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18 best universities in Scotland for international students. Rankings and fees in 2024

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Education information

To receive higher education in foreign countries is a dream of each student due to the following reasons: relevant educational programs, good conditions for living, the opportunity to broaden horizons. All these factors motivate students to obtain education in other countries. As a result of diligent study international students receive prestigious diplomas, which are highly valued by employers in Europe and the USA. The experience of studying in foreign country will be a good contribution to professional and personal development for international students of any age – the best universities in Scotland are ready to help you in it. 

Today, more and more foreign students choose studying in Scotland as it guarantees wide career opportunities in the future. SMAPSE offers more than 10 best universities in Scotland where international students can get high-quality higher education. Higher education received in Scotland allows to become in-demand expert that has great chances to get well paid job in the international labour market. Due to the list of TOP-10 prestigious Scottish universities, you will definitely find the most appropriate option. Please, don't hesitate to contact SMAPSE experts at any time as they are always ready to answer all your questions. 

Scotland is a country with rich history and traditions that the local residents are very proud of. According to the company’s version Rough Quides, Scotland is named the most beautiful country in the world: tourists, who are travelling in the country, for always will remember its green mountains, clean lakes, picturesque views. The state includes about 800 islands - the country is washed on one side by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the other by the North Sea: thanks to this location, travelling around Scotland, you can see a variety of landscapes.

In the best universities in Scotland high quality academic programs are offered to foreign students – wide choice of short-term and long-term programs makes Scotland one of the most interesting and demanded countries for studying. Pre-university programs and courses for successful passing of language exams are offered to international students: on the Scottish university base there is a great opportunity to significantly improve language skills for academic goals. There are summer camps at the universities, inviting international students for studying, also Bachelor's and master's degree programs are opened. High academic performance of Scottish universities positively affects the indicators: 4 universities in Scotland are listed in TOP-200 of educational institutions in the world. According to statistics, 9 students out of 10 find perspective work after graduating university during 6 months.  

Tuition fee in Scotland are lower compared to European educational institutions. The cost of studying depends on  the type of higher educational institution – private or state. According to statistics, studying and accommodation here is 20 percent cheaper than in England. Foreign students, choosing the best universities in Scotland, leave positive feedback about Scotland as one of the most comfortable English-speaking countries to study in: local residents are friendly to foreign students, who annually number about 45 thousand people from 150 countries of the world. 

Universities in Scotland for International Students

Scotland boasts a rich educational heritage that traces back to the Middle Ages. This legacy has given rise to some of the best universities in Scotland, many of which are still operational today. Notably, these top universities in Scotland are strategically situated in thriving cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lanark, and Falkirk, known for their advanced infrastructure.

Many Scotland universities house some of the globe's most dynamic research centers, contributing immensely to fields like medicine and pharmacology. These universities in Scotland are multidisciplinary, producing experts across humanities, technical disciplines, and natural sciences. The most distinguished faculties often revolve around medicine, veterinary science, and earth sciences.

Scotland University Ranking

Adhering to the principles of the Bologna Agreement, universities in Scotland offer bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Bachelor's programs span four years, providing students with foundational scientific knowledge and specialized insights. Unlike English counterparts, Scotland's university programs are renowned for their flexibility. This adaptability allows international students to potentially earn dual qualifications, such as in law and economics.

The top universities in Scotland adopt an integrated educational approach, emphasizing both theoretical and practical learning. Such a holistic curriculum molds students into adaptable professionals, ready to meet varying market demands.

Distinct from English institutions, Scotland universities afford students significant decision-making latitude regarding their future careers. Until their bachelor's third year, the course structure remains malleable, embracing an interdisciplinary teaching methodology. Some programs even feature "sandwich courses", blending theoretical learning with hands-on industry experience. Master's courses typically last a year.

Kevin McDonnell
Kevin McDonnell
Specialist in International Students of the University of Sussex

What advice do you have for those who want to go to top universities in the UK? 

Carefully consider all the information about the university of interest, including the cost - prices vary greatly, so you need to understand what options you will financially pull. Carefully prepare for tests in English (IELTS in the first place) - this will be needed for admission to any British university. Consider the courses that interest you more than others, and check the academic requirements for them, make sure that you have time to study this area well in your high school.


Universities in Scotland. Cost and fees for International Students

Fees International students have housing options like student dormitories or private apartment rentals. Education at Scotland universities is usually fee-based, with costs starting at approximately £15,000 annually. However, stellar academic performers might qualify for scholarships, potentially covering up to £10,000 of the yearly fees. Moreover, students can work part-time, albeit limited to 20 hours a week.

Admission for Universities in Scotland

Meeting the stringent criteria of top universities in Scotland is pivotal for aspiring international students. Many might discover they fall short of one academic year as per the Scottish system. Direct admissions post high school might be challenging, though private universities in Scotland might offer some exceptions. Solutions to bridge this academic gap include:

English proficiency is paramount, typically validated by IELTS (6.0+), TOEFL (550+), or similar certifications. Additionally, demonstrating advanced English skills during interviews is essential. Since documentation and requirements might differ, prospective students should touch base with their chosen institution 1-2 years in advance.

How to choose Scotland Universities for International Students

  • Research and Decide: Understand the difference between public and private universities in Scotland. Familiarize yourself with Scotland university rankings, identifying strong faculties and academic cultures. Once decided, inform the preferred university or use the specialized British UCAS system.

  • Bridge the Academic Gap: Determine how to compensate for the missing academic year and start preparations.

