Best Universities in Scotland Where You Can Study in 2021

Do we even need to convince you to study in Scotland? From beautiful landscapes rich in history to kind people and great education and research, Scotland is a very tempting region for international students. If you’re still not sure, check out more reasons to study in Scotland.

While Scotland isn’t as big an education hub as London, there are still a lot of university options to pick from. We have compiled a list of the best universities in Scotland according to the most well-known university rankings in the world: QS Rankings 2021 by TopUniversities and World University Ranking 2021 by Times Higher Education.

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Below you will find the top 10 best universities in Scotland. By clicking the included links you will be able to explore more about what the university has to offer, and the programmes that are available for study. We've also included reviews from students who shared their experience at the university.

1. The University of Edinburgh              

The University of Edinburgh is definitely the best-ranked university from Scotland, placing number 20 worldwide in QS Rankings, and number 30 in Times Ranking. What makes this university so highly regarded?

First off, the teaching environment and 5-star facilities are some of the best in the world. The research done at the university is also constantly cited by academic papers, with 180 research areas available.

As a result, graduating from the University of Edinburgh leads to many employment opportunities. The university is actually ranked number 10 in terms of the employability of students after graduation.        

Student review about The University of Edinburgh

"Great staff together with excellent facilities and a very convenient location in the city. Up to date material and valuable combination of theory and practical skills with plenty of discussion with other students and staff."

2. University of Glasgow          

University of Glasgow is ranked 77 in QS Ranking, and 92 in Times Ranking. The University of Glasgow has 500 years of education history. The university offers a very balanced amount of degrees, most focused on Social Sciences, Business and Medicine.

The University of Glasgow also caters to students who want more limited study times, offering plenty of online programmes, short courses and MOOCs. The research conducted at the university is world-leading, especially in the field of biomedicine, coming up with treatments for many chronic diseases. During studies, you will receive guidance in exploring your interests and discover your future career path.

Student review about University of Glasgow

"A diverse environment, ideal for students eager to learn a foreign language. You are able to interact socially and continue to improve. The diversity at the University of Glasgow is truly impressive."

3. University of St. Andrews

The University of St. Andrews is Scotland’s first university, and is, without a doubt, linked with the history of the town where it was built, mixing its ancient history with modern times. The university is ranked 96 in QS Ranking and is featured in the top 250 universities in the world by Times Ranking.

St Andrews is committed to engaging its students from the first day of class and makes it its mission to help you find your passion. The career centre at St. Andrews will help you turn those passions into a satisfying career.

Student review about University of St. Andrews

"I adore my university, the teaching and the location. Academics are very intense and there is a lot of self-guided study, difficult at first but now I feel so autonomous and responsible for my high grades I have been pushed to achieve. The location is stunning. The library overlooks the North Sea. I run on the beaches every day, there is a world-famous golf course (good for running too), and paths and trails to explore. There is a fiercely academic focus but also a strong and diverse social life."

4. University of Aberdeen        

University of Aberdeen, another Scottish university that has been around for 500 years is considered the “global university of the north” for its prolific idea development influencing the world. It is ranked 207 in the world by QS Rankings, and 178 by Times Higher Education.

The University of Aberdeen is inclusive and internationally oriented. The research done at the university focuses on the topics of Art, Social Sciences, Medicine and Physical Sciences.

Student review about University of Aberdeen

"This university provides students with very good facilities. In addition, it offers a wide variety of well-structured programmes. As for my course, I find it interesting as I am being given the ability to combine theory with practical aspects. The University of Aberdeen is a multicultural environment where you can learn while having fun."

5. University of Dundee            

University of Dundee offers 200 Master’s degrees to over 16,000 studying at the university every year. The university prides itself on the unique, welcoming experiences it provides to its students, matched with its excellent award-winning teaching standards.

You can also find a range of scholarships offered by the university to help students cover their expenses. You can find plenty of degrees in the areas of Business, Medicine, Environmental Studies, Social Sciences and Law, among many others.

University of Dundee is featured in the top 250 universities in the world according to Times Higher Education, and is number 319 globally in the QS Rankings.

Student review about University of Dundee

"Attending this university has been an experience of a lifetime. I am an international student that came all the way to the United Kingdom in order to study at a well-renown school like the University of Dundee. It is one of the top research institutions in the world and I knew that it would be the place for me. Naturally, arriving to a new place was very nerve-wracking but the school itself has done everything in its power, along with my program, to make sure that I was comfortable."

Best universities in Scotland

6. Heriot-Watt University         

Heriot-Watt University is number 301 in the world, according to QS Rankings, and in the top 400 according to Times Higher Education. The university is committed to driving innovation in society while offering programmes that answer the needs of the business market.

That’s why it employs the help of industry experts through strategic partnerships. Its international focus has been awarded in 2018 by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide. Its courses focus on Business, Engineering and Computer Science studies.

Student review about Heriot-Watt University

"I have gained valuable experience at Heriot-Watt University and had the opportunity to choose from a diverse range of programmes. The timetables are manageable and the professors are helpful and understanding. I have managed to combine it with my part-time job, which is vital for me as I need financial support in order to study."

7. University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde takes the 300 position in the QS Ranking world university rankings. The business school of the university was awarded as the business school of the year in 2016. The university is also among the 20 top research-intensive universities in the United Kingdom.

The career services and international focus of University of Strathclyde aim to pair each student with a career they are passionate about, making use of the university’s industry connections, and offering career counselling.  

Student review about University of Strathclyde

"The University of Strathclyde has a very dedicated network of staff who are always present to help their students get the best academic lifestyle possible. Each time I've asked for extra lab experience they've always been able to give me more. The Biomedical staff always find new fun and exciting ways to captivate students in learning, creating puzzles such as "Murder Mysteries" to allow students to learn problem-solving skills to receive results."

8. University of Stirling             

University of Stirling is ranked in the top 350 universities in the world by Times Higher Education. Teachers are dedicated to giving students the expertise they need to make an impact in the world.

Out of the 100 Master’s degrees offered by the university, more than half are dedicated to areas of Social Sciences, Business and Education. The research conducted by the university focuses on topics like culture, society, global security, and improving the quality of life of populations.

Student review about University of Stirling

"My experience studying at the University of Stirling was overwhelmingly positive. The close-knit community atmosphere on the campus creates a firm basis for students to explore new ideas, and develop strong professional relations with their peers, lecturers and tutors alike."

9. Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier University has a special focus on business studies, with over 50 degrees offered in this area, followed by studies in Arts and Social Sciences. The university is comprised of 6 schools, each with its own international focus.

Edinburgh Napier is also dedicated to helping students find a career after graduation, thanks to the career services they provide. The university was the first in Scotland to receive CIEEM accreditation.

Student review about Edinburgh Napier University

"I always felt supported at Edinburgh Napier. No matter if there were questions about academic work, career advice or personal matters there were always lecturers and staff there to support students. At Napier, I really had interesting classes that were delivered very well and I also got the opportunity to study abroad in Canada for a year while the tuition fees were still completely covered by my University."

10. Glasgow Caledonian University        

Glasgow Caledonian University is one of the largest universities in Scotland, with 20,000 students present each year. You’ll study in the heart of the city of Glasgow in an inclusive internationally-friendly environment.

The main areas of training offered by the university are engineering and building, business and law, as well as health. Study in an eco-friendly, award-winning campus at a university with a lot of industry connections and a 97% employability rate after graduation.

Student review about Glasgow Caledonian University

"I had a great experience learning at GCU. The level of support from the tutors and colleagues was immeasurable. I excelled academically and professionally due to a conducive study environment and my interactions with the GCU staff. The positive working culture prepared me to integrate swiftly into the business environment."

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More universities where you can study in Scotland

Here are a few more universities from Scotland that did not make the top of the ranking lists, but may still be good study options for you:

Ready to embark on your study adventure in Scotland? Well, its prestigious, welcoming universities are waiting for you!

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