Introduction

Sociology and Theology & Religion at Aberdeen combines a fascinating exploration of how society shapes us as individuals in all sorts of ways, with in-depth study of the powerful influencing factor of religion, studying and comparing the major religions across the world, and with special focus on Christian faith in historic and contemporary contexts.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
LVJ6
Pathway Programme Available
Undergraduate Foundation Programme
Degree marketing image

In Sociology you’ll explore the issues and challenges of modern societies and how they have developed through time until the present day. In addition to the influence of religion you’ll study topics including sociology of the family, work-life balance, the influence of crime, and the state.

You’ll become skilled in the social research methods used to gather the evidence to better understand aspects of society – which could be observation, interviews, large-scale surveys or analysing the content of documents and videos.

You’ll be taught by academic staff with international reputations for conducting high-quality research in religion and secularisation, conflict and peace, social movements, and global political sociology.

In Theology & Religious Studies you’ll gain a sound understanding of the major religious traditions of the world, including their historical development and contemporary importance, with a special focus on Christian faith, life and doctrine in its historical, institutional and contemporary context.

You’ll study biblical languages, the history of the church in the west, the Reformation in Scotland, the role of religion in ethical and political debates, and religious aspects of disability.

You’ll develop great skills in social awareness and analysis, thinking critically, and posing probing questions, all of which will make you a sought-after for a variety of interesting careers including church ministry and administration, media and journalism, public service, charities, NGOs and international affairs, business, publishing, and education.

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses
Introduction to Sociology I: Self, Identity & Society (SO1007)

15 Credit Points

Sociology is the study of human social groups. It particularly focuses on modern societies, analysing how they work and how the major social institutions in them (such as religion, the media, government and the economy) operate. The course provides students with a general introduction to the unique manner in which sociologists seek to understand contemporary societies. Students are presented with current and classical approaches to understanding the social processes that underlie self-construction, group formation and social interaction, within urbanizing and globalizing social contexts.

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Introduction to Sociology II: Systems of Power (SO1509)

15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to macro-sociology, which analyses the ways that people’s lives are shaped by large-scale forces, structures, and institutions. Students are introduced to the particular ways in which classical and contemporary sociologists understand social forces in the modern domestic and global environment and learn to think critically about those social forces that impact their everyday lives using the sociological imagination. Substantive topics likely to be covered in this course include the media, politics, religion, surveillance, education, class stratification, international inequalities, and the relationship between humans and other animals.

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Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

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Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

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Optional Courses

Select at least 60 credit points from level 1 courses in Divinity and Religious Studies or the approved courses below, plus further credit points from courses of choice to reach 120 credit points.

Latin 1 (LT1009)

15 Credit Points

Latin 1 is an introductory, intensive course for those with little or no previous exposure to Latin. Students completing this course should have a Latin vocabulary of about 400 words and a basic understanding of Latin grammar and syntax. Students successfully completing this course will be adequately prepared to attend Latin 2. Students will very likely discover that their knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar/syntax is improved by their study of Latin. The etymological roots of many English words can be traced to the Latin language.

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Latin 2 (LT1507)

15 Credit Points

Latin 2 picks up where Latin 1 finished in first term. By the end of this course students should have a more or less comprehensive understanding of Latin syntax and grammar, a Latin vocabulary of 700-800 words, and should be capable of translating simple Latin texts into idiomatic English. Students will very likely discover that their knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar/syntax is improved by their study of Latin.

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Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses
Sociology of Everyday Life i: the Embodied Self (SO2006)

30 Credit Points

This follows on from level-one sociology. It is designed to highlight the ways that sociological theory informs the research endeavour, not only the questions sociologists raise, but also the particular modes through which we go about investigating them. The module examines these points in relation to a range of micro-level topics – the body, food and feeding, health and illness, the emotions, group behaviour, sex and gender, the life course and death and dying – all of which emphasise the nature of human interaction and sociological efforts to understand it.

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Sociology of Everyday Life II: Global Issues in the 21st Century (SO2509)

30 Credit Points

This macro-sociology course extends students’ understanding of large-scale social, as well as political and economic, processes and institutions. Particular focus is on the sociological analysis of global issues and socio-political controversies, many of which are subject to topical and, at times, contentious debate at the beginning of the 21st century. The substantive topics include areas of social and political concern such as globalisation; the changing nature of economy, work and leisure; risk and insecurity; multiculturalism; food production and security; social movements; nationalism and identities.

