of 1889 authorised
each University Court, after the expiry of the powers of the commissioners,
to make ordinances affecting its own university, all such Ordinances
required, before being submitted for royal approval, to be communicated to
the Courts of the other three universities, any one of which had the power
of making adverse representations to the Privy Council. The result was that
no Ordinance could be passed without serious difficulty and delay unless all
the universities were agreed. After much inter-academic negotiation, a
simple method has in 1908 been devised of remedying this unsatisfactory
state of affairs, and of securing 'autonomy' all round. An Ordinance is
obtained by one university making general regulations on some particular
subject affecting itself, and containing a clause authorising details to be
enacted and altered from time to time by that university alone, without any
power of scrutiny by the others or reference to the Privy Council. A
striking instance of this is furnished by the new Arts Ordinance for
Glasgow, which-to mention one point only-specifies 27 subjects from which a
curriculum may be made up, leaving it to the Senatus, with the approval of
the University Court, to make additions to or modifications in these, and to
enact from time to time regulations regarding the definition and grouping of
the subjects, their selection for the curriculum, their classification as
cognate, and the order in which they are to be studied, as also regarding
the standard of the degree examinations and the conditions of admission
thereto. Such regulations require to be communicated to the General Council,
but not to any outside body, either academic or governmental.
The course of medical study
was extended from four to five years. It was impossible, in view of such a
long course, to insist on medical students taking a full course in arts,
but, as a security for the possession of a liberal education, a preliminary
examination was instituted in the same subjects as for Arts students, French
or German being allowed as alternative for Greek. The extent and standard of
the examination were to be determined by the Joint Board of Examiners. It
was provided that there must be four professional examinations:- the first
in botany, zoology, physics, and chemistry; the second in anatomy,
physiology, and materia medica ; the third in pathology, medical
jurisprudence, and public health ; and the fourth in the various departments
of medicine, surgery, and midwifery.
It was not thought desirable
to establish an honours degree in medicine. In Arts a student can specialise
with advantage because he has already got a liberal education, though he is
possibly much stronger in classics than in mathematics, or in philosophy
than in either. But in medical study the commissioners remark: "every
candidate for this degree must have a competent knowledge of every branch,
and it is therefore impossible to acquire so exceptional a mastery of any
one as would justify a degree with honours [Report of Commissioners of 1889,
p. xvii.]." Notwithstanding some most sensible contentions for an honours
degree, it was thought " more important that the Universities should
encourage prolonged study in medical science by men of riper age, than that
they should recognise differences of degree in the attainments of
undergraduates [Ibid., p. xviii.]." Each university however confers the
degree of M.B. as a whole with honours, but without specification of honours
in separate subjects.
Some of the regulations
framed by the commissioners of 1858, in their endeavour to bring the
practice of the universities into harmony with the system introduced by the
Medical Act, were amended by the commissioners of 1889. They substituted the
degree of Bachelor of Surgery for that of Master of Surgery, and made the
latter a higher degree of the same rank as Doctor of Medicine. Both of these
higher degrees were obtainable only by those who, being already bachelors,
had spent an adequate time in additional study and practice of medicine or
surgery, had passed an examination in certain special departments and
submitted for approval of the Faculty of Medicine a thesis on one or other
of certain specified branches [Report of Commissioners of 1889, p. xvi.].
In 1858 it was decided to
give an academic character to degrees in law which had till that time been
purely honorary. With this in view the commissioners of that year ordained
that the degree of Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) should be conferred only on
graduates in arts, who must give three sessions to legal study in six
departments. The commissioners of 1889, while agreeing with this proposal,
thought it desirable to give the degree more elasticity and a wider scope,
so as to adapt it to the wants of other than practising lawyers,-to men
whose aim was a public or administrative career. The ordinance was
accordingly amended to the extent of giving options and adding to the number
of subjects as under:
1. General or Comparative
2. The Law of Nations or Public International Law.
3. Civil Law.
4. The Law of Scotland or the Law of England.
5. Constitutional Law and History.
6. Conveyancing or Political Economy or Mercantile Law.
7. Two of the following: International Private Law, Political Economy,
Administrative Law, and Forensic Medicine.
In Edinburgh and Glasgow a
lower degree (B. L.), not confined to graduates in arts, had been
established, the requisites for which were passing the preliminary
examination in arts, three arts subjects, and four legal subjects-Civil Law,
Law of Scotland, Conveyancing and Forensic Medicine, two years of academic
study, one of which must have been spent in the university granting the
degree. St Andrews having no Faculty of Law could not give the degree. In
Aberdeen for some time only B. L. could be conferred, but in that
university, as also in Glasgow, an incomplete Faculty of Law was
supplemented by lecturers and now Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen can confer
both degrees [Ibid., p. xxii.].
Previous to 1889 classes for
women in Arts and Medicine, on a university standard, had been conducted in
Edinburgh and Glasgow outside the university. In St Andrews women were
examined and obtained the title of L.L.A., but there were no classes [L.L.A,
means Lady Literate in Arts.]. This remains unchanged. The title is obtained
by passing in seven subjects, of which at least one must be a language. All
honours passes count as two ordinary passes. The subjects of examination are
arranged in four departments: (1) language, (2) philosophy, (3) science,
(q.) education, Biblical history and literature. One subject out of each of
the first three departments must be chosen, the remaining subject or
subjects may be taken from any department. The examination may be taken at
any age, may spread over any length of time, and the subjects may be taken
in any order. In none of the universities had women been admitted to
graduation, but an Ordinance in 1892 admitted women to any degree on the
same terms as men. Where in arts, science, or medicine no provision was made
within the university for the education of women the teaching of any teacher
or institution in the university town might be recognised by the Court as
qualifying for graduation.
Graduation in Divinity.
The commissioners regret that
they can do nothing to remodel the Faculty of Divinity. In all the
universities the equipment is inadequate, the number of professors and
lecturers too few, and the salaries too small. They could not found new
chairs, as no portion of the parliamentary grant of £42,000 made in 1892
could be given to theological chairs beyond the sum, if any, which "had
been, within twelve months before the commencement of the act, appropriated
to such chairs out of public moneys." They dissented from the opinion of the
Edinburgh Faculty of Divinity, who held that the restriction was not
applicable to the parliamentary grant [Report of Commissioners of 1889, p.
