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Abertay is a small, friendly and supportive university in the heart of Dundee. It excels in vocational teaching, and is an important player in the creative industries having been the first University to offer a “computer games” degree in 1997 and has since been regarded as a world-leading institution in video games design.
Dundee, beautifully located on the banks of the River Tay, combines all the shopping, cultural and entertainment benefits of city living but with easy access to wide open spaces in the surrounding countryside, coupled with excellent road, rail and air links to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, London and other major centres across the UK. The city is ranked as cheapest Scottish university city by Accommodation For Students (AFS).
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Abertay is a small university, on a compact city campus within the heart of Dundee offering an “Abertay family” feel. Most classes are small, and teachers are accessible. The award-winning Bernard King Library and the Student Centre, with its social and cultural facilities, are right next to the teaching buildings.
Abertay is a small university that receives the majority of its funding for teaching rather than research, and in this way it has a particular focus on preparing students for the world of work. This is done through their unique approach to studio-based learning, in which students tackle real world challenges alongside experienced practitioners and researchers.
Abertay began as the Dundee Technical Institute in 1888 by Sir David Baxter, 1st Baronet of Kilmaron for young mechanics and craftsmen to better themselves. Classes were held on a small site purchased from the University of Dundee and subjects were primarily scientific and technical although applied art was also taught, and jute spinning and textile design were soon added to the portfolio.
In 1906 the Institute moved to a new site to accommodate a growing student population with the vocational nature of the Institute meaning that its classes were highly relevant during the First World War.
By 1951 the Institute was teaching courses that led to examinations for the external degrees of the University of London in pharmacy, mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering.
In 1994 Abertay was granted the title of the University of Abertay Dundee (since 2014 it has been promoting itself as Abertay University) and the ability to award its own degrees. Abertay was the first university in the world to offer a "computer games" degree in 1997 and was the UK's first University to be recognised as a Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education, and is associated with a business support programme for computer game startups.
In line with the Scottish system, undergraduate degrees are four years with the first year being of a similar standard to the second year of A-levels. It is possible on some courses to enter straight into the second year if you’ve the required entry grades (higher A-level results and Scottish highers) and you can apply in this way via UCAS.
- The School of Design and Informatics
- The School of Science, Engineering and Technology
- The Dundee Business School
- The School of Social and Health Sciences
- Graduate School.
Abertay’s REF 2014 score rose by almost 18% compared with the previous national Research Assessment Exercise in 2008 (RAE2008) and they scored some significant successes in individual subjects with increases in the proportion of research judged to be ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’.
International & Industrial Opportunities
Students studying Biomedical Science, Civil Engineering, or Food programmes can undertake a semester of work placement experience as part of their studies, and students on other programmes may undertake a work placement in addition to their studies to prepare for their careers. Students on Sports degrees also undertake placements during their course, allowing them to put the skills and knowledge from their course into practice.
In addition to work placements, many students choose an opportunity to undertake a period of study abroad, allowing them to experience life and study in another country in Europe, North America, or further afield.
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Rest of UK Students
Note: Scottish and European Students should check with the Student Awards Agency For Scotland (SAAS).
Abertay’s multi-award winning Bernard King Library provides long-opening hours and a mix of learning environments to meet different student needs, be it a quiet, individual study space or a group study room equipped with a plasma screen for team working, discussion or practising a presentation. Almost 50% of the 503 study spaces have a networked PC to provide the flexibility to work online alongside traditional print resources and the University’s wireless network gives students the option of using their own mobile device.
The library is well stocked with over 126,000 books but their extensive range of online resources extends the library beyond the campus, allowing students to work from any location across the world. Online access to a vast range of information, including 32,000 electronic journal titles and 175,000+ e-books – is available to all our students whether they are on or off campus. All students are offered formal or informal information skills training at various points during their studies.
Every course incorporates support to help you to develop how you approach different aspects of degree-level work, such as thinking critically, researching, writing, working in groups and giving presentations. This support is delivered not only by course tutors but also by the Academic Librarians, IT Trainers, English for Study tutors and the Student Academic Support advisors.
Help is also offered on an individual basis out of class. The Academic Librarians can meet with you to help you use online research tools more effectively. The Student Academic Support advisors can meet with you to guide you through writing coursework, from understanding your tutor’s instructions through to checking your work before you submit it.
Abertay provide students with secure access, both on and off-campus, to coursework, electronic teaching and learning materials, exam results, timetables and a variety of other information and services, much of which is personalised. University staff are continually developing innovative ways of using technology to support teaching and learning through their virtual learning environment, including e-portfolios, podcasts, streaming media and online discussion groups and quizzes. In their physical classrooms and laboratories, a number of classrooms now offer interactive technology to improve the overall learning experience for students and staff. In addition, the University's wireless network is available throughout the campus, enabling mobile access to resources from a wide range of personal devices.
Game technology and game application development is taught in its very own lab consisting of two main teaching areas, an octagonal pod area housing 40 computer stations, and an advanced development areas housing 50 computer stations used for the high-end game and graphics development.
Abertay hosts the UK's first ever university Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education and is recognised as a world leader in computer games and interactive media courses. It has been at the forefront of games education and research for over a decade. The Centre for Excellence forms the core of the new Institute for Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abertay.
Abertay's state-of-the-art Hack Lab has been created especially for security work. Every PC in the Hack Lab is isolated from the main university network, allowing their Ethical Hacking students to experiment with all aspects of ethical hacking in a safe, controlled environment.
