Scotland differs from the rest of the United Kingdom in that its undergraduate degrees take four years, not three.

Country Overview

Scotland has retained a profound sense of its national identity – indeed, as a separate country – even though it merged with England in 1707 to form the United Kingdom. In 1999 it elected a parliament for the first time in nearly 300 years, gaining powers over its affairs; the dominant political party wants full independence.   In recent years, the Scottish economy has strengthened through its financial services sector and revenue from oil and gas in the North Sea, to the east. The capital, Edinburgh, hosts the world’s biggest arts festival each summer.


Scotland occupies the cooler northern section of Great Britain, so temperatures are generally lower than in the rest of the UK . Winter maximums average 5.0 to 5.7 °C, with summer maximums averaging 20-25 °C. In general, the western coastal areas of Scotland are warmer than the east and inland areas, due to the influence of the Atlantic currents, and the colder surface temperatures of the North Sea.

Annual rainfall
Rainfall totals vary widely across Scotland— the western highlands of Scotland are one of the wettest places in Europe with annual rainfall up to 4577 mm. Due to the mountainous topography of the western Highlands, this type of precipitation is orographic in nature, with the warm, wet air forced to rise on contact with the mountainous coast, where it consequently cools and condenses, forming clouds. In comparison, much of eastern Scotland receives less than 870 mm annually; lying in the rain shadow of the western uplands.


$170,000,000,000 (2005 est.)


5,168,500 (2008 est)

Overview of Higher Education

The system of higher education in Scotland differs from the rest of the United Kingdom in that undergraduate degrees take four years, not three. Professional courses in medicine, veterinary medicine, and law, however, typically take five years.
Graduate degrees are awarded in Scotland as they are elsewhere in the UK, usually after one or sometimes two years of research. Doctorates are often completed after three additional years.
Over all Scotland has 15 universities, one of which provides instruction via distance learning, in addition to art schools, a conservatory, and an agricultural college. The oldest universities date back to the 15th century.
In 2006 some 215,000 students were studying in postsecondary institutions. Three years later, in 2009, about 30,000 of the postsecondary students were foreigners.
(Sources: The Scottish Government, Education UK, Universities Scotland, Studyinscotland.org, British Council, Encyclopedia Britannica)

Number of Colleges, Universities, Technical Institutes

Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (total): 22

Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (private/non-state): 2

Number of Higher Education Students

Number of students enrolled: 294,000

Number of international students enrolled: 35,280

Contact Information

British Council Scotland
Web site
: http://www.britishcouncil.org/scotland.htm

EducationUK Scotland
Web site: