Why Study at St Andrews?

St Andrews is one of the best and oldest universities in the UK. Located on the east coast Scotland, St Andrews is considered among the best universities by many national league tables and offers both undergraduate and postgraduate students access to first-class researchers, facilities, and educational resources.

There are many reasons why students choose to study at St Andrews. This guide rounds up five top reasons you should consider St Andrews when choosing your university.

Academic Reputation

St Andrews is one of the most well-known and academically prestigious universities. It is also the third oldest university in the UK. Since it was founded in 1413, St Andrews has built an esteemed academic reputation and now houses top researchers in over 900 courses, and boasts one of the lowest drop-out rates in the country.

League table rankings

St Andrews regularly ranks within the top five universities in the UK, even besting Oxbridge at times. With 120 different countries represented in the student population, it remains an internationally esteemed university, and places among the top 100 universities in the world. It is currently ranked:

Research excellence

As well as ranking highly in league tables, St Andrews has consistently achieved top scores for research quality in national assessment exercises. Additionally, the Research Excellence Framework claimed in 2021 that 88% of the research conducted by St Andrews is “world-leading” or “internationally excellent.”

Range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses

The University of St Andrews offers a range of courses in all major disciplines at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Subjects that St Andrews is best known for include the History of Art, Languages, Maths, Medicine, Physics, and Theology.

Undergraduate

The University of St Andrews offers a variety of undergraduate-level courses across a range of disciplines and subject combinations. Its entry requirements typically range from ABB to A*A*A* at A level (equivalent qualifications are also accepted), depending on the course. If you select St Andrews for your undergraduate course, you will be able to choose from a range of degree routes, such as joint or single honours, or a year abroad. All the available options are listed on St Andrews University’s website. Each of its courses is tailored to provide the most up-to-date and globally relevant knowledge delivered by top academics in the field.

4-year degrees

St Andrews follows Scotland’s four-year undergraduate degree structure, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘gold standard’ of university education. Its undergraduate degree programmes emulate the structure of higher education courses in many countries worldwide, including the United States and Hong Kong. Scotland is the only country within the UK to offer this degree structure as a standard.
The advantages of the four-year undergraduate degree include:

  • Greater flexibility in subject choice, allowing students to experience new subjects without committing to them longer-term;
  • The opportunity to mature academically and personally before committing to a specialism;
  • Greater academic breadth which is particularly valuable for your academic development and future employability.

Postgraduate

St Andrews’ graduate school offers four main faculties: Arts, Divinity, Medicine and Sciences. 2,164 postgraduate students were part of the St Andrews’ student body in the first semester of the 2021-2022 academic year. Like its undergraduate programme, St Andrews also offers a flexible postgraduate programme, offering taught courses, research courses, distance learning, and collaborative programmes. All of which can be viewed on the St Andrews .

See St Andrews’ full list of courses on their website.

Top facilities

St Andrews’ undergraduate and postgraduate students have access to the very best resources and facilities:

  • The University of St Andrews possesses an astonishing collection of books, allowing students access to over 210,000 rare printed books from its Special Collections unit.
  • St Andrews offers an active student life with over 50 sports clubs and 100 sports teams to choose from. The campus even has 7 public access golf courses, which are held in high esteem, including the Old Course which is the oldest course in the world).
  • There is a spirited performing arts scene within St Andrews. It is home to Byre Theatre and is supported by the Mermaids Performing Arts Fund.
  • St Andrews has three museums: the Wardlaw Museum, Bell Pettigrew, and the Museums Collection Centre which attract national and international interest. The museums boast 115,000 artefacts and specimens.

Student life

St Andrews is located in a picturesque town on the east coast of Fife and is an hour’s train ride to Edinburgh which is recognised as the capital of Scotland and is overflowing with both sightseeing and social activities. Within St Andrews itself, there is a beach, cathedral and tower which attract tourists in their own right.

The University of St Andrews also provides countless ways to make the most of your time as a student and enjoy your free time. The university has more than 150 clubs and societies, and its own student newspaper. Whatever your interests, talents and career goals, there will almost certainly be opportunities to pursue them at St Andrews.

Work opportunities and job prospects

Thanks to its outstanding reputation, St Andrews is a well-known and respected university in the UK among employers. In 2019, 92% of its undergraduate-level graduates were in either full-time employment or further study. In 2019, the Telegraph claimed that St Andrews graduates are amongst the highest paid from all subjects among all UK universities.

How to get into St Andrews

There are many reasons to study at St Andrews, and that’s why thousands of top students aspire to apply there. As a result, St Andrews boasts one of the most competitive acceptance rates in the UK. So, knowing you want to apply is just the first step; knowing how to meet the entry requirements and write a stand-out application is the most important part.

That’s where The Profs can help. Our network of expert admissions tutors can provide you with tailored support on how to maximise your chances of receiving an offer for your chosen St Andrews course. In fact, 95% of university applicants who work with us receive an offer.

To read more about how to get into St Andrews and learn top tips from The Profs’ application experts, read our helpful St Andrews application guide. To talk to a member of our team and access the support of one of our highly qualified tutors, complete the contact form at the bottom of this page.

FAQs

Where is St Andrews University?

St Andrews University is in a small town on the east coast of Fife, Scotland, in the UK.

Does St Andrews have Accommodation?

Yes. Instead of having a campus, St Andrews is comprised of faculty buildings and student accommodation across four main areas of the town. It offers over 4,000 beds with a variety of offers for different preferences and budgets.

Is it worth visiting St Andrews in Scotland?

Generally, Scotland attracts many tourists each year. More specifically, St. Andrews is home to a stunning Cathedral, elegant scenery, and a mediaeval town with a local community. St Andrews is certainly worth a visit if you enjoy golf, given that it owns 7 esteemed golf courses.

When is St Andrews University’s open day?

Undergraduate open days for St Andrews are usually held in the Spring. You will receive an invitation if you have applied or received an offer. You might select a date in March or April, depending on whether you wish to attend online or in person. More information on open days can be found here.

Is St Andrews University prestigious?

Yes, it is one of the top universities in the UK and the world.

Is St Andrews better than Oxford?

There is no doubt that both St Andrews and Oxford are excellent universities. Both are Russell Group universities and are well-respected nationally. Whilst Oxford has consistently ranked 1st in the UK, St Andrews usually comes in close behind and has bested Oxford University in the league tables before.

Is St. Andrews difficult to get into?

St Andrews is a highly competitive place for admission due to its prestige and popularity. in 2023, the University of St Andrews’ admission rate averaged 61%. St Andrews is known for its selective admission rate. Find out more about this and how to get admitted to St Andrews here.

What should I study at St Andrews?

St Andrews University is exceptional in a variety of fields so you have lots of options to choose from. St Andrews has especially high rankings in a number of subject areas, including the natural and social sciences, the arts and humanities, and medicine.

Combining different subjects of study to earn an interdisciplinary degree might be a terrific approach to exploring your interests.

You might even take advantage of the special options St. Andrews offers, such as studying Mediaeval History or Bosnian, Croat, or Serb.