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The basics
THE UK: Destination Guides

The ultimate student guide to Glasgow

Glasgow has developed a reputation as a diverse, dynamic, and exciting student city. From friendly locals to green spaces, the city makes an ideal home. We investigate what this city is all about.

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As Scotland’s biggest city and famed for its music and culture scene, Glasgow is an ideal destination for students wanting to experience a little bit of everything in their free time. Voted by Time Out as the friendliest city in the world (2022) and home to over 20,000 international students every year, if you are hoping to live in the UK, Glasgow is a great fit.


What is Glasgow like?

Location and demographics

Positioned on the banks of the River Clyde in the middle of Scotland, Glasgow is only 20 miles from the stunning wilderness of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and 50 miles west of Edinburgh. Despite its northerly location, Glasgow is known for its relatively mild climate.


With a population of almost 640,000, Glasgow is the fourth largest city in the UK and has the biggest economy in Scotland. It is also the most ethnically diverse location in Scotland and a real hub of culture.


Culture and history

People have lived in Glasgow for thousands of years, but its development as one of the UK’s top trading ports led to its expansion into the city known and loved today. The local Glaswegian people are proud of their heritage, and as such, you’ll find plenty of traditional Scottish experiences to try in the city.


As a centre of culture, Glasgow is full of museums and art galleries, but if you prefer a different atmosphere, why not explore the city centre mural trail to take in the famous street art? Or for a quiet place to study, head to the Mitchell Library – one of the largest public libraries in Europe.


There have been many notable Glaswegians over the years, from inventor John Logie Baird to tennis player Andy Murray and singer Lewis Capaldi. As you can tell, living in Glasgow, you’ll find yourself in good company.


Read more about why the UK could be the right study destination for you.



What universities are in Glasgow?

The University of Glasgow is ranked in 81st place in the QS World University Rankings 2023. This university is a member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group and has several notable alumni, including Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Hollywood actor Gerard Butler and author John Buchan, as well as seven Nobel laureates.


Glasgow is also home to two other universities:



Remember that you can discover more about UK universities by reviewing the Complete University Guide League Tables 2023.


What does Glasgow offer students?

What is the transport in Glasgow like?

As a compact city, you’ll find it easy to get around on foot or bike in Glasgow, but of course, as a student, there will almost always be times when you need to make use of public transport.


Glasgow has a subway, with trains running as often as every four minutes. You can buy individual tickets, or if you travel frequently, consider a Subway Smartcard to get better prices.


Buses also run regularly around the city and are a great option for a student budget. If you are under 22 years old, you can apply for an NEC card to entitle you to free bus travel around Scotland. Older full-time students are also entitled to discounts on your ticket.


For longer-distance travel, Glasgow has two train stations, well-connected to Scotland and the rest of the UK. The city also has an airport with direct flights to over 100 destinations worldwide.


Are you interested in exploring some of the best student cities in the UK?


What about entertainment and food?

From traditional pub food to high-end restaurants, Glasgow has it all. Whether you want a hearty Scottish meal or a light lunch, a coffee in a boutique café or a visit to a whisky bar or distillery (it is Scotland’s national drink), you won’t be disappointed.


Famed for its evening entertainment, studying in Glasgow will leave you spoiled for choice of festivals, theatre, and comedy options in your spare time. Plus, you’ll be living in a UNESCO city of music. This means you’ll have access to the best of the best in live music. Whether you want to experience small local bands or huge international acts, Glasgow has it all.



What is the accommodation like in Glasgow?

Studying in the UK, you’ll find that most people typically choose to live in university-owned accommodation. These include halls of residence or a shared house for their first year, before moving out (often with friends) to live in a privately rented house or flat for their later years of study.


You’ll have choices about the type of room you want but depending on your facilities and where you are in the city, accommodation owned by the University of Glasgow costs between GBP 105 and GBP 195 per week.



Glasgow also has plenty of options available for students to rent privately. You can choose to live alone or in a house or flat share. Another option is private halls of residence, though these are often expensive. Be sure to research your options carefully before making any decisions.


Are there public services for students in Glasgow?

With so many international students in the city, universities in Glasgow are well equipped to assist their overseas students. Speak to your university’s international office, and you’ll soon have answers to any questions, from visa queries to settling into the city lifestyle.


Find out what you need to apply for a student visa in the UK.


How much does it cost to live in Glasgow?

The general cost of Glasgow

Time Out (2022) named Glasgow as the 2nd most affordable city in the world, meaning you can make the most of your finances in this vibrant study destination. Of course, as with any city, you’ll need a budget to manage your finances.


Do you want information on the cost of living in the UK?



Student budget

As an international student living in Glasgow, you can expect to pay a few costs upfront before your studies begin. For example, your visa and travel fees. But once these are paid, the University of Glasgow suggests a weekly student budget between GBP 190 and GBP 270.


Find out more about the cost of tuition fees in the UK.


What are Glasgow’s main attractions?

Glasgow is alive day and night, meaning students will always find plenty of things to do. Pass your time exploring one of the city’s 90 green spaces, and you might see a Highland Cow or two. Or you can walk along Glasgow’s beautiful streets and take in the art-nouveau architecture. There's plenty to enjoy, with extensive high street shopping options, small independent stores and even weekend markets.


Once known as the European Capital of Sport, Glasgow is home to some major international sporting arenas as well as plenty of smaller venues to finesse your own skills. Home to two top football (soccer) teams, Celtic and Rangers, the city also has a professional rugby union team.


Packed with world-class culture, it’s worth visiting one of Glasgow’s fascinating museums and galleries. Plus, many of them are free. Enjoy art in all its forms around the city, from paintings to theatre to film to dance to music.


In such a music-oriented city it would be hard not to find a venue or vibe to suit your scene. From free gigs in bars to sell-out international tours, Glasgow has it all. Watch a live act at the vast OVO Hydro or take a trip to the iconic Barrowlands. You can also party in a nightclub or hit the dancefloor in a traditional Scottish ceilidh.


Don’t forget that you can find your ideal course in Edinburgh or the UK using our course matcher tool.

Study in the UK


'Study in the UK' eBook

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