The admission to the degree
of Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) of students other than members of the
Established Church was regarded by the commissioners of 1858 as a delicate
question, but as the universities favoured the proposal, no serious
objection was taken to it. Meanwhile in all the universities the practice
had been well established as by prescriptive right. All candidates were
examined, no vital principle was involved, and the commissioners of 1889
thought the "system was advantageous and ought to be confirmed." The
examination was accordingly opened to graduates of Scottish universities who
had gone through a due course of theological training whether in these
universities or' in any other theological school in Scotland or England.
It was suggested to the
commissioners that the degree of LL.D. might be made attainable by
examination, just as the higher degrees in science and medicine were
conferred, but as LL.D. had always been given simply as a mark of honour, it
was feared that confusion might arise from making it represent high legal
attainments also, which the degree of LL.B. sufficiently attested. This was
the conclusion to which the commissioners of 1875 also came. The degrees of
D.D. and LL.D. continue to be given honoris causa, the commissioners merely
remarking that they should be conferred with "due deliberation, and not in
deference to applications from without."
There is no respect in which
the commissioners of 1889 have contributed so much to the improvement of the
university, as in the means they took to make provision for a steadily
increasing growth of students and new subjects of instruction, by adding to
the number of assistants and lecturers. Many of the classes were too large
to be managed by professors however accomplished and energetic. The number
of Latin students in 1889 in Glasgow was 453, and the number of anatomy
students in 1889 in Edinburgh was for winter 300 at lectures, and in
practical anatomy 534 for winter and 167 for summer. It was proposed to meet
this evil by extending to all the faculties the same recognition of
extra-mural teaching as had been given to the Faculty of Medicine. This
question was carefully considered by the commissioners of 1876, who thought
it would be injurious. With this opinion the commissioners of 1889 heartily
The grounds were various.
One, but not the most important, was the diminution of the already too small
income of the universities. A much more important one was the almost
inevitable lowering of the instruction. The excellent results of extra-mural
teaching in medicine were no guide to the expediency of adopting the same
system in the Faculty of Arts. They pointed out that the aim of medical
teaching is the acquisition of definite and exact information, on which the
student is to be examined and pronounced qualified for a profession, and
that it is of comparatively little importance where or how his information
has been acquired, while the aim of a teacher in the Faculty of Arts is to
supply the broadening influence which forms the basis of a liberal
education, and that of the student is, or ought to be, primarily mental
culture, not ability to pass an examination [Report of Commissioners, p.
xxv.]. It is not insinuated that instruction in medical subjects may not be,
and in many well-known instances is, eminently scientific and stimulative,
nor that all students in the Faculty of Arts work under the inspiring motive
of mental culture, but it will be generally granted that the aim of each
class of students is different, and fairly represented by the account thus
given of them. If the extra-mural teachers are to live they must have large
classes, and large classes can be got only by the teachers earning a
reputation for success in enabling their pupils to pass the required
examination. It is inevitable that competition of this kind would take the
direction of examination success, to the detriment of the higher aim of
mental culture, which, from an academic point of view, would be a great
evil. To meet the case of subjects taking a wider range than formerly, or
the introduction of new subjects, or of classes unmanageably large, the
commissioners preferred to appoint assistants and lecturers, whose teaching
would be on the same lines as that of the professors, under the
superintendence and regulations of the University Court and Senatus, and, in
this way, to avoid the danger of cram, and the tendency to subordinate the
true principle of sound university education to examination aims. They
accordingly ordained that the University Court, after consultation with the
Senatus, should determine the number, duties, remuneration and tenure of
office of assistants and lecturers; that they should be recognised as
officers of the university but not members of the Senatus; that their
lectures should, as a rule, qualify for graduation, and that their
appointment, dismissal, and arrangements for teaching should all be under
the superintendence of the University Court and the Senatus. The
commissioners saw that, by the institution of this class of university
officers, encouragement would be given to post-graduate study and research
by students of promise, from whom there would be furnished for vacancies in
professorships a supply of candidates of successful experience, an
anticipation in many cases realised. It was the natural completion of
university promotion--bursaries to enable students of ability to follow a
course of study, scholarships and fellowships to reward excellence attained,
and professorships to crown the career.
The commissioners were
empowered to "frame regulations under which the patronage of existing
bursaries vested in private individuals or bodies corporate should be
exercised," but not to abolish the rights so vested. They had neither the
power nor the wish to throw them all open to competition. They knew the
unfavourable position of many candidates who, owing to the deficient
character of the schools in which they had been taught, were in this way
unfairly handicapped in competition with students who may have had better
preparation at school, but not necessarily greater ability. It is probable
that the donors intended their endowments for students of this class, and
their intention was entitled to respect. By Ordinance 57 the commissioners
made an excellent use of their limited power in this matter. Candidates for
bursaries not open to competition must pass the preliminary examination.
Candidates who failed to produce class certificates could be deprived of
their bursaries. Presentation bursaries could be thrown open to competition,
if the patrons did not fill up vacancies in due time. Bursaries of less than
£10 could be combined to make one of larger value, the restrictions being
removed wherever possible. Bursaries of doubtful usefulness were combined to
form scholarships and fellowships for the promotion of study and research, a
respect in which the universities were poorly provided. For a comparison of
the educational efficacy of competition versus presentation bursaries in
Aberdeen, see pp. 280-2.
Among the changes made by
Ordinance 57 there was one which was favourably received by all the
universities except by certain members of the University of Aberdeen. This
regulation was that "the examination subjects for open bursaries in arts for
the first year should be those prescribed for the preliminary examination in
arts, but under this condition, that in determining the marks to be assigned
in the competition, English, Latin, Greek and mathematics shall each have
assigned to them double the marks assigned to any other subject [Report of
Commissioners, p. xxix.]."
