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TSR Wiki > University > Choosing a University > University Guides > University of Aberdeen


The University of Aberdeen is the 3rd oldest Scottish university and 5th oldest in the UK, located in the city of Aberdeen in the north of Scotland. Not only is it one of the oldest universities in the UK, but also in the world having originally been founded way back in 1495.

Recent Academic News

'Academic Recruitment Campaign' It was announced in April 2009 that the University is spending £15 Million on a program to bring 70+ new academics to the University.

"New Library" Construction is under-way with the new 7-story building due to open in 2011.


The University of Aberdeen is situated on the outer edge of the city in Old Aberdeen, around 20 minutes walk from the city centre. The main Campus is situated around the old cobbled High Street with the oldest buildings centrally located around a central grassy area.

Getting to Aberdeen

Although the most Northern university in the UK, Aberdeen is by no means hard to get to (or away from!);

Travelling from Edinburgh or Glasgow

Train : ~3 Hours

Coach/Bus : ~3 Hours 30 Minutes

Travelling from London=

Plane : ~1 Hours 20 Minutes

Train : ~11 Hours 30 Minutes

Coach/Bus : ~16 Hours 30 Minutes



The University of Aberdeen library services are currently on five sites. There is the Taylor library in Taylor Block C on campus, the Medical library at Foresterhill, the Special Archives, the Divinity library in King's College (reserved for Divinity, Theology and Religious Studies students only), and the Queen Mother Library (QML) has recently been demolished and replaced with the New Library, costing £57m .

All you need to know about the New Library is below.

New Library

The University of Aberdeen opened a £57m new library in summer 2011. It's a fantastic modern building, seven storeys high and is as environmentally friendly as possible. The structure of the new library is a huge glass cube, making most use of natural light as possible and eliminating the need for air conditioning. The ground floor is a meeting area to allow students to meet up, have a coffee and a chat and work on projects, etc.

IT and Computing

With the introduction of RESNET and EDUROAM, the university now has a wireless campus, which is reportedly the largest in Europe. All areas in halls of residence, and all university buildings now have wireless connectivity, allowing you to connect to the internet, send documents to classroom print stations and access your files via ftp.

Files belonging to you, stored on the university system can be access from any computer in the world, with a simple ftp (file transfer protocol) session. Full instructions are available. Proxy settings allow lecture notes, ebooks and various course material to be downloaded from anywhere.

There are various computing rooms around campus, including at halls of residence and in the library. Many of these rooms have 24 hour access.

New computing science and engineering students are supplied with a new laptop, pre-configured for use with the wireless service, and with course software, MS Office and course materials installed.

A computing helpdesk is available on the phone, on email or by popping in to see them at various locations.


The University of Aberdeen compete against RGU every year in the Granite City Challenge.

A brand new sports centre was recently opened for the start of the 2009/10 academic year. It includes a state of the art gym, very large games hall, athletics track, and full-size indoor football pitch. There are also plans to build an Olympic standard swimming pool and a lot more. More infomation can be found at the following site:

General Information
Aberdeen, UK
University of Aberdeen
King's College,
AB24 3FX
+44 (0)1224-272000
SU/Guild website:
UCAS Code:

Total students:
Typical offers:
260 - 385
Applicants per place:

Sports Clubs

Huge selection of sports clubs available. The fencing club at university operates on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (8-10pm) and on Wednesday afternoon (1-3pm). The club regularly travels to competitions around the UK. They compete in the BUCS fencing tournaments and continue to do well. The Lairig Mountaineering Club is ideal if you are an active hillwalker, just want to get out and about more or like the more adventurous side of mountaineering. Or why not try out the unusual sport of underwater hockey? The full list of sports clubs includes:

