EDINBURGH SKYLINE View of castle, tollbooth of St John and the old town from Salisbury Crags (cliffs)

Scotland has a long history of higher education. The country’s oldest university, the University of St Andrews, was founded in 1413, followed by the University of Glasgow in 1451, the University of Aberdeen in 1495 and the University of Edinburgh in 1583. All four universities were ranked amongst the top 200 higher education institutions around the globe in the 2012 QS World Rankings survey; no other country in the world had more universities per capita featured in the survey than Scotland. 

Many Indian students who study in Scotland choose courses closely related to a vocation, such as business or science and engineering. However, any course is likely to provide an excellent education and give students the opportunity to develop a wide range of abilities vital to the success of their chosen careers. UK higher education aims to help students develop critical thinking skills and assess, evaluate, question, present, debate and create solutions to problems. These are skills which are valuable to any potential employer and ones which Indian companies have noted are sometimes lacking in graduates from domestic universities. Indian students studying in the UK are also, of course, fully immersed in the English language, making them yet more proficient in India’s main language of business.

Gathering more information
University league tables such as the QS World Rankings, the Times Higher Education or the International Student Barometer can provide valuable information to international students about higher education institutions’ performance in their chosen field of study. However, league tables can only ever provide a limited amount of information about universities, and often it can be helpful for students to interact more directly with university staff before making a final decision on where to study. Scottish universities often have stands at recruitment fairs in India, where international officers are happy to answer questions on undergraduate and postgraduate study. Most universities also have sections on their websites providing answers to frequently-asked questions for prospective international students, as well as email addresses or web forms where more detailed questions can be submitted and answered.


The application process
Undergraduate applications to Scottish universities are made through the Universities and College Administration Service, more commonly known as UCAS . Applicants can choose up to five programmes on their online form. The deadlines for applications are June 30 each year, or October 15 for students on medicine and dentistry courses. Students can apply before their Grade 12 exams since conditional offers of acceptance can be made subject to the required results being achieved. Some universities have unfilled spaces on courses after the application deadlines, and UCAS runs a clearing system to allow students who did not achieve their expected grades or missed the deadline for applications to find a suitable course.

Top Scottish Universities
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Strathclyde

:  Times Higher Education
 Quick facts
Application deadline: June 30 or October 15 (medicine/dentistry courses)
UG studies: Four years; PG Degree: One year (full-time)
Admissions body: Universities and College Administration Service (UCAS)
Website: www.ucas.co.uk

Saltire scholarships: Open for 2013/14 applications; Apply by May 31, 2013

Are you eligible?
Undergraduate courses in most subjects are four years long in Scotland. Most universities require students to have achieved a good grade at Grade 12, A-Level or International Baccalaureate in order to be considered for entry to a course. International students also generally require a qualification in English as a Foreign Language (EFL), with the most popular being IELTS and TOEFL.  Pre-entry EFL courses or foundation programmes can help students meet entry criteria before they begin the application process. However, some students choose to apply for advanced entry to second or even third year.

Prepare for self-directed learning
The experience of studying in Scotland could be different from what students from India may expect. The focus of study is more concerned with self-directed learning all year round, although tutors make themselves available to students for discussions about their studies. Students generally spend fewer hours in class and are expected to actively participate in discussions, presentations and group activities. Although a limited number of re-sits are available, students are generally expected to pass examinations at the first attempt.

Narrowing your focus
As students progress through their years of undergraduate study, their focus is expected to become narrower as they specialise in a particular area of expertise. By their final year, their study will be almost solely directed towards a particular topic and may well involve working closely with leading academics at their university on research projects of international significance.

2 types of PG courses
Broadly speaking, there are two types of postgraduate courses available to students, known as Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research. Postgraduate Taught refers to degrees where students have a set amount of contact with course providers in the form of seminars, tutorials and lectures. Taught programmes can lead to the award of Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates, and Master’s degrees. At the end of their period of study, students will receive a Master’s degree. Taught Master’s degrees usually last for one year (full-time study) and the final assessment is often based on the submission of a research-based dissertation. Postgraduate Diplomas last for nine months full-time. Postgraduate Certificates generally last for four to five months full-time.

GRADUATION DAY Sammer gradutes at the University of Glasgow, one of Scotland's premier universities


PG Research degrees
These can generally be divided into Research Master’s degrees and Doctorates, with the latter often aimed at those who already have a Master’s degree. Students undertake a research project of their choice with guidance from an academic supervisor and their work is evaluated after the submission of a final thesis. Unlike an undergraduate degree, there are no formal lectures or seminars for Research Master’s degrees and also for Doctorates.

Funding and scholarships
Indian students can benefit from a range of scholarship opportunities to help toward the cost of fees and other education-related expenses. The Scottish Government offers Saltire Scholarships of £2,000 (Rs. 1.75 lakh) for up to 200 UG and PG students each year and universities also have their own scholarship opportunities, details of which can usually be found on their websites.

Career counselling on campus
In recent years, following a tightening of the United Kingdom’s visa regulations, increasing numbers of Indian students have chosen to return to their home country after graduation. In an increasingly competitive job market, it is vital for both undergraduate and postgraduate students to keep their future careers in mind during their time at university. They are advised to do everything they can to maximise their appeal to future employers.

