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University of St Andrews

UK UK

9662 Views

THE World Ranking: 201

Overview

Overview

St Andrews is one of the western world’s oldest universities. Founded in 1413, it’s also Scotland’s first university. St Andrews is famous for its beautiful setting on the east coast, and for its high-quality standards of education. It’s also where the UK’s Prince William first met his now wife (Catherine, the Princess of Wales).

The halls of St Andrews are full of history. For centuries, this institution has been delivering a great learning experience to students. Tutors and lecturers are highly qualified, and often recognised externally and internally for their contributions to academia/teaching.

There are over 300 programmes on offer at the university, and all courses benefit from a wide, diverse range of useful resources. The library offers a huge amount of print materials and digital materials to students, including the St Andrews Special Collection. Combined with the talent and experience of the academic staff, this means students are always fully supported in their studies and able to access up-to-date information and knowledge.

St Andrews ranks in the global top 20 in the subjects of theology, divinity, religious studies, and philosophy. Just under 5,000 international students are currently enrolled, forming almost half of the student population. This is a place where the most intelligent minds come together from across the world to learn, develop and grow, preparing for professional success each step of the way.

St Andrews was named after the small town where it’s located in the county of Fife. Students have lots of chances in this welcoming town to make new friends and experience different cultures in a safe environment where natural landscapes are never too far away.

Despite the rural location, St Andrews’ research centres and teaching facilities are excellent, and there’s always something to see or do on campus. The Students’ Association offers valuable services to domestic and international students, including application support and academic assistance, and there are lots of student societies and sports clubs to get involved in. Every person can be heard and find their place at St Andrews.

The job and career prospects for graduates from this well-respected Scottish university are impressive. Students leave fully prepared to get good jobs after graduation, and they tend to do this very quickly, finding relevant full-time employment within six months. St Andrews is a truly global university that invites all students to enjoy its long history and become a part of its bright future.

Discover more about St Andrews:

Teaching quality

Entry requirements

Scholarships & funding

University structure

Facilities

Student support

Graduate outcomes

Teaching Quality

St Andrews is consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the UK and the wider world. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 placed it 201st globally, a position that rose considerably to 96th for 2023. The Guardian University Guide 2022 rated St Andrews as the best in the UK for quality. The professors and academics at St Andrews have made sure that many of its courses appear in the national top ten in their specific subject areas.

The institution’s impressive general and subject-specific rankings are proof of how high the standards are at St Andrews. High-quality teaching isn’t the exception, it’s the rule. Teachers are, in fact, regularly being recognised by national awards bodies for their quality teaching. Recently, many professors were recognised for their high levels of student support, including Dr Alice Konig from the School of Classics and Dr Milinda Banerjee from the School of History.

The most popular subjects to study at St Andrews include earth and marine sciences, economics, history, creative writing, and physics. The education experience is focused on knowledge and truth. Tutors combine practical skills with expert theory to create interactive, memorable moments of learning. The university also hopes to involve students in research projects that improve society.  

Academic support is available to domestic and international students across all schools and departments. When a student needs advice, they are given advice. From the learning materials to the dedicated lecturers, the St Andrews learning experience is a supported one.

Entry Requirements

Each course at St Andrews has its own unique entry requirements. General university entry requirements for all applicants include education to the right level, and for international applicants, the ability to speak English to a certain level. All students should fully understand the university requirements (general and specifically relevant to them) before they apply.

To give some examples, international applicants for a bachelor’s in international relations need to score 36–38 on their IB test/the equivalent in their home country. International applicants for a master’s in geochemistry need relevant university qualifications, usually at a minimum a bachelor’s in a related subject with a 2:1 grade/the equivalent in their home country.

The university offers several non-degree university courses, including summer schools for students who aren’t applying to university yet. Courses include English language programmes and academic English qualifications. All international students will have to prove their level of English in their applications and may need to consider one of these courses if they don’t meet the requested standards.

English Score Required

St Andrews welcomes students from over 130 different countries. Since English is the language of teaching and assessment at the university, all applicants have to prove their English language skills when applying. Different levels of study (pre-degree, undergraduate and postgraduate) will require different scores and evidence.

Any pre-degree applicant who needs a student visa must provide scores from a recognised SELT (Secure English Language Test). This includes scores in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) format. The specific scores requested for admission will change between subject areas and programmes (including the international foundation programmes and the ten-week or four-week Academic English pre-sessional courses).