It is not clear why there
should have been in Aberdeen any objection to the doubling of the marks for
English, Latin, Greek, and mathematics, these being subjects in which
Aberdeen had the reputation of being strong, while it had no such reputation
for French or German. The Professor of Latin was opposed to the Ordinance,
but he objected not to the principle of differentiating values as between
classics and modern languages, but only to the method in which it was
applied [Ibid. pp. xxx and xxxi.]. In their report the commissioners thought
it necessary to make a reasoned statement in support of the Ordinance. Their
defence of the proposal is based on an assumption, the accuracy of which is
hotly disputed in quarters entitled to respect, viz. that "the time required
to bring a classical pupil up to the standard of a higher grade certificate
of the Scotch Education Department in Latin or Greek is twice or even thrice
the time required to prepare him for the higher certificate in French or
German." On this assumption, right or wrong, the commissioners maintain that
the proposal of double marks for the subjects named is fair and equitable;
and that, by placing French or German on the same level as Latin or Greek, a
powerful inducement would be given to candidates of small means, to whom a
bursary is indispensable, to give up Latin or Greek, and serious harm would
be done to classical education, as bursary examinations exert a powerful
influence on the curriculum of secondary schools. It is highly probable, in
view of the late successful efforts made by each university to secure
autonomy all round, and the framing of ordinances for the introduction of
'soft' options from which a curriculum may be constructed, that French and
German will at no distant date be put on the same footing as Latin and
As women were now admitted to
graduation, it was necessary that bursaries should be provided for them. The
commissioners accordingly empowered the University Courts to establish for
competition either without restriction as to sex, or for women only, as many
bursaries as they might think necessary.
The commissioners of 1889
were empowered to establish bursary funds in all the universities. Under the
Act of 1858 a bursary fund was established in Aberdeen into which the
surplus income of some foundations, and the income of vacant bursaries were
paid. Out of it the cost of examination and the augmentation of bursaries
were met. Its accumulations now amounted to £10,500. The commissioners of
1889 thought that it was not advantageous to continue the Aberdeen bursary
fund; that it was better to capitalise the accumulated sum, and that "the
surplus income of any foundation should in future be added to the capital
fund of the foundation, and be applied to increasing the payments to the
beneficiaries [Report of Commissioners, p. xxxiii.]," the University Court
having power to increase or reduce the value of bursaries or scholarships as
they might think desirable.
Patronage and Pensions.
In dealing with the patronage
of professorships the commissioners had no difficulty with the provision in
section 14 for the transference to the University Court of the patronage
vested in private individuals or corporations other than the Curators of the
Edinburgh University. The only chairs to which it applied were those of
Humanity, Civil and Natural History, and Chemistry in St Andrews. The
patrons were the Duke of Portland, the Marquis of Ailsa, and the Earl of
Leven and Melville, who offered no objection. An ordinance was accordingly
issued and received the Queen's approval.
The power conveyed in
subsection 14 (e) was a matter of much greater difficulty, viz. "to prepare
a scheme by which a detailed and reasoned report on the qualifications of
candidates for chairs may be submitted to the patrons, including the Crown,
so as to assist them in the discharge of their patronage."
Success in framing a scheme,
accompanied by a detailed and reasoned report on a subject bristling with
difficulties from so many points of view, was not to be expected. The
commissioners, however, undaunted by the magnitude of the task, after very
careful consideration, issued a draft ordinance, to which objections were
made by all the universities, and by every corporation who had a share in
patronage, and the draft ordinance was withdrawn.
Additional funds were
required, and, in answer to an appeal to the Treasury, it was enacted that
an annual sum of £42,000, already referred to, was to be provided by
parliament for the purposes of the universities, which the commissioners
were to apportion in such shares as they might think just. This grant was
subject to two conditions: (1) That no university should receive less than
the average amount of public moneys which it had received during the five
years preceding the commencement of the Act of 1889, and that Glasgow should
receive £500 for the maintenance of the buildings, and Aberdeen £320 for the
purchase of books, in addition to the average amounts already mentioned. (2)
That no part of this increased grant should be appropriated to any
theological chairs except those of Hebrew or Oriental languages. It was also
enacted that, in future, pensions to principals and professors were to be
paid by the universities, and that the grant was a full discharge of all
claims on public moneys. A Treasury minute was however issued by the
Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the effect that he would recommend a
moderate increase in case of pecuniary difficulties in connection with
pensions and compensations. The commissioners were in the meantime, till the
ordinances were approved, empowered to make provisional payments out of the
surplus revenue from the grant, if they thought proper. On this
understanding, grants for the four years and a quarter from 1890 to 1893
were paid, to Glasgow nearly £35,000, to Aberdeen nearly £28,000, to
Edinburgh nearly £43,000, and to St Andrews for the eight years and a
quarter from 1890 to 1897 upwards of £46,000 [Report of Commissioners, p.
It turned out that pecuniary
difficulties did arise from the indefinite amount of possible claims for
pensions and compensations and, on the advice of eminent lawyers, the
commissioners expressed to the Government the opinion that further aid was
required "to enable the Act of Parliament to be carried into effect." The
result of this was that, under the Act of 1892, an additional grant of
£30,000 was made, which was a useful increase to the resources of the
universities, but the fluctuating charge for pensions was still a source of
As a remedy for this, the
commissioners advised each university to establish a pension fund, by
setting aside annually, from the general revenues, a certain amount to meet
claims for possible pensions. This advice was taken.
The annual charge for St
Andrews was £750
The annual charge for Glasgow £4000
The annual charge for Aberdeen was £1500
The annual charge for Edinburgh was £5000
By Ordinance 32, section iv,
the annual emoluments of a Principal or Professor on retirement will be the
average of the preceding five years, provided that in calculating his
pension no account will be taken of the excess in any one year above £900,
which shall be held to be the maximum emoluments of a Principal or
The maximum pension is £600
for professors of the following two classes, (a) professors appointed by the
Crown subsequently to 1882, (b) all professors by whomsoever appointed
subsequently to 1889. But professors may have a pension exceeding £600 if
(a) they were appointed by the Crown or any other body before 1882, or if
(b) they were appointed by any other body than the Crown between 1882 and
The patronage of chairs
varies considerably in the four universities, but a very large proportion of
it is in the hands of the Crown and of the University Courts.
