How to Get into the University of St Andrews from the US [Guide 2023]
It’s hard to imagine any place that is more emblematic of Scotland than St. Andrews. Nestled between the North Sea and some of the world’s greatest golf courses, the University is one of the oldest in the English-speaking world, and one of the most highly regarded. The alma mater of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the University of St. Andrews is one of the most popular universities for American students to earn a degree overseas
by Kevin Newton (aneducationabroad.com)
Why study at the University of St Andrews?
It’s hard to imagine any place that is more emblematic of Scotland than St. Andrews. Nestled between the North Sea and some of the world’s greatest golf courses, the University is one of the oldest in the English-speaking world, and one of the most highly regarded. The alma mater of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the University of St. Andrews is one of the most popular universities for American students to earn a degree overseas.
University of St Andrews Rankings
While rankings are a fickle thing, St. Andrews routinely is considered one of the best universities in Scotland and the UK, and has been named the best in terms of student satisfaction. That emphasis on student satisfaction over research has cost St. Andrews in more research-intensive rankings, where it still shows up as a top 100 university. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t punch well above its weight. The university has also produced Nobel Prize winners, heads of government, and more than a few royals.
Perhaps more than anything, St. Andrews graduates have a tendency to go global. A majority of St. Andrews graduates end up working abroad after graduation, in places ranging from Germany and the United States to China and Australia.
Photo by Jjhake~commonswiki
University of St Andrews Notable US Alumni
Given St. Andrew’s popularity in recent years, it’s not surprising that many of its most notable alumni have been relatively recent. Alums from St. Andrews particularly make a splash in politics; with graduates including Fiona Hill. Beyond the US, St. Andrews alumni have ranged from Edward Jenner to kings of Scotland, as well as the aforementioned Prince and Princess of Wales.
What does the University of St Andrews Specialize In?
St. Andrews would be hesitant to say that it specializes in any one subject, but its political science, history, and international relations programs are world-leading. Specifically, St. Andrews has a very strong Persian language and Iranian studies faculty.
On the other end of the knowledge spectrum, St. Andrew’s medical school is one of the best in Scotland, and its programs in marine biology are exemplary. However, everything that is taught at St. Andrews is worthy of special mention.
University of St Andrews Programs for International Students
St. Andrews welcomes hundreds of Americas and other international students every year for graduate study. Those split largely between PhD programs (and other postgraduate courses) and masters programs.
PhDs and other research degrees are offered at St. Andrews across a wide variety of fields. Typically, a PhD in the UK takes three years, and funding is available for international students.
Oddly enough, St. Andrews awards its undergraduate students (in non-scientific fields) a Master of Arts, as do a handful of other Scottish universities. This is in recognition of both historical practice and the extra year that Scottish students spend on their university studies.
Therefore, many more traditional masters degrees have titles like “Master of Studies” or “Master of Literature.” They’re still the same level of masters degrees that you would study for in the US, and are recognized as such. These are typically a year long.
One exception is the MPhil, or Masters in Philosophy. These are essentially a bridge between taught work and independent research, and are typically two years long.
Like many other universities, St. Andrews offers a number of summer programs for prospective students. These range from programs that offer undergraduate credit for fields like geology and medieval Scottish history, as well as the Summer Academic Experience Courses. The SAEC program is a rarity in elite UK institutions in that it is officially sponsored by St. Andrews and attracts high school students from around the world, giving them a chance to not only study at St. Andrews, but also experience what life as a university student there is like.
One of the reasons that St. Andrews remains so popular with American students is that it does a great job of establishing partnerships with other universities, especially in the US. It has a long-standing study abroad arrangement with the University of California system, as well as programs with Emory and other prestigious universities in the US. Notably, it also has a dual degree program with William & Mary, which allows students to spend four years split between the institutions and earn a degree from both.
Photo by Remi Mathis
What exams are required to study at the University of St Andrews for US students?
Unlike many other top UK universities, St. Andrews does not specifically require AP or IB exams. It does still look for a strong ACT or SAT score.
University of St Andrews Acceptance Rate for International Students
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this. While St. Andrews admissions rates are higher than elite universities in the US by a considerable margin, there are considerable differences between outcomes depending on how a student applies.
Is it hard to get into the University of St Andrews for US students?
In what is surely going to be a frustrating answer for many, it depends. For students who apply to St. Andrews in a similar vein that they’d apply to other universities in the US, St. Andrews can prove to be quite competitive. When it is forced to evaluate students holistically, St. Andrews expects high academic achievement as well as significant extracurricular involvement.
For students who apply through the UK’s UCAS service, there is less of a chance for extracurricular activities to matter. Also, what we’ve noticed is that because it allows a student to better articulate their reasons for going to the UK, it allows St. Andrews to make a better determination on if a student will be a good fit.
Regardless, one important thing to keep in mind is that St. Andrews, like all other UK universities, does not practice yield protection.
University of St Andrews Tuition Fee for International Students
Tuition at St. Andrews goes up each year, but is locked for the duration of your studies. For students starting in the fall of 2023, it is 28,190 British Pounds per year.
Photo by Remi Mathis
How to Apply for the University of St Andrews from the US?
If you’re serious about applying to St. Andrews, you’re going to want to first determine if the Common App or UCAS is going to be more advantageous. If you’re applying through the Common App, be prepared to lean more on your extracurriculars. If you’re applying through UCAS, then chances are your test scores and academics will need to shine.
While St. Andrews takes applications through June 30 from American students, it is best to apply by January 25, with the rest of the UCAS deadlines. If you’re applying for medicine, you’ll want to apply by October 15.
St. Andrews rarely requires interviews or specialized subject tests, outside of medicine.
How to be Accepted to the University of St Andrews? 5 Tips From Experts.
- Prove that you want to be there. The UCAS Personal Statement doesn’t give you a lot of room to work with, so be sure to make the case for being in a UK university and studying your proposed field of study.
- Have Relevant Extracurriculars. Your performance on the tennis court won’t impress St. Andrews, but your summer reading habits very well may.
- Consider Taking A-Level Exams. There are a ton of advantages to A-Levels compared to AP exams, and can award credit to US universities as well.
- Understand the Scottish System. Just because you can study other subjects doesn’t mean that you should go in without a firm plan. Be willing to take open modules, but emphasize that you want to get the best of breadth and depth that St. Andrews offers.
- Exceed the Requirements. St. Andrews is an incredibly competitive university for American students. Show that your academics are beyond the competition, especially through AP exams and a strong ACT/SAT.
Last but not least, taking advantage of the test prep services offered by Ivy Tutors Network can also drastically improve your chances overseas. From preparing for the ACT and SAT to help in all subjects, including AP exams, Ivy Tutors Network is in a unique position to help you rock your college applications.