he university was founded in 1796 through the will of John Anderson, professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, who left instructions and the majority of his estate to create a second university in Glasgow which would focus on "Useful Learning" – specialising in practical subjects – "for the good of mankind and the improvement of science, a place of useful learning". The university later named its city centre campus after him.
In 1828, the institution was renamed Anderson's University, partially fulfilling Anderson's vision of two universities in the city of Glasgow. The name was changed in 1887, to reflect the fact that there was no legal authority for the use of the title of 'university'. As a result, the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College was formed, becoming the Royal Technical College in 1912, and the Royal College of Science and Technology in 1956 concentrating on science and engineering teaching and research. Undergraduate students could qualify for degrees of the University of Glasgow or the equivalent Associate of the Royal College of Science and Technology (ARCST).