The University of Aberdeen, (abbreviated as Aberd. in post-nominals), is a public research university in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is an ancient university founded in 1495 when William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen, petitioned Pope Alexander VI on behalf of James IV, King of Scots to establish King's College, making it Scotland's third-oldest university and the fifth-oldest in the English-speaking world. The university as it is comprised today was formed in 1860 by a merger between King's College and Marischal College, a second university founded in 1593 as a Protestant alternative to the former.
The university's iconic buildings act as symbols of wider Aberdeen, particularly Marischal College in the city centre and the crown steeple of King's College in Old Aberdeen. There are two campuses; the predominantly utilised King's College campus dominates the section of the city known as Old Aberdeen, which is approximately two miles north of the city centre. Although the original site of the university's foundation, most academic buildings were constructed in the 20th century during a period of significant expansion. The university's Foresterhill campus is next to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and houses the School of Medicine and Dentistry as well as the School of Medical Sciences. Together these buildings comprise one of Europe's largest health campuses. The annual income of the institution for 2016–17 was £222.5 million of which £61.0 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £229.0 million.
Aberdeen has approximately 13,500 students from undergraduate to doctoral level, including many international students. An abundant range of disciplines are taught at the university, with 650 undergraduate degree programmes offered in the 2012-13 academic year. Many important figures in the field of theology were educated at the university, particularly in its earlier history, giving rise to the Aberdeen doctors in the 17th century and prolific enlightenment philosopher Thomas Reid in the 18th. Five Nobel laureates have since been associated with Aberdeen.