In dealing with financial
arrangements the commissioners wished to leave to the universities, as far
as possible, a free hand, but the question of fees was too important to be
left untouched. It was necessary to consider how fees should be treated,
forming as they did part and, till now, a main part of the professors'
emoluments. The introduction of optional subjects for graduation in arts
made some change desirable. That the professor should have a direct interest
in fees led inevitably to unwholesome rivalry, and to a lowering of the
academic ideal, which ought not to have for its highest aim the preparation
of students for examination. Enlargement of class and consequent increase of
fees might, and probably would, tempt some professors to be content with a
lowered standard. But further, the consideration, among others, that the
higher and more advanced the subjects, the smaller would be both class and
fees, led the commissioners to ordain that class fees should be paid into
the University Court as the earnings of the university; that each professor
should receive a salary (called a normal salary) which might be diminished
proportionally, if the aggregate amount of fees in any year was unable to
meet the claims on the fee fund; but in order that the emoluments should not
fall below a certain amount, a minimum salary was fixed, which should be a
charge on the general revenue of the university [Report of Commissioners, p.
xxxviii.]. This arrangement involved a very serious reduction of the income
of a number of chairs, but even this, a very thorny subject, was settled to
the general satisfaction of those whose vested interests were very largely
New Chairs instituted.
Meanwhile fresh burdens were
laid on each University Court by the appointment of lecturers, the
institution of new degrees, and alterations in the course of study.
New chairs were instituted -
"in Glasgow, History and Pathology; in Edinburgh, History; in St Andrews,
Pathology, Material Medica, Medicine, Surgery, and Midwifery. By special
endowment there were instituted in St Andrews, the Berry Chair of English
Literature; in Glasgow, Political Economy; in Aberdeen, English Literature;
and in Edinburgh, Public Health [Report of Commissioners, p, xxxix.]." In
1901 the Chair of Ancient History was founded in Edinburgh, and in 1903 the
Chair of History and Archaeology was founded in Aberdeen.
Graduation in music is, as
yet, possible only in Edinburgh, a result of the Reid Bequest already
referred to. Two degrees may be conferred, Bachelor of Music (Mus. Bac.) and
Doctor of Music (Mus. Doc.), the latter being open only to Edinburgh
Bachelors of Music of not less than three years' standing.
The commissioners would have
liked to institute a separate faculty for every subject worthy of academic
study, and fitted to develop intelligence and refinement, but funds were not
available for the efficient maintenance of the faculties already existing.
The commissioners, like those of 1876, had not sufficient funds for the
establishment of new chairs, and they thought it undesirable to establish
chairs for which sufficient endowments were not provided. Lecturers on
specially important subjects might be appointed by the University Courts,
but permanent burdens which might prove too heavy should be avoided.
The moneys paid to the
universities on account of accumulations of revenue from the grants of 1889
and 1892 were to Glasgow £29,273, to Aberdeen £16,149, to Edinburgh £36,876.
The ordinances allowed the Courts of these three universities to make of
these moneys whatever use they might think fit. St Andrews, in the meantime,
could not be dealt with in the same way, owing to the litigation between it
and the University College of Dundee.
This litigation, which
commenced in 1890, and ended in 1897, being political or personal rather
than educational, seems hardly within the scope of our enquiry. To describe
in detail the legal difficulties and cross-purposes on both sides, which
punctuate the question before an agreement was come to, would be both
tedious and unprofitable.
Queen Margaret College,
Glasgow, had its origin in 1868 as the result of a movement for the higher
education of women by Mrs Campbell of Tulliehewan. For several years short
courses of lectures were delivered by professors of the university. The next
step was the formation in 1877 of the Glasgow association for the same
purpose, with H.R.H. the Princess Louise for its president, and Mrs Campbell
for its vice-president. Lectures on university subjects were, by permission
of the Senate, given by university professors in the university class-rooms,
the association meanwhile renting an office and reading-room. The next step
was taken in 1883 by the incorporation of the association as a college with
the name Queen Margaret, the earliest patroness of Scottish literature and
art. That it might not be merely a name, Mrs Elder, a lady of great
generosity and public spirit, presented the association with the building
now known as Queen Margaret College. The condition attached to this gift,
viz., that an endowment fund sufficient to provide for the effective
carrying on of the work should be raised, was in a short time amply
The contributions from
various sources amounted to nearly £25,000. Step by step, additions and
alterations, including laboratories for teaching in science and medicine,
were provided, and in 1890 such a curriculum in both Arts and Medicine, on
the level of university degrees, was arranged for, that in 1892 when women
were first admitted to graduation, the council of the college decided that
the purpose they had in view would be better served by making over their
work to the University of Glasgow. It was accordingly proposed, with the
concurrence of Mrs Elder, to offer a transfer of the buildings and grounds
of the Queen Margaret College to the university, on condition that they
should be employed for the maintenance of university classes exclusively for
women. The University Court accepted the offer, and Queen Margaret College
became part of the university, had its teachers appointed by the University
Court, and its students admitted as matriculated students. In 1907-8 the
number of matriculated women-students was 631.
For the promotion of
post-graduate study and the encouragement of research, an ordinance was
framed, under which the Senatus in each university might, with the approval
of the University Court, admit graduates of any university, or others whose
education fitted them to engage in some special study, to continue their
investigations, and possibly earn the title of Research Fellow on their
showing special distinction. The revenue of £20,000 furnished by the Earl of
Moray was placed in the hands of the University of Edinburgh for the payment
of the expenses of original research and the publishing of noteworthy
Aberdeen has made a most
successful use of this ordinance and, under the able editorship of Mr P. J.
Anderson, has issued a series of publications for the supervision of which a
committee of the Senatus has been appointed, and the cooperation of the New
Spalding Club secured. No fewer than forty volumes have already appeared.
