Why Study in Scotland?


“We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilization.” Voltaire

Some of the greatest disciplines – Economics, Sociology and Linguistics share a common source of enlightenment – Scotland.  The impact of Scotland’s rich history can be seen in academia all around the globe even today. Why Study in Scotland?

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Why Study in Scotland?

Increasingly becoming one of the most important destinations for higher education among students, Scotland is home to the highest proportion of international students (22%) as compared to the United Kingdom as a whole (19%). It is home to some of the best universities in the world and is well-known for its beautiful and far-reaching landscapes. The student life is lively and the political environment is stable – making it an ideal destination for international students.

Scotland has a prime location on the globe and sits at the very middle of the map. It has many major European cities like London, Paris, Barcelona at its very doorstep. Internationally, it has great connectivity with Asia Pacific region as well as the Americas and Australia. This prime and convenient location is an asset for students and employers alike. Students can frequently make trips to explore nearby European cities or even international ones back home. Employers greatly appreciate this location because it offers them the benefit of increased mobility in employees who are here.

Here’s what we’ll cover today – to help you make the choice of studying in Scotland much easier.

  • The Best Universities in Scotland
  • Employability after graduation
  • Student life – things to do, best student cities, part-time work and living expenses
  • Study and work in Scotland.

Best Universities in Scotland

According to the National Office of Statistics, Scotland is the most highly educated country in all of Europe. (Now who doesn’t want to be part of that, right?) Universities in Scotland are some of the best in the world. The University of Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow are to name just a few. If you think that’s amazing, you’d be pleased to learn that Scotland is also well known for some of the best research output in the world.

86% of Scottish research is known to have an outstanding impact!

Here are the rankings to help you decide:

University QS Rankings 2021 Times Higher Education
University of Edinburgh 20 30
University of Glasgow 77 99
University of St. Andrews 96 198
University of Aberdeen 207 168
University of Strathclyde 300 401-500
Heriot-Watt University 301 251-300
University of Dundee 319 201-250
University of Stirling 485 351-400
Edinburgh Napier University 801-1000 801-1000
Robert Gordon University 801-1000 1001+
Glasgow Caledonian University 801-1000 601-800

Will I find employment after I graduate?

Scottish graduates are in high demand by organizations because of the intensive and holistic education system. The good news is that nine out of ten graduates find job or study opportunities within six months of graduating.

The graduate route

Under the new Graduate Route, if you have completed a course of study in Scotland and have a valid Tier 4 visa you will be allowed to apply for the Route. Students graduating in the summer of 2021 and after will be eligible to apply — this includes students who have already started their courses too.

Although this year hasn’t exactly been ideal, there has never been a better time to study in Scotland than this year! Students beginning their studies in the fall of 2020 will be granted a 2-year post-study work visa to jumpstart their career in Scotland as well. The U.K government has also declared that even if you begin your semester with distance learning, you will still be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.

Student life

How is life for an international student in Scotland?

According to the International Graduate Outcomes report, 86% of international graduates recommend studying at a Scottish university.

This indicates not only excellence in academia but also good student life in the country. There are over 350 festivals held in Scotland ever year – ranging from music to arts.  One should never expect a boring day here! It is also home to stunning landscapes and historical buildings, which is great for exploring. As mentioned earlier, some of the most stunning and breath-taking European cities are a short flight away from Scotland. This is a great incentive for students to travel and explore areas around and within Scotland as part of their stay there.

Check out some student testimonies here that depict life in Scotland.

Some Fun Things to do in Scotland

Historical sites

Scotland’s rich historical heritage is well-known around the world. Use your weekends to explore the rich cultural history of Scotland! Not only do the castles and buildings have great stories to tell, but they also make for amazing Instagram posts

Explore nature

Mother nature has been kind to Scotland and blessed it with several scenic landscapes. These far-reaching wonders of beauty will leave you spellbound! Take your friends along or just head out for some solitude, you will not be disappointed.

Theatre and concerts

Scotland is a buzzing centre for artists and talents! If you’re here, might as well check out some of the finest performances.

Best Student Cities


Why study in Scotland

Home to Scotland’s most prestigious university, Edinburgh has been ranked the second-best place in the U.K to live in by students. The old-world charm of the city– with castles and widespread landscapes and highlands make it also a very aesthetic choice of place to stay. It is also well known for its great festival and nightlife, a popular choice of entertainment among students. It has a small population just short of

Here’s a list of the universities you can apply to in Edinburgh.


study in scotland

Aberdeen is the 9th best city in the UK for students and 64th in the world. It boasts of its outstanding academic opportunities but isn’t far behind on the entertainment scale. The beautiful coastline and surrounding countryside make for great weekend trips and provide outdoor infrastructure for several entertainment events.

Check out a list of universities in Aberdeen here to enjoy the student life here!


study abroad in scotland

Glasgow is another great choice and popular student town in Scotland. It ranks as the 4th best city in the UK for students and is well known for its music and sports culture. One may call it a melting pot of diverse cultures due to a large number of international students in this town. Here are some universities in Glasgow you should take a look at! Apart from these key factors that make Scotland an ideal choice, the country is also well-known for its friendly people and environment. International students are made to feel welcome and accepted. There exists a large number of student associations and organizations to make non-local students feel welcome.

The average living cost of staying as a student in Scotland varies by the city. Although the living costs here are lesser than other places in the UK. In Edinburgh, it is between £8,500 to £11,000 per student per year and can go up to £13,060 in Glasgow. On the other hand, cities like Dundee are much cheaper with living costs only between £7, 000 to £8,000.

Working as a Student

The good news is that you can take up employment as a student in Scotland. If you are an international student, you will most likely go to Scotland on a Tier 4 General visa.

  • Apart from certain jobs like being a sports coach etc, international students are allowed to take up employment in varying capacities during their period of study.
  • Although your visa permits you to work up to 20 hours of work per week, the University of Edinburgh advises all full-time undergraduate students to not take up more than 15 hours of work during the semester.

Some typical Jobs and earnings

On-campus jobs

If you’re looking to make some extra money, looking right at campus is a great idea! You save big on commuting and are also assured the integrity of your employer. Some common on-campus jobs in Scotland include:

  • Research Assistants
  • Part Time Library/Reception/Office Assistants etc

Also, universities usually have job boards and vacancies on their portals, so keep checking the links to see if jobs are liated.

If you can’t find yourself in a job at your campus, you can always look outside. Here are some more fields you can work part-time in.

  • Retail (In supermarkets and other retail stores)
  • Hospitality (In restaurants, cafes etc)
  • Other seasonal jobs (working in management on ground team for various festivals etc)
  • Individual households (tutoring, cleaning, etc)


This is always a good idea, if you can manage to get one. It can add to your experience, as well as give you some pocket money. Your university may be able to help you to find some of these opportunities as well – also, currently virtual internships are the new normal, so do try and find one that suits you.

Ballpark earnings from student gigs

best universities in scotland
Source: National Minimum Wage and Living Wage Rates, Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved from: https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

Do note: In order to work in the UK in any capacity, you will need to apply for a National Insurance Number. Although you may start working without it, you will pay more tax than you should be if you don’t have one.  Here’s a guide on how to apply for it.

Scotland could be the global ed destination you’re looking for. You can use this lockdown period to start planning and figuring out what the best course for you is.

Check out also our other guides:

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