The medical school continually ranks 1st in Scotland and in 2013 and 2014, it was ranked 3rd in the UK by the Guardian University Guide, The Times Good University Guide. The medical school’s early focus on academic understanding puts its graduates amongst the top candidates in postgraduate qualification medical school personal statements, and renders them very competitive applicants with regard to clinical posts.
As of 2017 the school accepts 184 medical students per year from the United Kingdom, 5 students from the European Union and an additional 14 students from elsewhere. 2 winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and 1 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Although the University of Edinburgh’s Faculty of Medicine was not formally organised until 1726, medicine had been taught at Edinburgh since the beginning of the sixteenth century. Since the Renaissance the primary facet of medical teaching here was anatomy and, therefore, Alexander Monro primus was appointed Professor of Anatomy in 1720. Professor Alexander Monros lasting 128 years. By 1764 the number of medical students was so great that a new 200-seat Anatomy Theatre was built in the College Garden. The first voluntary hospital to be established in Scotland was the Edinburgh Infirmary for the Sick Poor, which was established both for charitable and teaching purposes.
The project was led by Alexander Monro, supported by influential Edinburgh politician George Drummond who was keen to establish Edinburgh as a centre for medical excellence. The Edinburgh Royal Infirmary began operating from a small house—leased from the University of Edinburgh—which was located opposite the head of Robertson’s Close, in today’s Infirmary Street. Resident staff included a matron, one domestic servant, and volunteer physicians and surgeons who attended in fortnightly rotations. Work began in 1738 with William Adam as architect and in 1741, shortly after the foundation of the college, a 228-bed purpose-built hospital opened on land in what would become Infirmary Street, near Surgeons’ Hall in Edinburgh. Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh on Lauriston Place close to the university and next door to where the medical school buildings would be built in 1880.
In 2003 a new 900-bed Royal Infirmary opened at Little France, in the south-east of the city, replacing the facility on Lauriston Place. The nineteenth century saw a growth of new sciences at Edinburgh, notably of Physiology and Pathology, and the development of Public Health and Psychiatry. Midwifery was finally admitted as an essential part of the compulsory medical curriculum. In 1869 Sophia Jex-Blake was reluctantly accepted to attend a limited number of classes in the School of Medicine, enrolling Edinburgh in the heated international battle for women to enter medicine. Full equality between the sexes was not achieved at Edinburgh Medical School until 20 years later.