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Five Nobel laureates have since been associated with Aberdeen.The first university in Aberdeen, King's College, formally The University and King's College of Aberdeen (Collegium Regium Abredonense), was founded in February 1495 by William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen, Chancellor of Scotland, and a graduate of the University of Glasgow drafting a request on behalf of King James IV to Pope Alexander VI resulting in a Papal Bull being issued.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 the prolific enlightenment philosopher Thomas Reid in the 18th.This united university survived until the Restoration whereby all laws made during this period were rescinded by Charles II and the two colleges reverted to independent status.The two universities in Aberdeen merged on 15 September 1860 in accordance with the Universities (Scotland) Act 1858, which also created a new medical school at Marischal College.During the mid-20th century departments which had been at Marischal College moved into one of these new buildings (most at King's College) and by the late 20th-century Marischal College had been abandoned by all but the Anatomy Department, a graduation hall and the Marischal Museum (Marischal College has now been restored as the headquarters of Aberdeen City Council, which is leasing a portion of the complex from the university).
Aberdeen has 14,150 students from undergraduate to doctoral level (as of 2016/17), including many international students.
Marischal College, in the commercial heart of the city (rather than the ancient but much smaller collegiate enclave of Old Aberdeen), was quite different in nature and outlook.
For example, it was more integrated into the life of the city, such as allowing students to live outwith the College.
During this time, both colleges made notable intellectual contributions to the Scottish Enlightenment.
Both colleges supported the Jacobite rebellion and following the defeat of the 1715 rising were largely purged by the authorities of their academics and officials.