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A World of opportunity - A Guide to Education and Training in Scotland


A Guide to Education and Training in Scotland

Higher Education
  • The largest video-conferencing link in the world connects all Scotland's main colleges and universities
  • The University of the Highlands and Islands Project stretches almost 400 miles between campuses of the north and south
  • Nearly 25% of all higher education students in Scotland come from outside Scotland

Higher Education


A widening access

Almost 50% of young Scots now enter higher education courses. While further education opportunities expand university places have also increased. With a new 'virtual university' taking shape, Scotland can claim some of the most ancient and modern teaching institutions in the UK.

Opening doors

There are currently 20 higher education institutions in Scotland comprising 14 universities including the Open University and 6 other institutions. Entry usually depends on a group of passes in national exams but greater provision for 'adult' students has led to a development of special access courses with guaranteed places for successful participants. Applications from international students are welcome.

Virtual leap forward

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Project is one of the most radical developments in higher and further education in the UK. A federal university, based on a partnership of 13 colleges and research institutions, aims to bring educational, economic and social benefits to individuals and communities in the region. Recent validation by the Open University, a leader in distance learning, was an essential step towards UHI's goal of becoming a federal collegiate university by 2001.

Curriculum and certification

Scotland's characteristic breadth of study is reflected in the variety of courses which can be taken as part of a degree course. Normally students advance through a choice of general subjects to more specialised studies although some institutions are moving away from this approach.

Generally students spend three years to gain an Ordinary degree and four years to attain Honours. Degrees awarded in Scotland are recognised throughout the UK and across the world.


  • pre-course English as a foreign language
  • sub-degree courses
  • first degree courses
  • education and training of teachers
  • taught post-graduate programmes for Masters degrees
  • courses preparing for qualification awarded by professional body
  • research projects
  • supervision of research programmes for Doctorates

Statistics (2000-2001)

134,254 full-time students attending Higher Education institutions

57,710 part-time students attending Higher Education institutions

13,775 students studying with Open University

15,998 full-time overseas students attending Higher Education institutions

11,942 part-time overseas students attending Higher Education institutions