One of the most historically rich cities in the UK, Edinburgh is a fantastic place to study. Its universities have a long tradition and the city is vibrant with cultural life, as well as great events for students throughout the year. Whilst it is not the cheapest place to live as it is such a popular destination, you can find good deals living in halls of residence of your university or living further outside of the main tourist area of town and commuting in for your courses in the city’s solid transport network. In this article, we will be looking at the cheap universities in Edinburgh.

For the moment, the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will cover the full tuition fees for students from Scotland and the EU so this would make it extremely cheap to get a degree in Edinburgh as all you would need to pay if you are in this category, is your living costs. They can also offer support for covering those.

However, if you are from the rest of the UK and from overseas, you will need to pay tuition fees.

Below are some of the cheapest options for getting a degree in Edinburgh. For all cases, Scottish and EU students are expected to not pay any tuition fees if they start in the 2020/21 academic year, but check with the individual admissions offices to be sure. We have listed the available fees for students from the rest of the UK and international students.

Cheapest Universities in Edinburgh

1. University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh has ranked highly amongst academic institutions in the UK for years. It is renowned for the quality of teaching, research facilities and degrees awarded. Students here can study an extremely wide range of subjects from Biomedicine to Business, History and Classics, Languages, Divinity, Economics, Social and Political Science, Physics and Astronomy etc.

The cost of tuition for students from the rest of the UK is currently £9,250 per year. Overseas students do have to pay quite a lot more in the range of £19,800 to £32,000 if studying medicine programs.

The cheap university in Edinburgh offers a very wide range of graduate programs as well, and the tuition fees for these are different whether you are a domestic or EU student vs if you are coming from overseas. You should check all these on their admissions dedicated website.


2. Heriot-Watt University

One of the most international institutions in Scotland, Heriot-Watt University has a UK campus in Edinburgh as well as campuses in Dubai and Malaysia. They are ranked top 10 in the UK and 1st in Scotland for research impact and boast a high employability rate, with high salaries from 6 months from graduating. They also offer a multitude of scholarships, some funded by the alumni, so there are opportunities to reduce your fees by applying for these.

Here you can study a very varied range of subjects from Accountancy and Finance to Mathematics, Physics, Languages, and even topics such as Brewing and Distilling.

Here also, UK students have to pay £9,250 per year. For international students, the costs range from c. £14,000 to £19,000 per year and you should check the specific program you want to follow to see what costs apply to you.


3. Queen Margaret University

Founded in 1875, Queen Margaret University is named after Saint Margaret, wife of King Malcolm III of Scotland. It was initially for women only. This cheap university in Edinburgh has a School of Arts and Social Sciences, one of only three places in Scotland to offer a degree in Costume and a school with a strong focus on drama and acting. There is also a School of Health Sciences focusing on nutrition and biological sciences, nursing, and a range of therapy options like operational therapy, art psychotherapy etc.

Non Scottish or EU students are expected to pay the usual annual tuition fee of £9,250. International student fees are c. £14,000 per year, depending on your chosen course.


4. Edinburgh Napier University

A modern university founded only in 1992, Edinburgh Napier specialises in business studies. They also have a School of Applied Sciences teaching and researching sports performance, biomedical science and the environment. There is also a School of Arts & Creative Industries and a School of Computing.

For fees, international students have to pay depending on their course and whether it’s undergraduate or graduate. For example, the BSc in Computing would cost £14,295 per year for non-UK students. You should check the extensive list on their website or directly with the admissions office for more details.


5. Scotland’s Rural College SRUC

The Scottish Agricultural College and three other institutions have merged to create this further education institution aimed at delivering skills in the areas of land-based industry specific to Scotland but also more globally. They have an Edinburgh campus as well as campuses across Scotland, enabled by their merger in 2012 with a few other colleges. You can study Agriculture, Animal Care, Biological Sciences but also Business and Management, Environmental Management and Hospitality or Sustainability at this cheap university in Edinburgh. They follow the same fee structure with Scottish and European Union students’ tuition being covered by the SAAS while students from the rest of the UK can expect to pay c. £6,950 per year for full-time, campus-based BA/BSc programs. International student fees are £10,000 per year. You can obtain cheaper degrees by studying part-time and there a number of postgraduate diploma programs which are significantly cheaper, but you should consult the admissions office directly to establish what best suits you.


6. University of Edinburgh Business School

The Business School is basically part of the University of Edinburgh but is worth mentioning on its own as it has a very specific focus on Business which started in 1919 with the Bachelor of Commerce programme. Their first full-time MBA was offered in 1980.

Studying here is not as cheap as the undergraduate programs at the University, but it is very well-regarded education which should open doors to prestigious employers around the world. Thus, the MA programmes will cost as much as c. £20,950 a year, while the MBA costs £30,700.


I hope that this article on cheap universities in Edinburgh was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

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