  • Akido
  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball (Men's or Women's)
  • Boat
  • Boxing
  • Canoeing
  • Cricket
  • Curling
  • Fencing
  • Field Sports
  • Football (Men's or Women's)
  • Gaelic Football
  • Gliding
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Hockey (Men's or Women's)
  • Hurling
  • Jujutsu
  • Judo
  • Karate
  • Kendo
  • Lacrosse
  • Lairig Mountaineering Club
  • Lifesaving
  • Mountain Biking
  • Netball
  • Orienteering
  • Potholing and Caving
  • Riding
  • Rifle
  • Rollerhockey
  • Rugby (Men's or Women's)
  • Sailing
  • Shinty
  • Ski and Snowboard
  • Skydiving
  • Squash
  • Sub Aqua
  • Surf
  • Swimming and Water Polo
  • Table Tennis
  • Taekwondo
  • Tennis
  • Tai Chi
  • Trampoline
  • Triathlon
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Underwater Hockey
  • Volleyball


The student association's advice and support offer students help with anything from giving free condoms to homesickness.

Niteline is an anonymous, voluntary service which gives students someone to talk to from 8pm to 8am. You can call them up about anything, including pizza numbers, bus times or more serious issues you may be having. You can even call them up just for a chat - (01224) 272829.

It's also worth giving the Student Support Centre a try, they are located at the back of the hub (keep going past the computer row) and can offer advice on most things, can support with disability issues etc.

Both halls have wardens as well as resident assistants who can offer assistance if needed.

There's also a free counselling service just past the Taylor Building (29 Dunbar Street) - pop in and ask for an appointment; they have a lending library of self help books and often run sessions on dealing with exam stress or anxiety etc.


There is a GP practice located a few minutes walk from the University on King Street.

There is also a GP (which most students register for) just off the spital on the way to the University. It is just up College Bounds, once you get past the fairly obvious uni buildings and on your first right, then first right again. They're friendly and familiar with student health needs.

NB if you are staying at Crombie Johnston you will more than likely have to register for the former (it is not far from the Bobbin - Old Machar Medical Pratice).

Sexual health needs can be dealt with by your GP in some instances, or you might wish to contact either Square 13 (Family Planning, Denburn Health Centre, centre of town) or Wolmanhill GUM clinic (centre of town, Wolmanill hospital). Both are confidential, non judgemental, and staffed by experienced doctors and nurses. It might be best to phone ahead (0845 337 9900) for appointment times - the number given is a shared number for any sexual health facility in the city and shire.

Out of hours - you can contact NHS 24 (08454242424) for advice or go to A&E (Aberdeen Royal Infirmary) if needed.


The Hub is the main source of on-campus shopping. You will find the shopHub on the ground floor of the Hub, selling stationery and pens galore, university branded clothing, snacks and drinks, student bus tickets and loads more. Also in the hub, there is a Tiki cafe - triple certified teas and coffees and a large food court on the first floor with 5 different food themes! Tiki also have locations in Taylor A block, ground floor of MacRobert, the IMS and the New Library.

BookEnds has relocated to the new Student Association Centre at Butchart. In the gallery, this well known second hand book shop is where students can buy (and sell their own) textbooks, CDs, DVDs and fiction books. Blackwell's Bookshop is also next to the Old Town House at the top of the high street.

The high street has the JG Ross Bakery and a newsagents who give discount to student subscriptions; also Kilau coffe shop - amazing chocolate brownies.

The Hillhead Shop at Hillheads Halls of residence has long opening hours, selling pretty much everything at decent prices. They now have a fairly good bakery (anoter branch of JG Ross) as well and sell various hot and cold foods.


On Campus - we have HubGrub on the first floor of the Hub with Traditional; Italian; Oriental; Fast and Grab-it Grub as well as the big breakfast phenomenon and a taste of the world with our Passport Days!

There is also a very popular lunch venue - Eat @ Johnston open daily for hot meals, snacks, salads and soups!

At Foresterhill - we have a Tiki Cafe in the new Suttie Centre and one in IMS for the postgrads.

At Hillhead, there was an all purpose takeaway in the central building (Qismat) that did curries, pizzas, kebabs, burgers - pretty much anything unhealthy, but it closed in late 2011. A new takeaway (World Yummy) is set to be opening in time for the 2012 fresher's week, taking its place in the central building. It is going to offer Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean and various other oriental food.


