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Great Scot "Scotland offers students a wonderful experience: universities that are internationally renowned for their quality, set in vibrant cities and historic towns filled with culture"


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Highland Education Scotland flies high when it comes to HE says DAVID CALDWELL, Director of Universities Scotland


cotland is flourishing. The Scottish higher education sector is contributing to the innovation, creativity, knowledge and diversity that is currently thriving in our towns and cities. Scottish universities continue to attract record numbers of students to study in Scotland, reflecting the sector’s strong reputation both at home and overseas.

Autonomous institutions

Scottish universities continue to attract record numbers of students to study in Scotland

Scottish higher education has been an important part of Scotland’s development now for nearly 600 years. Despite only having a population of five million, Scotland is home to 20 HE institutions; 15 universities including The Open University in Scotland, the UHI Millennium Institute, two Art Schools, a conservatoire and the Scottish Agricultural College. All institutions are autonomous. Scotland’s universities developed in three stages, each with a different legal basis. The ancient universities (St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh) date from the 15th and 16th centuries. Four other institutions (Dundee, Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt and Stirling) achieved university status in the 1960s. The newest group (Glasgow Caledonian, Napier, Paisley, Robert Gordon, Abertay, and Queen Margaret) have been granted university title since 1992. Scottish higher education institutions offer a range of courses, from international business, film and media studies to biochemistry and the classics. The majority of undergraduates study for an honours degree that takes four years. They take a range of subjects in years one and two before deciding what to specialise in during the final two years.

No bull: Scotland has a great range of HE institutions Vocational degrees There are exceptions to the traditional four-year degree. Some vocational and professional degrees take longer than four years to complete and offer less scope for personal choice, for example, dentistry, medicine or architecture. Other degrees take longer to complete because they offer work experience for a year, often described as “sandwich courses”. All Scottish higher education institutions offer students, no matter where they are from, a firstclass student experience. The statistics show that eight out of 10 students said that if they had the choice again they would study the same course in the same university in Scotland. Scottish degrees also come with a high earning premium - graduates who work in Scotland can expect to have a starting salary on average of around £20,000. This is extremely competitive and, when taking into account differences in the cost of living and in quality of life, Scotland almost certainly offers the best combination. Scottish universities also provide

flexible learning opportunities – they are open to everyone, not just school-leavers. The unique Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework supports this aim by integrating all qualifications taken at school, college or university within a single framework, making it much easier for students to move between courses and institutions and undoubtedly creating closer links between schools, colleges and universities.

World opportunities Studying at a Scottish university unlocks opportunities in the rest of the world. Scottish universities are leading Europe in implementing a national higher education framework which makes it easier for study undertaken in a Scottish university to be recognised in a European country. Graduates seeking employment in Europe and beyond will also find their qualifications are recognised by employers more easily as the framework lists the qualification and the expected competencies and knowledge that someone with that qualification is expected to have upon graduating.


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Here are some figures well worth studying more closely. Three year Honours degrees are now available from the University of Dundee – chosen by The Sunday Times as its Scottish University of the Year in 2004. Our graduates also go on to earn amongst the highest starting salaries of any British university. When you add up all the advantages, there’s one more number we’re sure you’ll want to know about – 01382 384160 Call it for more information or visit us at

Scotland has not introduced top-up fees. Most Scottish domiciled students and EU students have their fees paid for them

"Scottish degrees have a high earning premium - graduates who work in Scotland can expect to have a starting salary on average of £20,000" Tay Bridge, Dundee

UK No 1 for Teaching Quality* *The Times Good University Guide 2006 70-71.indd 71


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Round up of the h Bar a handful of universities, Scotland is a bit off the higher education radar in the UK. SARA EVANS digs deep and sets the record straight

Offering an impressive range of higher education institutions – from ancient to modern – Scotland’s academic provision also includes a huge number of courses both diverse and well regarded.

