National Identity and the Idea of the University in 19th Century Scotland

Stuart Wallace


In the mid 19th century Scottish universities still provided an education for a larger proportion of the population than in England, but from the 1820s there was growing recognition of the need for change. The German university with its generous funding, specialized chairs and research mission, seemed to offer an alternative model for reformers seeking to preserve the integrity of Scottish higher education. In organization (if not in endowment), the Scottish university seemed more like the German than Oxford and Cambridge. The large number of Scottish students at German universities seemed further evidence of cultural affinity. From the 1890s Scottish universities began to develop the German idea of research, but their own distinctiveness was being diluted
in an emerging British system of higher education.


British universities; German Universities; national identity; Royal commission; Prussian university reform;

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Higher Education Perspectives. ISSN: 1710-1530