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The University of Edinburgh
Founded in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is the largest university in the city. It's an all-rounder, offering a wide range of subjects and is known for its research and facilities. As well as a large number of student societies and sports clubs to take part in and the world's oldest purpose-built student union, the city of Edinburgh itself provides plenty of opportunities for partying, sight seeing and part-time working.
QS World Ranking (2022)
Times Higher Education (2021)
Complete University Guide (2022)
Guardian League Table (2021)
Green Credentials (2019)
Young vs Mature
Male vs Female
The University is spread over the city, however the main areas include:
- is deeply embedded within the city, encompassing many of the buildings of the historic Old Town. All subjects are taught across this area for the first and second years at undergraduate level. The area also encompasses a number buildings including Students' Unions, sports centres, Main Library and graduating hall.
- is located a couple of miles south of the city centre where students are taught Science and Engineering at a higher undergraduate level.
- located a couple of miles south of the city centre and comprises of the Medical School and the University Hospital.
Edinburgh's foundation lies in a College of Liberal Arts and it was officially established after receiving its Royal Charter in 1583. It was created as Britain's first civic university, and by the 18th century it was considered a leading intellectual centre of the Age of Enlightenment, helping the city adopt the nickname the "Athens of the North". It is still regarded as one of the most prestigious institutions in the world.
The University's Department of English Literature is the oldest in the world, while English Literature itself, was largely a Edinburgian creation; it is, therefore, fitting for Edinburgh to be the first UNESCO City of Literature.
The University's medical degree is also highly regarded; with the University's revolutionary marriage of the independent disciplines of anatomy, surgery, and bedside medicine the field was transformed. For example, it was the first to discover and employ antiseptic, and the anesthetic chloroform, which meant that surgeries did not only have to be undertaken in emergency situations. American, Canadian and Australian medical school of the 19th century are modelled on the University of Edinburgh; perhaps, in turn, all Western medical schools can be said to be modelled on the University.
Edinburgh can also be said to be the home of the foundation of modern Economics (via Adam Smith), the foundation of modern Sociology (via Adam Ferguson), the foundation of modern Geology (via James Hutton), and the foundation of modern biology (via Charles Darwin).
Recent innovation has included Dolly the Sheep, the first cloned mammal, apparently "The World's Most Famous Sheep". Professor Higgs developed theory of the particle that bears his name when he was a researcher at the University in the early 1960s, and is currently a Emeritus Professor at Edinburgh.
In the 2011-2012 Edinburgh was awarded the highest level of investment for any Scottish university, of £250 million, beating its own previous record.
As with other Scottish universities, a typical degree is undertaken in four years, with the first two years covering minor and major subjects and the last two focusing on the student's major course. In certain subjects students can enter straight into second year. If this is the case, it is stated in the prospectus as 'Second year entry available' with slightly higher grades needed than entry into first year.
Colleges & Schools
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
- Business School
- School of Divinity
- School of Economics
- Edinburgh College of Art
- The Moray House School of Education
- School of Health in Social Science
- School of History, Classics & Archaeology
- School of Law
- School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
- School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Science
- School of Social & Political Science
College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine
- School of Biomedical Sciences
- School of Clinical Sciences & Community Health
- School of Molecular & Clinical Medicine
- Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
College of Science & Engineering
- School of Biological Sciences
- School of Chemistry
- School of Engineering
- School of Geosciences
- School of Informatics
- School of Mathematics
- School of Physics & Astronomy
In the 2014 REF Edinburgh was ranked as Scotland's top research institution. 83% of the University's research activity was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. Edinburgh ranked top in the UK for research in Sociology, Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, and in Computer Science and Informatics. It also came top in the UK in Agricultre, Veterinary and Food Science and General Engineering, which were joing submissions with Scotland's Rural College and Heriot-Watt University respectively.
Their scientists created Dolly the Sheep, the first mammal to be genetically cloned from an adult cell; they developed the first genetically engineered hepatitis B vaccine; they pioneered the first automated industrial assembly robot; and devised technology used in today’s smart phones. They are currently working towards many more historic firsts, including finding new treatments for diseases such as multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and breast cancer, developing solutions to tackle climate change and understanding the ageing process.
International & Industry Opportunities
Edinburgh has approximately 170 international exchange places in the Americas, Asia and Australasia, and more than 350 exchange places in countries across Europe via Erasmus. Exchange partners include prestigious Ivy League institutions, such as the University of Pennsylvania and other world-class establishments including McGill University, CalTech and the University of Hong Kong.
There are also opportunities for a Year in Industry depending on the course you choose.
UK Students (2021/2022)
Note: Scottish and European Students should check with the Student Awards Agency For Scotland (SAAS).
The Edinburgh Undergraduate Global Scholarship provides a minimum of 15 scholarships a year worth £2,000.
The University of Edinburgh Bursary support of between £500 to £7,000 to those living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with a family income of less than £42,600 per annum. This can contribute towards either your tuition fees or your general living costs while at the university.
There are 30 libraries within the university, with approximately 3 million printed volumes and 600,000 books and 20,000 electronic journals. Even if you can't find what you are looking for the National Library of Scotland, the country's largest library, is just down the road.
Edinburgh employs the VLE WebCT. In 20 computer labs, many of which are 24 hours, there are over 1,400 computers available.
Sporting facilities at the University of Edinburgh include a gym, sports centre, playing fields, a medical centre and an outdoor centre.
The sports centre includes dance studios, squash courts, climbing walls, archery and rifle ranges, boxing and martial arts studios, while the gym includes s cardiovascular suit, body circuit gym, free weights gym, fixed weight gym, body conditioning gym and a swimming pool. There are also sports halls for basketball, volleyball, netball, football, badminton, table tennis. Classes are available at the gym, which include spinning, zumba, circuits, yoga, boxacise as well as personal training.
The playing fields comprise of floodlit water-based artificial pitches, with over a dozen pitches for football, rugby and lacrosse, a 10 metre synthetic training track, the Laurie Liddell Clubhouse, and provisions for hockey, shinty, cricket, archery, tennis and running. These facilities attract international teams including most recently the international rugby teams of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
The medical centre provides treatment and advice including sports massages, podiatry and physiotherapy.
The outdoor centre, looking out across Loch Tay, is located eighty miles from Edinburgh, and provides specialist and general weekends away for the University of Edinburgh clubs and societies. Activities on offer include sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, mountaineering, mountain biking, cross country skiing and orienteering, while also providing meals and accommodation. Along with sporting activities, they may also organise quiz nights, ceilidhs, country dances and games.
Edinburgh University is home to the oldest purpose-built student union in the world, completed in 1887. Nowadays the university houses five student union venues across the city, with a multitude of bars, cafes, theatres, clubs and shops.
The university is also home to the oldest student newspaper, The Student, founded by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1887. The Student won the title of Best Student Newspaper in Scotland, awarded by the Herald Student Press Awards in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. The newspaper has been the first to break a number of national and international stories, including highlighting Christian Union’s Pure course, which suggested that homosexuality was a ‘curable condition’ and was being taught in many universities throughout the UK (it became a national press fiasco), and the admission by JK Rowling in an interview that in her mid-20s she contemplated suicide and had overcome depression through counselling, which ended up in newspapers including USA Today and the Times, with full extracts from the original interview being published.
The university is very active in sport, consistently being placed within the top ten universities. It caters to those who are looking for traditional and less traditional sports, as well as students who are less competitive. During the 2012 Summer Olympics, Edinburgh alumni secured five medals, three gold and two silver, making it the most successful university.
Politics and activism within the university is high, with many campaigning organisations available. These societies include Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery, Article 25 Edinburgh, Bollocks to Poverty Edinburgh, Conservative & Unionist Association, Feminist, Global Health, iCare, Labour Club, Liberal Youth, Friends of MSF, Medical Access Edinburgh, Nightline, People & Planet, Save the Children, Scottish Nationalist Association, SKIP Edinburgh, Student Stop AIDS, Students for Justice in Palestine, Teddy Bear Hospital Edinburgh, UNICEF, Water of Life, Water Aid Edinburgh and Young Greens.
As a Scottish ancient university, the university is primarily headed by a Chancellor, however the interests of the student body are headed by a Rector, a position voted for by the students and staff every three years, and who is considered by many students to be integral to their ability to shape the Edinburgh’s agenda. Previous Rectors have included Prime Ministers Gordon Brown, Winston Churchill, Stanley Baldwin and David Lloyd George, and Scottish biologist Sir Alexander Fleming.
The University Chaplaincy offers personal support to students. They offer numerous resources to those religious, including a chapel, a number of Muslim prayer rooms, contemplation rooms and a spirituality and multi-faith resource centre/library. They run a number of events throughout the year including scriptural reasoning and the multifaithCOLLOQUY.
Health & Wellbeing
The university has a number of facilities including the Advice Place, where you can talk to someone confidentially on issues such as health, disability, finance, accommodation, academic matters and legal matters and the Disability Office, which helps make any arrangements or adjustments you might require.
The university boasts a health centre with comprehensive medical, as well as physiotherapy, psychiatry and nursing services. Also available is a free counselling service, which also offers self-help workshops and literature.
The Careers Service hold offices in the main campus and at King’s Buildings. The service provides information about various careers areas, how to find work in the UK and abroad, information about further study and information on how to apply for jobs, and prepare for interviews and assessment. Through the careers website, you can also gain further information and undertake mock aptitude tests.
The university holds a number of career fairs throughout the year. It also holds a number of talks throughout the year with topics including how to launch your career with social media, getting into the Civil Service Fast Stream, thinking of doing a PhD, and how to succeed with applications.
Launch. Ed Workshops help students learn about the practical aspects of setting up a business, with information in finding the best business structure, managing business records, legal aspects, and tax, national insurance and VAT.
Catering and self-catered
Catered (per week) (2021/2022)
Self-catered (per week) (2020/2021)
Catering: Pollock Halls, 2km southeast of the city, contains rooms for around 2,000 first-year students with breakfast and dinner on the weekdays and brunch and dinner on the weekends.
Self-catering: There are approximately 2,000 rooms for freshers around the city.
Prices include all utilities, data and telephone facilities, regular cleaning and personal contents insurance.
English Language Requirements
|IELTS Academic module||Humanities & Social Sciences, Science & Engineering||Overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (IELTS academic module). For Nursing, overall 7.0 with 7.0 in each component.|
|Medicine & Veterinary Medicine||7.0 with 7.0 in each component|
|TOEFL Internet-based test||Humanities & Social Sciences||92 or above with minimum 23 in reading, listening, speaking and writing|
|Science & Engineering||92 or above with minimum 20 in writing and listening, 20 in reading, and 20 in speaking|
|Medicine & Veterinary Medicine||100 or above with minimum 21 in writing and listening, 22 in reading, and 23 in speaking|
|IGCSE||Humanities & Social Sciences, Science & Engineering||C|
|Medicine & Veterinary Medicine||B|
|Cambridge ESOL (CAE)||Humanities & Social Sciences, Science & Engineering, Veterinary Medicine & Medicine||Grade A with a minimum grade of : 'weak' in listening, speaking, reading, writing|
|Cambridge ESOL (CPE)||Humanities & Social Sciences, Science & Engineering||Grade C with a minimum grade of : 'weak' in listening, speaking, reading, writing|
|Medicine & Veterinary Medicine||Grade B with a minimum grade of : 'weak' in listening, speaking, reading, writing.|
The university houses an International Office that is open from 9am-5pm on Monday to Friday all year round and offers students information on immigration and other technical aspects of their stay. In addition, the International Student Centre organises events throughout the year for International Students such as weekly subsidized trips around Scotland and the UK, movie and pub nights and weekly themed events representing different countries.