Abertay University (Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh Obar Thatha), formerly the University of Abertay Dundee, is a public university in the city of Dundee, Scotland. In 1872, Sir David Baxter, 1st Baronet of Kilmaron, left a bequest for the establishment of a mechanics' institute in Dundee and the Dundee Institute of Technology was formed in 1888. As early as 1902 it was recognised by the Scottish Education Department as an educational hub, and was one of the first to be designated a central institution, akin to an "industrial university". Abertay gained University status in 1994.
Abertay launched the world's first computer games degree in 1997 and in 2017 held a programme of events celebrating 20 Years of Games. Abertay was also the first to offer a degree in Ethical Hacking, starting in 2006.
Abertay is a small university that receives the majority of its funding for teaching rather than research. Nevertheless, according to the results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014) published on 18 December 2014, Abertay was the highest ranked modern university in Scotland for 'research intensity'. The university submitted an increased proportion of staff in REF2014 compared to RAE2008 and achieved an average score of 2.15 - which in REF terms means 'quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance, and rigour'. This was an improvement from the average score of 1.83, 'national recognition', achieved in RAE2008.
The Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF2021) published on 12 May 2022 and Abertay recorded a 23% increase in research that is ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’ since the last REF in 2014. There was particularly strong performance in the areas of Art & Design (covering work in digital games), Engineering (including work in cybersecurity, computing and environmental engineering) and Food Science, which respectively had 83%, 73% and 65% of research rated as ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’.
Abertay was the first university in the world to offer a "computer games" degree in 1997. In 2009 it established the UK's first Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education, and a business support programme. Abertay runs five of the 25 interactive and games degree courses accredited in the UK by Creative Skillset, the industry skills body for the creative sector, more than any other institution.