The Bank of Scotland is located on High Street on campus. Lloyds TSB is just across the road from campus next to King's Street Exchange at the top of Kings Street. There are branches of most major UK banks within the city centre, predominantly along Union Street or George Street. There are two free cash machines on campus as well as two at the nearby Tesco supermarket. There is also one at Lloyds TSB as well as the Spar at the St Machar roundabout behind MacRobert



The number 20 runs from Hillhead to Union Terrace through the main King's College campus.

Every 15 minutes during the day, and every 30 minutes at night time (After ~8pm) - There's also a nightbus at weekends every half hour up until after the clubs finish kicking out. The FirstBus fares recently increased, and relative to other cities, are quite expensive. Taxis at weekend are expensive (around £8-10 back to Hillhead) and have huge queues at the taxi ranks.


Major bus routes all over the city, including the airport. The colour-coded "overground" makes it easy to navigate, but the most used will be the red line numbers 1 and 2 (covers King Street into town) and the number 20 (from Hillhead Halls, through campus and into town, dropping you outside what was formerly the union).

All FirstGroup buses require exact change.

Careers service

The University of Aberdeen Career Service offers comprehensive advice and support to all of the University's students, graduates and staff. It is housed in a purpose built location within the Hub on the main Kings College Campus.

Specifically the Careers Office offers, amongst other services : Careers Resources, Guidance Interviews, IT resources and Vacancy information. Further information can be found at

Part-time jobs

The University of Aberdeen's Student Association runs a fantastic service called 'Job Link' which helps put students and local employers in contact. They track down the jobs and email them to you weekly.

Religious facilities

The historic 15th Century King's College in Old Aberdeen is also home to King's College Chapel, with the University Chaplaincy Service just a few yards up the High Street. Sunday morning service is held in King's College Chapel and is open to all. The Chapel is one of the most intact examples of medieval architecture anywhere in Britain.

Alumni Annual Fund

The university employs student fund raisers to raise funds for the Alumni Annual Fund. Work involves calling graduates to update their details, chat to them about various projects and things going on in the university and asking if they would like to give to the fund. Money raised goes to fund various projects, such as student scholarships, the new library, medical research, sports clubs and facilities, and many more. Over £226,000 was raised during the 2006-2007 campaign, which makes the AAF one of the most successful campaigns in the UK.

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Bars, Pubs and clubs


Hillhead halls is home to the Union Bar (formerly 'The Watering Hole') downstairs in the central building. In its first year as the Union Bar, it didn't quite have the same popularity as when it was The Hole. Even so, it has a great variety of drinks promotions throughout the year, making it a good place to go for cheap drinks before heading to town. The 50p 'Wild Shots' are a great way to kick off a night out.

Main Campus

St Machars on the High St is a small bar right next to Blackwells bookshop, a bit more of a locals/lecturers pub but still good for a toastie or a game of darts.

The Bobbin (Scream bar) is the unofficial student hang-out near to the university. Fantastic bar with loads of banter and cheap booze (with a yellow card). It always has a wide variety of ciders and there is always some kind of promotion or deal. The 2 for £5 cocktails are a favourite. Saturday is Karaoke night and Sunday is Quiz night, both with cash prizes.

In Town

With over 10% of the population as students, Aberdeen's night life is very much based on what students want and need. You will find many great clubs, pubs and bars with great entertainment and promos. The best student pubs and bars are Triple Kirks (another Scream Pub, which has Exodus nightclub upstairs), the pirate-themed Moorings Bar, Siberia Vodka Bar (boasting a wide range of flavoured vodka) and the gothic-themed Slain's Castle. The most popular clubs include TigerTiger, Pearl Lounge, Exodus and Snafu.

There is a separate TSR article about the Aberdeen Nightlife with more info.

Most of the nightclubs in town have low prices for student nights through the week, with Wednesday being the main night of the week. Careful though, these prices and dress codes do shoot up at the weekend.


