University of Edinburgh – Acceptance Rate, Ranking, Notable Alumni, and More

Located in Scotland, the University of Edinburgh is a public research university. The school is the sixth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and is renowned for its architectural significance. 

The University of Edinburgh belongs to many top-tier organizations such as the League of European Research Universities, a consortium of 23 leading research schools across the continent. Thanks to the university’s prestigious academics, Edinburgh has become an intellectual and cultural center. 

Edinburgh is made up of three colleges including arts, humanities, and social sciences; science and engineering; and medicine and veterinary medicine. 

Many of the school’s departments are recognized as world-leaders and prepare students for success in their futures. As an internationally focused university, Edinburgh admits students from around the globe. In addition, students are encouraged to study or work abroad.

Based on the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 83% of Edinburgh’s research activity is classified as world-leading or internationally excellent. 

The school ranks among the world’s most potent research powerhouses while providing their expertise to industry. Through the mission to transform understanding of humanity, university researchers have developed the kaleidoscope, ATM, in-vitro fertilization, and many more important inventions.

Due to the school’s strong programs, it has produced many successful graduates and significant historical figures. Edinburgh’s alumni and faculty members include 19 Nobel laureates, signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence, and three Turing Award winners.

University of Edinburgh Acceptance Rate

University of Edinburgh
LWYang, Old College, University of Edinburgh, CC BY 2.0

Edinburgh receives approximately 60,000 applications each year, making it the second most popular school in the United Kingdom. 

Competition from highly qualified applicants is high, leading to more applicants than places available. Furthermore, the Scottish government has strict limitations on the number of admitted students from Scotland and the European Union.

Approximately 45% of applicants to the University of Edinburgh are admitted each year. This means that less than five of every ten students is offered a coveted spot at the school. 

However, this figure varies based on a number of factors such as the year, where the student is from, their tuition fee status, and desired subject area. All applicants who meet the minimum requirements will enter the selection process, but limitations on the intake of Scotland and EU students can cause the acceptance rate to vary.

Along with the country of origin, the student’s subject area significantly impacts the offer rate. 

Some of the most competitive subjects include business, design, nursing, international relations, and sustainable development. Each has an offer rate averaging 20% or less over the past three years due to the program’s competitive nature. On the other hand, subjects from English to chemical engineering exceed the school’s average acceptance rate.

University of Edinburgh Ranking

The University of Edinburgh has been globally recognized for its research, innovation, and academics for over 425 years

Today, this top-ranked school continues to educate the next leaders in industry and academics. As a result, Edinburgh is consistently ranked in the top 50 universities worldwide.

In 2022, Edinburgh placed as #16 in the QS World University Rankings. This placement is the result of a consistent methodology that captures university performance. 

Edinburgh and many other universities were evaluated according to academics, employer reputation, faculty to student ratio, citations, international faculty ratio, and international student ratio. 

Known globally for its academic reputation and position as a global university, Edinburgh has the resources to prepare students for success. 

Times Higher Education, reflecting university research impact and reputation, also places Edinburgh high on its rankings. The University of Edinburgh is ranked as #4 in the United Kingdom for research power. 

Using the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, Edinburgh earns its impressive ranking due to its publications, research impact, and resources.

The University of Edinburgh is in the United Kingdom’s top 10 for employability of graduates, according to the 2020 Global Employability University Ranking. 

While many top universities produce high-achieving graduates, students must also be prepared to work in the industry. The remarkable ranking means that Edinburgh adequately prepares graduates for employment through connections and the necessary skills and knowledge.

Notable Alumni

The University of Edinburgh produces graduates that go on to impact a variety of fields worldwide. Numerous government members, judges, scientists, artists, athletes, and entrepreneurs take advantage of the opportunities offered by the university. 

Gertrude Herzfeld, the first practicing woman surgeon in Scotland, studied medicine at Edinburgh. After graduating, Herzfeld went on to practice at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, the Chalmers Hospital, and the Edinburgh Orthopaedic Clinic, which she helped to found. She was a trailblazer for future generations of female medical students and her impact lives on through the Edinburgh School of Chiropody.

Known for his most famous character Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh between 1876 and 1881. His professor Dr. Joseph Bell, a forensic pathologist, is said to have inspired Doyle’s star character through his unique scientific approach. He is recognized with a plaque on the main entrance of the Medical School Building in Teviot Place.

Chris Beard, business leader and former CEO of Mozilla, cites his education at the University of Edinburgh Business School for his success. He highlighted the solid academic foundation and international perspective as critical tools to lead in the industry today. Mozilla and Firefox are now trusted by millions of people around the world.


At the University of Edinburgh, the student’s country of origin will factor heavily into tuition costs. 

Students from Scotland studying full time for their first degree pay a fee rate of £1,820, although the Student Awards Agency Scotland will cover this cost for those studying full time for their first degree. Applicants from the United Kingdom outside of Scotland are charged £9,250. Increasing every year, these tuition fees are for undergraduates in 2021-2022. 

International students studying at Edinburgh will not be affected by this annual increase and instead will be charged a fixed amount based on their start date. Tuition varies by program for international students, ranging from approximately £22,000 to £28,950 based on the subject area and specific program.

Along with tuition fees, students should account for living and additional costs during university. Accommodation, food, books, clothes, entertainment, travel, and bills are necessary payments to live and study as an undergraduate at Edinburgh. 

These living costs typically average £8,500 – £11,000 each year, although this varies with each student’s lifestyle. Some programs involve additional costs to study abroad or to take compulsory field courses that are not included in tuition.

University of Edinburgh Acceptance Rate for International Students

University of Edinburgh
ozz13x, Edinburgh New College, CC BY 2.0

The University of Edinburgh has a thriving community of over 13,000 international students. These students meet the same rigorous standards as those from Scotland, the EU, and the rest of the United Kingdom. 

Although there is some variation by subject, overseas students have a higher offer rate in each subject area in comparison to domestic applicants. In some areas such as economics, history and politics, philosophy, and chemistry, these acceptance rates reach as high as 90%

In addition to tuition fee status, the percentage of accepted students varies with the year. In 2016, the offer rate was under 40% and rose to 51% in 2020. 

Although the number of Scotland and EU students that can be admitted is limited, the school has no restrictions for overseas applicants. This means that Scottish universities can make as many offers to international students as they have availability for. 

As a truly global university, Edinburgh offers a range of services to make the move to Scotland as easy as possible. 

Edinburgh Global provides information and support necessary for international students to complete their studies. This includes immigration advisers, education exhibitions, application agents, and over 320 societies. International Day, an orientation event for non-UK students, seeks to welcome new students and help them feel at home.

Is the University of Edinburgh Right For You?

The University of Edinburgh provides students with a top-notch education and innovative research opportunities. 

Through a variety of teaching methods, Edinburgh is a good choice for students interested in learning through practical and lab sessions. 

Whether in engineering or art and design, there are opportunities to develop essential skills through project-based learning.

Along with a passion for learning, successful Edinburgh students are dedicated to working in a community.  

The school’s diverse body of students offers undergraduates to learn more about the world from over 110 countries. Each one contributes unique skills, experiences, and ideas to the community. 

Students at Edinburgh take advantage of this network to discover a world of different perspectives. Those not interested in broadening their horizons or challenging their horizons will not fit in at Edinburgh.

Edinburgh students are driven and involved through every aspect of their education. Whether through student organizations, research, or service, they are passionate about something inside and out of the classroom. 

The right student will take advantage of the resources and outstanding opportunities at the University of Edinburgh to further their education. By following their passions, Edinburgh students leave their community even better than they found it.

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