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Study and work in Scotland
Sonal D'Silva
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March 17, 2006

Scotland means different things to different people -- the home of the best whisky to malt enthusiasts, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Sherlock Holmes fans, bagpipes or Franz Ferdinand to music lovers, Trainspotting and Braveheart to cinephiles...

But, if that's all you come up with, you're missing out on something important -- Scotland's long tradition of educational excellence.

At the recent Education UK Exhibition organised by the British Council, Stuart Rennie from Robert Gordon Universit, Aberdeen, Michelle Beagan, market development co-ordinator, Education UK Scotland, and Lorna Halliday from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh gave Indian students a glimpse into the Scottish education system.

Especially noteworthy is the Fresh Talent Initiative, a scheme that enables international students to live and work in Scotland for two years after their studies are completed.

If you are planning to study abroad, it is worth exploring Scotland as an option. Here's what you need to know.

Quick facts

~ Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, along with England [Images], Wales and Northern Ireland, but has its own parliament.

~ Scotland is one of the major financial centres in the world.

~ It ranks third in the world in research and its main strengths lie in the fields of life science, medical research, biotechnology, informatics, energy, nanotechnology and environmental science. The research for Dolly, the cloned sheep, was pioneered in Scotland.

~ In 2003, 18,000 international students took degrees from Scotland -- 1,800 of these were from India.

History of education in Scotland

~ Education became compulsory in Scotland in 1496.

~ There are 21 higher education institutions in Scotland including 13 universities, two art schools, a conservatoire (a schoolhouse with special facilities for performing arts) -- the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama -- and the Scottish Agricultural College.

~ Subject areas with the largest number of students are business and administration, biological sciences and engineering.
One year postgraduate studies and MBA programmes are also very popular with international students.

~ Regarding the time frame of postgraduate studies:

Scottish versus English education

~ A degree obtained in Scotland has the same status as any other degree obtained in the UK.

~ The main difference between English and Scottish education systems is at the undergraduate level. Scotland has a 4-year undergraduate degree as compared to a 3-year degree in England. Scottish students can spend three years to gain an Ordinary or General degree and four years to attain an Honour's degree.

One of the benefits to this 4-year structure is that, in the first and second year, students have the opportunity to study a broad range of subjects. Specialisation comes later, and students can change courses and choose specialist subjects up to the end of second year

~ The cost of living in Scotland is generally less expensive than in other parts of the UK.

Cost of study

It is not possible to give the exact figures for Scottish tuition fees as they will vary between institutions and depending on the specific course you choose. However, according to, tuition fee costs in pounds sterling are in the region of (all approximate Indian figures:

~ Undergraduate �7,000 (Rs 5,41,800) to �10,000 (Rs 7,74,000)

~ Graduate (taught course) �8,000 (Rs 6,19,200) to �12,000 (Rs 9,28,300)

~ Graduate (research) �7,000 (Rs 5,41,800) to �11,000 (Rs 8,50,800)

Please check with the university you are interested in as to the exact fee for the course you want to choose.

Scholarships for study in Scotland

The Scottish International Scholarship Programme offers 22 masters scholarships for students from China, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand [Images], Singapore, with six places for Indian students.

~ The scholarships are available for taught master's courses of 12 months at any Scottish higher education institution. 

~ Applications for science, technology, creative industries, IT, media, design and public health, to name a few areas, will be given priority.

Eligibility criteria

~ You could be a permanent resident of People's Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and be in your home country at the time of application

~ You must be between 25 and 35 years old at the time of application

~ You must have between 3 and 5 years relevant working experience

~ You must have a good working level of English demonstrated by an IELTS test result of at least 6.5 on the academic module with no individual band less than 6.0

~ You must not currently be working or studying in the UK

~ You must not be in receipt of any other scholarships or award for the academic year

~ You must hold a good first degree in a related subject from a recognised university.

~ You must not have received UK government funding in the past.

Further details can be found at:

Fresh Talent Initiative: Live and work in Scotland

This initiative is driven by the concern that there are less people of working age in the labour force in Scotland and that there is a skill shortage especially in the areas of science, technical management, IT and engineering.

Launched on June 22, 2005, the scheme enables successful applicants to stay and work in Scotland for two years after the end of their course without the need for a work permit. This scheme is not a guarantee of a job but will give you an opportunity to find one.

Who is eligible?

~ Non-European Union students graduating from a Scottish university or college with a higher national diploma, undergraduate degree, Masters or PhD can apply to stay on and work in Scotland for an additional two years.

~ It does not include people who lived outside Scotland while studying. Applicants must have lived in Scotland for an appropriate period while studying.

~ You must intend to work in Scotland during the period granted under the scheme.

~ You need to show you have funds to support yourself whilst looking for full-time employment in Scotland. You don't need to show all the money for the entire two years at once, but at least for 2-3 months after your studies are done.

~ You must either intend to leave the UK at the end of your stay or switch to another immigration scheme.

~ Students will have one year from the time they complete their studies to apply for the Fresh Talent Initiative scheme.

~ The cost of a Fresh Talent Visa extension is �335 if applying in Scotland (approximately Rs 26,000).

Graduates can apply for Fresh Talent Visas in India but only once they have completed their course. The approximate cost is around �80 (approximately Rs 6,000).

~ There are no restrictions on the kind of job that applicants can do under this scheme. They can even choose to be self-employed. 

~ There have been 1,174 successful applicants since the launch of the Fresh Talent Initiative; 454 (approximately 40 per cent of the total) have been from India.

~ Advice on how to find employment is available through the Relocation Advisory Service. This service has been established to provide information and advice for anyone looking to study, live and work in Scotland.

There are seven staff members including two immigration specialists and one business advisor who help provide information on visa, work permits and studying. Use the form at or e-mail

~ You can use the career service at the university and attend career development seminars to get the maximum information on your options after your education in Scotland is done.

Useful web sites

Have you studied abroad or are currently completing a course? Do you miss home? How good is your course? Have you adjusted to the weather and made friends? Tell us everything about your experience

Don't forget to mention your name, age, location and course.

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