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Optional Courses

Select a further 60 credit points from level 2 courses in Divinity.

Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses
Modernization (SO3069)

30 Credit Points

The course uses the changes in the nature and power of religion brought by industrialization to examine modernization. The shift from imposed communal faith to free choice in a diverse market is used to illustrate and explain social differentiation, egalitarianism, individualism, social cohesion, community, association, immigration, conversion, trust, social influence, recruitment, gender, and cultural defence.

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Thinking Sociologically (SO3066)

30 Credit Points

Thinking Sociologically is the department's core sociological theory module. The course offers our students an introduction to a range of key sociological thinkers and bodies of thought, both classical and contemporary, that inform sociological analysis of social life and social institutions. As such, this course is intended to provide our honours students with a conceptual 'toolkit', that can be applied to facilitate understanding, insight and informed critique with respect to a broad range of historical and contemporary social, political and economic phenomena.

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Ten Sociological Studies (SO3568)

30 Credit Points

This course bridges the theoretical emphasis of SO3066 and the practical elements of SO3524. It presents sociology as a social science by having students examine in detail ten reports of sociological research. The works chosen will vary from year to year but typical examples are Laud Humphrey’s Tearoom Trade, Leah Bassel and Akwugo Emejulu’s Minority Women and Austerity, Ray Pahl’s Divisions of Labour, Stan Cohen’s Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Dorothy Smith’s K is Mentally Ill, and Richard Sennett’s Corrosion of Character. Students will be expected to do a considerable amount of private reading.

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Social Research Methods (SO3524)

30 Credit Points

Sociologists use a range of methods and techniques to explore and test sociological theory. This module introduces many of these methods and techniques. It aims to ground students’ theoretical understanding of society through the practical analysis of a variety of data. It starts by introducing the varying philosophical starting points of research and goes on to provide foundation level critical analysis skills in the key quantitative and qualitative methods that sociologists have deployed to understand and ‘capture’ the social world.

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Optional Courses

Select ONE from EACH of the following options

  • (SO3066) Thinking Sociologically OR (S03069) Modernization AND
  • (SO3524) Ten Sociological Studies OR (SO3568) Social Research Methods

Plus, select 60 credit points from course(s) from level 3 courses in Divinity.

NOTE: If you intend to enrol on the Sociology research project at level 4, you must pass SO 3524 Social Research Methods at level 3.

Thinking Sociologically (SO3066)

30 Credit Points

Thinking Sociologically is the department's core sociological theory module. The course offers our students an introduction to a range of key sociological thinkers and bodies of thought, both classical and contemporary, that inform sociological analysis of social life and social institutions. As such, this course is intended to provide our honours students with a conceptual 'toolkit', that can be applied to facilitate understanding, insight and informed critique with respect to a broad range of historical and contemporary social, political and economic phenomena.

View detailed information about this course
Modernization (SO3069)

30 Credit Points

The course uses the changes in the nature and power of religion brought by industrialization to examine modernization. The shift from imposed communal faith to free choice in a diverse market is used to illustrate and explain social differentiation, egalitarianism, individualism, social cohesion, community, association, immigration, conversion, trust, social influence, recruitment, gender, and cultural defence.

View detailed information about this course
Social Research Methods (SO3524)

30 Credit Points

Sociologists use a range of methods and techniques to explore and test sociological theory. This module introduces many of these methods and techniques. It aims to ground students’ theoretical understanding of society through the practical analysis of a variety of data. It starts by introducing the varying philosophical starting points of research and goes on to provide foundation level critical analysis skills in the key quantitative and qualitative methods that sociologists have deployed to understand and ‘capture’ the social world.

View detailed information about this course
Ten Sociological Studies (SO3568)

30 Credit Points

This course bridges the theoretical emphasis of SO3066 and the practical elements of SO3524. It presents sociology as a social science by having students examine in detail ten reports of sociological research. The works chosen will vary from year to year but typical examples are Laud Humphrey’s Tearoom Trade, Leah Bassel and Akwugo Emejulu’s Minority Women and Austerity, Ray Pahl’s Divisions of Labour, Stan Cohen’s Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Dorothy Smith’s K is Mentally Ill, and Richard Sennett’s Corrosion of Character. Students will be expected to do a considerable amount of private reading.

