Go Higher: Scotland and Northern Ireland - Universities and Higher Education Colleges in Scotland and Northern Ireland

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Aberdeen: Quiet campus in North Sea oil capital. Older than all English universities except for Oxbridge. Strong on petroleum geology, land use and marine resource management, and, oddly, cultural history. Prospectus: 01224 273504

Abertay Dundee: Formerly Dundee Institute of Technology. Claims to be among the top three intermediate-sized cities in UK for quality of life. One of the smallest UK universities. Has come up with a novel scheme to persuade local 12-year-olds to sign up for a degree. Prospectus: 01382 308080

Queen's, Belfast: In leafy south Belfast, five minutes walk from the Loyalist area. 20,000 students, five faculties, several research institutes and an industrial unit. Now run by George Bain, formerly head of London Business School, who's been annoying academics with plans to shed staff who are no good at research.

Prospectus: 01232 273081

Dundee: Compact city-centre campus in a lovely spot overlooking the River Tay. Dundee claims to be Scotland's UniverCity, with more academics per head of population than elsewhere. Only university to offer English and Scottish law. Prospectus: 01382 345464

Edinburgh: Scotland's leading university. Great place for students and a powerhouse for research. Most famous for medicine and for taking high achievers/posh students, many of whom hail from south of the border.

Prospectus: 0131-650 9301

Glasgow: Compact campus in the trendy west end of Scotland's biggest city. One of the oldest universities in the UK with an international reputation for research. One of four UK universities in Universitas 21, a new international association of research-based institutions. Famous for medicine and veterinary medicine.

Prospectus: 0141-330 4440

Glasgow Caledonian: A former poly, its strengths lie in business, health, science and technology. A huge building programme has meant a new financial services centre and lots more accommodation. Has flexible credit accumulation and transfers on the American model. Prospectus: 0141-331 3334

Heriot-Watt: Strikingly modern campus in Edinburgh. Big bonus is rural setting and ancient trees. Renowned as a technical institution. Courses are predominantly science and engineering. Unusual courses include actuarial mathematics, and brewing and distilling.

Prospectus: 0800-068 0702

Napier: Former poly in Edinburgh. Named after John Napier, the inventor of logarithms. Has grown rapidly. Particularly big in business management, bio-sciences, electronics, media studies, music, new materials, statistics and transport. And it has a centre for entrepreneurship.

Prospectus: 0500 353570

Paisley: Former technical college and school of art. Has three campuses, one in the centre of Paisley, the second on the coast at Ayr, home of Robbie Burns, and the third in Dumfries. Many of the 10,000 students are local; and courses are strongly vocational, with a technological edge, and close links with industry. Scotland's leader in credit accumulation and transfer.

Prospectus: 0800-027 1000

Robert Gordon: Formerly an institute of technology. Named after a merchant trader in the Baltic. Teaching spread across four sites in Aberdeen. No ivory tower. Strong vocational emphasis. More than 150 degree and other courses in wide range of subjects, many involving work placements.

Prospectus: 01224 262180

St Andrews: The oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the UK after Oxford and Cambridge, it's steeped in ancient buildings and customs. Situated in the home of golf on the east coast of Scotland in sheltered bay 25 miles north of Edinburgh. Sublime view of the sea. Excellent reputation.

Prospectus: 01334 462150

Stirling: The only wholly new university in Scotland, put up in 1967 after the Robbins report. Located on a greenfield site outside Stirling. One of the most beautiful campuses in Europe, set around a loch in 360 acres, complete with castle and golf course. Set up to build on the Scottish tradition of producing well-rounded individuals rather than subject specialists.

Prospectus: 01786 466166

Strathclyde: Two campuses in Glasgow. Set up as a progressive institute which took women and taught technical things. Still offers courses which are relevant to industry and commerce - civil engineering with European studies, for example. Every student can take classes in entrepreneurship.

Prospectus: 0141-548 2762

Ulster: Four sites across Northern Ireland, up to 80 miles apart - in Belfast, Derry, Coleraine and Jordanstown. Last two are beautiful and isolated, but marred by concrete buildings. More than 21,000 students make it the biggest university in Ireland.

Prospectus: 01232 366251


Edinburgh College of Art: One of the largest and oldest art schools in Europe. Fantastic location right in the middle of the city, with a great view of Edinburgh Castle. Main building is a glorious piece of neo-classicism, dominated by a beautifully proportioned sculpture court with gallery - which is the main exhibition space.

Prospectus: 0131-221 6000

Glasgow School of Art: Has a school of fine art and a school of design and craft, plus the Mackintosh school of architecture. Charles Rennie Mackinstosh created the building in 1899. Digital Design Studio is conducting research into advanced 2D/3D imaging, including virtual reality.

Prospectus: 0141-353 4512

Queen Margaret University College: Started out as a cookery school last century. Now has three campuses in Edinburgh with 3,000 students. It specialises in vocational subjects such as health care, food, tourism, drama, etc.

Prospectus: 0131-317 3247

Royal Scottish Academy for Music and Drama: Small, only 600 undergrad and postgrad students, and the only conservatoire of music and drama in Scotland. One of the four royal schools of music, it awards its own degrees.

Prospectus: 0141-332 4101

Scottish Agricultural College: Based at three sites, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Ayr, the largest at Ayr. Has diversified into areas such as rural leisure and tourism.

Prospectus: 0131-535 4000

Stranmillis University College: A college of Queen's Belfast. Started out in life as teaching training college. That's still its primary focus. It has 700 full-time students. Diversified into humanities, RE, art and design and business studies.

Prospectus: 01232 381271 ext 263