Image of the Forth Bridge in Scotland

 by Amy Shimmin
, posted On 15 Oct '20
 UK Recruitment Graduate Trainee at the University of Aberdeen

A school and college guide to studying in Scotland

How to support students when they ask - what, where and why to study in Scotland?

Think of Scotland and I’m sure the same images come to mind: cold cans of Irn Bru, hairy Highland cows, Nessie swimming through the waters of Loch Ness, ancient castles and mountains to name a few.

While that shows one side of Scotland, it is also an excellent country for students to call home, with hundreds of degrees available at its universities. Whether you’re looking for a city student experience, to study on a self-contained campus, or to be close to unbeatable nature, there is really is something for all students who look to study in Scotland.

Where to study in Scotland?

There are sixteen universities in Scotland, plus the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Most of these universities are in the cities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling. There are also universities spread across multiple campuses. The University of the West of Scotland has sites in towns across the west coast, and the University of the Highlands and Islands has thirteen campuses in towns across the beautiful Scottish Highlands. For those interested in studying agriculture, Scotland’s Rural College has six campuses across different regions.

If you are thinking of moving away from home to study at a University in Scotland, you will be thinking about how to travel. There are hourly trains connecting all of the main cities and towns, and there are also regular Avanti West Coast, LNER, and Transpennine Express services connecting Scotland to cities across England. There are six passenger airports, too: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow International, Glasgow Prestwick and Inverness Airports serve dozens of destinations, including domestic routes across the UK. However you like to travel, you’ll be able to get to and from home easily.

Why study in Scotland?

There is almost 600 years of higher education heritage in Scotland, with the Universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen amongst the five oldest in the UK. This history means universities in Scotland today have rich histories – did you know the University of Edinburgh alone has links to 19 Nobel Prize winners?

Typically, most degrees in Scotland are four years long. This allows you to study a number of subjects, try out different modules, and really enhance your skills for graduate life. You could study a new subject entirely or learn a language to boost your employability. However, dependent on your school qualifications, you may be eligible for ‘advanced entry’ – this means you would enter your degree in the second year of the course, and graduate within three years.

You should check the universities you’re interested in for their specific entry requirements, and if they offer this for the course you’re interested in. For courses like Law, Engineering, Medicine, and Teaching, Advanced Entry wouldn’t usually be possible.

There are thousands of courses available for you to study at our universities, including some less common and unique courses. Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh offers programmes in Brewing and Distilling, and a programme in British Sign Language, while Abertay University in Dundee offers numerous specialist courses in computing and games design. The UCAS website is a great place to start to find universities that offer the course you’re interested in: you can search for the programme you want to study, then filter by universities in Scotland.

How do I find out more?

Most universities will also attend various fairs through the year, such as UCAS or UK University Search events, which are a great way to meet a lot of different universities at once in a city near you. There may also be regional events near you either after you apply or receive an offer of study.

Make sure to check university webpages and social media regularly as this will be the best way to keep up to date with future events. Events will always be held in line with relevant Scottish Government guidance to ensure you can get the information you need and stay safe at the same time.

Mon up, the kettle’s oan - we look forward to welcoming you to Scotland!



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