An informal series of lectures for women by members of Glasgow University staff had existed since the 1860s, largely thanks to Jessie Cambell, campaigner for higher education for women in Scotland. This initiative led to the establishment of the Association for the Higher Education of Women, chaired by Glasgow University's Principal, John Caird. The Association organised a University Higher Local Certificate for Women aimed at establishing standards for women which would prove acceptable to the University of Glasgow. It offered teaching in the Arts Faculty of the University, with lectures given in University classrooms and a rented space in St Andrew's Hall at Charring Cross.
The classes were organised on University lines and the subjects for the MA degree were taught and examined although women were not permitted to graduate until the Universities (Scotland) Act 1889. Support from members of the Senate led to the opening of Queen Margaret College in 1884: the only college for women in Scotland.
Source: Glasgow University archives