For undergraduates and postgraduates, the English score required will again be different for different subject areas. As an example, applicants to the Faculty of Medicine at the undergraduate level are asked to present evidence of a minimum IELTS overall band score of 7/the equivalent for their chosen and accepted testing method. Postgraduate creative writing students will also need a minimum IELTS overall band score of 7 (with at least a 7 in the writing band and at least a 6 in the other bands).

Admission

International students register with St Andrews and apply for admission through the Common Application procedure. The undergraduate student admission process for St Andrews primarily consists of six steps (the steps are different for postgraduates):

  1. Applicants find the course they’d like to study at St Andrews.
  2. Applicants check the entry requirements of their course to find out if they’re eligible.
  3. Applicants check the general university requirements to find out if they’re eligible.
  4. Applicants note the UCAS code for their course and the institution code.
  5. Applicants write and provide their writing supplements.
  6. Applicants fill out and submit their application by the deadline, paying an application fee of GBP 65.

For postgraduates, there are different university admission processes, and rules and requirements tend to change more between individual courses. For example, some research and taught courses at the postgraduate level will ask applicants to find a faculty supervisor before they apply. At both levels, international students will need to share important supporting documents as part of the application process, including:

  • A CV and covering letter with a record of employment to date.
  • A personal statement or example of academic writing in English
  • Two original signed academic references
  • Original copies of academic transcripts, with translations into English if necessary
  • Evidence of English language skill
  • A research proposal (postgraduate research pathway only) – different schools will have different length requirements.

Tuition fees for international students range from GBP 20,570 to 33,570 annually for undergraduates and depending on the pathway taken (research or taught, subject of focus, and so on), between GBP 1,555 and GBP 40,000 for postgraduates.

Scholarships & Funding

St Andrews offers nine university scholarships to international students. All of them have different requirements and cover different values. Most of the coverage goes towards a student’s tuition fees or funding for living costs.

Some scholarships are intended to reward academic achievement, some help students in need, and some do both. The St Andrews Sanctuary Scholarship, for example, is available to all postgraduate students who have a forced migration background, awarded based on financial need and academic merit. It covers fees of up to GBP 22,000 for postgraduate taught students, and up to GBP 15,000 for postgraduate research students. Students can also apply if they have one of the following statuses:

  • Asylum seeker
  • Refugee
  • Humanitarian protection
  • Limited leave to remain
  • Discretionary leave to remain

Other scholarships that have a direct social impact include the St Andrews Education for Palestinian Students (or STEPS) Scholarship. This covers full tuition fees for Palestinian students from the West Bank, Gaza, or any refugee camp. It also supplies funding toward accommodation costs in the form of a monthly stipend of GBP 350. It is only available to students applying for a postgraduate taught programme.

There’s also the GBP 1,500 Accommodation Award for postgraduate students, which goes toward their living costs. Plus, there are awards and funding programmes for foundation-level studies, like the Kinnessburn Scholarship. The Kinnessburn Scholarship provides students with an annual tuition fee reduction of GBP 2,000 if they meet academic requirements.

University Structure

St Andrews is based in Fife, on Scotland’s beautiful east coast. There are four faculties on campus, and each one contains several schools, centres, and departments. These schools, centres, and departments then each contain several courses and programmes of study. The four faculties are the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Divinity, the Faculty of Medicine, and the Faculty of Science. There are then 25 schools and departments, each led by a Head of School:

  • The School of Art History 
  • The School of Biology
  • The School of Chemistry
  • The School of Classics
  • The School of Computer Science
  • The School of Divinity
  • The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • The School of Economics and Finance
  • The School of English
  • The School of Geography and Sustainable Development
  • The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies
  • The School of History
  • The International Education Institute
  • The School of International Relations
  • The School of Management
  • The School of Mathematics and Statistics
  • The School of Medicine
  • The School of Modern Languages
  • The Music Centre
  • The School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies
  • The School of Physics and Astronomy
  • The School of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • The Department of Social Anthropology
  • The Department of Film Studies
  • The Department of Philosophy

There are then several research centres, mostly used for research collaboration (between students and researchers and researchers and the university’s external partners). The institutes, including the International Education Institute, provide interactive, practical teaching experiences and learning opportunities to foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Facilities

St Andrews isn’t only famous for its high-quality teaching, it also aims to provide as many student recreation centres and activities as it can. The academic resources like lecture theatres and study rooms are modern, comfortable, and well-designed, but there are also lots of well-designed social spaces and exciting events that students can enjoy in their free time.

The main library on the St Andrews campus contains over one million physical books and gives students access to over 40,000 digital books and journals, as well as academic databases, archived DVDs and video resources. There are computers available at each level of the library. The library’s special collections contain over 200,000 rare and limited-edition books, photographs, and original manuscripts, which are valuable research tools.

