Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Former names
Clyde Street Veterinary College, Dick Veterinary College, Royal (Dick) Veterinary College
TypeVeterinary school
Established1823; 201 years ago (1823)
AffiliationUniversity of Edinburgh
Head of SchoolLisa Boden

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, commonly referred to as the Dick Vet, is the University of Edinburgh's vet school. It is part of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

In a joint submission to the latest UK Research Excellence Framework exercise, research at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) was ranked number one in the UK for agriculture, food and veterinary sciences by combining Times Higher Education’s ratings for each institution. The judgement, based on the quality and breadth of research, maintains the R(D)SVS and SRUC’s position as the strongest provider in these subject areas. The institutions’ research environment was classified to be 100 per cent world leading or internationally excellent for agriculture, food and veterinary sciences research. The joint submission was also assessed as being 100 per cent world leading or internationally excellent in terms of the impact the research work has on wider society.[1]

The School was ranked first in the UK in the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2022 – Veterinary Sciences,[2] second in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023 for Veterinary Science,[3] first in the UK for the sixth year running by the Guardian League Table 2022,[4] and second in the UK for the second year running by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide ranking for Veterinary Medicine.[5]


Originally called the Highland Society's Veterinary School,[6] Edinburgh, the Dick Vet, as it came to be known, was established by William Dick, a former student of the anatomist John Barclay of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.[7] The first regular classes at the school were begun in November 1823,[8] although lectures to small groups of students had been provided for four years prior to this date. That first session of regular classes was financed by student fees and a grant from the Highland Society of Scotland at Edinburgh,[9] of which John Barclay was a director. Mary Dick, William's elder sister, was reputed to have been instrumental, from the early days, in the administration of the school.

Although an autonomous institution, the students also attended the lectures in (human) medicine at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Clyde Street

In 1833, William Dick, who was by then a successful veterinary practitioner and teacher, paid for construction of purpose-built accommodation near the site of his father's forge in a Clyde Street courtyard. William lived adjacent at 15 Clyde Street.[10] (Today Multrees Walk is approximately where Clyde Street was.[11]) This was the base for the school until it moved to its next site at Summerhall in 1916. In 1839, his school officially became a college and William Dick was given the title professor. By the time of Dick's death in 1866, the over 2000 students he had taught were to be found throughout the world. Among them were the founders of veterinary schools in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United States.[citation needed] On his death, Dick bequeathed his college in trust to the Burgh Council of Edinburgh.

It was officially named Dick’s Veterinary College following a request made by his sister, in 1873, in response to a crisis caused by the establishment of the rival New Veterinary College set up by alumnus and former Principal William Williams. Williams had taken with him the majority of the students, and the library. The two schools existed amicably within 100 m of one another in Edinburgh's New Town until 1904, when the Williams' school moved to Liverpool, England, forming the basis of the University of Liverpool Faculty of Veterinary Science. The Royal (Dick) Veterinary College was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1906.[citation needed]


Main article: Summerhall

Orlando Charnock Bradley was principal of the Dick Vet when it moved in 1916 to the south side of Edinburgh, to another purpose-designed building, at Summerhall.[12]

On 10 May 1951 the college was reconstituted as The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies,[13] and officially became part of the University of Edinburgh, and became a full Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 1964. Reorganisation of the university in 2002 resulted in the abolishment of Faculties, and the Dick Vet once again became The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, one of the four Schools within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

In 2009, Scottish Television filmed a five-part documentary at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.[14] Some of the cases shown on the documentary follow a wild swan needing an endoscopy, a horse in emergency colic surgery, a skunk being neutered, a chameleon with an eye infection, and the removal of a tumour near a cat's heart.[15] STV filmed a second documentary in 2010.

Since 2013, Summerhall is now a major international art museum and arts hub which has exhibited over 200 artists in two years as well as many theatre, music and literature events in the building.

Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies Main Building, Easter Bush Campus

Easter Bush Veterinary Campus

In 2011, the Summerhall site was vacated and the staff and students were relocated to a new teaching building on the Easter Bush campus, 7 miles (11 km) south of the City centre. For the first time since 1962, all the veterinary facilities, together with the Roslin Institute, were consolidated onto one campus.

The Easter Bush Veterinary Campus

The Easter Bush Veterinary Campus is one of four campuses owned and operated by the University of Edinburgh and is approximately 7 miles south of Edinburgh city centre. The campus sits south of the Pentland Hills and can be accessed from the A702 and A703.

The faculty's undergraduate degree in Veterinary Medicine (BVM&S) is accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK, by the American Veterinary Medical Association in North America, the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE), The Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC)] and The South African Veterinary Council.

As well as university buildings, the campus holds the nursery, for children aged 0 to 5.

History of the Easter Bush Campus

Historically, the site on which the Easter Bush campus sits was agricultural land. The first mention of ‘Bush’ which related to the near-by Bush Estate, and the Category A listed Bush House which lay at its centre, was recorded on maps as early as 1812. Buildings at Bush Home Farm and Easter Bush appeared by 1892.

The University of Edinburgh purchased the Bush and Dryden estates in 1947, allocating the land around the farmstead at Easter Bush to the Veterinary College for livestock practical teaching

In 1962, the university opened a Veterinary Field Station and Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine on the land to the south of Home Farm at Easter Bush. These buildings housed clinical teaching facilities, research laboratories and offices as well as lecture theatres, seminar rooms, a refectory and a gym.

The Hospital for Small Animals opened in 1999 and in 2002 the university purchased Langhill Farm, sited just 2 miles from Easter Bush, it provided improved livestock facilities for the 220 strong herd of dairy cows. The land that had previously been occupied by the livestock, was able to be re-developed, and in 2003 the Equine and Large Ruminant Hospitals opened.

