Abertay University

 

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Overall ranking: 95th out of 126 in the Complete University Guide for 2016.

History: It's been a centre of learning since being founded in 1888. But described by the Scottish Office as 'an industrial university' in 1902, it wasn't allowed to call itself a university until April 1994. It's also had three previous incarnations: Dundee Institute of Technology; Dundee College of Technology; and Dundee Technical Institute. Recently it changed its name to Abertay University.

Address: Centre of Dundee.

Ambience: One of the UK's smallest universities, with many local students, however, non-UK students make up almost 20 per cent of the student body with over 60 nationalities represented. Mix of Edwardian, 1960s and award-winning 1990s/2000s buildings including a modern library, student centre and refurbished teaching and research buildings. Great beaches with hill-walking and ski slopes close by. Dundee is the centre of Scotland's biotechnology and digital industries.

Who's the boss? Professor Nigel Seaton, internationally recognised chemical engineer formerly at Surrey, Edinburgh and Cambridge, took over as principal of Abertay in 2012.

Prospectus: 01382 308080 or download one from the website here.

UCAS code: A30

What you need to know

Easy to get into? The minimum requirements are four Bs at Scottish Highers (two Cs at A-level) while more sought-after courses set the bar higher at 264 points (AABB in Highers; BBC in A-levels) for computer games technology or computer arts.  Five applications per place.

Vital statistics: The university has just over 5,000 students, almost a third of whom are mature and two thirds are from Scotland. The focus is still firmly on technical and career-relevant courses, with four schools covering (i) arts, media and computer games (ii) business, (iii) science, engineering and technology, and (iv) social and health sciences.

Added value: Was accredited as the first UK Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education in 2009. Also boasts some of the most modern sports performance labs in the country, an elite athletes programme, a hi-tech library which has won awards all over the place, a £5m environmental science research centre and a pioneering design of research and learning space mysteriously named 'White Space'. There is a swanky £6m student centre which includes an art gallery and cinema. Popular degrees are computer games technology, computer arts, forensic science, bioinformatics, and business. Very strong on getting graduates into business. This year the university have began a new "accelerated degree" option on courses lasting 4 years, allowing students to sit them in 3 by utilizing the summer months.

Teaching: 111th out of 126 for student satisfaction with teaching quality in the Complete University Guide.

Graduate prospects: 83rd out of 126 with 60.5 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation: There are five options for halls offered by the university. For 2013/14 rents start at £59 a week at Lyon Street for a shared room and £73.62 for an economy single, and go up to £106.65 a week for a bedsit.

Cheap to live there? Private rents can be anywhere between £50 and £85 per week, so not too pricey depending on where you look.

Transport links: Takes six hours by train from King's Cross. One hour by road from Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Airport for the well-heeled with flights direct to London Stansted airport, and connections all over Europe.

Fees:Scottish and EU full-time undergrads starting in 2015 will have their tuition fee's paid by Student Awards Agency For Scotland (saas). Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland will pay £7,250.

Bursaries: There are various means-tested grants available from the university, alongside a number of trust funds and bursaries. For full details see here.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: The main students' union bar is open seven nights a week. Hideout (350 capacity) and Bar One play host to bands, quizzes and more. Dundee has everything from ballet to beer.

Price of a pint: The average price of a pint of lager in Dundee is £2.95

Sporting reputation: 95th out of 145 universities and colleges in the BUCS league.

Notable societies: Cupcake and Baking, or on the other side of the spectrum, Horror.

Glittering alumni: Brian Souter, chairman of the transport giant Stagecoach; David Jones, who created Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto; sporty types Maurice Malpas of Dundee United, rugby internationals Andy Nicol, Craig Redpath and Tom Smith.

Alternative prospectus: See how current students rate various aspects of their Abertay University experience at What Uni? here.

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