Dr Who studied at Glasgow University


Glasgow University has joined in on the historic Dr Who storyline claim that the time travelling Doctor studied at the university.


The long standing claim in pop culture phenomenon is that the Time Lord received a Doctorate at the University of Glasgow where he studied under renowned physician Joseph Lister in 1888.


Revelations made in the most recent airing of the series, staring Peter Capaldi have brought to light the storyline which was first mentioned in the 1967 series staring Patrick Troughton.


A police box similar to the time-travelling space ship used by Dr Who


The latest episode, titled ‘Death in Heaven’, was broadcast on Saturday 8 November and features the Doctor’s companion Clara Oswald, played by actress Jenna Coleman, pretending to be the doctor and referring to the degree he was awarded by the University of Glasgow.


The character says: ““I don’t even really have a doctorate. Well Glasgow University, but then I accidentally graduated in the wrong century.”


Head of the University of Glasgow’s Archives Services, Lesley Richmond has developed her own theory on the matter, saying: “There are a few problems with the Doctor’s Glasgow claims. Lister wasn’t here in the 1880s. And, when you look at the different dates the Doctor says he was here – it doesn’t add up.


“One of my theories is that he came to consult with some of the greatest scientific minds of the time, because he was developing the sonic screwdriver. Now, who better to assist than renowned physicist and engineer Lord Kelvin?”


The sonic screwdriver is one of the Doctor’s sophisticated gadgets. It allows him to unlock anything and remotely control other devices. Lord Kelvin was Professor of Natural Philosophy from 1846–1899, which means the Doctor could have taken his classes in advanced mathematical physics as well as used his electrical engineering laboratory to develop the screwdriver.


In the episode broadcast on Saturday 8 November, while pretending to be the Doctor in an effort to save herself from an army of Cybermen, one of the planet’s deadliest enemies, Clara Oswald said: “I don’t even really have a doctorate. Well Glasgow University, but then I accidentally graduated in the wrong century.”


In 1967, the Second Doctor (played by Patrick Troughton), in the Moonbase series of Doctor Who, said he had graduated in medicine at Glasgow in ‘1888, I think…Lister’.


Professor of Surgery Joseph Lister developed a revolutionary system of antiseptic surgery while at the University from 1860 to 1869. But this was over 15 years before the Doctor claims to have been here.


The Fourth Doctor (played by Tom Baker) only muddies the water further, including Lister in his CV but dating the degree to 1880.


And the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davidson) told American college student Peri Brown that he could be a medic in the American Civil War because he had a degree from Glasgow.


The current writer and producer behind the series, Steven Moffat (MA 1983), is a Glasgow graduate. An enthusiastic fan of the show since childhood, Steven became head writer and executive producer in 2010 after several years writing for the show.