Edinburgh, Scotland

Population: 495,360

University students: 58,850 (11.9%)


Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Heriot-Watt, Queen Margaret University, SRUC

Edinburgh City, the capital of Scotland, has four universities, a rural college and close to 60,000 university students.

An international university city

Edinburgh City receives many study applications from international students.Edinburgh is in demand with international studentsWhat really defines Edinburgh as a student city are the large numbers of international students. Just under 29% of university students in the city are from outside the UK, well above the average 17% for all UK cities.

There are many reasons why international students choose to study in Edinburgh, including that it is the Scottish capital and home to the prestigious University of Edinburgh. The city's long history, inspiring architecture and festivals may also attract students wanting to fully experience European and British culture.

1. Geography and climate

Edinburgh is on the east coast of Scotland's central Lowlands, situated on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth around 52 miles east of Glasgow.

The city's landscape shows the marks of ancient volcanism and more recent glaciation and is ringed by a green belt. Averaging around 2 miles wide, the green belt was designed to contain urban sprawl. It has helped make Edinburgh a generally compact city.

Like much of the rest of Scotland, Edinburgh has a temperate, maritime climate which is relatively mild despite its northerly latitude. Winter daytime temperatures rarely fall below freezing while summer temperatures are normally moderate. The average daily maximum is 12.7°C (54.8°F) and minimum is 5.9°C (42.5°F).

2. Accommodation

Edinburgh Napier University offers first-year students guaranteed student accommodation.Purpose-built student accommodation at Edinburgh Napier UniversityThe universities provide a range of accommodation options concentrated in the central and inner-south parts of the city. Prices are quite reasonable, with a self-catered package for the academic year normally around £3,800.

In general, the university's provide enough student accommodation to guarantee placements for first-year students but otherwise expect students to find private housing. The University of Edinburgh has around 4,100 residential places.

3. Transport

Edinburgh is compact, making it fairly easy to move about the city. However, the terrain is hilly and therefore demanding for cyclists. Students usually walk or make use of bus services, which provide excellent city coverage.

The National Express coach network links to many destinations. Trains to Glasgow are especially frequent and the journey takes about 50 minutes. London is 373 miles away and trains usually take around 4 hours 30 minutes.

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland's busiest and biggest airport and the main international gateway to the capital. It is about 8 miles from the city centre.

4. Attractions and festivals

Students studying in Edinburgh can take advantage of the city's attractions, including festivals such as the Fringe Festival.A performance at the Edinburgh Fringe FestivalEdinburgh has a long list of permanent attractions and calendar events.

The heritage and unique architecture of the city are on display at the Old Town and New Town districts, which constitute a World Heritage Site. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city

As Scotland's capital, Edinburgh has many museums and libraries. These include the National Museum, National Library and the National War Museum. It also contains Scotland's five National Galleries and numerous smaller galleries.

Each August, the city hosts the biggest annual international arts festival in the world. This includes the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Other festivals and events held at other times during the year are the Science Festival, Film Festival, Jazz and Blues Festival, and the Hogmanay street party.

5. Exercise and sport

Walking is a major way that students keep fit since it is usually the best way of getting around. Students also sign up to a wide range of sports through the university unions. The University of Dundee provides a gym, squash courts and indoor sports facilities.

Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium is home to Edinburgh Rugby Team and Scottish Rugby Union. The city also supports two football clubs, ice hockey and basketball. There are three major golf courses, an Olympic-size swimming pool and the largest artificial ski slope in Europe.

6. Universities

The University of Edinburgh is a globally recognised education institution that attracts international students to Scotland's capital city. Old College, University of EdinburghEdinburgh has a large university, the University of Edinburgh (27,657 students), and two medium-sized universities: Edinburgh Napier University (14,060) and Heriot-Watt University (10,870). In addition, there is Queen Margaret University (5,245 students) and the main campus of SRUC (Scotland's Rural College).

University of Edinburgh

Established by Royal Charter in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is one of Scotland's ancient universities. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to it. As study fields have grown and diversified, the university has expanded its campuses and now has six main sites

The College of Humanities and Social Science is the largest of the university's three colleges. It has eleven schools and more than half the students. The other two colleges are Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, and Science and Engineering.

Edinburgh is globally ranked university in terms of research and but leaves its students feeling a little neglected students. It has a course satisfaction rating of 1.1 / 5.0. Getting into the university is difficult and its standard tuition fee for international students is £13,300.

Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier University began as Napier Technical College in 1964. It was renamed Napier College of Science and Technology in 1966 and offered its first degree course in 1971. It re-branded as Napier University in 1992 and again as Edinburgh Napier University in 2009.

The university is based around its three main campuses: Merchiston, Craiglockhart and Sighthill. Places at its halls of residence cost around £3,914 for the academic year.

The university has three faculties: The Business School; the Faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences; and the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries. Subjects offered including engineering, computing, nursing and midwifery, science, business courses, timber engineering and transport studies. It offers a range of creative courses, including film, graphic design, acting, publishing and product design.

The university has links to a number of employers, with some courses being professionally accredited by companies. It has a below-average course satisfaction rating of 1.5 / 5.0.

The university has a relatively high proportion of students from outside the UK (23%) but not compared to Heriot-Watt University (35%) and the University of Edinburgh (32%). Tuitions fees for international students start from £10,350.

Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University was established in 1821 as the world's first mechanics' institute and has been a university since 1966. It has branch campuses in the Scottish Borders, Orkney, Dubai and Putrajaya in Malaysia and also runs distance learning programmes. It is particularly well known for the strong employment prospects of its graduates. It has a high course satisfaction rating of 4.4 / 5.0.

Queen Margaret University

The modern version of Queen Margaret University took shape in 2007-2008 when the university brought together students from its three campuses in Edinburgh into new purpose-built campus in Musselburgh, just east of Edinburgh. The university's roots go back to 1875 when it was founded as The Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy.

The Musselburgh campus holds educational buildings, a students union, a small gym and halls of residence of more than 800 rooms. Its opening was followed in 2008 by the opening of an Asia campus in Singapore that provides business degrees to about 1,600 students. Overall, the course satisfaction rating for the university is 1.3 / 5.0.


SRUC (the Scottish Rural College) has six teaching campuses, including its main campus in Edinburgh. This is located within the King's Buildings, a University of Edinburgh campus on the south side of the city. The further education and research institute has around 1,000 higher-education students.

Independent review of the University of Edinburgh.