Each university has its own dedicated careers service, whose staff can provide advice and support to students about their employment prospects after graduation. In recent years, many universities have worked hard to help Indian students with advice more specifically tailored to the job market in their home country. Events such as virtual careers fairs can help students build relationships with employers in India, and universities often advertise placements or job opportunities with Indian companies. Students should also create opportunities to meet potential employers in person throughout their period of study. For example, students returning home during university holidays might find it helpful to arrange meetings or short work placements with employers before they leave Scotland.

Network while you study
While studying in Scotland, Indian students can actively work to improve their profile among potential employers by harnessing the potential of online social and professional networks. A high-quality profile on networking sites such as LinkedIn and Brijj can help to quickly and clearly delineate for potential employers expertise and areas of professional interest. More traditional networking opportunities can be very valuable for them during their time in the UK. The British Council’s India-UK Alumni network and the Association of British Scholars  provide networking events specifically tailored for Indian students and can provide useful introductions to potential employers.


 “The study experience in Scotland is a little different - self-directed learning all year round is the focus, though tutors make themselves available to students for discussions " 

Beyond studies
Whichever Scottish university a student chooses to enrol in for undergraduate or postgraduate study, they can be assured of breathtaking scenery, a vibrant music and arts scene, a range of historic and modern sites to see, and sumptuous Scottish and world cuisine – including hundreds of Indian restaurants thanks to significant communities of second and third-generation Indian nationals. In fact, curry is so popular in Scotland that many think of it as the country’s ‘other national dish’ after haggis!

Travelling around the country is easy, with student discounts available on most public transport. Scottish people tend to be proud of their country, well-informed about their history, and happy to see visitors whom they can share their knowledge with. You can be assured of a warm and friendly welcome, even if the weather is a little cooler and wetter than what you are used to. Studying in Scotland ensures a world class education together with the experience of a lifetime.  

The author Ian Thomson is Head of International Recruitment, University of Glasgow

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Questions related to United Kingdom

Showing 7 out of 7 Questions

why choose de montfort university in u.k

Tushar Karmakar 10th May, 2020

DMU is one of the top 50 universities in the country when it comes to graduates finding jobs. Students there have been developing their employability since day one at DMU where at the same time supports their students in different ways no matter what you are going to pursue after graduated from DMU. Studying at DMU is a big advantage for international students because they can gain a lot of international experiences to help achieve their career prospects.

Postgraduate placements available during PG study.


I wish to become a Neurosurgeon, I predict that I have a career period of 30 years. I wish to practice half career in the countries of the US, Singapore, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia and I wish to practice last half of my career in India. Is my wish possible? Is my wish a good one?

Manish Singh 2nd Apr, 2020

As long as you have an active medical license in your country that being india yes you can practice medicine anywhere in the world provided that you have some references who can recommend you to the place you want to work at and a good background check. That is the most important thing to consider. And yes your wish can come true if you work hard for it. All the best


The USA, The UK, Australia, and Canada - Among these countries which country have best infrastructure and best Salaries for Neurosurgeons?

Suryashis Chakraborty 18th Mar, 2020

Hello Raja,

According to salary reports by esteemed Institutions like Glassdoor, the following average salary packages are expected to be earned by entry level Neurosurgeons in different countries across the globe.

The United States of America - $ 306,000 per annum

Canada - $ 312,000 per annum

United Kingdom - £ 165,000 per annum

Australia - $ 381,000 per annum

With experience, the figures may rise and may stand around amounts nearly as triple the entry level salary package.

When it comes to infrastructure, the United States of America if definitely on the top due to the prevalence and application of modern cut technologies and instruments. The industry has also applied Artificial Intelligence in the mix to revamp it's present facilities.

Hope this helps you. We wish you the best for your future endeavours!



Compared to USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, which country is better for Neurosurgeons interms of Working Time, Risk, Happiness, Salary, etc

Sonali Sahu Student Expert 24th Mar, 2020


Singapore will be a better choice due it advance technology. you will get to learn many new skills and have an efficient work skill. working time will be 8am -5pm which can be different as per hospital norms and rules or need.

Risk is there in everything. You have to take risk to reach success. Happiness depends on satisfaction. If you are not satisfied with yourself you can never be happy. so work efficiently and help patients to relieve pain that will be your greatest happiness. Salary is very high for a neurosurgeons.

for entry level neurosurgeons salary is $278,935 holding 1-3 years of experience.

Hope it helps!


is it hard to get into top universities with marks around 80s in ug and will I be eligilble for scholarships?

Masira 16th Dec, 2019

The cutoffs of the top universities will be an important consideration when you think about admissions. Scoring 80's will help you get around 80% and it seems like a good score and will be able to help you get into good university. However, it purely depends on what is the cutoff of a particular university. The same goes for the scholarships. There are universities that will be providing scholarships bases on merits and you can check on the site of the college before applying to see what are their scholarship providing criteria. If you have a particular university or college in mind go through their official website to find relevant information that will help you make better decisions.

Hope this helps.
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