Psychiatric disorders occur among all groups of the general population, but it would be difficult to suggest a group of young people in whom the consequences are more serious than that of university students. So much is at stake during the short time spent at university that students cannot afford to be ill for any reason, least of all from psychiatric disorders where the ability to study, the first requirement of all students, is especially impaired. Much of the concern with which university authorities view the mental health of their students is due not only to the widely-assumed relationship between psychological illness and poor academic performance, but also to an increasing awareness of the central role played by emotional factors in the adjustment of the young adult to the new, competitive and often demanding world of higher education. Certainly the suicide rate is one criterion of mental illness which suggests that students are exposed to special risk: it is many times greater for undergraduates than for the equivalent age groups of the general population (Carpenter, 1959; Parnell, 1951; Parnell and Skottowe, 1957). While the suicide rates are high, particularly among students at the older English universities, the actual numbers are very small, and suicide is fortunately only a rare expression of psychological illness among students. Carpenter's (1959) analysis, showing that suicide rates differ in different universities (annual rates of 0.2 per 1,000 living students at Oxford and Cambridge, 0.06 per 1,000 at other British universities), has prompted speculation by university physicians as to whether the case load of psychiatric morbidity among students varies from university to university, and whether this is influenced, adversely or beneficially, by differing cultural and environmental factors in the universities and differing social and demographic characteristics of the student populations.