University of Edinburgh guide - The Student Room
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    Welcome to University of Edinburgh

    One of the ancient universities, having been founded in the 16th century, Edinburgh University makes up most of the city's Old Town. Its long and rich history has produced historic alumni such as Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell and three prime ministers of the UK.

    The university offers more than 600 courses in a broad range of subjects from medicine to engineering, and in 2011 it merged with the Edinburgh College of Art to offer courses in the arts. One of the most important and flourishing universities, you'll be joining more than 30,000 other students if you choose to study here.

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    Courses and fees

    There are more than 600 courses on offer at the University of Edinburgh, structured across three colleges and 22 schools. As part of the Russell Group of universities, the University of Edinburgh is dedicated to offering the highest quality courses in the country. The university doesn't use the UCAS points system, but rather judges entry based on your grades. Entry typically requires BBB at A-Levels, plus relevant C grades at GCSE.


    The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is the most varied college, covering courses in art, economics, law, philosophy and languages. Art students in particular have great flexibility - they can study several subjects before defining their degree in the final year of study.

    The most prestigious of the colleges - the Medicine and Veterinary Medicine college is ranked first in the UK for medical research, and its alumni have gone on to cure scurvy, develop IVF, discover the SARS virus and invent the hypodermic syringe, so you'll be sure to be studying in one of the most inspiring institutions.

    The College of Science and Engineering has existed in one form or another since the founding of the university when science was considered a 'natural philosophy.' Courses cover those in biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physics and astronomy.

    For a full listing of the university's undergraduate courses visit the University of Edinburgh's website.


    The medicine degrees offered at the University of Edinburgh are highly regarded and rank third behind Cambridge and Oxford in the Complete University Guide 2014 rankings. The guide also ranks the university second for its veterinary courses.


    International students have the option of studying at the University of Edinburgh for a year or a semester as part of their course. The university also takes part in the Erasmus scheme, arranging exchanges for students with other institutions around the world.

    Tuition fees

    Depending on where you live, the Scottish government can cover your undergraduate tuition fees. Scottish and EU students have this option, while students from the rest of the UK must pay £9,000 per year. International student fees are between £15,250 and £20,050 per year, depending on the course chosen.

    For taught postgraduate courses fees range between £3,100 and £34,000. For the full list of fees, visit the university's website.


    Even though the University of Edinburgh is one of the oldest in the world, it has an array of modern facilities for its students. A £44m veterinary studies building is currently being developed, while a recent refurbishment to the Centre for Sport of Exercise, the Business School and the School of Information has provided a welcome boost to these vital facilities.


    Situated in the heart of Edinburgh, the campus is spread across most of the city's Old Town. Pockets of student life can be found across the city, and you'll be surrounded by some of the most iconic attractions of Scotland including Edinburgh Castle, which overlooks the university, and Holyrood Park, a little piece of highland in the heart of the city.

    Library and study facilities

    There are 10 libraries to study in, all of which cover specialist subject areas and hold around three million books and other printed resources. The Main Library is older than the university itself and started out with a mere 276 books in its collection back in 1780. Each floor of the library now covers over an acre: it shouldn't be too hard to find a spot to study here!


    The university boasts the largest open-access network in the UK, with more than 1,000 computers, 20 computer labs and 24-hour access in key locations across campus. Striving to provide the most up-to-date network possible, the university has both Windows and Apple computers, plus laptops for loan and online access to lecture notes and study resources.

    Careers service

    The careers department is an award-winning service that works with both you and potential employers to help you find work when you graduate. Along with helping you develop your skills, the careers team will also help you find part-time work while you study - after all, you've got to pay for those nights out at the student union somehow!


    There are two nurseries at the university for children aged up to five years old. The facility is used by both students and staff of the university. Other amenities include four shops, run by the Student Union, which sell food and groceries.

    Student Union

    The Edinburgh University Students' Association is based in Teviot Row House, the oldest purpose-built student union headquarters. There are eight bars, a nightclub and even a debating chamber, which is mostly used for formal functions. The union organises events such as the graduation ball, freshers' week and fundraising events. You can also sign up to one of the many clubs and societies that range from the Harry Potter Society to the Maths Society and everything in between.


    The huge Pleasance Sports Centre has extensive gym facilities, while the Peffermill playing fields offer facilities for sports like rugby and football. If you fancy something a bit more unusual, the Firbush Outdoor Centre has facilities for learning how to sail, canoe and even go cross-country skiing.

    Medical and welfare services

    The university has its own NHS health centre, where you can register with a GP. It also offers students support and advice through its student counselling service. The Advice Place has also been set up to help you with concerns in finance, accommodation and even sexual health.

    Financial aid

    The student union offers advice on financial matters and if you're struggling you can apply for an emergency loan from the university to tide you over. There are also a number of bursaries on offer to eligible students.


    The largest accommodation is at Pollock Halls, which caters for around 1,900 students and is situated on the outskirts of Holyrood Park. Most rooms here are single dorms with shared facilities. Breakfast and dinner is provided from Monday to Friday, and it's not just beans on toast: the halls have been awarded the Healthy Living Award and the Eat Safe Award for the food on offer. In 2013-2014 it cost between £122 and £236 to live there.

    Self-catered residences

    There are five self-catered residencies on offer, which are located between five and 35 minutes away from the campus buildings. Mostly aimed towards postgraduate students, the accommodation is great if you want to save money by making your own meals and crave an extra bit of privacy. In 2013-2014, self-catered accommodation cost between £56 and £137 per week.

    Self-catered flats

    Reserved for freshers and new postgraduates, the self-catered flats on offer at the University of Edinburgh are designed for three to six students to share. The flats are spread out all over town, so you don't have to be lumbered somewhere that you don't like. Great if you're new to town and want to make a few friends easily! What's more, the university will vet your application form to ensure you're grouped with students who are compatible to your style of living. In 2013/14 the costs were between £56 and £121 per week.

    Couple and family accommodation

    There are 80 flats on offer for couples and 65 for families. Accommodation is in self-contained flats designed for family units in mind. There's no guarantee that you will get accommodation for you and your family, so enquire with the university before you attend to find out what it has available.

    Open days

    Visiting the University of Edinburgh is the perfect way to discover if it's the right place for you. What's more, it's such a beautiful city, you'll be blown away by all the other things on offer here! You'll be shown around the campus, get to meet other students and will also meet the tutors who will be guiding you through study.

    For information on Open Days at the University of Edinburgh, visit the university's website.

    If you can't attend any of the open days there are also a number of self-guided tours and student-led tours that happen throughout the year.

    Term Dates

    The year is divided into two semesters which run from September to July. The term dates for 2014/2015 were as follows:

    • Semester 1: 8 September - 19 December 2014
    • Semester 2: 12 January - 22 May 2015 (with a spring break from 6-17 April)