It is not only the green valleys, lovely beaches, and fascinating mountains that draw students to Scotland. Beyond tourism, there is something for students on a budget but looking to further their higher education.
Like Great Britain, Scotland is also considered among the top-rated educational destinations in the World as there are more than 50,000 students from over 180 countries enrolled in Scottish universities – many of which are affordable.
This article has been developed to walk you through the list of cheapest universities in Scotland that offer decent education quality.
10 Most Affordable Universities In Scotland
To begin with, there are 15 universities in Scotland funded by the government. This means that the 15 institutions would offer the lowest tuition fee.
But in addition to this, three other higher institutions are accredited to offer programs and grant degrees at the bachelor, postgraduate, and doctoral levels. This indicates that finding cheap universities in Scotland isn’t an arduous task. Here are some of the best:
- Edinburgh Napier University
- University of Edinburgh
- Abertay University
- Robert Gordon University
- Glasgow Caledonian University
- Scotland’s Rural College
- Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
- The University of the West of Scotland
- University of the Highlands and Islands
- University of Strathclyde
Before we go into the full review of these inexpensive universities, keep in mind that Scotland also has mainly vocational colleges. In other words, they offer short programs of a maximum of 2 years but will award certificates and diplomas after completion.
1. Edinburgh Napier University
- Tuition fees: Start from £14,000 and £16,000 for Undergraduate and Graduate Tuition Fees, respectively.
- Edinburgh Napier University Admission Requirement Page
- Edinburgh Napier University Tuition Details Page
Edinburgh Napier University takes the top position in our list of most affordable universities in Scotland. It may not have the lowest rate here, but the quality of education on par with the tuition cost is exceptionally reasonable for the value.
It is a public university that has established branches in Sighthill, Craiglockhart, and Merchiston to facilitate study in an area of Applied Sciences, Health & Social Care, Engineering & the Built Environment, Arts & Creative Industries, Computing, and Business.
It started in 1964 as the Napier Technical College and became a full-fledged university in 1992.
Aside from being one of the cheapest higher educational outfits in Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University has also been ranked one of the best Scottish universities and the Best Young Universities in the World.
Over 10 thousand students are studying in this public university, a decent percentage of which are international students from over 140 countries.
2. University of Edinburgh
- Tuition fees: Start from £1,820 and £32,100 for Domestic and International Bachelor’s Tuition Fee, respectively.
- University of Edinburgh Admission Requirement Page
- University of Edinburgh Tuition Details Page
Another affordable university in Scotland is this public research university – the University of Edinburgh. Being one of the oldest institutions
The University of Edinburgh is a public research university in Scotland. It was founded in 1583 by the Parliament of Scotland, making it one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking World; UE has a solid reputation for being Europe’s top center for medicine and natural sciences at affordable tuition rates for students.
Despite the cheap undertone of their rates, the school is highly esteemed for taking on innovative new approaches to teaching, learning, and research, thereby setting the pace for other universities (some of which are expensive) to follow.
It is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to further higher education in Scotland but has financial constraints.
3. Abertay University
- Tuition fees: Start from £14,000 and £15,000 per year for undergraduate and graduate Tuition Fees, respectively.
- Abertay University Admission Requirement Page
- Abertay University Tuition Details Page
Abertay University may be among the cheapest universities in Scotland, but it also doubles as a popular choice for international Students. Due to its unique programs, this institution has more than 7,000 local and international students.
Here, students are offered academic programs such as a Computer Game degree (started in 1997), the Ethical Hacking course (awarded in 2006), and degrees in Design & Informatics, Applied Sciences, Business, and Law & Social Sciences.
The college, which used to be called the University of Abertay Dundee, has a dedicated Graduate School for Master’s and Ph.D. programs.
Abertay University is one of the two public institutions in the Dundee area and an excellent choice for students who want cheap tuition in Scotland.
4. Robert Gordon University
- Tuition fees: £4,640 – 17,150 and £1,820 – 6,750 per year for International and Domestic Tuition fees, respectively.
- Robert Gordon University Admission Requirement Page
- Robert Gordon University Tuition Details Page
Located in Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University offers undergraduate degrees to students from all over Scotland at a meager tuition cost compared to most other institutions in Scotland.
The institution began operation in 1992 after merging with Robert Gordon’s College (RGC). Over the years, the university has morphed into one of Europe’s leading universities with a wide range of courses to suit students’ needs without subjecting them to breaking the bank.
At Robert Gordon, students are provided with the right environment to promote success, curiosity, and creativity.
It is a good value for money here.
5. Glasgow Caledonian University
- Tuition fees: Starts from £13,000 and £14,000 per year for Undergraduate and Graduate Tuition fees, respectively.
- Glasgow Caledonian University Admission Requirement Page
- Glasgow Caledonian University Tuition Details Page
In Scotland, the Glasgow Caledonian University is often called Caley or Caledonian.
It is one of the public institutions based in Glasgow that offer affordable annual tuition fees starting from around $17,000 (when converted), especially for international students.
