Show as: Mobile
 Scottish Higher Education

Study in Scotland: The Higher Education System

The Scottish education system is very different from the rest of the United Kingdom. Scotland requires all people to attend compulsory schooling up to the age of 16.

Most young people in Scotland move into higher education at the age of 17 (rather than 18). This may be because first degree students from Scotland (or the rest of the EU) studying in Scotland do not pay any direct course fees for their first undergraduate degree.

In Scotland, 15 universities and three other higher education institutions are charged with delivering higher education across a broad range of vocational and academic qualifications, including certificates, higher national certificates, diplomas, higher national diplomas as well as a variety of foundation, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees.

Scotland is also home to four “ancient universities” whose origins can be traced back earlier than the 1600s. They are St. Andrews University - founded in 1413 - together with Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh universities. 

Find a program

Want to study in Scotland? Find & compare programs


Generally, the following timeframes apply to higher education studies in Scotland:

Programme Duration
           National Certificates (NC) 1 year           
Higher National Certificates (HNC) NC + 1 year
Diplomas 2 years
Higher National Diplomas HNC + 1 year
Foundation Degrees n/a
Bachelor’s Degrees 4 years
Master’s Degrees Bachelor’s degree + 12 months
PhDs Master’s degree + 3-4 years

Quality standards for Scottish universities are among the best in the world and credentials from Scottish institutions are well respected internationally. So no matter your level or length of study - studying in Scottish is a surefire way to make a positive step towards your prospective career in any field.

Learn more about studying in Scotland:

Scottish Language & Culture

Scotland is a country with a rich heritage. Find out more about what the country offers in terms of language, culture, and more! 

Learn more

Tuition Fees In Scotland

Tuition fees for higher education programs in Scotland can vary. Many international and domestic students pay different tuition fees, depending on where they are from. In this section you'll find all the information on how this works in Scotland.

Learn more

Living Costs In Scotland

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in Scotland.

Learn more

Entry Requirements for UK Universities

Learn more about the United Kingdom's national application portal and how it applies in Scotland. This section covers what you'll need to do when applying as an undergraduate and postgraduate.

Learn more


Don't let international student tuition fees stop you from studying abroad in Scotland. Find out more about some of the scholarships available to international students here! 

Learn more

Student Visas for the UK

Do you need a visa to enter Scotland to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizenship. Don't worry! We've gathered the information you'll need to make it happen.

Learn more

Programs in Scotland

Ready to browse higher education courses in Scotland? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in Scotland today!

Learn more

Photo of University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK by Euan Cameron on Unsplash.

Last update: 07 Oct 2020

You might also be interested in:

Last updated: 10/7/2020

Study in Scotland: Scottish Language and Culture

Learn about the language and culture in Scotland. Find out how it compares to the rest of the UK and discover the local foods, community events and notable figures that make Scottish culture unique.

Read more
Last updated: 10/7/2020

Study in England: Tuition Fees

Find out more about the tuition fees applicable to different study levels and programmes in England. Compare them with the tuition fees for international students and the rest of the UK.

Read more

Browse 4,000+ online degrees

Interested in studying online? Use our free search engine to find and compare online programs from top universities around the world.

Search online programs

Statue of Liberty - Study Abroad

Win a $5,000 scholarship to study in the USA

Planning on studying a Bachelor's degree the USA? We can help.

Applications are now open

Like us?

Leave a review on Facebook so we can help others like you find their perfect study abroad adventure!

Recommend us ⭐