Edinburgh, University of



Overall ranking: Ranked 21st out of 123 in the Complete University Guide for 2015.

History: The sixth oldest university in Britain.

Address: In the middle of one of Europe's most handsome cities, with a modern science and engineering campus two miles to the south.

Ambience: Great place for students because it seeps with history and culture. Many of the university buildings are in the famous historic Old Town and ooze with character - perhaps one of the many reasons why the university is one of the most popular in the UK in terms of number of applicants. The main residential campus is 20 minutes' walk from the university precincts. It takes many high achieving students from south of the border too. Edinburgh also has the largest student body of any Scottish university.

Who's the boss? Former master of Birkbeck, Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea is principal and vice-chancellor.

Prospectus: 0131 650 4360 or download one here.

UCAS code: E56

What you need to know

Easy to get into? It varies. For some courses straight As will not guarantee an offer, with GCSE A*s also being taken into account, but there are others where the minimum requirements should be enough. Last year the university received around 51,000 applicants for 5,500 places - almost 10 applications per place. There are around 21,000 undergrads.

Vital statistics: Famous for medicine- over three centuries the medical school has achieved world-changing breakthroughs in areas such as anaesthesia, antiseptics and vaccines. The university offers around 500 first degree programmes in a very wide range of subjects, including over 300 joint degrees. Edinburgh is one of 24 Russell Group universities, dedicated to the highest levels of academic excellence.

Added value: Most programmes in the arts, humanities, engineering, sciences and social sciences allow students to study a range of subjects in the first two years, before specialising in the next two. In first year, students usually study three subjects. In second year, students can continue with some or all of these subjects, but have the option to pick up new ones, too. By third and fourth years, they'll be confident about choosing which areas to specialise in. If a student chooses to study abroad – normally in third year – this does not add to the length of the degree. Edinburgh also has a strong performance on the sporting fields in the inter-university leagues and an almost obscene amount of student clubs and societies. Easy access to the beautiful Scottish countryside- a trip up to Arthur's Seat is a must.

Teaching: Came 122nd out of 124 in the Complete University Guide's ratings for student satisfaction with teaching.

Graduate prospects: Ranked 25th out of 123 with 74.9 per cent entering graduate level employment upon completion of their degrees.

Any accommodation? Students from outside Edinburgh are offered a range of accommodation options, starting from £57 per week for a shared twin room in self-catered accommodation. Single rooms cost from £153 to £236 per week for catered options, and £83 to £114 per week for self-catered options. All bills included.

Cheap to live there? Rents can be quite high, and you can expect to pay anything between £75 and £100 per week for a room in a shared house. Some areas, such as Marchmont and the New Town may be more costly than areas such as Haymarket and Leith Walk, which host a higher proportion of more affordable student properties.

Transport links: A hub for mainline rail and coach services, with Edinburgh's airport just eight miles away.

Fees: Students who are normally resident in Scotland, and other eligible non-UK EU students, continue to have their tuition fees paid for by the Scottish Government. English, Northern Irish and Welsh students £9000 per year. Fees for non-EU students range from £14,450 to £20,050 a year.

Bursaries: Edinburgh boasts "one of the most generous bursary packages in the UK for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland from low income households." See here for more details.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: A stack of bars, clubs, plays on campus plus an award-winning student film society. Head to the Students' Union building Potterrow for 'The Big Cheese' popular club night every Saturday. Music, theatre and comedy at The Pleasance theatre.

Price of a pint: Around £3, a little less if you're lucky.

Sporting reputation: Riding high- ranked 5th in the current BUCS league.

Calendar highlight: Stick around over summer for the legendary Edinburgh Festival Fringe, one of the largest arts festivals in the world. Hogmanay (complete with mass Auld Lang Syne rendition) is not to be missed either.

Notable societies: The Reeling Club is a must ahead of any ceilidh, be it to brush up on existing moves or learn them from scratch. Any Edinburgh student should try this at least once. Murder Soc is not quite as evil as it sounds- give one of their parties a go for a new take on the classic whodunit.

Glittering alumni: Gordon Brown, former UK prime minister; Chris Hoy and Katherine Grainger, Olympic medallists; the late Robin Cook, ex-foreign secretary; Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons, singer (for a year); Kirsty Wark of BBC's Newsnight; Stella Rimington, former head of MI5; Sir Walter Scott; Charles Darwin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and authors Professor Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin.

Alternative prospectus: Ask current students anything in Edinburgh's forum on The Student Room.

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