Differences between Scottish and English universities

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Differences between Scottish and English universities

Are you thinking about enrolling into a university in the UK (colloquially called a ‘uni’)?

It’s an exciting and possibly, a slightly scary time for any prospective international student studying in the UK. As you embark on your investigations as to the best institution to study at, we’ll highlight some differences between Scottish and English universities so that your investigative journey into the UK education system is made a little easier.

You may know that you will be studying for at least three years, but this depends on where in the UK your studies will take you. In Scotland, undergrad courses are four years and accept qualified students from 17 as opposed to the three years in the rest of the UK. This can be an alternative route to the international donation course route for international students without the required Universities and Colleges Admissions Service in the UK (UCAS), points.

The practicalities of studying in the UK

The practicality of this difference is that Scottish universities are more inclusive and flexible in nature while English universities take a deeper approach. This often requires the English students to select their speciality at the beginning of the course. It’s possible for Scottish students to change course direction as they have more exposure to different subjects while the three-year English course can be inflexible. However, some of the more modern Scottish universities like Napier and RGU have adopted a similar approach to the English universities, when it comes to changing courses midstream.

Naming conventions will differ too as a Master of Arts Scotland (MA) course is not same as an MA course in England. Again, this goes back to the different length of courses. A Scottish MA (four years) is roughly equivalent to an English BA (three years).

Other considerations for international students studying in the UK

Each possible UK university that you are considering will need to be investigated as there are no standard costs for international students applying for university entrance in the UK. The cost of living will all be different too with cities like Edinburgh and London being expensive places to live, but Scotland is generally accepted to have a lower cost of living.

Likewise, it’s best to investigate the strengths of each university that is being considered as many universities have their own specialities. There are exceptional universities in both countries but significantly more in England as a result of having the biggest populace in the UK.

Life and culture in the UK can also vary quite dramatically. Are you looking a for a rural or more urban setting? Scotland is home to fewer people, it can be colder, however the cost of living is better. Culturally the two countries differ, and this even extends to some of the bank (public) holidays. Words, syntax and grammar can be vastly different too, changing from country to country and will even change within different parts of the same country.


In a nutshell these are the differences between universities in Scotland and England and need to be considered before starting university in the UK

A springboard into university

It’s well known that UK boarding schools and universities offer international students some of the best tuition in the world. But it’s not only tuition where these institutions excel, it’s the extracurricular activities on offer to students. Access and participation in these school extramurals and facilities have an additional benefit of setting potential university candidates apart during initial selection. UK boarding schools are often the perfect springboard for international students to attend a UK university.

It’s all about choice and all these choices may need some clarity. Need some help in matching the right British boarding school or advice on the best UK university for your child? That’s what we’re here for! Get in touch today and we’ll schedule a free, private consultation via a phone or video call.

Contact us or request a callback to get started.

This article appears in the following categories  Education Systems, School Admissions

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