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 his formal education began, or the details of how he came to be accepted at the Academy. His 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 his 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 man 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 his school nickname was Theta Sigma (The Armageddon Factor, The Happiness Patrol). He 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. He has a broad knowledge of law (The Highlanders, The Stones of Blood), particularly Gallifreyan law (The Deadly Assassin, The Trial of a Time Lord). He 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). He is an expert on power sources (Meglos) who specialized in thermodynamics (Time and The Rani). He's a scientist and engineer (The Aztecs, The Mind of Evil) who's described himself as being qualified in "practically everything" (The Mutants), though he admits that he knows very little about quasitronics (The Invasion of Time). There are several indications that he didn't really apply himself at school, such as Borusa telling him that he'd "never amount to anything in the galaxy" with his "propensity for vulgar facetiousness" (The Deadly Assassin), and his companion, Romana, stating that he'd "scraped through with 51%" on his second attempt at passing his finals (The Ribos Operation). Nevertheless, he 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 his 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 he 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); he saw Peruvian cities constructed by the Exxilons, as well as other examples of the 700 Wonders of the Universe (Death to the Daleks); he visited lighthouses on Gallifrey (Horror of Fang Rock); he saw the architecture of Quasar Five, Riga, and the Sinian Empire (The Invasion of Time); he visited Heathrow Airport during the rebuilding of Terminal 3 (Four to Doomsday); he 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); he became familiar with mining technology (The Monster of Peladon, The Pirate Planet, and others); he 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); he 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 his studies include the Academius Stolaris on Sirius 5, the Solarium Panatica on Stricium, and the Braxiatel Collection (City of Death); he became familiar enough with several major works of art from Earth that he was 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); he was at the battle of Agincourt (The Masque of Mandragora, The Talons of Weng-Chiang); in the 21st century he saw entire planetary populations destroyed by the drug Vraxoin (Nightmare of Eden); he visited the 28th century, and learned of the INEER space organization (The Sensorites); he also visited the 30th century, where he learned of the pollution of Earth (The Mutants), and learned to recognize technology from the era (The Ark in Space)

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