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Welcome to StudentCrowd's definitive guide to the top universities in Scotland! We've drawn up a comprehensive list of best universities across Scotland, complete with everything you need to know before choosing where to study.

How Are the Top Ten Worked Out?

We’ve calculated the data on over 4,200 verified reviews of Scottish universities left by students on StudentCrowd. Students reviewed their personal experience of university across 5 categories: campus and facilities, clubs and societies, students' union, careers service and WiFi. 

What is the Number One University in Scotland?

Whether you’re looking for a list of the top ten universities in Scotland, or you’re just interested in finding out which is the number one university in Scotland, we’ve got you covered. 

Our guide will tell you everything you need to know about the groundbreaking research institutions of the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews, as well as the bustling campuses of Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Aberdeen

Despite hundreds of reviews coming in over the past year, there hasn’t been much change at the top of our chart. Students continue to give 4 and 5-star ratings to the universities of St Andrews, Strathclyde, and Aberdeen - meaning you can be confident that these universities offer a great student experience, year after year.

Whether you're an international student seeking the top universities in Scotland or simply comparing Edinburgh and St Andrews, we've got you covered!

If you’re interested in finding out more about university rankings across the UK, check out our full UK University League Table.

Published: March 2024

Top 10 Best Universities in Scotland 2024

 #1 

University of St Andrews

“I Love St Andrews. There are so many amazing resources, range of classes and very good sense of community. While the town is small everyone is so lovely and always happy to help.”

Overall rating
Campus/Facilities
 
4.45/5

Known as Scotland’s oldest university, the University of St Andrews was founded in 1414. The university is home to many traditions which continue year after year, from the May Dip, to each student having an academic ‘parent’. Many know that Prince William attended university here, only adding to its strong reputation. 

There are just over 10,000 students enrolled at St Andrews, making it a smaller academic community when compared to other institutions around the country. Students here enjoy socialising through over 55 sports clubs and 140 student societies run by the university and students’ association - there really is something for everyone. Located on the east coast of Scotland, it is perfect for beach walks on days off or enjoying a quaint coffee shop.

 

 

 #2 
 

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University of Glasgow

“Completing my master's degree and currently pursuing my PhD at the University of Glasgow has been a transformative journey that has indelibly changed my life for the better. The university's rigorous academic environment, coupled with its vibrant community, has facilitated a rich learning experience that extends far beyond the confines of traditional education.”

Overall rating
 
 
4.42/5

With over 25,000 students, the University of Glasgow is spread across 3 campuses. It is one of two Russell Group universities in Scotland, making it a hub for research and academia. Students at the university can choose from over 300 clubs and societies. From gaming to wine and cheese, there is a group everyone can call home. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to explore a range of subjects before deciding on their specialism - from arts to science, this allows students to find their study niche. 

Glasgow itself is a thriving city, full of museums, live music and culture. With there being multiple universities in the city, it is perfect for meeting like-minded students from a range of backgrounds.

 

 

 #3 

University of Strathclyde

“University of Strathclyde is an excellent academic institution with a vibrant social scene. The faculty is knowledgeable and supportive, and the campus is beautiful and well-maintained. The university offers various resources and support services for students. Highly recommend for a well-rounded university experience.”

Overall rating
 
 
4.42/5

Situated in the heart of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde is a lively university with over 30,000 students. The university has a strong reputation for both engineering and business management, with a triple accredited business school. Strathclyde’s facilities include a sports centre, library and even a laundrette on campus! In reviews, students have praised the university staff as being friendly and welcoming. 

There are students here from over 140 countries worldwide, making it a fantastic place to meet people from a variety of cultures. For those looking for global opportunities, Strathclyde is a perfect choice, with a plethora of study abroad options and work placements available to all students.

 

 

 #4 

University of Aberdeen

“The University of Aberdeen provides an exceptional academic environment, fostering student success through a well-organized orientation week and supportive faculty. Teachers are knowledgeable and approachable, while classmates create a positive and inclusive atmosphere. Together, they ensure a rewarding university experience, setting students up for success in their academic and personal endeavors. And Scotland especially Aberdeen is generally a safe place, also the living cost here is affordable. Overall, I highly recommend it.”

Overall rating
Campus/Facilities
 
4.4/5

Combining ancient traditions with modern teaching and facilities, the University of Aberdeen’s medieval campus has helped shape the modern world and now sits at the centre of global energy transition. A short distance away, the Foresterhill campus provides preventive healthcare solutions that push the boundaries of healing research. Both campuses are located less than 3 miles from Aberdeen beach and the lively city centre. 

Aberdeen is located on the North East coast of Scotland, nearby to the Cairngorms National Park - ideal for both seaside and countryside loving students. There are over 400 different courses at the University of Aberdeen, with option to study joint honours, integrate a year abroad or work placements.

 

 

 #5 

Robert Gordon University

“RGU is a worthwhile option to anyone wishing to study in Aberdeen - with friendly staff and an amazing food stall (in the Ishbel Gordon Building) it's got the basics down. The staff are helpful and consistently ask for any feedback for the course making you incharge of your own learning. Plus, the student jumpers are so comfy you could sleep in them.”

