Universities in Aberdeen, Scotland

Picture of a boat on a body of water with tall buildings in the background

Aberdeen is a port city in Scotland, and has a large international population due to the offshore petroleum industry.

Aberdeen is a city in North-Eastern Scotland with a population of approximately 215,000 residents. Having functioned as a hub for industries such as fishing, paper-making, shipbuilding, and textiles over the last few centuries, Aberdeen has recently become a major centre for offshore oil exploration as well as healthcare. Additionally, Aberdeen has also become an operational hub for many large businesses and employers, and is now one of the United Kingdom’s fastest growing economies.

Top Universities in Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen

Established in 1860 following the merger of two colleges, the University of Aberdeen is home to nearly 14,000 students, of which about 6,500 are international students. Alongside two major campuses in the Old Aberdeen and Foresterhill neighbourhoods of the city, the university also operates an international satellite campus in Doha, Qatar.

The University of Aberdeen offers world-leading courses in healthcare alongside world-class healthcare training facilities such as the Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning in Healthcare, a 25 million US Dollars training facility inaugurated in 2009. Additionally, the University of Aberdeen operates advanced research centres across a wide range of disciplines, such as the Institute for Complex Systems & Mathematical Biology and the Elphinstone institute for Language & Literature.

The sizable international student community on campus at the University of Aberdeen guarantees that you will have excellent support and opportunities for socialising as a new student in Aberdeen.

Robert Gordon University

Originally established as a hospital in the mid-18th century, Robert Gordon University was awarded full university status in 1992. In a short span of 30 years, the university has become well-known for its strength in various fields of study, and currently offers degree programmes across 11 faculty divisions.

Robert Gordon University offers plenty of exchange programmes for its international students to experience foreign cultures while studying at top-ranked universities, such as the Erasmus+ programme. The university’s primary campus is located in the Aberdeen neighbourhood of Garthdee, in the south-west of the city.

The University of the Highlands and Islands

The University of the Highlands and Islands consists of 12 member colleges and research institutions in the highlands and islands of Scotland. The primary campus of the university is located in Inverness, about two and a half hours north of Aberdeen.

The university is home to 7,200 enrolled students, of which about 800 are international students. The university offers a wide range of scientific degree programmes, social science subjects, fine arts courses and even vocational degrees.

Studying at The University of the Highlands and Islands enables international students to receive an affordable yet high-quality education while living in the picturesque Scottish countryside, in areas such as the Isle of Skye, Fort William, Shetland, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides.

Aberdeen Universities World Ranking 2022

Below are the top-ranked Aberdeen universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2022 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2022 Rankings.

For more information about rankings systems and methodologies see our University rankings explained guide.

UniversityQS World Ranking 2022Times Higher Education Ranking 2022QS Rank in the UKTHE Rank in the UK
University of Aberdeen205=1582822
Robert Gordon University801-1,0001,001-1,2007296

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Aberdeen

Alongside the three best Aberdeen universities for international students, the city and its surrounding region also offer multiple institutes and universities for specialisations in subjects such as engineering and agriculture. A few such institutes for international students in and around Aberdeen are:

  • North East Scotland College
  • King’s College
  • Marischal College
  • SRUC Craibstone, Aberdeen
  • Ogilvie Institute

Tuition and Living Costs in Aberdeen

Undergraduate tuition costs for international students at Edinburgh universities can vary between 25,000-30,000 US Dollars per year. Tuition fees are higher for specialised programmes, such as Dentistry and Healthcare courses, at about 38,000-40,000 US Dollars per year. Postgraduate tuition fees depend on the specific programme and courses selected, and usually range between 20,000 and 35,000 US Dollars per annum.

As for living costs, Robert Gordon University estimates that international students at top-ranked Aberdeen universities should budget between 1,350-1,550 US Dollars every month. This figure includes 700-850 US Dollars for shared accommodation, 250-300 US Dollars for food expenses, 180-200 US Dollars for utilities and another 250 US Dollars for entertainment and miscellaneous expenses.

Current UK student visa rules enable international students to work up to 20 hours every week during the semester, and full-time during academic breaks. Many international students secure internships and part-time employment in Aberdeen in order to offset their living and tuition expenses.

Life in Aberdeen for International Students

Aberdeen is well-known for its stunning collection of outdoor parks and gardens all over the city, where you can enjoy an afternoon away from academics and university life. Additionally, the city’s centuries-old history and monuments are excellent landmarks for culture buffs and students interested in history. The city is also located close to the coast, and international students will even be able to enjoy time at the beach in Aberdeen, especially during the sunny summer months.

Below are a few of Aberdeen’s must-visit attractions for international students:

  • Aberdeen Art Gallery
  • Aberdeen Maritime Museum
  • Duthie Park
  • Codona’s
  • The Gordon Highlanders Museum
  • Craigievar Castle
  • Balmoral Castle
  • Aberdeen Science Centre
  • The Tolbooth Museum
  • Hazlehead Park
  • Seaton Park
  • Johnston Gardens
  • Donmouth Local Nature Reserve
  • Westburn Park
  • Aberdeen Art Centre

International students can travel directly from their home countries to Aberdeen Airport via major international hubs including London and Amsterdam. Additionally, international students can utilise the United Kingdom’s well-connected train network to explore nearby cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as make weekend trips to London in the south of England. The world-famous Scottish highlands, meanwhile, are only a short drive from Aberdeen. Life in Aberdeen will allow you to enjoy the best of British and Scottish culture while learning from award-winning faculties at world-class academic facilities.

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