View detailed information about this course
Year 4

Year 4

Optional Courses

Select ONE of the following:

  • Dissertation (DR4044)
  • Research Project (SO4068) AND Research Project Part 2 (SO4568)
  • Dissertation (DR4544)

Plus, select further credit points from level 4 Sociology courses (see below) and level 4 Divinity courses to gain 60 credits in each discipline.

Dissertation (DR4044)

30 Credit Points

This course involves the writing of a dissertation in one of the sub-disciplines in Divinity and Religious Studies. Independent Research work is done under the supervision of a member of staff. The dissertation is an extended essay, of no more than 10,000 words inclusive of references. Please note the 10,000 words does not include the bibliography

View detailed information about this course
Dissertation (DR4544)

30 Credit Points

This course involves the writing of a dissertation in one of the sub-disciplines in Divinity and Religious Studies. Independent Research work is done under the supervision of a member of staff. The dissertation is an extended essay, of no more than 10,000 words inclusive of references. Please note the 10,000 words does not include the bibliography

View detailed information about this course
Research Project Part 1 (SO4068)

30 Credit Points

This course is the first of two courses that comprise the Dissertation in Sociology. This first course affords students an opportunity to apply their sociological knowledge and research skills to an individual piece of research, focusing on a topic selected by the student and ethically approved by their Supervisor. Over the course of SO4068, with guidance from a member of staff, the project student will formulate an appropriate research question(s), conduct a critical literature review of relevant material, select appropriate research methods and prepare appropriate data collection tool(s) in order to commence their (online) research by the end of this course. Students will also get the opportunity to reflect on their presentation skills and prepare a 5-minute Panopto video on their project design for peer review. Particular emphasis will be given to helping students develop time management skills, a key transferable skill.

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Research Project Part 2 (SO4568)

30 Credit Points

In this course, project students, guided by regular staff supervision, build on the foundations developed in SO4068 to conduct their original research and deliver their conclusions in two formats. All students will present their developing work to peers in a (online) multi-day student conference early in the semester and submit a final report of their work (i.e. project dissertation) at the end of the course.

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European Societies (SO4051)

30 Credit Points

The course aims to give an overview of European issues and current debates. It provides a deeper insight into how European issues affect our lives and why this matters. It addresses current issues of concern such as Brexit, migration, Coronavirus, family and work in comparative perspective. In doing so it blends together sociological and social policy approaches.

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Sociology of Religion and Culture (SO4058)

30 Credit Points

Religion is part of culture, and shares many of its most fundamental attributes. This course begins with an in depth re-examination of classical sociological theories of religion with a view to understanding religion as culture. We then examine the relationship between religion and other important social phenomena and experiences, including violence, rebellion, discipline, death, hope and advertising. Advertising makes a good example: modern advertising has religious roots in the 1920s as the ‘promise of redemption’. Now advertising dominates everything, and even education and religion are forced to speak in its terms.

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Animals and Society (SO4065)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces students to Human-Animal Studies (HAS) and the ‘animal turn’ in the social sciences. It also explores the sociological significance and political implications of human-animal issues in contemporary modern societies and the academy. To develop a more critical and nuanced understanding of interspecies interactions/contexts students will consider the contested nature of the human/animal boundary, changing attitudes towards animals in modern postmodern societies, and the ambiguous status of animals, especially in practice. By drawing on perspectives such as ecofeminism, symbolic interactionism, actor-network theory and Critical Animal Studies this will further contextualise current debates about humans and other animals.

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Between Peace and Conflict: Societies in Transition (TR4004)

30 Credit Points

This course utilises a range of disciplinary and theoretical approaches to analyse the concept of ‘transition’ as a fundamental condition of world history. It examines this through two related processes: the transition from peace to conflict and from conflict to peace at both a macro and micro level. Topics include how states transition through revolutionary violence or through peaceful means, how individuals are radicalized into terrorist groups or become involved in non-violent movements, and transitions in global institutions, norms and technology that generate local and individual changes.

