Good University Guide 2023

University of Aberdeen

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Aberdeen

Contact details


King's College, Aberdeen , AB24 3FX,

View on map



A “revolutionary” science teaching hub has opened at Aberdeen, designed to transform how chemistry, medical, biological and geosciences students work together. 

The £35 million building has digitised teaching spaces alongside flexible laboratory areas for cross-disciplinary projects. The new hub joins other modern developments such as the Sir Duncan Rice Library, opened ten years ago by the Queen, at the Old Aberdeen campus, founded in 1495. The historic King’s buildings provide an imposing backdrop. 

When the original King’s College opened it had 36 staff and students who studied only the arts, divinity and law. Fast-forward more than five centuries and theology and religious studies was at the forefront of the university's successful submission to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). Aberdeen slips 20 places in our research quality index, however, against stronger performances from rival institutions across the sector.

These days the curriculum covers 12 teaching schools and the opportunity to follow a special interest is built into degrees, allowing students to add contrasting courses to their main subject area.

The Aberdeen Employability Boost Award for students and graduates has been introduced to enhance readiness for work, offering live workshops and employer-led sessions to find out how to stand out in job applications.

The university has been associated with five Nobel laureates in the fields of chemistry, medicine, physics and peace. At Foresterhill, life sciences and medical students share Europe’s largest health campus, run by the university and NHS Grampian.

Applications and admissions to Aberdeen hit a five-year peak in 2021’s recruitment round. New entrants will find in-person lectures, tutorials and practical teaching supplemented by virtual learning services. Lecture capture is an established tool, and some staff use a “flipped classroom” approach, requiring students to study a topic before in-person sessions where they can explore ideas with peers and tutors.

In our analysis of the latest National Student Survey, published in summer 2022, Aberdeen reaches the top ten for student satisfaction with the overall experience, rising from 12th in 2021 to ninth place. The university is 14th for satisfaction with teaching quality, up from 31=. Students are offered support for their mental health including a free counselling service, therapy pets and free mindfulness sessions.

AFG College with the University of Aberdeen is the first campus to open in Qatar in partnership with a UK institution. It offers bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance and business management. Aberdeen also has partnerships in Sri Lanka and an alliance with Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.

The university has longstanding links with Aberdeen’s offshore oil and gas industries. Its facilities include the National Decommissioning Centre in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, a global research centre that has engineering laboratories and hangar space for the design and development of oil and gas decommissioning technology, as well as environmental commercial testing facilities. 

At the Oceanlab research centre just north of the city, Aberdeen’s engineering experts test subsea equipment. The university also nurtures strengths across the life sciences and medicine, the arts and social sciences, and business — with an emphasis on co-curricular experiences and collaborative teaching and learning.

Different bursaries and scholarships — from means-tested access payments to merit-based awards for those entering with top grades — are offered according to whether applicants are from Scotland, the rest of the UK or abroad. The university makes contextualised offers for students who have left care or are estranged from their parents, or who come from a deprived area. Aberdeen is third among Scottish universities for its black achievement gap (11.1 per cent), improved from 12.3 per cent last year. 

All first-years are guaranteed one of the 2,184 rooms in halls if they apply by the deadline. A £225,000 development at the Hillhead Student Village has created a new social area with decking and a canopy for performances and get-togethers. There is also an outdoor gym, facilities and a community garden with plants from the university’s Cruickshank Botanic Garden — an 11-acre oasis of greenery on the King’s College campus. Accommodation starts at £92 a week, or £155 for 148 catered spaces. 

Students at Aberdeen can choose from more than 100 sports clubs and societies. Aberdeen Sports Village, across the road from the main campus, features Olympic-standard sports and exercise facilities, from a diving pool to indoor and outdoor athletics arenas. More sports facilities are to be found around the city: there is a boathouse on the River Dee and a climbing bothy in Royal Deeside. At the King’s Pavilion there are outdoor playing fields, tennis courts and an artificial cricket wicket. The university also has the oldest shinty club in the world, established in 1861, and students play the Scottish game — similar to field hockey — at Balgownie. There is no excuse for taking a breather in the great outdoors. The region has 150 miles of coastline and the university is within striking distance of the Cairngorms National Park and the Glenshee Ski Centre.

show more


Category Score Rank
Ranking - 19 (20)
Teaching quality 79.4 14th
Student experience 78.6 9th
Research quality 38.7 63rd=
Ucas entry points 185 8th
Graduate prospects 79.9 33rd=
Firsts and 2:1s 88.3 13th=
Completion rate 89.9 41st=
Student-staff ratio 15 39th=
World ranking - 220= (205)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 19,435/3,105
Applications/places ratio 6.3:1
Overall offer rate 70.5%


Places in accommodation 2,184
Accommodation costs £92 - £156
Catered costs £155
Accommodation contact


Scots/EU fees £0 - £1,820
Fees (placement year) Full fees
Fees (overseas year) Full fees
Fees (international) £19,800 - £22,800
Fees (international, medical) £47,500
Finance website
Graduate salaries £26,000

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 11
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 81.1%
Grammar school admissions 2.8%
Independent school admissions 16.1%
Ethnic minority students (all) 14.2%
Black achievement gap -11.1%
First generation students 30.7%
Deprived areas 7.9%
Mature students 15.8%
EU students 18.7%
Other overseas students 8.2%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Geology 93.4%
Music 89.3%
Anatomy and physiology 87.8%
Philosophy 86.5%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 85.8%
History 84.5%
Anthropology 84%
Medicine 83.5%
Psychology 83%
English 82%
French 81.8%
Chemical engineering 81.2%
Biological sciences 80.9%
Geography and environmental science 79.7%
Politics 78.8%
Iberian languages 78.1%
Accounting and finance 77.9%
Business, management and marketing 77.5%
Sociology 76.8%
Law 76.6%
Education 75.8%
General engineering 75%
Chemistry 74.9%
Economics 74.8%
Mathematics 73.8%
Civil engineering 73.3%
Mechanical engineering 72.8%
Electrical and electronic engineering 71.1%
Computer science 69.1%