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The University today

View of St Andrews from St Rules tower

Founded in the fifteenth century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world.

Teaching began in the community of St Andrews in 1410 and the University was formally constituted by the issue of Papal Bull in 1413.

The University is now one of Europe's most research intensive seats of learning - over a quarter of its turnover comes from research grants and contracts. It is one of the top rated universities in Europe for research, teaching quality and student satisfaction and is consistently ranked among the UK's top five in leading independent league tables produced by The Times, The Guardian and the Sunday Times.

According to the Sunday Times, St Andrews is "now firmly established as the leading multi-faculty alternative to Oxford and Cambridge."

Its international reputation for delivering high quality teaching and research and student satisfaction make it one of the most sought after destinations for prospective students from the UK, Europe and overseas. It is Scotland's most cosmopolitan university – a third of the student body of 7,200 is from overseas.

It has a staff of 1,800 and maintains one of the strongest records in the UK for teaching quality, good degrees and student support. In the four years it has entered the UK National Student Survey, St Andrews has ranked as the top mainstream university for student satisfaction.

In 2009 the University received on average 11 applications per place. St Andrews has not entered clearing for several years and sets highly challenging asking rates to attract only the most academically potent students in the Arts, Sciences, Medicine and Divinity.

The University provides an invigorating intellectual climate in which staff have close contacts with one another and with colleagues in other UK and overseas universities and research establishments. All Schools in both the sciences and the arts are actively involved in pushing back the frontiers of knowledge.

Physically the University is closely integrated with the town; the modern purpose-built library and many academic Schools are located centrally. The growth in physical and mathematical sciences has been accommodated at the North Haugh on the edge of St Andrews. A modern sports centre with adjacent playing fields and halls of residence are also located in this area.

St Andrews is relatively small, despite being a "city", with a basic population approaching 17,000. The University population (staff and students) numbers nearly 9,000. On average one in three people you see in the street have something to do with the University. You start to feel very quickly that you belong.

What makes the University of St Andrews special?

  • Consistently high teaching quality within a strong research environment.
  • Excellent retention rates.
  • Diverse forms of teaching: web support and small group interaction.
  • Flexible modular degree structure.
  • Strong commitment to University-managed accommodation.
  • Compact and friendly.
  • A Scottish university with a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
  • High reputation for an excellent student experience.