7 Cheapest Universities in Scotland for International Students (2023)

Scotland is a northern UK territory known for its beautiful mountains, green valleys, and lovely beaches. While it’s widely famous for being a picturesque location, this country has become a top-rated educational destination – just like Great Britain.

To date, there are over 50,000 students from over 180 countries that are enrolled in Scottish universities. More are expected to follow suit given the area’s top-rated universities, which are surprisingly affordable. To help you out, we have listed the cheapest universities in Scotland for international students down below.

How Is the Higher Education System in Scotland?

Scotland has 15 universities that are funded by the government. Along with them, there are other three higher institutions, which are accredited to offer programs and grant degrees at the bachelor, postgraduate, and doctoral levels.

Scotland also has colleges, but unlike the education system of other countries, they are mainly vocational, which means institutions in Scotland only offer short programs of one or two years that grant certificates and diplomas.

How Expensive Are Tuition Fees at Scottish Universities?

If your plan is to go to Scotland to get a bachelor’s degree, the program could be completely free for you. If you are a Scotland resident from the European Union, you won’t have to pay anything to get a bachelor’s degree. Since universities are funded by the government, tuition fees for undergraduate Scottish applicants are paid by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

The only exception is for students that come from other countries in Great Britain, who will have to pay tuition fees, which are usually around 11,500 USD per year. In addition, international students from the rest of the world will also have to pay tuition fees, and these are more expensive than the tuition fees for U.K. residents, but it tends to vary greatly depending on the programs.

In the case of postgraduate and doctoral programs, everybody has to pay tuition fees. There are certain exceptions for a few programs in which the government wants to attract more students. In this case, free tuition fees are offered for Scottish and EU students while international students are charged with an annual tuition fee.

(Video) TOP 10 Universities In Scotland for International Students

Is Living in Scotland Expensive?

Living costs in Scotland are a little bit higher than the living costs in other European countries. This is especially true because of the currency value of the British Sterling Pound (GBP – £), which is higher than the United States Dollar (USD – $).

If you live outside the university campus, the monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment can go from £500 ~ £800 ($615 ~ $980) depending on the area. However, renting at student residences is much cheaper and can be as little as £300 ($370).

As for food, you would spend between £120 ~ £200 ($140 ~ $245) depending on your taste and habits. When it comes to traveling, public transportation per month can cost around £55 ($68) if you use it daily.

What Are the Requirements for Studying in Scotland?

As with most UK universities, you can apply to Scottish institutions through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Center or UCAS. Here, you need to fill out a form where you can select four to five-degree options. Next, you will need to upload the essential requirements, the most important of which is a high school diploma.

Check Also:Programs in Europe for International Students

Can You Study in English at Scottish Universities?

Yes, Scottish universities have English as their language of instruction. For example, Abertay University requires international students to meet their minimum English proficiency requirements, which is to submit an IELTS minimum score of 6.0 – or a 7.0 band for some courses.

The same IELTS minimum of 6.0 is required at Edinburgh Napier University, but it also accepts other proficiency tests such as the TOEFL-iBT, PTE, and Cambridge Exam.

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Cheap Universities in Scotland

1. Glasgow Caledonian University

The Glasgow Caledonian University, also known as GCU, Caley, or Caledonian, is a public institution based in Glasgow, Scotland. Following the merger between the Queen’s College in Glasgow and the Glasgow Polytechnic, this institution first opened its doors in the year 1993. With the annual tuition fee starting from around £13,000 ($17,000), Glasgow Caledonian University is one of the cheapest universities in Scotland for international students.

GCU is organized into 3 schools. The first is the School for Computing, Engineering, and Built Environment, which oversees programs in the Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Information Technology. Another is the School of Business & Society, which manages the Departments of Law, Business Management, and Social Science.

The last school of GCU is that of Health and Life Sciences, which delivers programs related to Nursing, Psychology, and Life Science. As one of Scotland’s top-ranked universities, GCU currently has an enrollment volume of 13,000+ students and an international body of nearly 20%.

2. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Queen Margaret University is located in Musselburgh, Scotland. Founded in the year 1875, the Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy was eventually named after St. Margaret, the wife of King Malcolm III.

