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Why Should You Study Abroad in Scotland?

This article was written by the University of Dundee. 

Scotland is a nation of invention, creativity and discovery, giving the world such innovations as the telephone, the television, and penicillin.

Five Scottish universities currently rank among the world’s top 200.

This legacy of discovery is upheld today by Scotland’s nineteen higher education institutions, who continue to make a profound international impact. Dolly the sheep, the MRI scanner, the Higgs boson, several Turner prize-winning artists, and major breakthroughs in the fight against cancer are just a few examples of the ground-breaking influence the country has had in recent years.

Edinburgh street

Scotland’s higher education sector dates back to the fifteenth century, boasting some of the oldest and most reputable universities in the world, alongside a number of prominent modern institutions – each being equally committed to building upon Scotland’s reputation as a global powerhouse for learning and research. As testament to this – five universities in Scotland currently rank among the world’s top 200 (Times Higher Education World Rankings 2019).

Scottish universities are known for their excellence in teaching and have pioneered developments in learning and teaching that are now being mirrored across Europe. The standard 4-year Scottish MA structure allows for 2 years of broad-based study followed by 2 years in which to specialise. The flexibility of this system allows many students studying in Scotland to combine multiple subjects, and to tailor their degree to suit their own needs – and in many cases, there are also opportunities to gain advanced entry.

Scottish graduates benefit from the highest average starting salary in the UK.

Graduate employability has been a key focus for Scottish institutions, and there are strong links between the higher education sector, business and industry, and public sector employers. These employers value the breadth of knowledge that the Scottish education system provides, and the additional skills our graduates can acquire. 90 per cent of Scottish graduates are found to be in work or further study within six months of graduation. Scottish graduates also benefit from the highest average starting salary in the UK (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, 2018).

Scotland’s higher education sector is welcoming to students from around the world, and the cultural diversity of their campuses and classrooms reflects this. Each year around 33,000 international students from 180 countries study abroad in Scotland alongside over 160,000 Scots, almost 32,000 students from the rest of the UK, and more than 21,000 from countries in the European Union (HESA 2017).

Edinburgh mountain skyline

Collaboration is a defining feature of Scotland’s education sector, and their universities are constantly seeking opportunities to develop new or expand existing partnerships, both at home and internationally. The strength of Scotland’s research base is formidable, and further enhanced by the UK-wide peer-review Research Excellence Framework (REF). Overall, 77 per cent of Scottish research submitted to the 2014 REF was judged to be “world-leading” or internationally excellent, and every higher education institution in Scotland produces research judged to be of this “world leading” quality (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

Scotland is second in the world for research productivity. Not bad for a country with a population of 5 million!

Scotland is second in the world for research productivity, as measured by the number of publications per researcher, second in the world for citations per researcher, and third in the world for the proportion of the nation’s research that ranks among the top 1% most highly cited publications globally (SSAC 2019). Not bad for a country with a population of 5 million!

Several research hubs and innovation centres are based near Scottish universities, focusing on such areas as life sciences, digital media and the creative industries, informatics, and renewables. These hubs serve as a huge draw for investment from research-led global companies, with many such companies citing the high-calibre pool of graduates in Scotland as an essential factor behind their decision to locate their business here.

So what are you waiting for? Discover your Scotland.

Browse programs in Scotland


About the author

University of Dundee

The University of Dundee’s origins date back to 1881, when it was founded as University College, Dundee. Today, they are one of the UK’s top 30 universities in The Times & The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. Dundee offer over 220 undergraduate degrees, and over 200 postgraduate degrees in a variety of subjects, with funding options available.

Last update: 09 Apr 2019

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