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The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is Scotland’s largest and the UK’s sixth-oldest university. The University has an outstanding reputation, regularly counted amongst the top 50 universities in the world.
The University of Edinburgh has three main academic colleges: Humanities & Social Science, Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, and Science & Engineering. Within these colleges there are a further 22 schools, which offer over 600 courses at the undergraduate level.
Undergraduate degrees in Scotland usually last four years. With the exception of some professional/vocational courses such as architecture, education, law, music, medicine, nursing and veterinary medicine, the four year degree programmes gives students the option of taking up courses outside of their core degree discipline during the first two years.
The University of Edinburgh’s alumni list is enviable. Sir Walter Scott, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Darwin, David Hume, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, former PM Gordon Brown and MI5 master-spy Stella Rimington were all past students.
Edinburgh is ‘university town’ with a total of four universities: the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Napier and Queen Margaret University. Come term time, the city is teeming with over 50,000 students, 27,340 of those from the University of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most beautiful cities. Scots poet Hugh MacDiarmid described the city as “a mad god's dream” and you can see why as you navigate your way from the jumble of the Old Town, with its twisting lanes, to the grandeur of the Neo-Classical New Town. It’s an exciting, vibrant city: the best in nightlife, entertainment and modern architecture is nestled alongside important cultural sites, galleries and museums.
The University campus itself has seven museums and galleries, as well as being home to 17 heritage buildings, including the Main Library, Chancellor’s Building, Old Moray House, New College and Old College. All in all, it’s a pretty impressive campus.
Last but not the least Edinburgh is famous for its annual festival, held in the month of August. Its the biggest and most over-the-top festival in Europe and you can’t move for comedy shows, music, theatre, opera and contemporary dance performances. Other popular events are the Book and Film Festivals, the Military Tattoo and ‘Mela’, Scotland’s largest inter-cultural festival.
The University of Edinburgh guarantees accommodation to new students enrolled in a full-time course with an ‘unconditional firm’ offer, who are not residents of Edinburgh.
Over 4,100 rooms, catered and self-catered, are set aside for undergraduate students. Catered accommodation is provided in the Pollock Halls of Residency. It is divided into nine halls of residence: Baird House, Chancellor’s Court, Ewing House, Grant House, Holland House, John Burnett House, Lee House, Masson House and Turner House.
At the Pollock Halls of Residency, the standard tenancy term is 34 weeks and the weekly rent of £120 to £226 (depending on room size and bathroom facilities) is inclusive of meals, utilities, internet access and personal belongings’ insurance.
Self-catered accommodation for new students is comprised of over 2,200 study bedrooms, with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, split across 18 halls of residence. These are located within a three kilometre radius of the University and are let for 37 weeks each.
There are eighteen such self-catered residences and rentals, with weekly prices ranging between around £56 to £100, inclusive of telephone and data connections, communal cleaning services, utilities and personal belongings’ insurance.
The Scottish Government covers the annual tuition fees for Scottish students and non-UK EU nationals through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). Eligible students need to submit an application to the SAAS, irrespective of whether they’re applying for financial aid.
Unfortunately, if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland you will have to pay tuition fees of £9,000 per year. Helpfully, the government will provide you with a loan to cover the cost of the tuition fees. That means you won’t have to pay a penny while you are at university and you’ll only start to repay the loan once you start earning over £21,000.
The cost of living in Edinburgh is generally more expensive than the rest of Scotland. On average, a weekly budget of £300 to £350 should take care of all expenses, including accommodation, food, communication, transport and entertainment.
The University of Edinburgh has introduced a new RUK Bursary scheme for 2012 for students from England, Wales or Northern Ireland. £500 to £5,700 is available for students with household incomes of £16,001 to £42,600 a year. Those with a residual income of less than £16,000 will receive a whopping £7,000 a year.
Access Bursaries are also provided by the University of Edinburgh. There are 200 of these bursaries available and they offer a minimum of £1,000 a year towards living costs. Access Bursaries aren’t means tested but you will need to give evidence of circumstances that might make it difficult for you to attend the University of Edinburgh. This might be due to financial issues, or personal or family reasons.
Finally, there are up to 90 Accommodation Bursaries for UK students, and 62 Accommodation Bursaries for Scottish students each of a value of £1,000.
The University also offers three scholarship schemes for eligible UK undergraduate students enrolled in the following schools: Astronomy, Business, Engineering, Informatics, Mathematics, Medicine, Physics and Veterinary Medicine. More information can be found here.
Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) runs four nightlife venues: Teviot Row House, Potterrow, Pleasance and the King’s Buildings. These house several bars and restaurants, where you can score a pint for £1.70. Pleasance is the best place to catch live gigs and live comedy, whilst Teviot is the oldest student union building in the world, comprising of five bars across seven floors.
The city of Edinburgh is great for nightlife: there are clubs, bars, pubs galore. Grassmarket and Cowgates are the liveliest student nightlife areas, whilst George Street has a host of swanky bars frequented by well-heeled students. Town prices are steeper compared to those on campus, but plenty of venues offer special student deals, making it just that little bit easier on your wallet.
The University of Edinburgh is well-known for its sports. It is equipped with state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor facilities, such as Pleasance Sports Centre, Pefermill playing fields and Firbush Outdoor Centre. There are more than sixty sports clubs, ranging from the usual sport clubs, such as football, rugby and netball, to the more exotic, such as Exmoor Pony trekking, Korfball and Shinty.
Culture gets equal billing at the university, with a free public gallery, Talbot Rice Gallery; a one-of-a-kind, student-run theatre, The Bedlam; and classical concerts at the McEwan, Reid and St Cecilia Halls.
Non-sporting clubs and societies run the gamut from art, music and theatre, to language, religion, debate and politics. You can also get involved with the student weekly newspaper called (no surprises here) The Student.
Freshers’ Week is held one week before the start of the new academic year, usually during September. During the nine-day event, inductions, campus tours are organised at university level, while the EUSA runs a packed schedule of events. 2011 Freshers’ events included: a Freshers’ Ball with Matthew Horne DJing, a beach party and a live DJ set from Edith Bowman.
The Careers Services team operates out of two offices: Central Campus and King’s Buildings. There are separate careers advisers for the different colleges and a Student and Graduate Employment team (SAGE) is dedicated to helping you land that first graduate job.