Currently home to more than 9,000 local and foreign students, this cheap university in Scotland has 2 departments, one of which is the School of Arts & Sciences. It was formed in the year 2010 after the merger of the Schools of the Social Sciences, Media & Communications, Enterprise & Management, Business, and Drama & Creative Industries.

The university also has a School of the Health Sciences, which offers programs in the fields of Dietetics, Nursing, Speech/Language Therapy, Biology, Occupational Therapy, Audiology, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiotherapy, and Psychotherapy.

3. Edinburgh Napier University

The Edinburgh Napier University, one of the cheapest universities in Scotland for international students, can trace its roots back to 1964 as the Napier Technical College. Named after the eminent mathematician-philosopher John Napier, it was granted university status in the year of 1992.

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The public university has branches in Sighthill, Craiglockhart, and Merchiston, and these different branches serve as campuses for its six schools of Applied Sciences, Arts & Creative Industries, Computing, Business, Health & Social Care, and Engineering & the Built Environment.

Edinburgh Napier University, which is ranked one of the best Scottish universities, is also heralded as one of the Best Young Universities in the World. Famous for its European teaching programs, the university currently has 10,300+ students, nearly 20% of which come from more than 140 countries across the globe.

4. Abertay University

Abertay University, formerly called the University of Abertay Dundee, is one of the 2 public institutions in the Dundee area. Its history goes back to the year 1888 when Sir David Baxter’s efforts funded the opening of the Dundee Institute of Technology.

The university, which has more than 7,000 local and foreign students, is famous for launching unique programs. To name a few, this institution offered the first Computer Game degree in the year 1997, and the Ethical Hacking course in the year 2006.

Apart from these programs, Abertay University also offers degrees in the fields of Design & Informatics, Applied Sciences, Business, and Law & Social Sciences. In addition to all the undergraduate programs, this college also has a dedicated Graduate School for Masters and Ph.D. programs.

5. Robert Gordon University

Robert Gordon University or RGU is a public educational institution located in Aberdeen, Scotland. Its history draws back to the 18th century, with the school being founded by the merchant and philanthropist Robert Gordon.

The RGU campus, which is situated in Garthdee, houses the university’s 11 departments, which are the Schools of Business, Applied Social Studies, Engineering, Computing Science & Digital Media, Art, Creative & Cultural Business, Health Science, Law, Nursing & Midwifery, Architecture & Built Environment, and Pharmacy & Life Science.

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This affordable university in Scotland has more than 9,500+ students, nearly 25% of that student body is composed of international students from various backgrounds.

6. University of Strathclyde

Located in Glasgow, Scotland, the University of Strathclyde was founded in the year 1796 as the Andersonian Institute, which is the region’s second-oldest university. At the same time, it is recognized as Scotland’s third-largest university with nearly 20,000 students, where 30% are composed of international students.

To date, the University of Strathclyde is also listed as the first technological institution in all of the UK. The university, which is housed in the John Anderson Campus, is home to four prestigious faculties. One is the Faculty of Engineering, which handles Architecture & Engineering courses.

Another is the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, which offers programs in Education, Government, Law, Humanities, Psychology, and Social Work. There’s also the Strathclyde Business School, which houses students majoring in Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, and Management.

Last but not least is the Faculty of Science, which oversees programs in Chemistry, Computer Science, Math, Physics, and Pharmacy. Due to these varying departments, many students can pick and choose which courses to take and when to take them.

7. University of Stirling

The University of Stirling, one of the cheapest universities in Scotland for international students, opened in 1967 in Central Belt Scotland. Housed in the Airthrey Castle estate, its location matches its royal charter status. In fact, this has given the university the reputation of being one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.

To date, the university is organized into several departments. This includes the four faculties of Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities, Natural Science, and Health Sciences & Sport. There’s also the Stirling Management School as well as the Stirling Graduate School.

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The university, which is one of the top-rated universities in UK, is also ranked as one of the best young institutions in the world. Currently, it has more than 9,500 students, 24% of which are international entrants.

I hope that this article on the cheapest universities in Scotland for international students was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Programs in Europe for International Students to know more information!


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