The newly refurbished University gym, situated in the Graham Building, has a wide variety of cardiovascular training machines together with free weights and resistance machines. There is also a lifting platform for those who want to undertake Olympic lifts. Next door to the gym is a studio where a variety of exercise classes are undertaken. In addition to the facilities at the University, Dundee also has some excellent sports facilities as it is home to two professional football clubs, along with top level rugby, swimming and hockey clubs. Students can gain discounted access to many of the facilities across Dundee.
A range of exercise classes are provided for students throughout the year and include circuits, indoor spin, zumba and aerobics. Another way to get involved in sport is through sports clubs, with over 20 clubs run by the Sports Union which range from traditional team sports such as football and rugby through to individual sports such as snowsports and boxing.
The University is committed to helping talented athletes achieve their full potential through the Elite Athlete Development Programme. The purpose of the programme is to enable students to perform at the highest level possible by providing them with the skills and expertise necessary to successfully incorporate a heavy load of training and competition whilst undertaking their academic programme. Through the programme, athletes get access to a range of support services such as sport science, strength and conditioning, nutrition and psychology, along with some financial support.
Religion & Spirituality
Most Christian denominations and many faiths including Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs are represented in Dundee and Abertay’s Chaplaincy team seeks to maintain links between the University and local churches and faith centres. The Chaplaincy team is available for spiritual and pastoral support, whilst the Chaplaincy is also a place for meeting, friendship and a social centre where students can meet informally and relax.
The Muslim Prayer Rooms are maintained by the Abertay Islamic Society.
Health & Wellbeing
Abertay’s Disabled Student Advisor, working with other dyslexia advisors/tutors, can advise students on special exam and assessment arrangements, additional funding for equipment and support, and other personal support requirements. The Advisor will also liaise with the academic schools to arrange the most appropriate means of support throughout your time at University.
If you are not happy with aspects of your life whilst at University, counselling can support the possibility of change. The counsellor’s approach is to enable and support you to find your own directions in life that suit you as a unique human being. The counselling service is confidential.
To support the orientation process there is a peer mentoring scheme (P2P) to welcome and help settle new students into University life. Coming to university can be an exciting time but can also be daunting as there are lots of new experiences to adjust to. The best people to support new students as they settle into university life are often other students who have faced similar challenges themselves.
Abertay’s Career Development Centre advertises local part-time job vacancies to help you find work while you are studying. The Centre can also provide advice and guidance with writing CVs and job applications and practicing for interviews. The Centre also organises employer visits and presentations, undertakes psychometric testing and has an information library.
The University has developed an employability award, a student development programme that recognises the skills you are developing in all aspects of your University life. The Award will help you demonstrate these skills to potential employers, and will give you a record of your work-related learning that you can use as evidence in future applications.
The volunteering showcase takes place every September and runs over 3 days. It's provides students with an opportunity to meet face-to-face with organisations that actively recruit volunteers.
The University also runs a career mentoring programme, which is designed to help students improve their personal and professional skills and prepare them for the world of work. Students are matched with their mentors based on their course and career interests. The programme runs for six months from November through to May.
Abertay’s Students’ Union known as the Student Centre is the cultural and social hub of the city campus and is a safe, stimulating environment in which to eat, relax and socialise with friends and meet with lecturers. It boasts a wealth of facilities including: The Campus Shop offering a wide selection of sandwiches, snacks, drinks, newspapers, stationery, cosmetics and Abertay branded clothing; Aroma, the main coffee shop with a with range of hot and cold drinks and food, where you can look over the library and pedestrianised area during a break between classes; The Bar One, which plays host to a weekly quiz night, karaoke night and is the home to many society meetings; The Common Room is equipped with free access PCs, new and retro consoles, and a massive sound system, it's the perfect place to chill out and spend time with friends; There are also vending machines located throughout the University with snacks and drinks to keep you going.
The Abertay Students Association represents students both within the University and at the national level. Howver, it is a separate organisation from the Univeristy. It supports a variety of student societies, but if students cannot find the society that interest them, they could form their own society. The Assocition currently supports 27 societies.
Self-catered (per week)
Abertay has approximately 700 bedspaces on offer to students in self-catering accommodation, which are typically arranged in flats of rooms grouped together on separate sites. Students have their own study bedroom and typically share a communal living/ kitchen area and shower/toilet area (except en-suite rooms, where a shower-room is contained within the bedroom). Approximately half of all rooms available are en-suite with all rooms having access to the University’s internet service.
All halls are easy access, either by foot or public transport, to the main campus, and some offer free parking.
English Language Requirements
All courses ask for no less than 6.0 with no individual test scores lower than 5.5 in IELTS or equivalent. Some degrees have higher entry requirements and please check with the individual course for more information.
The University welcomes students from all over the world. The University has over 800 students from over 60 countries including China, India, Pakistan, South-east Asia, Africa, North and South America and the European Union.
The University has an International Student Advisor who provides advice and information on a variety of issues pertinent to International and EU students. Advice includes information on immigration, visas and entry clearance, as well as general welfare issues. The advisor coordinates the University’s Orientation programme that includes information on living and working in Scotland, study skills, English for academic purposes and an opportunity to meet new friends. The Advisor also works with International students to provide a wide range of social activities ranging from trips to place of interest, film nights, and social events.
Comprehensive English language support is available to help you maximise your academic performance and feel at home in an English-speaking community whilst the English for Study tutors provide language support seminars during term time for international students who want to improve their written and spoken language skills for academic purposes.