King's was established in 1829 by King George IV and the Duke of Wellingtonand received its royal charter in the same year. In 1836, King's became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London. In the late 20th century, it grew through a series of mergers, including with Queen Elizabeth College and Chelsea College of Science and Technology (in 1985), the Institute of Psychiatry (in 1997), the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals and the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery (in 1998).
King's is regarded as one of the top multidisciplinary research universities in the world, ranked 21st in the world by the 2016/17 QS World University Rankings, and 36th in the world by the 2016/17 THE World Rankings. It is usually considered part of the "golden triangle" along with the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, University College London, Imperial College London, and the London School of Economics. It is a member of academic organisations such as the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association, and the Russell Group.
King's has five campuses: its historic main campus on the Strand in central London, three other Thames-side campuses (Guy's, St Thomas' and Waterloo) and one in Denmark Hill in south London. In 2015/16, King's had a total income of £738.4 million, of which £193.2 million was from research grants and contracts and as of 2014/15, King's had 28,900 students and 5,948 staff. It has the fifth largest endowment of any university in the United Kingdom, and the largest of any in London. Its academic activities are organised into nine faculties which are subdivided into numerous departments, centres and research divisions. King's is home to six Medical Research Council centres and is a founding member of the King's Health Partners academic health sciences centre, Francis Crick Institute and MedCity. It is the largest European centre for graduate and post-graduate medical teaching and biomedical research, by number of students, including the world's first nursing school, the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery.
King's alumni and staff include 12 Nobel laureates; contributors to the discovery of DNA structure, Hepatitis C and the Higgs boson; pioneers of in-vitro fertilisation, stem cell/mammal cloning and the modern hospice movement; and key researchers advancing radar, radio, television and mobile phones. Alumni also include heads of states, governments and intergovernmental organisations; seventeen members of the current House of Commons and sixteen members of the current House of Lords; and the recipients of two Oscars, three Grammys and an Emmy.