Higher Education in Scotland
Education is one of Scotland’s greatest talents. The Scottish higher education system has a strong tradition of academic excellence and has been used as the model for higher education systems throughout the world - the United States being one notable example.
Undergraduate Honours degrees in Scotland are usually four years in duration and are structured to ensure a great deal of flexibility during the first two years of study. Most students only confirm their major in the final two years of study, meaning you can usually study any subjects that interest you! This is different from the English system of undergraduate education, which is 3 years in duration, being more specialised from the beginning.
Postgraduate degrees fall into two categories. Taught degrees generally comprise of tutorials and lectures before culminating in a period of individual study such as a dissertation or research project. Often referred to as Masters Degrees, they are known by various titles including Master of Science (MSc), Master of Letters (MLitt), Master of Research (MRes) and Master of Business Administration (MBA).
A Masters is likely to last 12 months (or more) full time, or two years (or more) part time and may:
- involve a detailed study of a particular aspect of your academic discipline;
- be vocational and lead to exemptions and/or a professional qualification;
- be a conversion course developing your knowledge and skills in a new subject.
Research degrees involve the in-depth study of a specific field, normally over a period of two or three years. These degrees are supervised and lead to the awards of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master of Philosophy (MPhil).
The educational culture in Scotland is very much focused on independent learning and this is reflected in the number of contact hours students have with teaching staff. You may find that this is slightly lower than that of other countries, and the expectation is that a significant amount of reading and study will be done outside of the classroom. Although the learning style is different, as well as the help provided in tutorials, you will also be able to see your tutor outside of these times by booking an appointment.