  • Excel Academically: Aim for high academic achievements and excel in the requisite language tests.

  • Submit Applications: Provide updated academic data through UCAS or directly to the chosen university in Scotland.

  • Visa Procedures: Await the university's response and, upon acceptance, proceed with student visa applications.

General statistics on education in Scotland - rankings, specialties, universities

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1 Glion Institute of Higher Education Switzerland
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Top 35 best universities and colleges in Canada 2024

1 University of Toronto
2 McGill University
3 University of British Columbia
4 University of Alberta
5 Simon Fraser University
6 Montreal University
7 University of Windsor
8 York University
9 University of Guelph
10 McMaster University
11 University of Manitoba
12 University of Waterloo
13 Royal Roads University
14 Vancouver Film School
15 Kwantlen Polytechnic University
16 University of Calgary
17 Dalhousie University
18 Fanshawe College
19 University of Ottawa
20 Laval University
21 Sheridan College
22 University of Regina
23 Brock University
24 Thompson Rivers University
25 Humber College
26 Vancouver Island University
27 Mohawk College
28 Centennial College Toronto
29 Niagara College
30 Capilano University
31 Seneca College
32 Algoma University
33 Saint Clair College
34 Douglas College
35 LaSalle College

Times Higher Education’s top 50 best universities in USA 2024

World University Rank US Rank University City State
2 1 Stanford University Stanford California
3 2 Harvard University Cambridge Massachusetts
4 3 California Institute of Technology Pasadena California
5 4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge Massachusetts
7 5 University of California, Berkeley Berkeley California
8 6 Yale University New Haven Connecticut
9 7 Princeton University Princeton New Jersey
10 8 University of Chicago Chicago Illinois
12 9 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore Maryland
13 10 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Pennsylvania
15 11 University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles California
17 12 Columbia University New York City New York
19 13 Cornell University Ithaca New York
=20 14 Duke University Durham North Carolina
22 15 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Michigan
24 16 Northwestern University Evanston Illinois
26 17 New York University New York City New York
28 18 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
29 19 University of Washington Seattle Washington
33 20 University of California, San Diego San Diego California
38 21 Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta Georgia
44 22 University of Texas at Austin Austin Texas
48 23 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign Illinois
49 24 University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison Wisconsin
50 25 Washington University in St Louis St. Louis Missouri
53 26 University of Southern California Los Angeles California
=54 27 Boston University Boston Massachusetts
=56 28 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill North Carolina
61 29 Brown University Providence Rhode Island
=64 30 University of California, Davis Davis California
68 31 University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara California
=80 32 Ohio State University (Main campus) Columbus Ohio
=85 =33 Emory University Atlanta Georgia
=85 =33 University of Minnesota Minneapolis Minnesota
90 35 University of Maryland, College Park College Park Maryland
=94 36 Purdue University West Lafayette West Lafayette Indiana
=98 37 University of California, Irvine Irvine California
=101 38 Dartmouth College Hanover New Hampshire
105 39 Michigan State University East Lansing Michigan
=111 40 Vanderbilt University Nashville Tennessee
=114 41 Penn State (Main campus) State College Pennsylvania
117 42 University of Virginia (Main campus) Charlottesville Virginia
120 43 Georgetown University   Washington D.C
=121 44 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Ohio
=124 45 University of Arizona Tucson Arizona
=124 =45 Rice University Houston Texas
=131 47 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder Colorado
=133 48 University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
=140 49 Indiana University Bloomington Indiana
=147 50 University of Rochester Rochester (NY) New York

Top 50 best universities in the UK 2024

1 Cambridge
2 Oxford
3 St Andrews
4 London School of Economics
5 Imperial College London
6 Loughborough
7 Durham
8 Lancaster
9 University of Bath
10 East Anglia (UEA)
11 University College London
12 Warwick
13 Exeter
14 Birmingham
15 Bristol
16 Edinburgh
17 Leeds
18 Manchester
19 Southampton
20 Glasgow
21 King's College London
22 Nottingham
23 York
24 Newcastle
25 Royal Holloway, University of London
26 East Anglia (UEA)
27 Aberdeen
28 Queen's University Belfast
29 Sheffield
30 Heriot-Watt
31 Cardiff
32 Dundee
33 Swansea
34 Liverpool
35 Surrey
36 Queen Mary, University of London
37 SOAS University of London
38 Leicester
39 Reading
40 Sussex
41 Essex
42 Harper Adams University
43 Aston
44 University for the Creative Arts
45 University of Stirling
46 Nottingham Trent
47 Kent
48 Arts University Bournemouth
49 Oxford Brookes
50 Lincoln

Cost of living in Scotland

Expenses - USD/Month. Min.
Accommodation 598
Food 413
Transportation 61
Communications and utilities 96
Clothing 36
Sports and leisure 52
Total 1,256

Accommodation in Scotland per month

Shared room outside of centre 604$
Shared room in city centre 795$
1 bedroom apartment outside of centre 914$
1 bedroom apartment in city centre 1242$

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Kevin McDonnell
Kevin McDonnell
Specialist in International Students of the University of Sussex

Kevin is a Specialist in International Students at University of Sussex. Earlier, he worked at University of Suffolk. He is a Bangor University graduate and has been working in higher education for more than 14 years. Kevin realizes the usual challenges of adapting to a new country, culture, and teaching style, so he recognizes the importance of supporting international students by organizing an orientation week and numerous events and societies to help them settle in and make friends.

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