Universities In Scotland

By StudyLink

Higher Education in Scotland is revered across the world due in part to its mix of long-established and newly formed institutions. In addition to this the Scottish model of education has created leaders, innovators and artists for almost six centuries and was taken as the blueprint from which both the USA and France developed their own education models.

Each institution in the country has something unique to offer an international student, find out more in our quick guide to the Universities in Scotland below. For more information on this topic, including Visas and living costs, please see our Study In Scotland Directory.


University of Dundee
University of Dundee

Location: Dundee
Campus Type: Contained within City Centre
Number of Students: 17,000+
Established: 1881 as University College, Dundee
International Students: Approximately 20%

  • Dundee is very much Scotland’s student city as it has the highest number of students per head of population.
  • Both the University’s School of Dentistry and the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design are well revered in the field having been ranked top in Scotland in recent years.
  • The University has been ranked in the Top 200 Universities in the world for the last two years (THE World University Rankings)

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow Caledonian UniversityLocation: Glasgow
Campus Type: Contained within City Centre
Number of Students: 17,000+
Established: 1993
International Students: 12%

  • GCU also has a campus in London with specialist postgraduate courses in banking/finance and fashion amongst others.
  • GCU also has a campus in Oman in the Middle East
  • The School of Engineering and Built Environment is ranked as one of the best in the UK for Building and Surveying.

University of Abertay

University of AbertayLocation: Dundee
Campus Type: Contained within City Centre
Number of Students: 5,000
Established: 1888 (became University in 1994)
International Students: 17%

  • World renowned for courses Computer Arts and Computer Game Technology.
  • The University is the top ranked institution for Environmental research.

University of Edinburgh

Location: EdinburghUniversity of Edinburgh
Campus Type: Across City
Number of Students: 28,000
Established: 1582
International Students: 21%

  • The University has a world leading College of Medicine & Veterinary Science.
  • The Business School at the University offers the world’s first MSc in Carbon Finance.
  • The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings place the institution within the top 20 universities in the world.

University of Aberdeen

University of AberdeenLocation: Aberdeen
Campus Type: Across City
Number of Students: 16,000
Established: 1495
International Students: 23%

  • The University is renowned for work in its founding subject areas, including Medicine, Engineering and the Arts and Humanities.
  • Excellent research and teaching has created a legacy that includes five Nobel Prize winners.
  • The Institution is renowned for medical breakthroughs including the pioneering use of MRI imaging and developing potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

Robert Gordon University

Robert Gordon UniversityLocation: Aberdeen
Campus Type: Across City
Number of Students: 15,000
Established: 1750 (became University in 1992)
International Students: 20%

  • The University was awarded Best Modern University in the UK in the Times Good University Guide 2012.
  • Many of the courses at RGU offer professional accreditation from leading UK bodies.

University of Strathclyde

Location: Glasgow
Campus Type: Contained within City Centre
Number of Students: 16,000
Established: 1796
International Students: 10%

  • The University of Strathclyde Business School is amongst only 48 schools around the world to have triple education for it’s MBA.
  • It hosts the largest engineering faculty in Scotland.
  • The Law School at the University has a research output that puts it top in Scotland and seventh in the UK.

Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier UniversityLocation: Edinburgh
Campus Type: Across City
Number of Students: 16,000
Established: 1964 (became University in 1992)
International Students: 22%

  • The University has high graduate employability with 93.2% of graduates being in further employment or education within 6 months (HESA 2011).
  • Over 2,000 international students study an Edinburgh Napier University degree in their own country.

University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of ScotlandLocation: Paisley (near Glasgow)
Campus Type: Multiple Across the Country
Number of Students: 19,000+
Established: 1897 (became University in 1992)
International Students: 7%

  • The University has several campuses in the South West of the country.
  • Business connections with Microsoft, Cisco and Macromedia allow leading professional training in IT and computing.
  • Over £70 million pounds is being spent on a new campus development.

University of Glasgow

University of GlasgowLocation: Glasgow
Campus Type: Across City
Number of Students: 26,000
Established: 1451
International Students: 11%

  • The University’s School of Veterinary Science has been rated the joint best in the UK.
  • History of Art is rated the best from all Universities in the UK.
  • The University is a key contributor to the Large Hadron Collider experiment.

Heriot Watt University

Heriot Watt UniversityLocation: Edinburgh
Campus Type: Campus-based
Number of Students: 12,000
Established: 1821 (became University in 1966)
International Students: ~33%

  • The University has a campus in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Around 12,000 international students are studying for a Heriot Watt degree from their own country
  • The University is particularly strong in engineering fields.

Queen Margaret University

Queen Margaret UniversityLocation: Edinburgh
Campus Type: Campus-based
Number of Students: 6,000
Established: 1875 (became University in 2007)
International Students: 12%

  • The University is situated in a purpose-built modern campus, constructed in 2007.
  • The School of Health Sciences offers the widest range of health degrees in Scotland.
  • The institution has a campus in Singapore which is a joint venture with the East Asia Institute of Management (EASB).

University of the Highlands and Islands

Location: Scottish Highlands
Campus Type: Multiple Across the Country
Number of Students: 8,000
Established: 1992 (became University in 2011)
International Students: 1%

  • The University has 13 campuses across the North and North West of Scotland.
  • UHI is the latest institution to be granted University status in Scotland.

University of Stirling

University of StirlingLocation: Stirling
Campus Type: Campus-based
Number of Students: 12,000+
Established: 1967
International Students: 23%

  • The University is highly ranked in the disciplines of Education and Communications & Media.
  • Nursing and Midwifery is key subject area and is ranked in the top 10 of the UK.
  • The University has won the accolade of Best University in Scotland in several student polls over the last few years.

University of St Andrews

University of St AndrewsLocation: St Andrews
Campus Type: Contained within City Centre
Number of Students: 7,000
Established: 1413
International Students: 33%

  • As the oldest University in Scotland, 2013 marks the University of St Andrews 600th year of University status.
  • Part of the project for the 600th Anniversary is the building of a new School of Medicine and Biological Sciences Research Centre.
  • St Andrews is a very small city in comparison to many cities in the UK, as a result almost one in three people in the city work or study at the University.

Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow School of ArtLocation: Glasgow
Campus Type: Contained within City Centre
Number of Students: 2000
Established: 1845
International Students: 20%

  • The institution specialises in architecture, fine art and design.
  • GSA has produced two Turner prize winners in the few years.
  • It has the second largest art and design research community in the UK.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Location: Glasgow
Campus Type: Contained within City Centre
Number of Students: ~1,000
Established: 1847
International Students: 20%

  • In September 2011 the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) changed its name to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
  • The institution specialises in the education of dance, drama, music and production.

Scotland’s Rural College

Location: Aberdeen, Ayr and Edinburgh
Campus Type: Multiple Across the Country
Established: 1899

  • Contrary to the institution’s name, the Scottish Agricultural College provides courses in business, sport and tourism and applied sciences amongst the qualifications in animal science, horticulture and agriculture.
  • The degrees offered at the college are validated by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow.

Additional useful information can be found on the Study In Scotland Directory

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*Facts and Figures in this article are the latest version available from the institutions websites, these are liable to change over time.

The images in this article have kindly been provided by the featured institutions and should not be reproduced.

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