The university comprises three schools: the School for Computing, Engineering, and Built Environment, through academic programs like Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Information Technology. The two other schools at GCU are the School of Business & Society and Health and Life Sciences.
6. Scotland’s Rural College
- Tuition fees: £4,500 – 15,000 and £7000 – 1,820 per year for International and Domestic Bachelor’s Tuition Fee, respectively.
- Scotland’s Rural College Admission Requirement Page
- Scotland’s Rural College Tuition Details Page
Students with a passion for farming, craft, and other fields that contribute to the local community may pick interest in Scotland’s rural college.
The institution is known for its affordable fees for domestic and international students. It started in 1899 and has made its way to Europe’s most vibrant rural college.
The college’s affordable tuition promotes excellence by offering high-quality education programs.
7. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
- Tuition fees: Starts from £7,000 and £15,000 per year for undergraduate and graduate tuition fees, respectively.
- Queen Margaret University Admission Requirement Page
- Queen Margaret University Tuition Details Page
With more than 8,000 local and international students, Queen Margaret University is one of the cheapest universities you can find in Scotland. It is based in Musselburgh and has been in operation since 1875.
Here, students are offered several academic programs that prepare them for in-demand careers through two different departments – The school of arts and science and the school of health science.
The School of Arts and Science at Queen Margaret University comprises Enterprise & Management, Business, Social Sciences, Media & Communications, and Drama & Creative Industries.
On the other hand, the School of the Health Sciences offers programs in Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Audiology, Radiotherapy, Psychotherapy, Nursing, Speech/Language Therapy, and Biology.
8. The University of the West of Scotland
- Tuition fees start from £1,820 and £9,250 per year for international and domestic tuition fees, respectively.
- The University of the West of Scotland Admission Requirement Page
- The University of the West of Scotland Tuition Details Page
You can find the university of the west of Scotland in London, Dumfries, Paisley, and Lanarkshire. The institution is a research-oriented university with a reputation for excellent teaching with affordable fees.
The learning and research structure of UWS is regarded as one of the best in the World, specializing in engineering, arts, and biological science.
Domestic students looking to study in Scotland can prepare to pay GBP 1,820 per year for tuition fees at the University of West of Scotland.
9. University of the Highlands and Islands
- Tuition fees: Starts from £9,090 – 13,428 and £95,000 – 6,021 per year for international and domestic Master’s tuition fees, respectively.
- University of the Highlands and Islands Admission Requirement Page
- University of the Highlands and Islands Tuition Details Page
This is another research and teaching university in Scottish Highlands with affordable tuition fees for domestic and international students pursuing postgraduates, research programs, and professional/continuing education courses.
The highlands and islands university accepts students from all over the World, and they are committed to providing a high-quality learning experience, despite the cheap tuition cost.
The campus of this university is located in one of the most beautiful regions of the United Kingdom.
10. University of Strathclyde
- Tuition fees: Starts from £15,000 and £12,000 per year for undergraduate and graduate tuition fees, respectively.
- University of Strathclyde Admission Requirement Page
- University of Strathclyde Tuition Details Page
Lastly on our list of cheap universities in Scotland is the University of Strathclyde. It is the region’s second-oldest university, with nearly 20,000 students.
The university comprises four faculties: the Faculty of Engineering, which handles Architecture & Engineering courses through which it delivers academic programs on Education, Government, Law, Humanities, Psychology, and Social Work.
Academic programs like Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, and Management are managed under the Strathclyde Business School.
This institution’s students can choose to suit their career prospects with affordable tuition.
Can you study in Scotland for free?
Yes. To study in Scotland without paying any tuition fees, you need to be a UK citizen or an EU national. If you are looking for a first-year undergraduate degree, such as a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, then you don’t have to pay direct tuition fees. Instead, you will be covered by the SAAS (Student Awards Agency for Scotland).
This exemption only applies to students from the UK, except those from Northern Ireland, Wales, or England, who would only be studying in Scotland for university. It does not apply to students from other European Union countries.
Most postgraduate students in Scotland who want to pursue a degree program in a particular field usually have to pay tuition fees. The exact amount depends on the program, the university, and the student’s fee status. RUK (the Rest of the UK) and Scottish students are not separated regarding postgraduate programs.
Are there scholarships for international students in Scotland universities?
Yes. The Scottish government-sponsored scholarship programs for international students who are financially constrained to cover their higher tuition costs. An example of a sponsorship program is the Saltire Scholarships.
However, only international students from the USA, Canada, India, Pakistan, Japan, and China can take advantage of this opening. It allows students outside Scotland to pursue a Masters’s degree in most Scottish public universities.
Tuition fees in Scotland universities vary depending on the institution and the presence of financial aid. If you pay attention to the various tuition by cheap universities listed above, you will notice that only Scottish students and students from EU countries pay the lowest fees.
On the contrary, students from outside the UK and outside the EU usually have to pay higher tuition fees.