Overall rating
 
 
4.29/5

Jumping up the league table from #8 to #5 this year, Robert Gordon University is clearly loved by its students! Commonly known as RGU, the university prides itself on developing highly sought after graduates. Students are taught industry standard skills across all courses, meaning that when they finish university, they are employable. 

RGU has 11 academic schools based just outside Aberdeen city centre on its riverside campus. From its excellent careers service to RGU union, students here receive support for all of their needs. There are a variety of sports clubs at RGU, including climbing, golf, table tennis and weightlifting. Or if sports aren’t for you, there are many societies such as Kpop, drama, faith groups and subject specific networks.

 

 

 #6 

University of Edinburgh

“The University of Edinburgh stands as a beacon of excellence in higher education, renowned for its rich history, cutting-edge research, and vibrant student community. Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh, a city celebrated for its culture and beauty, the university offers a stimulating environment for learning and discovery. With a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs, students have the opportunity to study under the guidance of world-leading academics in diverse fields.”

Overall rating
 
 
4.28/5

With a strong reputation for academic excellence and world-leading research, the University of Edinburgh is a fantastic institution located in Scotland’s capital city. Being situated in one of the most picturesque cities in the UK, the University of Edinburgh delivers an excellent student experience, both within teaching and outside of university term time. 

Students here have access to academic support and study skills workshops throughout their degree, ensuring all are confident in their assignments and work. As you’d expect from a world-class university, Edinburgh has a strong track record in graduate employability, with 96% of graduates finding employment or postgraduate study within 6 months of graduation. To help with this, the careers service advertises over 9,000 vacancies a year.

 

 

 #7 

University of Dundee

“Amazing staff, superb facilities by DUSA. Dundee University is a happening place with a lots of offers. ISE specially caught my attention because of its various sports facilities. And, Career services team members make me feel supported as an international student.”

Overall rating
Campus/Facilities
 
4.17/5

Founded in 1881 and established in 1967, the University of Dundee is on the east coast of Scotland situated next to the estuary of the River Tay. The university campus is on the edge of Dundee city centre, with support services, academic departments, the students’ association, libraries and accommodation all together in one hub. In reviews, students have mentioned how walkable Dundee and the university campus are - perfect for hopping between lectures or meeting friends in the city centre. 

Notable alumni at the university include the founder of Forbes Magazine, B.C.Forbes and Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, the pioneer of radar technology. As an added bonus, students get free access to the Botanical Gardens!

 

 

 #8 

Glasgow Caledonian University

“GCU has very big students society that shares a lot of communities and traditions. The learning experience is much appreciated and the staff are very supportive. I think I had done the right choice by selecting to study at GCU.”

Overall rating
 
 
4.1/5

Offering more than 100 degree courses designed to push students to think creatively and prepare them for working in industry, Glasgow Caledonian University is a supportive city-centre institution. Many courses have accreditation from professional bodies, with opportunities for work placements or studying for a year abroad. GCU, as it is also known, is one of the largest providers of NHS healthcare graduates in Scotland, particularly in nursing. 

Over 22,000 students from nearly 120 countries study at GCU - contributing to Glasgow’s high student population. Student life in Glasgow is exciting, with thousands of students from a variety of backgrounds all living in one city. In reviews, students talk about the excellent city-centre location of the campus.

 

 

 #9 

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 

“Top-class faculty, wonderful facilities, and an environment that is truly about companionship and camaraderie, and not about individual competition. I can't think of a better place in the entire world for me to receive my education, and I wish I didn't have to leave :)”

Overall rating
 
 
4.08/5

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a creative hub for performing arts courses - offering everything from film to drama to dance and music. Students benefit from being surrounded by like minded performers and creatives - ideal for collaborating, starting projects or just meeting amazing friends. Many of the teaching staff at RCS combine their role with professional industry work, meaning they always have knowledge of industry practice and standards. 

This is implemented into the courses, so students leave RCS highly skilled in their performance specialism. The university is located in Glasgow city centre, spread across two buildings with almost 100 practice rooms and rehearsal studios available for students to use for their work.

 

 

 #10 

Heriot-Watt University

“My experience at Heriot-Watt has great so far. I love the Campus and the staff is really helpful! It is amazing how many sociaties, sports Clubs and Events it has!”

Overall rating
 
 
4.03/5

With campuses in Edinburgh, Orkney and the Scottish borders, Heriot-Watt University is dotted around Scotland, but also with some campuses worldwide. Due to its multicultural staff and student body, Heriot-Watt University is excellent at preparing students for global careers and employability. 

The university is particularly renowned for its research in business, design, science and technology. Students at Heriot-Watt also have access to the students’ union, including the many clubs, societies and events on offer. Groups include robotics, brewing, debating, fashion, languages and jazz! In reviews, students share how professional and helpful the teaching staff are, as well as praising the campus culture and facilities. It’s no wonder Heriot-Watt has made it into the top 10!

 

 

 

* We only included universities with 10 or more reviews.

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