A royal welcome awaits you at institutions north of the border

Students are flocking to Scottish universities

Although the recent interest surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is probably not unwelcome at St Andrews, the story of many of Scotland's universities goes back hundreds of years, and the country can give prospective students a great deal in terms of education, career prospects and, of course, life-enhancing experiences.

There are 19 higher education institutions in Scotland, including 16 universities.

They boast a rich heritage - St Andrews was founded in 1413, and the principles of the education system pioneered in the ancient universities (which also include Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen) formed the basis of other systems the world over, notably in the US, Canada and France. Nowadays, every Scottish university carries out active research, and more than 4,400 taught courses are available to students across the various institutions.

"Scotland's universities are internationally renowned for excellence and have much to offer," says Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, adding that Scotland has some of the world's oldest universities, and five among the top 150 in the world.Scottish degrees are four years long.

Students aren't restricted to spending all of those years at one place: some might study a two-year higher national diploma (HND) course at college before moving on for two more years of study at university and gaining an honours degree. According to Sim, a four year programme gives learners the opportunity to develop a more rounded skill set. "We must be doing something right as students at Scottish universities report the highest satisfaction rates in the UK according to the National Student Survey," he adds.Scotland is a popular destination for continuing study, with both taught and research-led programmes available.

"Postgraduate students will have the chance to work at research-active universities and opportunities to partner with business and industry, engaging in the exchange and transfer of knowledge and contributing to future economic, business and research development," explains Sim.

While undergraduate and postgraduate students come to Scotland from the UK, a significant number arrive from overseas too - 30,000 students from 180 countries begin courses every year. Wherever in the world they come from, Sim believes they are attracted by more than league table results.

"There's more to university than just study and Scotland is the perfect destination with vibrant, cosmopolitan cities, beautiful countryside and a welcoming spirit," he says.Students can certainly look forward to a wide range of extra-curricular diversions.

Glasgow was named a European Capital of Culture, and Edinburgh hosts one of the world's largest arts festivals every August, should they feel like taking in live music, visiting galleries and museums or scratching a creative itch. Then to recuperate there's the fresh air and altitude of the Highlands and Ben Nevis, the UK's highest peak. Those wanting to go even further can brave the far islands to learn about whisky, or the shores of Loch Ness to learn how to create a legend from a photo of an oddly shaped log.

Then, of course, there's an infectious passion for sport (especially football) that can bring the country to a standstill. You can even surf - just be sure to fully suit-up for the chilly waters.

Beyond education, students might stay on to find employment in major areas such as finance, oil and gas, tourism and the creative industries.

Overseas students can also take advantage of the Fresh Talent initiative, which allows them to stay in the country without a work permit for two years after the completion of an academic qualification ( scotlandistheplace.com).

Students applying to a Scottish institution need to go through UCAS ( ucas.com). It's worth keeping an eye on the fees situation; EU students currently don't have to pay tuition fees, but subject to parliamentary approval in the autumn, Scottish universities will be able to set their own fees for UK undergraduate students permanently living outside Scotland. Once fee amounts for 2012-13 have been agreed, the information will be available through UCAS.

Wherever students may come from, they are unlikely to have to endure the level of attention surrounding a royal romance, leaving them free to enjoy Scotland's world-class education, proud culture and warmest hospitality. That can only be to their benefit for, as the scholar Dr Louis B Wright once put it: "If one took the Scots out of the world, it would fall apart."

For more information, see Universities Scotland ( universities-scotland.ac.uk) and Education UK ( educationuk.org)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

EYFS Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education require an ex...

Year 3 Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 primary supply teacher ne...

SEN Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply special educational ne...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape