he University was founded in 1410 when a charter of incorporation was bestowed upon the Augustinian priory of St Andrews Cathedral. A Papal Bull was issued in 1413 by the Avignon Pope Benedict XIII. A royal charter was granted in 1532. The University grew in size quite rapidly; A pedagogy, St John's College was founded 1418-1430 by Robert of Montrose and Lawrence of Lindores, St Salvator's College was established in 1450, St Leonard's College in 1511, and St Mary's College in 1537. St Mary's College was a re-foundation of St Johns College and earlier pedagogy. Some of the early college buildings that are in use today date from this period such as St Salvator's Chapel and St Leonards College chapel and St Mary's College quadrangle. At this time, much of the teaching was of a religious nature and was conducted by clerics associated with the cathedral.
From the 17th to 19th centuries, the university underwent many changes. Toward the end of the seventeenth century, the university considered and eventually rejected a move to Perth. In 1747, St Salvator's and St Leonard's merged to form the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard.
During the 19th century, student numbers were very low, in the 1870s, the student population was fewer than 150, and perhaps partly in response to this, the university founded University College in Dundee in 1897, which became a centre of medical, scientific and legal excellence. This affiliation ended in 1967 when the college, renamed Queen's College, became a separate and independent institution as the University of Dundee. The loss of teaching facilities for clinical medicine caused the university's Bute Medical School to form a new attachment with the University of Manchester, which was then expanding its clinical medicine intake.