King’s College London

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King’s is:

  • one of the top 20 universities in the world (2015-16 QS international world rankings)
  • the fourth oldest university in England
  • research-led and based in the heart of London.

King’s has over 27,600 students (including nearly 10,500 postgraduates) from some 150 countries and almost 6,800 employees.

  • King’s provides world-class teaching and cutting-edge research:
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) King’s was ranked 6th nationally in the ‘power’ ranking, which takes into account both the quality and quantity of research activity, and 7th for quality according to Times Higher Education rankings
  • Eighty-four per cent of research at King’s was deemed ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (3* and 4*)
  • The university is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of more than £684 million.

King’s has a distinguished reputation in:

  • the humanities
  • law
  • the sciences, including health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry
  • social sciences, including international affairs.

King’s is in The Complete University Guide’s Top Ten for:

  • Business Management Studies
  • Classics & Ancient History
  • Dentistry
  • Education
  • Food Science
  • History
  • Law
  • Music

King’s has influenced many of the advances that shape modern life, such as:

  • the discovery of the structure of DNA
  • research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar
  • being the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe.

King’s Health Partners

King’s, Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King’s Health Partners. King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration. For more information, visit the King’s Health Partners’ website.

World Questions | King’s Answers

King’s £600 million campaign, World questions|KING’s answers, has delivered huge global impact in areas where King’s has particular expertise.

Philanthropic support has funded new research to save young lives at Evelina London Children’s Hospital; established the King’s Dickson Poon School of Law as a worldwide leader in transnational law; built a new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital; allowed unique collaboration between leading neuroscientists to fast-track new treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, depression and schizophrenia at the new Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute; created the Cicely Saunders Institute: the first academic institution in the world dedicated to palliative care, and supported the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership in the Ebola crisis. Donations provide over 300 of the most promising students with scholarships and bursaries each year.

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Dental Institute
  • Law
  • Life Sciences & Medicine
  • Natural & Mathematical Sciences
  • Nursing & Midwifery
  • Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience
  • Social Science & Public Policy


King’s College London was founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington (then Prime Minister) in 1829 as a university college in the tradition of the Church of England. It now welcomes staff and students of all faiths and beliefs.

King’s professors played a major part in nineteenth-century science and in extending higher education to women and working men through evening classes.

The university has grown and developed through mergers with several institutions each with their own distinguished histories. These include:

  • United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals
  • Chelsea College
  • Queen Elizabeth College
  • Institute of Psychiatry.

This beautifully illustrated book by Christine Kenyon Jones describes the many personalities who have contributed to the history of King’s and its constituent institutions. It was published to mark the 175th anniversary of the university in 2004. The book includes nearly 250 illustrations and a foreword by the Princess Royal.



  • 1107 – The Augustinian priory of St Mary Overie establishes an infirmary for pilgrims just south of London Bridge.
  • 1173 – The infirmary takes the name of St Thomas after Thomas Becket’s canonisation that year.
  • 1212 – St Thomas’ Hospital is destroyed by fire and rebuilt on the east side of Borough High Street.
  • 1247 – Bethlem Hospital is founded in Bishopsgate, as a priory dedicated to St Mary of Bethlehem.
  • 1403 – Bethlem records first show it cared for people with mental illness.
  • 1540 – St Thomas’ Hospital is closed during the Reformation.
  • 1553 – St Thomas’ Hospital is reinstated by King Edward VI. Initially known as ‘the King’s Hospital’ it soon reverts to the name ‘St Thomas’ but is now called after St Thomas the Apostle rather than St Thomas Becket, who has been decanonised.


  • 1724 – The building of Guy’s Hospital begins with funds given by Thomas Guy, a governor of St Thomas’ hospital. Guy is concerned about the fate of the ‘incurables’ discharged from St Thomas’ with nowhere to go.
  • 1726– The first patients are admitted to Guy’s Hospital.
  • 1768 – Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals formalise their joint arrangements for teaching medical students as ‘The United Hospitals of the Borough’.
  • 1799 – Joseph Fox gives the first formal lectures in dental surgery at Guy’s.


  • 1825 – Arrangements for teaching medical students at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals are separated.
  • 1828 – The first meeting to discuss the foundation of King’s College is held in London, chaired by the Duke of Wellington.
  • 1829 – The Duke of Wellington fights a duel with the Earl of Winchilsea in defence of his simultaneous role in the foundation of King’s College and his support of the Roman Catholic Relief Act. King George IV signs the royal charter of King’s College London.
  • 1831 – Opening of King’s College London and its Junior Department, King’s College School.
  • 1835 – Associateship of King’s College (AKC) is first awarded to King’s students.
  • 1836 – Foundation of the University of London.
  • 1839 – Degrees of the University of London are first awarded to King’s students.
  • 1839 Establishment of King’s College Hospital in Portugal Street, north of the Strand.
  • 1846 – The Theological Department opens at King’s.


  • 1855 – Opening of King’s first successful Evening Department.
  • 1860 – The school of nursing founded by Florence Nightingale opens at St Thomas’ Hospital.
  • 1871 – St Thomas’ Hospital moves to its present site in Lambeth to make way for the building of London Bridge railway station. King’s holds its first ‘extension’ lectures for ladies.
  • 1873 – The first students’ Union Society is instituted at King’s.
  • 1885 – The Ladies’ Department of King’s opens in Kensington Square.
  • 1888 – Guy’s becomes the first general hospital in the country to establish a dental school.
  • 1890 – London (King’s College) Day Training College for teacher training opens.
  • 1895 – Opening of the South-Western Polytechnic, later to become Chelsea College which merged with King’s in 1985.
  • 1897 – King’s College School moves to Wimbledon.


  • 1901 – The Royal Dental Hospital of London and its School of Dental Surgery, later to merge with UMDS, gain their ‘Royal’ title.
  • 1902 – King’s College Ladies’ Department becomes King’s College Women’s Department.
  • 1903 – All remaining religious tests for academic staff and compulsory attendance at chapel for students are removed at King’s.
  • 1910 – King’s College Women’s Department becomes King’s College for Women.
  • 1913 – The new King’s College Hospital opens at Denmark Hill.
  • 1915 – The Arts and Sciences Departments of King’s College for Women are moved to the Strand. The Household and Social Science Department opens at Campden Hill, Kensington.
  • 1923 – King’s Dental School is established as part of the Medical School at Denmark Hill. The Maudsley Hospital opens as a London County Council hospital for the early treatment of acute mental illness.
  • 1928 – The Household & Social Science Department of King’s becomes King’s College for Household & Social Science.
  • 1948 – On the foundation of the National Health Service, the medical schools of Guys’, King’s and St Thomas’ become independent of the hospitals. The Maudsley’s medical school is renamed the Institute of Psychiatry.


  • 1953 – The Household & Social Science Department of King’s is renamed Queen Elizabeth College.
  • 1971 – Chelsea College of Science and Technology joins the University of London and is renamed Chelsea College.
  • 1983 – The Royal Dental Hospital of London School of Dental Surgery merges with Guy’s Dental School and the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals (UMDS) are formed. King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry (re)unites with King’s College London.
  • 1985 – Queen Elizabeth College and Chelsea College merge with King’s.
  • 1997 – The Institute of Psychiatry merges with King’s.
  • 1998 – UMDS merges with King’s. The King’s Department of Nursing Studies and the Nightingale Institute of Nursing merge to form the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery within King’s College London.
  • 2001 – The Chancery Lane Library, converted from the former Public Records Office building, opens. It is renamed the Maughan Library in 2002.
  • 2004 – The university celebrates its 175th anniversary with a programme of special events.


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