The university’s famous theatre puts on performances at various venues around Fife and St Andrews. For students who want to stay active, there are several student activity centres and sports facilities (including courts, pitches, and gyms) available.

There are plenty of food and drink options available on campus, including cafés for both students and staff. These cafés are in the library, the medical and biological sciences building and the School of Physics and Astronomy building. The campus shop sells all the supplies students will need, and there are plenty of accommodation options for international students.

The Students’ Association supports student concerns and represents student interests on campus (academic and extracurricular), but it’s also a popular student life centre for social events, night markets and music concerts. There are over 100 different clubs and societies at St Andrews for students with a wide range of interests to enjoy and make friends in. There are also some safe, modern on-campus accommodation options that make peer-to-peer connections even easier to create.

Accommodation

International undergraduates can apply to stay in one of St Andrews’ halls of residence or look for private off-campus student accommodation in the wider area of St Andrews and Fife. All the residential halls are home to diverse student communities of mixed nationalities, and applicants will have to select their preferred type of university accommodation when they apply. If they choose to stay in the halls, they will need to choose between:

  • A shared room or a single private room
  • A shared bathroom or a private ensuite bathroom
  • Non-catered halls or a catered meal plan

The fees for each residential hall depend on the facilities and services that they provide. For example, the usual fee for a single room in the catered Andrew Melville Hall is GBP 6,709 per year. For a single room in a self-catered ensuite hall, like the Agnes Blackadder Hall, fees are GBP 7,205 per year.

Postgraduate students need to apply early if they want to live in halls of residence, as places can be competitive. Priority for postgraduate accommodation will be given to students from outside the UK or EU who are studying taught programmes of study.

As mentioned, students can also apply for a private student house in St Andrews, usually shared with other students. They can use an online tool called Student Pad to begin their property search and should also consider reaching out to current students who are looking to rent a room if they don’t yet have peers and friends at the university to rent a house with.

Student Support

St Andrews wants all its students to enjoy their time at the university fully. It knows that this means looking after their welfare, as well as giving them academic student support when it's needed. Happy, supported students are high-achieving, successful students. St Andrews has lots of different student services to cover all the types of help and guidance that students might require.

The Advice and Support Centre is a great place for a student to start when they need help. Student guides are easily accessible to help people through everything from the application process to the exam revision process. There are also many private counselling and mental health student support programmes running.

In terms of student support for specific groups on campus, there’s a chaplaincy programme to help students of any background with their faith. Plus, the disabilities team provides student support services to people who need physical and mental support or have certain accessibility/learning requirements. Plus, for international students, advice is available on everything from immigration and admission to financial issues and work placement opportunities.

Graduate Outcomes

As one of the best universities in the UK, St Andrews can offer its students great job prospects. Of the students who finished in 2019, 49 per cent are now in full-time employment and 18 per cent and in further full-time study. The remaining 33 per cent are either working part-time, due to start work or very rarely, unemployed.

St Andrews students often choose to return to the university after their undergraduate degree for postgraduate study, proving that they valued and appreciated their experience so much they wanted to repeat it. Most graduates end up living and working in the UK, but there are over 1,000 successful alumni currently working overseas across the globe.

St Andrews’ faculty prepare students for work in the classroom, keeping up professional-level standards. But this isn’t the only reason why graduates from the university are so prepared. There are also some great career services on offer through the university’s Career Centre.

Students can explore their career options, get advice and guidance, develop their skills with the help of a career guide and plan out their future with the help of St Andrews support staff. There are even employment services designed to give students valuable working experiences during studies that will help them stand out to employers (internships, volunteering opportunities, work experience options).

The university regularly advertises local and national jobs, so students and recent alumni can easily find out what’s available to them. For any overseas applicant searching for a classic Scottish university experience, great quality of education and strong graduate outcomes, St Andrews might be the answer.

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Key facts and figures at University of St Andrews

Rankings

Hotcourses Diversity Index (What is this?)

DIVERSITY INDEX
Source: HESA

133 International student nationalities at this university

FEEL AT HOME INDEX
Source: HESA

30.32% International students from USA

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023
Source: THE

201

QS World University Rankings 2023
Source: QS

96

Academic Ranking of World Universities 2022
Source: ARWU

301

Student life in numbers

COSTS PER YEAR
LIVING COSTS

£3,330

CAMPUS ACCOMMODATION

£5,698

AVERAGE TUITION FEE PER YEAR

UNDERGRADUATE

£23,960

POSTGRADUATE

£23,950

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