find your perfect postgrad program
Search our Database of 30,000 Courses

Living In Scotland As A Postgraduate Student

PLEASE NOTE: As a result of Brexit, from Autumn 2021 postgraduate students from the European Union studying at a UK university will be charged the same tuition fees as international students. Meanwhile, UK students studying their postgraduate course at a European university are also likely to incur higher tuition fees than their EU counterparts. It is advisable to check with the individual universities in the UK and Europe for up-to-date information on tuition fees for all postgraduate programs.

Living in ScotlandDo you want to study in a country where the learning satisfaction for international students is better than that of the rest of the UK and indeed the rest of the world?

If the answer is yes then Scotland is the place for you.

The Scottish university system is of an exceptionally high quality, focussing on aspects that really matter, including:

  • High employability
  • Strong business and industry links
  • Innovative system of research pooling and investment, plus a high level of research impact
  • Strong recruitment of international students
  • An impressive global ranking position
  • Primacy of the learner
  • Emphasis on life-long learning
  • An integrated, inclusive sector that is internationally active


Find a postgraduate program in SCOTLAND

Remarkable research

If your interest lies in further research then you simply have to head to Scotland. Recent research has shown that relative to its GDP, Scottish research is cited more than any other country in the world. In fact, in 2008, Scottish researchers published around 12,000 papers! Overall, 15% of Scottish research is world-leading, with 33% of it being internationally excellent – now that’s impressive! Scottish universities have great commercial links when it comes to research, creating more spin-off companies than the rest of the UK. Areas of particular emphasis are the STEM subjects, with the biological and clinical sciences (alongside mathematics) being exceptionally noted. There’s also world-class excellence in geosciences, marine energy, law, philosophy, literature, linguistics, social sciences and engineering. In part, this research excellence can be linked to the collaborative ethos in Scottish higher education. There is a research-pooling initiative funded by the Scottish Funding Council, and this encourages universities to pool resources, giving them a competitive advantage.

Excellent employment

If you think about the reasons why you want to undertake postgraduate study, then future employability is almost certainly among your top five reasons – and Scottish universities have great graduate job prospects. In fact a recent study revealed that graduates from Scottish universities demonstrated a higher employment rate following graduation then the all-UK average (67.4% versus 63.7%), which represents an excellent return on your investment.

Quality guaranteed

The Scottish university system is carefully planned with implemented systems of quality assurance and credit recognition. This helps enhance life-long learning and student mobility, in particular there are innovative structures, such as flexible learning for students in remote areas – which means the distance learning opportunities here are also fantastic. In fact, Scotland is such a great place to undertake your postgraduate studies that the universities here have successfully increased their postgraduate enrolments more than the rest of the UK. Scotland is also home to some of the world’s most well-respected universities – so gaining a postgraduate qualification from a Scottish institution is something you will be truly proud of.

History, tradition & adrenaline

It’s not just the universities in Scotland that are outstanding – the country as a whole is also an amazing place. It’s home to a breathtaking amount of history and culture – from architecture to literary giants, theatre festivals to world-changing scientists, not to mention the outstanding scenery and landscapes great for adventuring and exercise, as well as being used for a backdrop in many a movie! Outside of your postgraduate studying , we’re sure you’ll be looking for other interesting things to do, and fear not, as in Scotland you’ll be able to distract yourself with ease. From the variety of student societies on offer at the universities, to the thriving club and pub scene in the big cities, to outdoors pursuits, there is something to suit every taste. With such an abundance of natural resources, if you’re an outdoorsy type there’s guaranteed to be plenty to do in your local area. With extreme sports like skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking to get your adrenaline pumping, as well as quieter hobbies such as fishing, walking and golf. And if you prefer the cultural side of life you’re also in luck, as Scotland is full of museums, from the mainstream (like the National Museum of Scotland) to the niche (like the Whitelee Windfarm) as well as castles, historical sites and ruins. That, plus the sheer amount of artistic, literary or theatrical festivals means you’ll never be bored.

Scottish folk of interest

Of course, you’ll want to know that you’re heading somewhere that produces great things and inspires great people. Where better to start looking than at those who grew up or studied here? 

Here are some of the more interesting characters to be born and bred in Scotland:

  • John Gow, pirate and inspiration for Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott
  • Dr Livingstone (I presume?), explorer and missionary
  • Gordon Ramsay – the curse-fuelled, angry chef with a heart of gold
  • Bill Shankly, one of the top managers of Liverpool football team
  • Andy Murray, British #1 and world #4 tennis player
  • David Hume – sceptic, philosopher and renowned atheist
  • Kirkpatrick Macmillan, inventor of the bicycle
  • William Kennedy Dickson – creator of an early motion picture camera alongside Thomas Edison
  • Billy Connolly, actor and comedian (he also plays the dad Brave, for bonus Scottish credentials!)
  • KT Tunstall – singer/songwriter
  • Iain McMillan, the photographer of THAT Abbey Road album cover
  • Thomas Henderson – the first person to measure the distance to Alpha Centauri
  • Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows

As you can see, there’s quite a spread of talent – everything from piracy to astronomy! With this kind of inspiration you can see that the world is your oyster if you choose to live and study in Scotland.

How does Scotland fit with the rest of the UK?

If you’re up to date with UK history, you are probably aware that Scotland and England haven’t always gotten along – in spite of, or maybe because of, being such close neighbours! Scotland has a separate legal system to England, Wales and Northern Island, and there’s much debate over whether it should become independent from the UK. There was a referendum due in September 2014 to decide this, and who knows when there could be another one held, so it’s worth staying up to date with what’s happening if you want to come and study in Scotland – just in case it affects your status as a student. That said the policies on EU students will likely remain as they are – or at least, be confirmed well in advance if anything changes.

Keeping it green

With such a wealth of natural beauty, it’s no wonder Scotland is ahead of the game when looking after the environment. A recent study suggested the Scottish environment was worth up to £23.5 billion a year, so you know it’ll be being looked after. Woodland cover has increased from 4.5% to 18% in the past decade – meaning cleaner air, a healthier landscape and more gorgeous forests for you to wander through. Recycling has doubled since 2004, air pollution has been reduced and more tourists flock in to the country every year – providing more money to keep it green and flourishing. All in all, Scotland is a brilliant place to be if you’re concerned about living somewhere with green credentials, and it’s also ever-improving.

Bi-lingual potential

One thing people might not think about when looking at Scotland is its use of a language other than English. That’s right, Scotland is a country with more than one language. In this case, that language is Gaelic. Whilst not counted as an official language of the EU or the UK, it is in fact spoken by thousands of people in Scotland. Although it was in decline at one stage, its recent revival and reclamation by the younger population makes this the perfect time to pick it up. You’ll find it written on some street signs, in the names of places and in a rich history of texts and traditions. It’s a beautiful language, so why not be a part of keeping it alive?

Find a postgraduate program in SCOTLAND

Related articles

4 Reasons To Choose Edinburgh As Your PG Student Destination

Scottish Funding

Universities in Scotland

Student Study Guide: Edinburgh

Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries

Really useful Scottish websites

Visit Scotland

Official Gateway to Scotland: Study in Scotland

Study in Scotland

Student Awards Agency for Scotland

Scottish Government Universities Information