I'm sure this has been covered before, but I wanted to take this opportunity to put forward more specific queries:
Beyond the obvious differences in size, location, and setting, what sets the two universities apart (maybe demographic, culture, university philosophy, students, approach to teaching, students and professors enthusiasm about the material, etc.)?
I have applied and been accepted to the University of Edinburgh's joint honours in History and English Literature and St Andrews Modern History and English. Can anyone discuss either of these courses (in terms of either history or English or the combination of the two)? Is there a difference in the teaching style, approach or curriculum of the two universities?
How does the cost of living differ between the two universities?
Lastly, and probably least importantly, which university has the better academic repute (both in these courses and overall). What about notoriety or perceived quality of education in the U.S. and U.K.? I will probably be applying for graduate school, so I want an education that I can leverage in the future. Can anyone comment on Edinburgh's recent slide in the rankings and St Andrews rapid rise?
Personally I think edinburgh has just had a bad year in The Times 2009 domestic ranking. They are afterall 24th in the International Rankings.
Ive heard that both English and History are pretty descent at Edinburgh (however, St. Andrews does seem to rank higher) Id say its as good if not better than St. Andrews, and its certainly in a better location. But thats just my opinion.
One thing im quite sure about is that internationally, Edinburgh is a much bigger name the St. Andrews. When I told my relatives that I got into Edinburgh they thought it was the next best thing after Oxbridge in the UK (which isnt really true but at the same time not that far off reputation wise).
(Original post by ~EventHorizon~)
When I told my relatives that I got into Edinburgh they thought it was the next best thing after Oxbridge in the UK (which isnt really true but at the same time not that far off reputation wise).
It's a difficult question to answer as very few people will have experience of both unis in order to answer your question. A friend of mine did her undergrad at St. Andrews in the early 90s and then taught there for a number of years before coming here for medicine (not history or english lit at all). The main thing she's said is that undergraduate life was more academically focussed there (ie. people here have a lively social life whereas at St Andrews life is spend in the library) but that may be due to shorter terms and the much smaller size. Also, St. Andrews students tend to be even more middle class/privately educated than Edinburgh students, which may put people from certain backgrounds off.
Reputation wise, within the UK there's very little in it; Edinburgh's so much bigger and its international reputation is arguably bigger. The research profile is almost certainly broader and bigger, so if you're planning a research career the opportunity to do an undergraduate or summer research project in areas of interest is greater, if you weren't coming from the states I'd recommend visiting both because they are very different. Living in St. Andrews with it's 3 streets would have utterly killed me, but it's perfect for some people, apparently its countryside sports clubs are excellent.
(Original post by CJKAllen)
Can anybody else contribute?
Like you, I applied to both to do joint honours English (with Spanish) but I always preferred Edinburgh. I don't really think there's a massive difference between the two and in terms of their academic reputation they're both well respected. So ultimately it just comes down to personal preference.
One of the biggest reasons why I've put Edinburgh as my firm is that I prefer the place so much more than St Andrews. Whilst they're both fantastic unis, the idea of living in Edinburgh appealed to me more. I also liked the way the year abroad was organised at Edinburgh, but that isn't much help to you.
That probably sounds really vague and unhelpful now, but I think you've just got to go with the uni you'd be happiest with, rather than getting hung up on academic reputation or league tables.