University Tips Blog
Panoramic view of Dunottar Castle
A headshot image of the author, Helena Ziegler

by Helena Ziegler

Manager, UK Student Recruitment Team at the University of Aberdeen

posted on 24 Apr '23

A guide to university study in Scotland

Have you ever considered suggesting studying at a Scottish university to your pupils? But perhaps don’t know much about Scottish universities or studying in Scotland. Want to find out more? This is the blog for you.

History of excellence

First, Scotland has the same long history and great reputation for excellent higher education as the rest of the UK. Amongst the 19 Scottish universities are 4 of the 6 oldest UK universities, as well as some of the most modern institutions. Scottish universities include those that offer a full range of broad- based degree programmes from A-Z, as well as a highly specialist Conservatoire, art school and agriculture college.

Second, Scotland has a very high standard of education, reflected in the fact that 86% of research at Scottish universities has been judged to be of outstanding impact to society. Scottish researchers are responsible for many world-changing discoveries and innovations, including for example, the MRI scanner, penicillin, and keyhole surgery.

They are now also home to ground-breaking research for our 21st century world, in areas including artificial intelligence and robotics, ethical hacking, environmental studies & sustainability, and coping with the challenges of an aging society. Studying in Scotland gives students direct access to world- class researchers, facilities, and centres of excellence.

Third, a Scottish university education provides great employment prospects. Employers are known to value Scottish graduates highly, with nine out of ten graduates in employment or further study within six months of graduating. A Scottish university degree fully prepares students to move into the workplace.

Image of a piggy bank to resemble student finance

What about tuition and student loans?

Good news - tuition at a Scottish university for an applicant from England, Wales or Northern Ireland is no different than if they were to study at a university elsewhere in the UK. Applications for tuition and living loans are made in the same way, and the payment mechanisms are also the same.

But what’s with the longer, four-year degree?

Most standard Scottish undergraduate degrees are four years in length. This degree structure follows a long-established European tradition which has also been copied in many countries worldwide, including the US and Canada.

What are the advantages of the four-year undergraduate degree?

• It provides enhanced flexibility in subject choice, especially in the first two years, which allows students to experience new subjects without committing to them longer term. This opportunity to explore contributes to academic development and is also very attractive to employers.

• The opportunity for students to mature academically, improving their intellectual skills in the pre-honours years before committing to their specialism in the last two years.

• The opportunity for students to mature into adulthood, with extra time to adjust to university life and independent living, and enhanced chances to explore new opportunities and interests.

What else is there to say? Scotland is very proud to welcome over 50,000 students from over 180 different countries to study with us every year. Our students enjoy vibrant and exciting cities, while being able to appreciate nature on their doorsteps, and Scotland is home to exciting events all year round, which all make it an ideal place to be a student!

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