Doctor Who © BBC

The Academy Years


The Eight Doctors
"I'm fully booked for the next two centuries"

The Doctor's School Days

The Fourth Doctor and BorusaThough we know quite a bit about The Doctor's school years, we do not know the age at which their formal education began, or the details of how they came to be accepted at the Academy. Their professors included Borusa, later a Chancellor and Lord President, who taught mathematics, telepathy, and emotional detachment (The Deadly Assassin, The Invasion of Time), and Azmael, whom The Doctor considered their best teacher (The Twin Dilemma). Another teacher, whose identity is unknown, was the only person who understood artron energy, a form of mental power which is an important part of operating a TARDIS (The Deadly Assassin, Four to Doomsday). The Doctor's classmates included the person we know only as The Master, who earned a higher degree in Cosmic Science (The Sea Devils), Runcible (mockingly called "Runcible the Fatuous") who became a broadcaster for the Public Register (The Deadly Assassin), Drax, who became a wanderer who tended to get into trouble with the authorities (The Armageddon Factor), and the woman whom we know as The Rani (The Mark of The Rani), a brilliant biochemist who's the same age as The Doctor (Time and The Rani). The Doctor belonged to the Prydonian chapter, whose members are said to be devious (The Deadly Assassin), and their school nickname was Theta Sigma (The Armageddon Factor, The Happiness Patrol). They and The Master enjoyed building "time flow analogues" to disrupt each other's experiments (The Time Monster). The Doctor's hobbies included backgammon (Marco Polo) and chess (The Mind of Evil, Silver Nemesis, The Curse of Fenric). The Academy taught a wide range of courses, and The Doctor seems to have taken most of them. They have a broad knowledge of law (The Highlanders, The Stones of Blood), particularly Gallifreyan law (The Deadly Assassin, The Trial of a Time Lord). They studied art (City of Death), architecture (The Invasion of Time), cybernetics (Destiny of the Daleks), pharmacology (The Two Doctors, The Deadly Assassin, and others), and history (Marco Polo, The Aztecs, and others). They are an expert on power sources (Meglos) who specialized in thermodynamics (Time and The Rani). They're a scientist and engineer (The Aztecs, The Mind of Evil) who's described themself as being qualified in "practically everything" (The Mutants), though they admit that they know very little about quasitronics (The Invasion of Time). There are several indications that they didn't really apply themself at school, such as Borusa telling them that they'd "never amount to anything in the galaxy" with their "propensity for vulgar facetiousness" (The Deadly Assassin), and their companion, Romana, stating that they'd "scraped through with 51%" on their second attempt at passing their finals (The Ribos Operation). Nevertheless, they graduated from The Academy in the class of '92 (The Armageddon Factor). Since, as far as we know, the lower classes of Gallifrey cannot regenerate their bodies, and do not possess the "Time Lord gift" which allows one to understand alien languages (The Masque of Mandragora), it seems likely that The Doctor underwent the processes which enable both of these as part of their graduation ceremonies.

The Doctor's Field Trips

Judging from references made by The Doctor and other Time Lords, it would seem that courses at The Academy include field trips in time and space. One of Gallifrey's Castellans is quite familiar with the various styles of architecture which The Doctor mentions (The Invasion of Time), and Romana and The Doctor once discuss the best museums in the universe (City of Death). These are some of the places and events The Doctor has mentioned which they visited on these field trips. During this period, of course, The Doctor merely witnessed these events, rather than actively participating (which would certainly have been forbidden).

The Doctor studied the architecture of low-gravity planets (The Krotons); they saw Peruvian cities constructed by the Exxilons, as well as other examples of the 700 Wonders of the Universe (Death to the Daleks); they visited lighthouses on Gallifrey (Horror of Fang Rock); they saw the architecture of Quasar Five, Riga, and the Sinian Empire (The Invasion of Time); they visited Heathrow Airport during the rebuilding of Terminal 3 (Four to Doomsday); they studied the works of Kroagnon, the so-called Great Architect, including Golden Dream Park, the Bridge of Perpetual Motion, and Miracle City (Paradise Towers)

The Doctor saw several types of refinery technology (Fury from the Deep, Terror of the Zygons, The Power of Kroll); they became familiar with mining technology (The Monster of Peladon, The Pirate Planet, and others); they saw hydrogen plants "built along typical Scott-Bailey principles" (The Brain of Morbius), and moving mines which were similar to sandminers on Korlano-Beta (The Robots of Death); they gained "empirical knowledge" in the engineering of planetary relocation (The Twin Dilemma, The Trial of a Time Lord)

Fine Arts
Museums The Doctor visited during their studies include the Academius Stolaris on Sirius 5, the Solarium Panatica on Stricium, and the Braxiatel Collection (City of Death); they became familiar enough with several major works of art from Earth that they were later able to construct holographic duplicates of them to disguise an ancillary power station in the TARDIS (The Invasion of Time)

The Doctor witnessed the Big Bang (Destiny of the Daleks, Terminus, The Curse of Fenric); they were at the battle of Agincourt (The Masque of Mandragora, The Talons of Weng-Chiang); in the 21st century they saw entire planetary populations destroyed by the drug Vraxoin (Nightmare of Eden); they visited the 28th century, and learned of the INEER space organization (The Sensorites); they also visited the 30th century, where they learned of the pollution of Earth (The Mutants), and learned to recognize technology from the era (The Ark in Space)

Past: Who IS The Doctor? Who's Doctor Who? Future: Doctoral Studies