Undergraduate Study

Undergraduate Study

Although Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, it has its own separate system of higher education. The Scottish higher education system is distinguished from that of England and the rest of the UK by both the duration of undergraduate degrees and also the increased flexibility afforded to undergraduate students.

The Aberdeen Degree

Whereas undergraduate degrees in England are generally three years in duration, in Scotland an honours level undergraduate degree is four years. Also, unlike in England where students usually specialise in one subject from their first year of study, in Scotland students can choose to study different subjects during their first two years before deciding on which one(s) to specialise (major).

The Scottish system has always been well regarded internationally and many of its distinguishing traditions – including the length and structure of undergraduate degrees – have since been adopted by other countries, including the United States.

Degree Programmes

The University of Aberdeen offers a range of degree programmes:

  • Master of Arts (MA)*
  • Bachelor of Divinity (BD)
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Bachelor of Engineering/Master of Engineering
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Music (BMus)
  • MBChB (Medicine)
  • Bachelor of Law (LLB)

Search degree programmes

*Note: The Master of Arts (MA) is the name given to the four-year undergraduate degree awarded in the Liberal Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences by the University of Aberdeen and the other ancient universities of Scotland – St Andrews, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. The use of the word 'Master' is a historical quirk, and was traditionally used to distinguish the four-year system in Scotland from the three-year undergraduate degree in England. The four-year Master of Arts is recognised as the equivalent to a four-year Bachelor’s degree.

Entry Requirements

Applicants holding IB or A-level qualifications will be considered for undergraduate entry. 


Undergraduate programmes at the University of Aberdeen are based on a credit system, where students accumulate credits over the four years of their studies. A full-time student generally takes 60 credits per semester (half session), which equates to 120 credits per year. Most classes equate to 15 credits, which means a student can generally expect to take up to four 15 credit point courses per semester (or equivalent).

All degree programmes contain certain prescribed courses for each year o study, however in addition students choose a number of classes from other subjects through the University's Enhanced Study programme. These include:

  • Sixth Century courses: explore topical issues from a range of disciplinary perspectives
  • Sustained Study programmes: focus more closely on a specific area of study (such as a language) for two years, alongside your main subject (major). 
  • Discipline Breadth courses: alternatively you may choose to pick up your Enhanced Study options through studying a selection of courses from one of the wide range of degree programmes offered.

Most programmes include a research dissertation, which gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and research skills to an individual piece of research, while work placements are included in some programmes.

Search degree programmes

Changing your Major

The tradition in Scotland is to admit students to a degree programme rather than to a particular subject. While you list a specific programme on your application, essentially you will be admitted to the relevant degree programme rather than a particular subject. This means that in most cases it is possible to switch to another subject (major) within your degree programme after you have begun your studies. For example, a student who had originally intended to study English might end up graduating with a degree in History or International Relations, while a student who originally studied Biology might switch to a subject such as Chemistry.

Student Support

The University of Aberdeen has 15,000 students, including 12,000 undergraduate students and 3,000 graduate students. 30% of our students come from outside of the UK, which means we have a great deal of experience in welcoming international students to our campus.

As a medium-sized university, we offer a wide variety of subjects, excellent facilities and a very active student community, while also maintaining a more personalised student support system. For example, all of our undergraduate students are allocated a Personal Tutor, a member of faculty who provides support and guidance throughout your studies. In addition, we offer a range of support services including

  • International Student Advisers
  • Personal Tutors
  • Residence Assistants
  • Counselling
  • Chaplaincy
  • Disability Office

How to Apply

International students applying for full undergraduate admission to the University of Aberdeen must apply through UCAS. UCAS is a centralised application system, which allows you to apply to up to five different institutions/courses throughout the UK on a single application form.

To apply through UCAS, visit www.ucas.com The University of Aberdeen UCAS code is A20, The University of Aberdeen.

International applicants applying via UCAS are encouraged to meet the UCAS deadline of 15 January (excluding Medicine*), however the University of Aberdeen will accept international applications via UCAS until 30 June.

* International applicants for Medicine should refer to the School of Medicine and Dentistry website for information on how to apply.

Submitting Supporting Documents

The University of Aberdeen does not generally require students to submit their school transcripts at the time of making their online application. Applicants are initially assessed initially on the information provided in their UCAS application.

Successful applicants will normally be instructed by the Admissions Office to submit their final official scores or grades at a later date, in order to confirm their admission.


  • Students taking the SAT, AP or ACT tests can have their test scores sent directly to the University of Aberdeen. Our institutional code for SAT and AP is 0818 and for ACT is 5364.

School Transcripts

All other documents, including your high school transcript, can be sent by post to:

Undergraduate Admissions
University Office
Regent Walk
King's College
AB24 3FX

If your school sends transcripts electronically, these can be sent to ugadmissions@abdn.ac.uk

Transfer Applicants

Transfer applicants also apply through UCAS. Your application will then be assessed by the relevant Admissions Selector, who will determine the stage of the degree programme here you can transfer into, based on your previous studies.