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Universities in Glasgow, Scotland

Brown concrete buildings against autumnal trees
Glasgow has a wonderful mix of historic and modern architecture throughout the city.

Universities in Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow is the 4th largest city in the United Kingdom and the largest city in Scotland. An important industrial centre for shipbuilding, chemicals, textile and marine engineering during the 19th and 20th centuries, Glasgow was known as the “second city” of the British Empire.

Glasgow is also famous for its cultural and sporting attractions, as well as its world-class educational infrastructure. Glasgow today has a population of just over 600,000 residents, with nearly 100,000 immigrants forming a sizable and welcoming international community. Additionally, Glasgow is a youthful city with a vibrant community of over 80,000 students.

Top Universities in Glasgow

University of Glasgow

Founded more than 500 years ago in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the United Kingdom’s fourth-oldest university with a centuries-long reputation for excellence in research and educational facilities. 

The university is home to a large international student community; over 40% of the university’s 27,000 enrolled students are international. Glasgow was recently awarded the “University of the Year” award by Times Higher Education, proving its world-leading qualities and suitability for high-achieving international students. 

The university is especially well-known for its advanced research in healthcare, and operates multiple research centres such as the Institute of Cancer Sciences and the Institute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences. In fact, it is one of the founding members of the Russell Group, a prestigious group of 24 Universities in the United Kingdom with a shared focus on research and a reputation for academic achievement. 

The university is situated across three campuses – Gilmorehill, Garscube and Dumfries. Gilmorehill and Garscube are located within Glasgow, whereas Dumfries is a scenic 85-acre campus located in south-west Scotland.

University of Strathclyde

Originally founded as the Andersonian Institute in 1796, the University of Strathclyde is home to almost 20,000 enrolled students, of which about 6,000 are international students from over 100 countries.

The University of Strathclyde campus is located close to the Glasgow city centre, and offers world-class sporting, accommodation and research facilities for international students. In 1964, the university was the first in the United Kingdom to be recognised as a technical university, and retains its world-leading standards in a variety of engineering, architecture and financial subjects.

With a long list of partnerships with major businesses in Glasgow and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, the University of Strathclyde offers you excellent opportunities to find employment after graduation. 

Glasgow Caledonian University

Founded in 1993 after a merger between Glasgow Polytechnic and the Queen’s College, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is home to nearly 15,000 enrolled students. The main university campus is located close to central Glasgow, with a second campus in London being home to the British School of Fashion. Additionally, Glasgow Caledonian University also established the Glasgow Caledonian New York College in 2013, which enables international students to pursue their degrees while based in New York City, USA. 

The university is well-known for the quality of its fashion and design programmes, and even offers fashion-focused MBA degrees! GCU is constantly updating and modernising its facilities to suit changing global trends, and has added facilities such as virtual-reality hospital simulations and fashion factories in order to better prepare students for careers after graduation. The university has an international community of nearly 2,000 students.

Glasgow School of Art

Established in 1845 and originally known as the Glasgow Government School of Design, the Glasgow School of Art is one of the world’s top-ranked art schools and offers a wide range of programmes such as painting, sculpture, product design and fashion design. 

The school is home to just over 2,000 students from over 75 countries, and is located in central Glasgow, as well as operating a satellite campus in Singapore. The university is also well-positioned to connect you with future employers, and operates a centre named the Enterprise Studio where international students can receive essential career advice as well as apply for internships and post-graduation jobs. 

Through the school’s partnerships with nearly 75 leading art schools worldwide, international students can also pursue student exchange programmes and study abroad options.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

With specialisations offered in Dance, Drama, Film, Music and Production, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a world-famous institute for the performing arts. The institute is small-scale with about 1,200 enrolled students, and has a high percentage of international students who total over 450. 

Originally known as the Scottish National Academy of Music and established in 1847, the Royal Conservatoire offers international students the chance to learn from award-winning faculty and practice using world-class facilities for theatre, production and music. The small class sizes also enable you to engage constantly with your fellow students as well as your faculty, and learn more about the performing arts than you would in a large-scale institute. 

The institute offers multiple event spaces and practice arenas for international students such as the Stevenson Hall, the Chandler Studio Theatre, and the Alexander Gibson Opera Studio established in 1998. 

Glasgow Universities World Ranking 2023

Below are the top-ranked Sydney universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2023 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2023 Rankings.

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

UniversityQS World Ranking 2024Times Higher Education Ranking 2023QS Rank in the UKTHE Rank in the UK
University of Glasgow=76=821210
University of Strathclyde=276401-5003558
Glasgow Caledonian University1,001-1,200601-8008373

As the table shows, the University of Glasgow leads the way for Glasgow’s top-ranked universities and is one of the best universities for international students in the United Kingdom and worldwide. It must also be noted that although they aren’t ranked by either QS or THE, both the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are well-respected as world-class institutions in their subject areas.

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Glasgow

In addition to the five top-ranked Glasgow universities, Glasgow also offers multiple world-class institutes for work-study programs and other specialised degrees for international students. A few such top-ranked Glasgow institutes are:

  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
  • City of Glasgow College
  • Glasgow College of Nautical Studies
  • International Christian College
  • Glasgow Metropolitan College
  • Queen Margaret College

Tuition and Living Costs in Glasgow

Undergraduate tuition costs for international students in top-ranked Glasgow universities usually total between 15,000-20,000 US Dollars per year. Tuition fees are higher for specialised programmes, such as Dentistry and Healthcare courses, at about 35,000-40,000 US Dollars. Postgraduate tuition fees, meanwhile, 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, Glasgow offers 43% cheaper expenses on average when compared to London for international students. According to the University of Glasgow, international students should budget approximately 1,200 US Dollars per month. This figure includes 700 US Dollars for shared accommodation, 200 US Dollars for food expenses, 75-100 US Dollars for transportation, and another 200 US Dollars for utilities and miscellaneous expenses.

Life in Glasgow for International Students

With the Scottish highlands only a short drive away from your top-ranked Glasgow university and easy connectivity to major British and European cities through the Glasgow International Airport, international students can make frequent weekend trips to enjoy their time away from the classroom.

Additionally, the beautiful Scottish city of Edinburgh with its iconic city castle is only an hour away by road, and makes for a perfect day-trip from Glasgow for international students. Sports fans will especially love Glasgow for its world-famous football matches, and there are plenty of beautiful outdoor parks and regions in and around the city for leisurely picnics and strolls.

Below are a few of Glasgow’s must-visit destinations for international students:

  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
  • Riverside Museum
  • Glasgow Cathedral
  • Gallery of Modern Art
  • Hunterian Art Gallery
  • Glasgow Necropolis
  • Glasgow Botanic Gardens
  • People’s Palace
  • The Lighthouse
  • Kelvingrove Park
  • The Burrell Collection
  • Pollok Country Park
  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • Pollok House
  • Glasgow Green
  • Ibrox Stadium
  • Celtic Park Stadium
  • Hampden Park Stadium

Glasgow’s best universities offer international students an incredible educational experience alongside affordable living costs in a world-class city. The value-for-money element of degrees at top-ranked Glasgow universities means you should seriously consider the city if living costs in cities such as London seem too expensive. The amazing urban facilities and welcoming international community are further reasons why you should choose the best Glasgow universities for your next degree.

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