In 2005, the University of Edinburgh approved a detailed proposal to relocate all of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies teaching activities to a purpose-built new building amongst the schools animal hospitals at Easter Bush and in 2011 the William Dick building and Roslin Institute building opened on campus.

The William Dick Building

The William Dick Building, was opened for teaching in September 2011 by HRH Princess Royal[16] and sits on the Easter Bush Campus. It contains purpose-built facilities for veterinary teaching, including a clinical skills laboratory, anatomy facilities and two lecture theatres. It holds a canteen which is open to staff, students and the general public.

The Roslin Institute

The Roslin Institute was integrated into the University of Edinburgh in 2008 and in 2011 the completion of a new purpose-built research building on the Easter Bush Campus, saw it move the majority of its research to the campus.

The Dick Vet Hospital for Small Animals

The Dick Vet Hospital for Small Animals was opened in 1999 and is the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies main small animal clinical facility. It offers both first opinion services, through the Dick Vet General Practice, as well as referral services to referring veterinary clinicians. It has a range of specialist services, which include: Anaesthesia, Cardiopulmonary, Dermatology, Diagnostic Imaging, Emergency and Critical Care, The Feline Clinic, Internal Medicine, Interventional Radiology, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Soft Tissue Surgery, the Dick Vet Rabbit and Exotic Practice and the Riddell-Swann Veterinary Cancer Centre.

Equine Veterinary Services

Equine Veterinary Services consists of the Dick Vet Equine Practice, which offers first opinion care to horses, and the Dick Vet Equine Hospital. Within the Dick Vet Equine Hospital are a number of specialist services, including: Medicine, Orthopaedics, Soft Tissue Surgery, Reproduction, Farriery, anaesthesia, Diagnostic Imaging and Behaviour.

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE) is a hub of expertise on animal welfare education, collaborating with international universities, governments, charities and NGO partners to advance the understanding of animal welfare issues.

Recent projects have included investing in the Clinical Skills Lab at the Dick Vet School, providing students with animal alternatives on which to practice; including a new equine colic simulator. They have also developed a new online Masters programme in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law which joins the on-campus Masters in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare. These programmes are supported by The Scottish Rural College allowing students to benefit from being taught by many of the best animal welfare experts in the country.

The National Avian Research Facility

In September 2013, the National Avian Research Facility was opened on the Easter Bush campus[17] in partnership with the Pirbright Institute. NARF's mission is to improve the productivity, health and welfare of poultry through research on host-pathogen interactions, avian genetics, development and physiology using state-of-the-art technologies.

The Charnock Bradley Building

The Charnock Bradley Building is a hub for the Easter Bush Campus, providing a home for the Roslin Innovation Centre, Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre (EBSOC) and the Easter Bush Gym. Opened in May 2018[18] by HRH Princess Royal the building contains office and laboratory space. Located in front of the building sits Canter a sculpture by Andy Scot, who is best known for The Kelpies. it was unveiled in May 2018 at the same time as the building opened[19] and the 15 ft steel statue of a horse's head forms the centrepiece of the entrance plaza.

The Roslin Innovation Centre

The Roslin Innovation Centre provides office and laboratory space for tenant companies, university spin outs and early-stage entrepreneurs. Its laboratories and office spaces have been designed to be subdivided into different configurations, allowing for companies of all sizes to occupy the space. There are 285 laboratory workstations and space for 380 scientists and support staff.

Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre

The Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre (EBSOC) was opened on 1 May 2018[20] by HRH Princess Royal. EBSOC is a purpose-built teaching laboratory, which offers interactive curriculum linked learning experiences for school pupils and community groups. It is supported by scientists from across the Easter Bush Campus, who discuss their current research with the children, to help relate their learning to real life scientific research. The centre is managed by Dr Nicola Stock and staffed by a dedicated team, who design the activities.

Notable alumni

Notable staff


From amalgamation with Edinburgh University in 1951 the role became first director then dean of faculty rather than principal of the college.


  1. ^ "What we do". The University of Edinburgh. 12 August 2022. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  2. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects". Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  3. ^ "QS World University Rankings for Veterinary Science 2023". Top Universities. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  4. ^ "Best UK universities for veterinary science – league table". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  5. ^ "Veterinary Medicine Subject League Table 2024". Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  6. ^ Bradley, O.C. 1923. History of the Edinburgh Veterinary College. Oliver & Boyd;Edinburgh.
  7. ^ Macdonald, A.A.; Warwick, C.; Johnston, W.T. (2011). "Early contributions to the development of veterinary education in Scotland". Veterinary History. 16 (1): 10–40. hdl:1842/5263.
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  9. ^ "The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland". Archived from the original on 22 February 1999.
  10. ^ "Edinburgh Post Office annual directory, 1832-1833". National Library of Scotland. p. 50. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  11. ^ Robert Kirkwood 1819 map
  12. ^ Warwick, C.M.; Macdonald, A.A. (2010). "The Life of Professor Orlando Charnock Bradley, (1871-1937): diary entries 1895-1923". Veterinary History. 15: 205–220. hdl:1842/3643.
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  14. ^ [dead link]
  15. ^ "Life at the Dick Vet". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  16. ^ "New £100m vet study centre opens". BBC News. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  17. ^ "UK opens National Avian Research Facility". Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  18. ^ "First Anniversary for Charnock Bradley Building, Equine Diagnostic, Surgical and Critical Care Unit and 'Canter'". Midlothian Science Zone. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
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  20. ^ "Royal launch for scientific centre in Midlothian". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
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  22. ^ The Veterinary Journal Literary Prizes 2012
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55°51′55″N 3°12′00″W / 55.86528°N 3.20000°W / 55.86528; -3.20000