The subjects dealt with cover
a wide field, including, among others, Classical Archaeology, Scottish
History, Bibliography, Philosophy, Comparative Religion, Anatomy, Pathology,
Zoology and Chemistry. The object of the movement is to stimulate research
within the university by the teaching staff and others connected with the
university, and to unite by a bond of common interest and intellectual
fellowship alumni who, after leaving the university, too often lose sight of
each other. This has been followed by an interchange of volumes with
American, continental, colonial and the newer English universities. So far
Oxford and Cambridge have not organised an interchange.
The Carnegie Trust.
From yet another quarter
hearty encouragement in the same direction was received. In 1901 Mr Andrew
Carnegie, the well-known American millionaire, gave to Scotland-his native
country-the sum of ten million dollars (£2,000,000), the interest on
which-amounting to about £102,000 a year-was to be expended by a committee
of nine members to promote the following objects:
A. One-half of the net annual
income was to be applied to the improvement and expansion of the
universities of Scotland in the Faculties of Science and Medicine, and to
increasing the facilities for acquiring a knowledge of such subjects of a
technical and commercial education as can be included in a university
curriculum, by erecting buildings, providing apparatus, endowing
professorships, post-graduate lectureships, and research scholarships ; and
by other means approved by the committee.
B. The other half, or as much
of it as might be needed yearly, was to be devoted to the payment of the
ordinary class fees exigible by the universities or by extra-mural schools
providing an equivalent education, for students of Scottish birth or
extraction, subject to certain restrictions as to age, scholastic
qualifications, diligence and conduct.
It was provided also that any
surplus remaining in any year after the payment of fees under section B, was
to be applied to the purposes specified in section A, and any surplus
remaining after the requirements of both clauses were fulfilled was to be
devoted to the establishment of courses of lectures at convenient centres,
or to the benefit of students at evening classes, or to such other objects
as the committee might think proper.
Under section A the committee
distributed no less than £178,000 up to the 31st Dec. 1906, at which date
they carried forward a balance of £125,000. The aid thus given greatly
improved the efficiency of the universities and other institutions, whilst
the stimulus given to higher study and original investigation by the
research scholarships has proved of the utmost value. In session 1906-7 the
Trust awarded 20 fellowships, 26 scholarships, and gave 57 grants for
promotion of postgraduate study in the four Scottish universities.
In the four universities
considerable disparity is shown in the number of students for whom fees have
been paid. In the six academic years up to and including session 1906-7, 69
per cent. of the students matriculating at Aberdeen became beneficiaries of
the Trust. St Andrews came next with 67 per cent. whilst Glasgow and
Edinburgh had only 49 and 38 per cent. respectively. The abnormally low
percentage at Edinburgh may be accounted for partly by the large number of
other-than-Scottish students matriculated there, and by the number of law
students who attend classes, but are excluded from the benefits of the Trust
through not having passed the preliminary examination.
It is impossible to speak too
highly of the beneficent operation of section A, but appreciation of section
B has not been so hearty and unanimous. Doubts have been pretty freely
expressed as to the expediency of practically making a pass in the
preliminary examination the only condition of obtaining a free university
education. It is beyond question that many, of whose ability to pay their
own fees there could be no doubt, have taken advantage of this, and the
result has been, as some think, a lowering of self-respect and a slackening
of effort in university pursuits. It has not increased the number of
students, which was perhaps not desirable. Administration was difficult even
for the eminent men whose selection as trustees was heartily approved. There
were many points to be considered requiring a more intimate acquaintance
with the character of Scottish education than the trustees as a body
possessed. Hence there has been a want of consistency. The first set of
rules were found to be unworkable, and had to be exchanged for another set,
the former by their wide scope suggesting that the Trust was an educational
endowment, the latter, by refusing (among other claims) payment of fees for
optional advanced classes, that it was a charity, securing for the
comparatively poor student a minimum of university training. It is however
only fair to say that the trustees were dealing tentatively with a movement
the issues of which it was difficult to foresee ; and that consistency was
limited by the amount of funds available. Students who have availed
themselves of the offer of free fees are expected to repay, when they can,
what they have obtained by exemption from the payment of fees. It is much
too soon to expect a large return from this source.
An important ordinance was
framed for regulating the higher degrees of Doctor of Science (D.Sc.),
Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) and Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.), which, under
certain conditions, might be conferred after the expiry of five years from
the date of graduation in arts. All candidates for these higher degrees must
either have taken honours in the subjects of the degree for which they are
candidates, or have passed an examination of value equivalent to an honours
examination. Each candidate must submit a thesis or memoir cognate to the
degree aimed at, accompanied by a declaration that it was composed by
himself. To secure that the work for which these degrees may be conferred is
an original contribution, it is provided that an expert in the subject of
the thesis must be associated with the university examiner, and that the
thesis must be published.
The most important of the
general ordinances have now been dealt with. The varying conditions of
individual universities in respect of management, equipment, revenues,
faculties, &c. made separate ordinances requisite. To enter into these in
minute detail is not possible, nor for our purpose necessary. It has been in
some cases difficult to keep the general and special entirely separate.
Medical Study in St Andrews
Lectureships on fifteen
university subjects have been instituted in St Andrews within the last
fifteen years, only a few of which have been endowed. Between St Andrews and
Dundee there is now a complete medical faculty. In fact there is a complete
faculty in Dundee alone, as all the St Andrews' chairs have been duplicated
there. A medical student may begin and end his course in Dundee. If he
begins in St Andrews he must finish in Dundee, because St Andrews has not
sufficient hospital facilities.
In St Andrews special
ordinances were required in connection with graduation in medicine; the
abolition of the Professorship of Medicine and the substitution of a Chair
of Botany in its place; the abolition of the Professorships of English, and
of Classics, and Ancient History, in University College, Dundee, and the
substitution of lectureships in these subjects qualifying for graduation if
required by the council of the college; St Andrews' share in the
parliamentary grant; the composition of the faculties; regulations for
bursaries and prizes; the foundation of the Berry Chair of English
Literature [The Berry Bequest was a sum of £100,000 bequeathed to the
university in 1889 by Mr David Berry of Coolangatta, New South Wales, whose
brother Dr Alexander Berry had been a student at the university. It has been
used for the foundation of the Chair of English Literature, for the better
endowment of other chairs, for the establishment of scholarships and other
purposes.], the institution of boards of studies in medicine, and the
appointment of a lecturer on forensic medicine and public health in
University College, Dundee. For all these separate ordinances were framed.
