University of St. Andrews

Town of St. Andrews: 

  • 24K population
  • University: 10,000 students (8K undergraduates)
  • 40% of students from outside of UK, draws from 140 countries
  • Approx. 1,000 Americans
  • 180 and growing clubs & “societies”
  • More than 50 sports offered, at least 3 different levels (competitive, which requires tryouts, to recreational), big part of social life
  • Guaranteed housing for first year students (as long as you commit before June 30)
  • Options: single or shared rooms, shared or en-suite bathrooms, catered or self-catered (meal plan)
  • 12 dorms, questionnaire used to match students


The town of St. Andrew’s is adorable and it abuts a STUNNING coastline. It has 3 main streets and lots of little lanes that connect them. Very walkable. Both ancient (crumbling castle and cathedrals) and modern (tons of great restaurants, boutique stores and eateries as well as Starbucks, H&M, etc.).

It is a very popular golf destination with 7 public courses–including the famous Old Course– that draws tourists and international tournaments. The town also has two expansive beaches (one of which was used in the iconic Chariots of Fire scene), and a long pier. There are nice hotels and air BnBs available in town (parking can be difficult). Gorgeous vistas everywhere you turn! Great town for running and walking. 

The weather is typically Scottish, though it rains less than you’d think in St. Andrew’s. Occasional snow in winter but remains mostly temperate (low in 40’s during winter to high 60’s). Sun comes out a lot too!

The uni is about an hour and 15 minutes from Edinburgh airport. There is a reliable bus system and a train station. Most students can travel for free. Very safe community. A popular nightclub destination is Dundee, about 20 minutes away. Otherwise, the town is surrounded by farmland.


Traditions/key programs:

–Unique advising program: ”families” are student-run small groups that do a lot of activities together. 3rd years “build” families in the beginning of the year by inviting first year students to join them. Strong support system. 

Raisin Day (costumes coordinated by “families”, shaving cream fights on green)

May Dip (before exams)

Pier Walks: every Sunday in red gown, first Sunday is a big event

Red gowns: all students are given a red gown when entering; worn to special events, different ways of wearing it depending on your year and what you study. 


Teaching and learning:

Mostly lecture style classes with 100+ students with accompanying “tutorials”–10-15 students

4 Undergraduate Faculties: all 4 years long

  • Arts: most popular, along with sciences; MA degree (not masters!)
  • Sciences: BSc degree
  • Medicine
  • Divinity (first and oldest)

– Students usually take 3 classes per term (“modules”); one in your major, 2 other modules can be outside of your selected major but MUST be within your faculty

– Very little opportunity to cross over faculties

– 40% of arts students change their degree choice (within arts faculty), but student must take a course/module in that new degree within the first 2 years.

Cross faculty subjects (you can choose to pursue in either arts or science faculty):

  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Geography
  • Management
  • Math
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Sustainable Development

Most popular degrees/majors: international relations, psychology, computer science, economics, management

Harder to get into these classes, need to apply to degree to guarantee access


TO APPLY: US students through Common App, UCAS or direct application

Deadline: Jan. 31 (rolling before deadline)

Medicine deadline: Oct. 16

Decision times vary depending on the time of your application and subject you apply for

Transcript, school profile, senior year classes, 1 recommendation

Talk about academic passion, research, approach to teaching, etc.

Interviews only offered for medicine faculty

Deferred admission granted only with valid reason, not for a gap year experienced


Social Media

FACEBOOK: @uniofsta

Insta: @uniofstandrews

Twitter: @univofstandrews

Youtube channel


About The Author

Susanna Beckwith, MALS