Traditional and professional courses

Entry requirements for Scotland's top four universities are among the highest in the UK

Students looking to join the respected ranks of vets, medics, barristers and solicitors will find themselves in heaven when it comes to choosing a related course north of the border. Known as the ancient universities, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and St Andrews are the country’s oldest educational establishments. In possession of a rich heritage, accompanied by a strong academic background, these institutions are prime providers of top courses in law, medicine, veterinary science and humanities. Some of these institutions have even been teaching these subjects for centuries. As well as having highly regarded reputations within the UK, all four universities are also recognised internationally for their elite courses and rigorous standards. As a result, research in all four is generally well funded. A knock-on effect of this is that the fight for course places is fierce. In fact, entry requirements are among the highest in the UK. Although ancient, these universities are moving with the times. They now offer a range of scholarships and bursaries, as well as more modern courses, in a bid to attract students from a greater range of backgrounds – all part of an attempt to dilute the independent school cohort that dominates the medical and law lecture halls of Scotland’s traditional, ancient universities.

Serene study: lakeside campus at the University of Stirling As well as traditional and professional courses, other wellregarded courses include:  Medieval history at the University of St Andrews: the largest department in the UK is found here.  Science courses at the University of Glasgow: the largest science faculty outside of London is located within these walls.  Biomedicine and divinity at the University of Aberdeen: well praised.  All-round excellent courses at the University of Edinburgh, praised for offering excellence across the board.  Wannabe medics might be interested in studying at the

Vocational courses Scotland is known for its excellence in teaching vocational courses. Subject choice is wide and meets modern workplace demands, offering plenty of workplace learning opportunities to equip its students with marketable skills and relevant knowledge. Vocational courses on offer include healthcare, journalism, leisure and tourism areas as well as information technology and computing studies. Many of the universities offering good vocational courses are found in Scotland’s biggest cities and tend to be younger rather than older. Old or new though, what they all have in common is innovation and

"Scottish universities now offer bursaries and scholarships, diluting the independent school cohort that dominate medicine and law" University of Dundee. The medical school here was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 1998 and its consistently highly rated research into cancer and diabetes is recognised as world class.

a specific mission to make their graduates employable. For example, Napier University in Edinburgh has spearheaded a creative industries project, which involves the creation of a Scottish Centre for Creative Industries which


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highland highlights runs courses in interior design, journalism, advertising and public relations. The idea is to nurture a hotbed of creative talent with the right experience and attitudes that will feed into Scotland’s and the world’s creative industries. Concentrating on distinct, specialist vocational areas is what the University of Abertay has also set about doing. One of Scotland’s newest universities, Abertay has found its niche in the provision of strongly vocational degrees suited to the needs of specific industries. For example, the university offers contemporary degrees in golf tourism, urban water systems and digital entertainment and also houses Europe’s first computer games centre. The University of Dundee also offers popular vocational courses including those in nursing and education. Applications for course placements are increasing and most graduates move into related spheres of work linked to their degree studies. At Glasgow Caledonian University, courses are new and proudly vocational. Highly specialised options include fashion, marketing and even consumer protection. The university offers the widest choice of healthcare-related degrees. Physiotherapy is one of the most highly regarded. As well as contemporary vocational courses, other wellregarded courses include:  Economics at the University of Abertay: the teaching of economics here has been very highly rated  Life sciences and biochemistry at the University of Dundee: these courses are all internationally recognised  Chemistry at Glasgow Caledonian University: the teaching of chemistry has been rated as excellent here  Business at Napier University: the

university is home to a £30m business school which is also the largest in Scotland. Also look out for the University of Strathclyde’s hospitality studies, computer studies and social work vocational courses – all of which have been rated highly satisfactory.

Business courses There are an impressive number of business courses to choose from in Scotland, with most universities offering some business related course or other. Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde is a “suited and booted” type of institution that is not only home to one of the largest business schools in Europe, but is also top-rated. It is also the only business school in Scotland to be accredited by the European Quality Improvement System. At the University of Stirling, students can find business and management courses that have been rated as highly satisfactory, alongside courses in education that are very popular. Education courses

also rated as excellent. As well as business, education, engineering and language courses, other well-regarded courses in Scotland include:  Brewing and distillery courses at Heriot-Watt University: a highly specialised course recognised throughout the UK  New media at the University of Paisley: innovative new courses include computer games technology  Nutrition and dietetics at the Robert Gordon University: rated as excellent  Environmental science at the University of Stirling: a course rated as excellent that is also benefiting from refurbished facilities  Business at Napier University: the university is home to a £30m business school which is also the largest in Scotland. The University of Stirling is Scotland’s premier university for sporting excellence and is the first choice for students wishing to

"Engineering courses at Aberdeen have strong links to the local oil industry and have excellent associated employment records" at the University of Paisley’s recently improved campus in Ayr are also a popular option with students too.

Engineering courses Scotland has a proud engineering tradition with some excellent courses run by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Engineering courses here have a strong link with the local oil industry and have excellent employment records associated with them. Engineering is also a leading course at Strathclyde as are its language courses. Another wellregarded language course provider is Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Its electrical and electronic engineering output is

combine sport and study. Five-star on-campus facilities include; the National 50m Swimming Academy, Scottish National Tennis Centre, 9-hole Golf Course, state-of-the-art MP Jackson Fitness Centre, the Airthrey Loch for watersports, 400m Athletics Track as well as a brand new Football Academy that opened in Autumn 2007. The Department of Sports Studies provides high quality teaching, offering a range of Sports Studies programmes at undergraduate level. In the 2006 Guardian University Guide, the University was ranked first in Scotland and third in the UK for studying sport. Many programmes are also recognised and validated by the Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management.

Napier's idea is to nurture a hotbed of creative talent to feed into the world's creative industries


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Diverse industry The Scottish Agricultural College reflects the diversity of land-based industry


AC – the Scottish Agricultural College – is Scotland’s land-based higher education college. From three campus locations in Aberdeen, Ayr and Edinburgh, SAC offers degrees, awarded by either the University of Edinburgh or Glasgow, and higher national courses in subjects which

international research and consultancy service provides guest lecturers, real-life dissertation topics and case studies, and work experience. News headlines including climate change, animal welfare, renewable energy, and general sustainability, and the resulting exciting career

"All the Scottish Agricultural College's courses are designed to in close consultation with the industries they seek to provide future employees to" reflect the diversity of the land-based industries and the ever growing environmental agenda. All SAC’s courses are designed in close consultation with the industries they seek to provide future employees to. Partnerships with leading research agencies, and world renowned organisations such as the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, ensure students learn the most up to date knowledge and skills. The colleges’ own

opportunities, have led to lively interest in SAC courses, which all consider how 21st century living may be balanced with the responsible use and protection of natural resources. This is one of SAC’s courses’ strengths; introducing students to the wider issues and showing how other subjects perceive, interpret and respond to the land-based and rural agenda. This includes ensuring that students learn about topics that may have previously been outside the

traditional subject area, for example the crossover between environmental issues and tourism and sport. This is achieved through shared classes, field trips, and group work assignments. The student population at each campus is diverse, with school leavers studying alongside those returning to learning, and there is a growing international student community. SAC students agree that having a mix of backgrounds, aspirations and experiences on the courses means they all learn from each other, and they feel better prepared for life beyond college. Open and Taster Days are scheduled throughout the UCAS application cycle and details are available on the website or by calling 0800 269453.

SAC Scotland’s Land-Based Higher Education College SAC's high quality, vocational courses are designed to enable our students to be outstanding in their chosen field. We offer a wide range of qualifications including Honours and general degrees, Higher National (HNC/HND), postgraduate and foundation level courses. Our degree programmes are awarded by two of Scotland’s ancient Universities (Edinburgh and Glasgow). SAC students benefit from our unique combination of expertise in education, research and consultancy. We offer a choice of campus locations in Aberdeen, Ayr or Edinburgh and excellent access to learning, practical and research facilities and supportive staff. Our courses lead to real career opportunities, with all courses benefiting from industrial liaison including field trips, study tours and placement possibilities. All of this makes studying at SAC a unique, and very worthwhile, experience.

Our Subject Areas Include: Horticulture Tourism Agricultural Science Garden Design Applied Bioscience Rural Resource Management

Green Technology Countryside and Conservation Sport and Recreation Applied Animal Science Sustainability Plantsmanship

Business Poultry Studies Landscape Agriculture Environmental Protection Outdoor Pursuits

SAC holds Open Days and Taster Days throughout the year, attends sessions at schools and colleges, and participates in a large number of UCAS conventions and other public events. Full details are given on our web site, or contact us for further information.

0800 269 453 74 STEP UP

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Scotland Step Up  

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