The commissioners of 1889
wished to establish uniformity of system in medical graduation in all the
universities, but St Andrews presented considerable difficulties. Reference
is made to a special report in 1861 by the commissioners of 1858, in which
it was stated that "at that date St Andrews, with no medical students,
conferred a greater number of medical degrees than any other University in
the United Kingdom. Of the candidates for these degrees, 68 per cent. came
from London schools, and 77 per cent. from these and the provincial schools
of England together [Report of Commissioners, p. Iv.]." This had a very
suspicious look, suggesting great possibilities of abuse, and some
restriction was obviously necessary. The commissioners of 1858 accordingly
ordained that degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Master in Surgery should
be conferred only after a specified course of study, and that two out of the
four years of study should have been spent in a university, and that, in
exceptional cases, the degree of M.D. might be conferred, but not to a
greater extent than ten cases in any one year. Complaint was made that St
Andrews was being deprived of its ancient privilege of conferring degrees
without residence. The commissioners of 1876 took the same view as to the
necessity of restriction as the commissioners of 1858 and recommended that
it should not be removed.
The commissioners of 1889
agreed with this for the very satisfactory reason, that to confer degrees on
licentiates, who might not have obtained any part of their education in a
university, was not only a violation of academic usage, and a probable
injury to other universities, but a certain lowering of the reputation of
Scottish medical degrees. The commissioners accordingly continued the
restriction and even increased the limitation by ordaining that "the power
of St Andrews to confer the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Master in
Surgery on the students of other universities should be discontinued [Report
of Commissioners, p. lvi.]." They also refused in the meantime to establish
medical professorships in St Andrews [Ibid. p. ivii.], but they could not
prevent the University Court from instituting lectureships by which the
subjects in question could be taught. The objections to these ordinances
were discussed by counsel before the Universities' Committee, and the
ordinances were approved by the Queen in council.
With reference to extra-mural
teaching in science the commissioners ordained that it was permissible on
the same grounds as extra-mural teaching in medicine. The ordinance
prescribes that, out of seven courses in science, three might be taken
outside the university conferring the degree.
Special ordinances were
needed for separate universities. Thus the following degrees in applied
science were granted.
Bachelor and Doctor of Science
Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.
Bachelor of Science in
Bachelor of Science in
Bachelor and Doctor of Science in Public Health.
Bachelor and Doctor of Science in Engineering [Ibid. p. xx.].
The absence of a properly
equipped laboratory caused a degree of science in public health to be at
first refused to Glasgow, but it was subsequently granted for all the four
universities. The regulations for conferring the diploma in public health
approved in 1892 and revised in 1897, 1901 and 1902 are very stringent. The
examination is written, oral, and practical. It is divided into two parts,
and seems to cover the whole field of public health. Every candidate must
have graduated in medicine, and have attended a hospital for infectious
diseases, and had opportunity for studying methods of administration. The
subjects embraced in the first part of the examination are physics,
engineering, meteorology, chemistry, microscopy, and bacteriology. The
subjects taken up in the second part are general hygiene, sanitary law, and
Section 15 of the Act of 1889
deals with the extension of universities by affiliation of new colleges. For
this the commissioners might make ordinances, and when their powers ceased
the University Court might do so, under regulations to be laid down by the
commissioners, or on the expiry of their powers, by the Universities'
Committee. The conditions to be satisfied are :
(1) That the University Court
and the college are consenting parties.
(2) That the approval of the
commissioners or of the Universities' Committee has been obtained.
(3) That affiliation may be
terminated, and the ordinance by which the college was affiliated rescinded
by the University Court, subject to the approval of the Universities'
(4) That arrangements must be
made for due representation of the University Court on the governing bodies
of affiliated colleges, and of the governing bodies of affiliated colleges
in the University Court.
The University College of
Dundee having satisfied these conditions was affiliated with the University
of St Andrews.
ST MUNGO'S COLLEGE, GLASGOW.
The Glasgow Royal Infirmary
was founded by Royal Charter in 1791 and was opened in 1794. It was enlarged
from time to time until it became one of the largest hospitals in the
empire. At present it is undergoing a process of complete reconstruction. In
1875 the managers, desirous of utilising the opportunities which such an
institution could offer to medical students, organised a medical school,
which in 1899 was incorporated as St Mungo's College. The accommodation
provided for 300 students, includes a large dissecting-room, well-filled
anatomical and pathological museums, and fully equipped laboratories for the
study of Chemistry, Physiology, Zoology, Pathology, Bacteriology and
Hygiene. In addition to the subjects usually included in a medical
curriculum lectures are given in Gynaecology, Bacteriology, Ophthalmology,
Psychological Medicine, &c. The teaching staff has fourteen professors, nine
lecturers and ten assistants. The hospital in which the students receive
clinical instruction contains nearly 600 beds, and special wards are set
apart for burns and for throat, gynaecological and venereal cases.
During the course of a year
some 7000 patients are treated in the wards and 50,000 in the dispensary. As
a result of deliberations and negotiations between the University Court and
the managers, it is highly probable that the professors of clinical medicine
and clinical surgery in St Mungo's College will also be professors of the
University of Glasgow, and that by this means the immense clinical material
available for teaching purposes will be of direct service to students aiming
at university degrees in medicine and surgery.
By the deed of constitution
of St Mungo's College the management is vested in a body of governors
consisting of president, vice-president, eight ex officio governors and
seventeen elected governors.
Among the changes effected by
the scheme which was obtained by the Governors of George Heriot's Trust in
1885 was the taking over by them of the Watt Institution and School of Arts,
and its transformation into what has since been known as the Heriot-Watt
To deal in detail with the
very wide field covered by the Heriot-Watt Calendar would quite exceed our
limits. Further reference to the scope and character of the subjects taught
will be found in the Appendix Iv on Technical Education, p. 411. It has
therefore been necessary to restrict our remarks to a subject which is one
of the most interesting, and, from its intimate connexion with the
university, most important of the many taught in the Institution over which
Principal Laurie so worthily and efficiently presides. That subject is
A vacancy was created in the
Chair of Engineering at Edinburgh University by the death of Professor
Armstrong in the autumn of 1900. The patronage of this chair is in the gift
of the Crown.
