Established in 1413 and tucked away on the rugged coastline of Fife, Scotland, sits one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world.
The University of St Andrews was recently ranked as the top university in the United Kingdom by the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.
St Andrews is a quaint medieval seaside town often referred to as the ‘home of golf’ as the oldest golf course in the world is situated in the town. Frequent, high-profile games are played at the complex.
Notable university alumni include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who catapulted the university into the international public eye in the mid-2000s.
The university has always boasted a broad and diverse student population; approximately 45% of students are international, representing over 130 countries.
An ancient university entrenched with rich history and traditions, students annually celebrate May Day; at sunrise on the first of May, students gather on East Sands Beach and run into the North Sea.
Older students also ‘adopt’ first-year students and act as support systems known as ‘academic families’ while simultaneously offering mentorship, friendship, and networking.
The ‘academic families’ arrange for their ‘children’ to participate in Raisin Monday, a tradition where mentees are adorned in fancy dress and sent to St Salvator’s Quad to participate in an enormous foam fight.
In 2021, the university was ranked as the best establishment for student satisfaction which is reflected in the very high student retention rate.
Students have a plethora of extra-curricular activities to choose from, including 150 societies and 50 sports clubs from fencing to archery – there is a society or club for every interest.
The university motto, derived from Homer’s Iliad, is ‘Ever to Excel.’
University of St. Andrews Acceptance Rate
The acceptance rate for the University of St. Andrews is 41% for undergraduates and 54% for postgraduates. As a university that is frequently recognized as a leader in higher education and postgraduate opportunities, it is not surprising that the university is flooded with applications.
For International students applying for St Andrews, applicants are expected to hold at least a 3.2 GPA alongside having excellent academic records and references.
Both Oxford and Cambridge, which both also vie for leadership positions in the university rankings, list their acceptance statistics ranging between 17% to 23%, significantly lower than the acceptance levels for St Andrews.
With 10,425 students on roll and a town population of under 20,000, the immersive student experience at St Andrews is rich, coupled with stunning scenery and exemplary teaching standards.
The university offers dozens of degrees across 19 academic schools, and each school belongs to one of the four key faculties: Divinity, Medicine, Art, and Science.
A pleasing juxtaposition of architecture throughout the sprawling town-wide campus exists: both modern buildings intermingled with the ancient.
The semesters at St Andrews are broken into Martinmas and Candlemas, which is archaic terminology used for Christian holy days.
University of St. Andrews Ranking
In 2021, the University of St Andrews was ranked by the Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide as the top university in the UK.
This was the first time the university has touted the top position in 30 years. The BBC featured the ranking as being particularly significant news.
The university was ranked #3 in the UK by The Guardian University Guide 2022 and has been consistently voted as the best university in Scotland.
Alongside being renowned for the academic rigor of the undergraduate programs, St Andrews is also recognized as being outstanding by REF (Research Excellence Framework).
Information derivative from university ‘Graduate Outcome’ surveys found that 92% of recently graduated students were either in full-time employment or seeking further education.
Subjects that bolstered employability post-graduation included medicine, sciences, law, and technology.
University of St. Andrews Notable Alumni
As an educational institution that has been established for 600 years, St Andrews has a huge number of notable and interesting alumni.
As briefly mentioned, both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge studied at St Andrews and also met while they were students. It is widely speculated that Kate convinced William to remain in Education when he wanted to quit.
St Andrews is used to hosting famous and royal students; for hundreds of years, members of the elite and landed gentry have been sending their children to St Andrews.
However, it is 2022, and representation is key. Like all prestigious universities, St Andrews is taking broad steps to ensure that they have a widely diverse and inclusive admission.
Alumni include Ella Woodward – an author famous for making Veganism mainstream, Alex Younger the former Director of MI6, and John Cleese, a comedian and producer.
Additionally, there are Five Nobel Laureates amongst the alums noted for physiology, chemistry, and medicine.
University of St. Andrews Tuition
For International students, the fee per semester is £26,350 for arts, divinity, or science; medicine is listed at the slightly higher rate of £33,570.
It is essential to know that the majority of degrees in Scotland are four years long, which will require some assessment regarding investment, loans, and the time you are willing to commit to being in formal, full-time education.
In addition to the ‘bonus year’ tuition, there will be slightly higher costs for accommodation, food, and general living expenses due to the extended time.
The concept behind the additional year is to provide more depth and flexibility to the degree program allowing students to really explore the subjects that intrigue them and ultimately will lead to a more focused and refined major.
If you are slightly unsure about your major and would like some time to explore other subjects, this would be an excellent path.
For every university, it is always worth exploring the array of available bursaries and scholarships. It is often surprising how much money is left unutilized by students who could use financial support to complete their studies comfortably.
Be aware that some of the funds available have an application period in order to apply successfully. It is always a good idea to utilize the resources available at the university, such as guidance counselors who would be aware of such funding and how to go about applying for it.
What Is University of St. Andrews Known For?
Situated 55 miles North East of Edinburgh, St Andrews is a coastal town with an enormous amount to offer – for both students and tourists alike. As a student in need of relaxation, there are multiple walking trails and beaches for exploring.
When parents and guests come to visit, there are ample restaurants to take them to. St Andrews is well known for fresh seafood, cheese, and traditional Scottish fare.
St Andrews is home to seven golf courses within the Internationally renowned ‘golf complex.’ Amongst these is the aptly named Old Course, which is in fact the oldest golf course in the world.
Situated on the North Sea, St Andrews can be very cold in the winter months. Fortunately, there are numerous family-friendly, cozy pubs to spend a warm afternoon studying in – most of which serve hardy, reasonably priced meals.