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Top universities for international students in Edinburgh, Scotland

study in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is home to many world-class unis, vibrant student communities and a pretty great quality of life. Source: ADek Berry/AFP

Why study in Edinburgh? This Scottish capital has all the glitz and glam a big city does, alongside the cosy charm of a small town. With its roots knee-deep in heritage, the city is also thoroughly modern and welcoming to foreigners and international students alike. 

Another reason students flock to this popular study destination is because it’s home to many world-class unis, vibrant student communities and a pretty great quality of life. Some of the oldest higher education institutions — some around since the 15th century — are in Scotland. Their consistent teaching excellence and impactful research is something to admire. 

To further add, international students facing financial hardship because of the pandemic can now access financial support from their higher education institution. Ministers in Scotland have extended the eligibility for overseas students to access 22 million pounds in Higher Education and 3 million pounds in Further Education.

Besides having the whole city as your campus, according to statistics from The Independent, some of the cheapest unis in the UK are Scottish — significantly less compared to other major student cities. Additionally, the students awards agency for Scotland covers tuition fees for undergrad students from the EU or EEA countries and the National Union of Students is dedicated to representing international students across Scotland.

The unis in this capital include: the University of Edinburgh, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh Napier University, Royal College of Surgeons, the University of Stirling, Scotland’s Rural College, Queen Margaret University, and the University of St. Andrews. Below we take a look at some of these unis in further detail and what makes them stand out:

The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh, recognised for its research, development and high-quality teaching, was where J.K. Rowling once studied. Source: Ben Stansall/AFP

This uni is one of the world’s top education institutions that’s recognised for its research, development and high-quality teaching. Offering an array of resources and facilities with more than 400 degree programmes, over 300 master programmes and 135 research areas, it’s not hard to see why its student body is made up of  27% international students. Famous alumni here include Pippa Middleton, Princess Mako of Akishino and J. K. Rowling.

Heriot Watt University

study in Edinburgh

Assistant professor of distilling, Matthew Pauley, works at the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling which is based at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Source: Andy Buchanan/AFP

Heriot Watt University has five campuses around the world and boasts a history of world-class teaching with practical, leading-edge research dating back to 1821. It’s regarded in the UK as an elite institution for business and industry studies thanks to the range of degree programmes in specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages. With 3,321 foreign students, this uni is the country’s most international with unrivalled global education offerings. Did you know that famous Malaysian violinist, Joanne Yeoh, studied here?

Edinburgh Napier University

This institution has a modern multi-campus equipped with purpose-built facilities with the latest technology serving almost 20,000 students from more than 150 countries — a truly worldwide network of friends and potential business contacts. From cybersecurity to sustainable construction, Edinburgh Napier University offers an array of undergrad and postgrad courses. Miss Hong Kong 2020, Lisa-Marie Tse, was a notable alumni from here.

Royal College of Surgeons

study in Edinburgh

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, also attended Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. Source:
Mark Schiefelbein/AFP

This is one of the world’s oldest medical professional institutions that raises standards in surgical and dental practice through their short clinical and non-clinical training courses. These take place in Edinburgh as well as some selected overseas centres and are open to professionals of any nationality. It currently has more than 15,000 members and fellows from all over the globe. Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is a Malaysian politician who served as the 12th Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Women, she also attended the Royal College of Surgeons.

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