There had been a desire for
some years to co-ordinate the means of instruction in engineering given in
the university and in the Heriot-Watt College, and advantage was taken of
the opportunity which had now arisen to formulate a scheme for
co-ordination, and in the meantime no appointment was made to the vacant
A Minute of Agreement was
entered into between the Court of the University of Edinburgh and the
Governors of George Heriot's Trust, which was finally adjusted and signed by
both contracting parties in June 1901.
Under this Minute of
Agreement, for the purpose of arranging a joint curriculum of study for a
Degree in Engineering Science, and for co-ordinating the means of
instruction in Engineering in the university and in the Heriot-Watt College,
with a view to such a degree under the provisions of Ordinance No. 21 of the
Scottish Universities Commissioners, the two governing bodies agreed :
(1) That an Advisory
Committee should be appointed, consisting of the following members : As
representing the university, the Dean of the Faculty of Science, and four
Professors of the university, to be appointed by the University Court; as
representing George Heriot's Trust, four Governors, one of whom shall be the
convener of the Heriot-Watt College Committee, and the Principal of the
Heriot-Watt College. The convener of the Committee was to be the Dean of the
Faculty of Science of the university. The members elected by the Governors
of George Heriot's Trust hold office for one year, and are eligible for
(2) The duty of the Advisory
Committee shall be to draw up each year a programme for a joint curriculum
of study and examination for a degree in Engineering. This programme of
study and examination to be submitted each year to the University Court and
to the Governors of George Heriot's Trust for their approval.
(3) The Examiners for Degrees
in Engineering to be, as provided by Ordinance No. 13, the Professors in the
university whose subjects qualify for graduation, together with such
lecturers in the university as the University Court may from time to time
deem necessary, and, in order to keep the teaching in the Heriot-Watt
College in touch with the range and standard of examinations, the University
Court shall appoint additional Examiners from the Professors and Lecturers
of the Heriot-Watt College whose courses have been duly recognised as
qualifying for a degree in Engineering.
(4) The Agreement shall not
involve any financial responsibility of either contracting party towards the
(5) The Agreement may be
amended from time to time with the accordance of both contracting parties,
or it may be dissolved at the instance of either contracting party, due
regard being had to the interests of students in Engineering who shall have
begun their course under the Agreement.
In accordance with this
Minute of Agreement certain classes in the Heriot-Watt College, including
Mathematics, Mechanics, Physics, and Chemistry, have been recognised as
qualifying for admission to the First Science Examination in Engineering,
and certain of the technical classes in Engineering have been similarly
recognised as qualifying for the Final Science Examination.
The Professor of Mechanical
Engineering, and the Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Heriot-Watt
College have, in accordance with clause (3), been appointed Examiners in
Engineering and in Electrical Engineering respectively.
The instruction in the
Science of Engineering has been divided to a considerable extent in such a
manner between the two institutions as to prevent overlapping of teaching.
Purely Civil Engineering subjects are taught exclusively in the university,
purely Electrical Engineering subjects are taught exclusively in the Heriot-Watt
College, and the Mechanical Engineering is divided between the two
institutions. Higher instruction in Engineering Science has thus been
rendered possible. It is obviously impossible for any one man to attempt to
deal in his lectures with all the modern development of Engineering, except
in the most elementary fashion, but, by this division of work, each of the
three Professors is enabled to devote a considerable portion of his
lecture-courses to the more advanced branches of Engineering Science.
Since this Agreement was
entered into in 1901, the university has built and equipped a large new
block of buildings for its Engineering School, and the Governors of George
Heriot's Trust have built large new Engineering Laboratories. In both cases
the equipment in machinery and appliances in these laboratories has been so
arranged that there has been no useless expenditure of money in duplicating
equipment in the two institutions. The new University Laboratories have been
almost entirely devoted to machinery and appliances in connexion with the
testing of materials of construction, and the design and testing of
hydraulic machinery and appliances, while the new Heriot-Watt College
Laboratories have been largely devoted to a complete equipment in prime
movers of all types--steam, gas, oil, petrol, &c., with the necessary
boilers, producers, &c.
No difficulty has been
experienced up to the present in working in a thoroughly satisfactory
fashion this scheme of co-ordination of the means of instruction in the two
institutions, and undoubtedly the Engineering students have benefited
greatly by the Agreement which was entered into between the two institutions
It may be added, that there
is in the College an extensive system of university bursaries suited to the
requirements of both day and evening students.
The Highland and Agricultural
Society by its charter, granted in 1850, obtained power to further
agricultural education, to conduct examinations, grant diplomas and
certificates, and to carry on experiments.
It contributed for many years
£150 a year to the Chair of Agriculture in Edinburgh University, in addition
to awarding 30 bursaries of values ranging from £10 to £20, and other
prizes. In later years when a lectureship was established in agriculture in
Glasgow Technical College, an additional annual grant of £150 was made to
As this work was, later on,
taken up by the Government and County Councils, the society withdrew its
assistance, the bursaries ceasing in 1892.
The society took a prominent
part in raising funds to found the Lectureship in Forestry in Edinburgh
University. It still assists this lectureship with an annual grant of £50 a
year, and conducts examinations and grants certificates in forestry.
For many years the society
conducted examinations and granted qualifications in veterinary science,
until the Royal College of Veterinary Science was established as a licensing
body. It still gives silver medals for the best students in the various
classes of the Scottish veterinary colleges.
The society assisted in the
establishment of the Kilmarnock Dairy School, and continues to give an
annual grant of £100 towards its maintenance. Within the last few years it
has contributed £800 towards the building and equipment of the agricultural
colleges in the East and West of Scotland.
