International Education

Higher Education in ScotlandScotland's well-respected universities and colleges offer a diverse selection of academic and vocational programs and are located throughout the country in both cities and rural areas. Universities and colleges are primarily public and receive substantial funding from the government. University admission requirements vary by major and university but typically require that the student have completed leaving certificate exams with high grades and for some majors, have completed a leaving certificate exam in a particular subject-area. Requirements for admission to colleges vary by the college and program. Students can apply to more than one university or college at a time through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. Scottish and European Union students pay low tuition rates in the range of $2000 - $4000 US each year. The Scottish Funding Council is responsible for allocating funding to individual institutions while academic quality is reviewed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Types of Schools and DegreesAs of 2010, there were 20 public universities and 43 public colleges in Scotland. Colleges are open to all types of students including part-time and mature students and are focused more on vocational studies and university preparation courses. Students can earn a diploma, certificate and some bachelor's degrees at Scotland's colleges. Universities offer bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Students in four-year degree programs can take a variety of coursework in their first two years before deciding what to focus on in the last two years. Bachelor's degrees can be earned in three years and the more common bachelor's with honors can be earned in four years. Master's programs can be completed in one or two years, depending upon the program. At five of the oldest universities, masters of art degrees are awarded as undergraduate first degrees in the humanities and social sciences. They can be completed in three years for a general degree and four for an honors degree. International StudentsIn recent years, approximately 14 percent of students at Scottish higher education institutions have come from outside of the United Kingdom. This percentage represents about 38, 000 international students of which about 14, 000 come from the European Union and 2000 come from the US. Foreign students can attend full-degree programs, or as study abroad or exchange students who study for a semester or two. Admissions to the most prestigious universities such as the University of Edinburgh and the University of St. Andrews require that students have very strong academic credentials. International students whose first language is not English must prove proficiency through a standardized exam or other international qualification. Tuition at Scottish universities is quite expensive for those coming from outside of the EU, and is comparable to tuition rates at some private schools in the US. About ScotlandScotland, along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is a part of the United Kingdom. It occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain as well as 790 islands. It is partially self-governed and maintains its own legal, educational and religious institutions. Areas such as social security, defense and international affairs are controlled by the government of the United Kingdom. The country's climate is more temperate than other locations with similar latitudes resulting in winters that are milder and summers that are cooler and wetter. Scotland is a developed country of about 62 million people and has a mixed economy primarily focused on financial services, petroleum industries, manufacturing and tourism. The capital of Edinburgh is the sixth largest financial center in Europe. Scotland's unique culture includes the Great Highland Bagpipe, traditional kilts and its many castles. ResourcesThe Scottish Government: Education and Training
British Council: Study in Scotland