Granite City Challenge

Each year in Spring the University of Aberdeen and The Robert Gordon University compete against each other in a variety of different sports. The University of Aberdeen has successfully held on to the title since it began.

Fresher's Fayre

One of the largest events of its kind in Scotland. Housed within two very large marquee tents, over the two days you will find various stalls from all the sports clubs and societies, dishing out information on what they do. Most of the local business (bars, clubs, cinemas, shops, etc.) will be there for both days giving out vouchers, discount cards, T-Shirts, and various other freebies in the hope to lure you into their establishments. This year, Pizza Hut, Papa John's and Domino's all were handing out mountains of free pizza and The Bobbin were giving out vouchers for a free burger and drink - it's not too hard to get through fresher's week without paying for food! During the two days, the Student Association set up various free activities, including bouncy castle, climbing wall and some trippy space training thing. STV also joined us and showed a spot on the evening news.

Torcher Parade

The largest student, torch-lit parade in Europe hits Aberdeen once a year in April. Students from The University of Aberdeen, Robert_Gordon_University and Aberdeen College all clamber on board decorated lorries (the event originally used horses and carts due to the age of it), while dressed up and playing loud music. The parade earns loads of cash for the Students' Charities Campaign.

The event has backing from huge local organisations, such as Unite and also Northsound radio who bring out a float of their own. Various lorry companies get involved, donating lorries for the night and drivers give up their times, a lot of whom bring their kids along for the ride. Thousands of local people line the streets to watch the parade go by, and throw their unwanted change at willing students.


Thousands of students get together in teams of six and compete in various events for the title of superteam. Events can include things like rock climbing, go-kart racing, paintballing and loads more.

Accommodation Fayre

You dont have to wait til the main Open Day to view University of Aberdeen Accommodation. Check out the website and get yourself a timeslot to visit.

The main Open Day Accommodation Stand will provide all the questions you still have after your indepth look at the website

Every year around March, Unite, Aberdeen City Council, and various other groups get together in the university. You can book viewings, find out about accommodation and pick up loads of freebies.



University Accommodation is situated on two main sites - the Student Village at Hillhead where there are 10 different halls of residence to choice from, and on campus with Crombie Hall, Johnston Hall, Kings Hall (New for 2010) and Elphinstone Road Flats where you can roll out of bed at 5 to 9 and still be early for lectures. In addition, we place students in King Street Exchange and Spring Gardens (Unite properties).

All sites have 24 hour porter/security staff nearby, wireless internet access and laundry facilities.

Both catered and self-catered accommodation are available for you to choose - linked to which hall you opt for.

Check out the Aberdeen accommodation page for details of accommodation available at the university.

Privately owned

Liberty Living have two sites - one at Don Street and one at Linksfield Road by the Sports Village (unfortunately the Linksfield location is reserved for Robert Gordon students only). Ardmuir have sites at Linksfield/Pittodrie, Froghall Road and Kings Street.

Butchart Student Union Building

Butchart was the University's sports centre before the advent of the Sports Village, when it became vacant. Now it's been converted into the union building.

The new union provides space for, socialising groups to meet, bands to practice and student association offices.

There was talk of application for an alcohol license. Whether it was unsuccessful or not made at all, there is no bar there. Now that The Watering Hole has been converted to the Union Bar, it's unlikely that Butchart will ever have a bar.



The old buildings of Kings College, New Kings and the Powis Gate are the heart of the University with Kings college dating to the formation of the university.

In contrast to this you have buildings such as MacRobert and Fraser Noble, built around the 1960s. All these buildings have been recently renovated and have state-of-the-art interiors.

Local area

Most of the University is situated in Old Aberdeen, the most picturesque part of Aberdeen with cobbled streets and old houses.

Applying to Aberdeen

Thinking of applying to Aberdeen? Why not read some Personal Statements which were used for applying here?

Other Aberdeen Articles

Why not read these other Aberdeen University article?


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