Degrees in Scotland

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A Guide to Degrees Abroad in Scotland

Encompassing the northernmost region of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has long held onto a distinct national identity and culture. As you might also expect from a land that was the origin of the Scottish Enlightenment, it has also been a majorly influential hub of academia as well. If you are looking to study in a country with friendly people, fascinating history, and tremendous scenic beauty, then earning your degree abroad in Scotland is the way to go.


Scotland is a small nation of 5 million people which is part of the larger United Kingdom. Scotland spans the upper-third of the major island of Great Britain, sharing a southern border with England and also neighboring Ireland to the west across the Irish Sea. The country’s landscape is varied and noted for its picturesque nature, rolling from the uplands in the south through the lowlands in the center to the highlands and islands in the north.

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, with a population of 1.7 million citizens living in the greater urban area. A major center for culture and industry, the city is also home to one of the country’s best schools in the University of Glasgow, making it a very popular destination where to earn a degree abroad in Scotland.

Edinburgh, the country’s capital and second largest city, is an equally popular destination where to study abroad in Scotland. Edinburgh is often considered the most influential city in the United Kingdom after London, and is home to another one of the world’s most highly touted universities in the University of Edinburgh.

Other destinations where you might travel to earn your degree abroad in Scotland include the smaller cities of Aberdeen, St. Andrews and Dundee. The country is very small, so wherever you end up, you won’t be too far from everywhere else!

Academics & Degrees

There are 15 major universities where you can earn a degree abroad in Scotland, and three more accredited institutions of higher education. Many of Scotland’s universities were founded multiple centuries ago, lending a strong traditional aspect to modern education (part of this being that undergraduate degrees last for four years in Scotland, as opposed to lasting three elsewhere across the UK). The first school of higher learning established in the country was the the University of St. Andrews, founded in the early 15th century.

Students enrolling full time at a Scottish university will have the opportunity to pursue any degree they wish, a major benefit of studying abroad in an English-speaking country. Within this wide-open realm of potential degrees abroad in Scotland, some of the most popularly studied subjects among international students tend to include European studies, international business, English, political science, and history.

Roughly a quarter of Scotland’s college student population is from outside of the country, meaning it is a very accommodating place to study abroad and also offers a great opportunity to join an internationally diverse student body. Make an effort to embrace the local culture while earning your degree abroad in Scotland, but also take advantage of this globally-oriented dynamic by making friends with students from across the world!

Scholarships & Costs

Scottish universities are all public and state-run, and further provide free tuition at the undergraduate level for any student from the United Kingdom of European Union. If you are coming from outside of Europe then you may be expected to pay tuition fees, so check out our Scholarship Directory to learn more about potential financial aid opportunities for earning your degree abroad in Scotland.

Living costs in Scotland are on par with the rest of the United Kingdom, which is to say that you will want to stick to a budget while studying abroad in the country (the major cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are the most expensive places to live). The local currency is the British pound, which exchanges at roughly 1 GBP to $1.50 USD.

Accommodation & Visas

Student dormitories are usually the most common form of housing at the outset of a degree abroad in Scotland, though many international students also choose to move off campus into their own apartment later on in their studies. On-campus housing remains the most affordable option for accommodation at most Scottish universities, so if you do move off campus, it’s a good idea to find roommates to live with.

Students coming from within the European Union will not have to attain a visa in order to study abroad in Scotland, while those coming from outside will generally have to apply with the endorsement of their host university. The UK is a very popular destination for international students, so the visa process if fairly straightforward; for more information regarding your individual circumstances, check out our Embassy Directory.

Benefits & Challenges

Strong Roots. Scottish universities are not only some of the oldest and most well-established in the world, but also some of the most highly respected in modern times: though a small country, Scotland boasts five universities which currently break the top 200 in global rankings.

Travel Opportunity. Great Britain is a small island, making travel throughout the United Kingdom very accessible. On top of this, earning your degree abroad in Scotland is a great launch-point to exploring continental Europe in depth as well.

Global Centrality. The United Kingdom has long been one of the most influential nations in the course of international affairs; within the territory, Scotland has always held its own as a unique and independent culture. It’s an extremely rewarding place to study in.

Earning a degree abroad in Scotland will be a challenging adventure within one of the world’s most reputed higher education systems. Do you think you have what it takes to answer the call?

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Study Full Time Degrees in Scotland with Across The Pond

Want to study in Scotland? Across The Pond has over a decade of experience in helping students study for undergraduate and graduate degree programs or shorter-term semester and year-long programs in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Each student we work with has a designated UK Study Expert who offers free support and guidance to finding the right program and university for them. We advise s...