In 1859, James McCall, Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at the Dick Veterinary College in Edinburgh, moved to Glasgow and started a practice in Hope Street, from which he gave informal lectures in veterinary medicine. In 1862, formal classes were instituted and the practice moved to a larger accommodation, a set of stables at 399 Parliamentary Road. In 1863, a royal warrant was issued which established McCall's enterprise as the Glasgow Veterinary College and entitled its students to examination at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons; the first graduate qualified in 1865. The College was the second veterinary school in Scotland, after the Dick School in Edinburgh, McCall's alma mater, which was established in 1823. In 1873, it moved to much larger facilities in Buccleuch Street, a former pumping station, and merged into the University of Glasgow in 1949. The current Vet School was built on the Garscube Estate in 1970.
The School is now based at the Garscube Estate in Bearsden, on the outskirts of Glasgow, purchased by the University in 1948 from Sir George Campbell of Succoth. Sir George was a descendent of Ilay Campbell, Lord Succoth, who had studied Law at the University and later served as Lord President of the Court of Session and Rector of the University. The main Garscube House had been used as a hospital during the Second World War. The School has a farm, a Small Animal Hospital and an Equine Hospital on the Estate, as well as the James Herriot Library, named for Alf Wight, a graduate of the School who wrote under that name. The University's Wolfson Halls are also situated on the Estate, as is the Garscube Sports Complex, used by the School's student rugby team as well as other students and sports clubs in the University.
The School also has facilities on the Cochno Estate, purchased by the University in 1954. The Estate originally extended to some 220 acres (0.89 km2), including 42 acres (170,000 m2) of woodland, but is now an 850-acre (3.4 km2) business enterprise, including a farm and the elegant Cochno House. Cochno was formerly the seat of the Hamiltons of Barnes, but during the late nineteenth century, the Estate was home to William Anderson Donaldson, a Glasgow iron merchant of the firm, James Watson & Company.
The School presents students for the degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (BVMS). This is one of only six degree programmes in Europe recognised by the American Veterinary Medical Association, and is one of a small number recognised automatically by the South African Veterinary Council.
The School scored 95% for 'graduate prospects' and 5B for 'research quality' in The Times Good University Guide 2009