For many years the society's
diplomas and certificates were the only recognised qualifications in
agricultural science in Scotland, but the institution of university degrees
and college diplomas has modified the position, and in 1898 the Fellowship
of the Highland and Agricultural Society (F. H. A. S.) was merged in the
National Diploma in Agriculture (N.D.A.), the examinations for which are
conducted in England by a joint board consisting of representatives of the
society and the Royal Agricultural Society of England. The joint board also
conducts examinations in both countries in daring and grants the National
Diploma in Dairying (N. D. D.).
For many years experimental
stations for the improvement of agriculture were maintained at considerable
expense at Harelaw and Pumpherston, but were abandoned some years ago, and
experiments conducted on farms throughout the country will probably be left
more and more to the agricultural colleges established in recent years, on
the governing boards of which the society is represented.
AND EAST OF SCOTLAND.
In 1894 a joint board of
representatives of the Highland and Agricultural Society and the University
Court of Edinburgh was constituted to provide for further instruction in
agriculture in Edinburgh, and on a grant of £600 being voted by Edinburgh
Town Council, representatives were added from that body, and from
contributing County Councils. This board obtained grants from the Board of
Agriculture and established the Edinburgh School of Rural Economy, which
carried on its classes in existing institutions and made a beginning with
extension work in the counties.
The control of agricultural
education in Scotland was handed over by the Board of Agriculture to the
Scotch Education Department. That department summoned in 1901 a conference
of representatives from the various County Councils in the South and East of
Scotland. This led to the establishment in that year of the Edinburgh and
East of Scotland College of Agriculture which took over the work of the
School of Rural Economy. This college has an income of over £4000 a year,
and in a few years it purchased premises in George Square, which were
reconstructed, extended and equipped at a cost of over £9000, half the cost
being contributed by the Scotch Education Department, and the other half by
the associated counties (12 in number), the Carnegie Trust, the Highland and
Agricultural Society, landed proprietors and others interested in
In these premises, in
addition to class-rooms, there are fully equipped chemical, biological and
In addition also to central
day and evening classes in the sciences associated with agriculture, the
college carries on, by means of a special staff, systematic courses and
lectures in agriculture, horticulture, veterinary science, forestry, and
poultry-keeping. Two travelling dairy schools are maintained. Experiments in
manuring, sheep and cattle feeding, varieties of swedes and potatoes, and
dairying, are carried on at various centres through out the area. Fruit
demonstration plots have been laid down at convenient centres. Classes have
also been conducted for teachers in nature knowledge and school gardening.
An advisory department has
been established to which farmers may apply for advice in any points of
difficulty that may arise in agricultural practice.
In 1905 arrangements were
made for granting a College Diploma (C. D. A.) to students who undergo a
three years' course, and pass the necessary examinations. This diploma is
endorsed by the Scotch Education Department.
WEST OF SCOTLAND.
The West of Scotland
Agricultural College was established in Blythswood Square, Glasgow, in 1899,
and its constitution is similar to that of the College in Edinburgh. To it
was transferred the Lectureship in Agriculture formerly conducted in the
This college has under its
management the Dairy School for Scotland, situated at Kilmarnock, which is
fully equipped with the most modern equipment for instruction in dairying
The West of Scotland College
grants a diploma under conditions similar to those of the Edinburgh College,
and is making arrangements for the granting of a special diploma in dairying
for a course of two winter sessions at an agricultural college and four
months at Kilmarnock Dairy School.
ABERDEEN AND NORTH OF
The Aberdeen and North of
Scotland College of Agriculture was established in 1904 with a constitution
similar to those of the other two Scottish colleges.
The central classes of this
college are conducted in the buildings of Marischal College, where special
accommodation has been provided. The Fordyce Lectureship in Agriculture
(endowed) is included in the course.
The university grants a
diploma on a two years' course.
The extension work carried on
is on similar lines to that already detailed in connection with the
Several of the classes in all
the colleges are recognised as qualifying for the Degree of B.Sc. in
Agriculture granted by the university at each centre.
The annual expenditure of the
three colleges now amounts to about £14,000, of which half is provided by
the Scotch Education Department.
The end of our task is now in
In dealing with a subject so
wide as that of the four universities the omission of some interesting
topics is inevitable. An effort has been made to take up more or less fully
those of prime importance in connexion with the Acts of 1858 and 1889. We
have seen the Senatus invested with greater powers, University Courts
remodelled, and General Councils instituted, new professorships and
lectureships founded, preliminary examinations established, regulations for
graduation improved in the Faculties of Arts, Science, Medicine and Law and
to a slight degree in Divinity, post-graduate study encouraged by the
founding of Research
Scholarships and Fellowships, bursaries, prizes and scholarships rearranged
and rendered educationally more effective. We have seen women graduating in
all the Faculties except Law and Divinity, the salaries and pensions of
professors put upon a more satisfactory basis, greater facilities provided
by the operation of the Carnegie Trust for the teaching of Science,
Medicine, Commercial and Technical subjects, and a beginning made in the
affiliation of extra-mural colleges to the universities.
More might be added, but
enough has perhaps been said to testify to the excellent work of the
Commissioners of 1858 and 1889, and of the Scottish universities for the
past fifty years.
In the preceding chapter
attention was directed to the almost astounding increase of difficulty in
the Leaving Certificate examination papers in recent years. Not less
astonishing is the increase of difficulty in the examinations for Entrance,
especially in the Faculties of Arts, Science and Medicine. It will be
generally admitted that the standard of the Arts and Science Preliminary
Examination at the present day is at least as high as the standard of the
degree examination of fifty years ago.
It will be seen from the
following statistics that in St Andrews between 1893 and 1906 there is a
very gratifying increase in the number of both men and women students. In
the other three universities the number of matriculated students of both
sexes between the same 13 years is considerably smaller, though there is an
increase in Glasgow of 364, in Aberdeen of 180, and in Edinburgh of 325
women students. While this decrease in the number of men students-due
largely to the establishment of the new universities in England and the
Colonies-is to be regretted, it is matter for congratulation that,
notwithstanding the higher pitch of examination, the number of graduates has
Subjoined are statements as
to the number of students, bursaries, establishment of chairs and
lectureships, and expenditure on additional buildings in the four
universities since 1889.