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Politics and Religion (SO4557)

30 Credit Points

Religion inspires political action, pervades national identities, and shapes political regimes. Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Nigeria, Mali, Syria; the conflicts in these countries all involve religious differences. Religion may be in decline in the West but even in Europe there are arguments about the proper place of religion and about religious exemptions from general laws. In the USA religious conservatives use the courts, state legislatures and Congress to fight against abortion and gay rights. Taking a very broad view of politics, this course examines the links between religion and politics.

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Sex, Death and the Afterlife (SO4565)

30 Credit Points

This course explores the key existential questions in the modern world. Through a series of theoretical approaches and case studies it examines the changes in individuals' understanding of sex, the meaning of life, and death. The overarching theme of the course focuses on the changing attitudes and practices surrounding existential issues in light of an increasingly secularised social context. As church involvement and knowledge of Christian beliefs have declined, people have little choice but to become increasingly inventive, which in turn affects the shape of the modern self. The course addresses these individual and cultural shifts through a sociological framework.

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Political Sociology (SO4554)

30 Credit Points

This course aims to give students an understanding of the social basis of political power. It begins by examining the classic paradigms of political sociology, paying particular attentions to those developed by Marx, Weber, and Tocqueville. It then examines several substantive issues and debates on the nature of contemporary political life, such as those surrounding the changing nature of civil society, the power of large corporations, the relative decline of class politics and rise of cultural politics, the media's influence on public opinion, and globalization's effect on democracy.

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Social Inequality (SO4569)

30 Credit Points

Inequality permeates all aspects of social life and structure. This course focuses on the major sociological approaches to the study of social inequality. Emphasising historical, social, and political processes, it utilises social science data and theory to explore key patterns and consequences of inequality in Scotland and beyond. In addition to examining distribution of income, it also focuses on occupational and class hierarchies, power conflicts, racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, poverty, social mobility, and inequality of educational opportunities.

View detailed information about this course

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Sociology and Theology & Religion?

Why Divinity

  • An international community of eminent professors, including leading author and influential thinker and author Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Theological Ethics.
  • Specialist research and teaching centres include the Aberdeen University Centre for Ministry Studies, the Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability, and the Kairos Forum for people with cognitive or intellectual disabilities.
  • The inspiration of the beautiful King's College Chapel, begun in 1495 by University founder Bishop Elphinstone, a treasure-house of history and religious turbulence and today a precious inter-faith space for a multi-faith university community.
  • Major international treasures in the Library Special Collections Centre, including the archives of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland pre-1878 and fascinating local records of local estates and families dating from the Middle Ages.
  • Spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, combining top-class study facilities with state-of-the-art technology, and our beautiful Divinity Library with an extensive collection of theological material.
  • A packed campus programme of events, including theological lectures, cafe discussions, exhibitions, seminars, and the annual May Festival with high profile speakers, scientists, authors and broadcasters debating big issues facing the world today.
  • Aberdeen has produced many notable scholars and theologians, including John Forbes, George Campbell, William Milligan, William Robertson Smith, David S Cairns and GD Henderson.
  • According to the 2018 National Student Survey (NSS), Theology and Religious Studies is one of six subjects at the University of Aberdeen to receive a 100% student satisfaction rating.

Why Sociology

  • An international reputation for our sociology research, and recognised by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as a centre for research training and supervision for postgraduate students.
  • Teaching with a top rating of ‘Excellent’ in the most recent Teaching Quality Assessment.
  • Consistently rated very highly, including by students in the National Student Survey (NSS) from whom we get great feedback.
  • Sociology at Aberdeen is rated 4th in Scotland in the Complete University Guide 2021.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library with its top-class study environment, state-of-the-art technology, and extensive collection of sociology publications and resources for your study.
  • A packed programme of student and public events, lectures, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers, plus the annual May Festival, British Science Week and Being Human Festival regularly featuring Aberdeen research in social sciences.
  • Participation in the European Social Survey, one of the largest and most reliable sources of data about Europeans’ attitudes, behaviours and experiences, with data from more than 350,000 individuals across 36 countries since 2002.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

2021 Entry
2022 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

International Applicants who do not meet the Entry Requirements

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers preparation programmes for international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements for undergraduate study. Discover your foundation pathway here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2021/22
EU / International students £18,000
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX