Updated 2 months ago

Scotland has a long and proud history in education — being the first country worldwide ever to provide universal education to both girls and boys. But since that development in the 17th century, Scotland has kept the standards high with 19 world class institutions which attract more than 50 thousand international students from 180 countries every year. The reported rate of student satisfaction is the highest in all of the UK, and graduates from Scottish universities have the highest UK rate of employment (or furthering their studies). Sounds intriguing? Read on to find out the logistics about studying in Scotland

Do you need a visa to study in Scotland?

There are several visa categories to choose from, depending on your nationality, your age, and the type of course you’re studying.

If you’re an EU/EFTA citizen, you do not need a visa to study in Scotland. You are also exempt from any tuition fees for courses and programmes.

 Good to know:

Scotland has put in place a policy ensuring that in 2019, after the UK leaves the European Union, EU/EFTA students will still be eligible to a free tuition for the entire duration of their course, provided that they entered Scotland to study in the academic year 2019-20.

If you’re a third-country national and over 18 years old, then you’ll probably need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa. This visa type will cover the majority of undergraduate or postgraduate courses at any Scottish university, for studies that last six months or more. Consult our Section on Visa to find out more.

 Good to know:

If the arrangements between you and your university haven’t been finalised yet, you can apply for a short-term visa as a prospective student. Just make sure to apply for your Tier 4 visa as well, before your studies start.

Educational System, Institutions, & Fee

The Scottish education is divided into ‘schools’, ‘colleges’ and ‘universities’. Schools, both state and private, offer primary and secondary education which conclude at 16 years old. Afterwards, the student can choose to go to college or to university: colleges are more vocational, offering qualifications on the student’s industry of choice and are working together with the local authorities and employers to offer opportunities for apprenticeships. Universities offer a broader spectre of education, leading the way in fields such as medical research and biotech, environmental sciences but also life sciences.

All undergraduate and postgraduate courses have fees and tuition costs for international students — and only if you are an EU/EFTA citizen you will be exempt from paying. All third-country nationals are advised to check with their university of choice to find out more regarding tuition cost, but the good news is that Scotland (and the UK in general) offers a variety of scholarships you could apply for. Find out more about scholarships here.

The application process differs for undergraduate and postgraduate students. If you are an undergraduate, you can apply through the website of the Universities and Colleges Admission Centre (UCAS) where you will need to provide information about your former education, if you’re currently employed, and offer a personal statement and a reference. On your application you can pick up to five courses, regardless of the universities — but you need to be aware that the application fee varies depending on these factors. Postgraduates can apply through the UKPASS website, but bear in mind that many universities manage their own applications for postgraduate studies.

 Useful link:

Study in Scotland

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