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Study in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Population: 420,000

City overview

Studying a graduate program in Edinburgh will allow you to live in one of the UK’s best cities. Famous for festivals, castles and whiskey, Edinburgh – or Auld Reekie as it’s otherwise known – is a perfect postgraduate destination. Just make sure you move in before the annual Edinburgh festival in August to avoid the tourist hordes.

Education profile

If you want to study a graduate program in Edinburgh, you will have plenty of options. Edinburgh is home to four universities offering postgraduate courses:
Research and taught courses are both offered as graduate programs in Edinburgh, with hundreds of postgraduate courses on offer at both universities. Both types of Masters normally take 1-2 years to complete, with PhD programs taking 3-4 years full time or six years part-time.

Immigration and visas

EU citizens are permitted to take a graduate program in Edinburgh providing they fulfil the following:
  • Are studying in the UK for more than three months
  • Are enrolled at an accredited university or institution
  • Have proof of sufficient funds to cover your graduate program in the UK for its duration
Non-EU students will need to apply for a student visa under the tier 4 visa category. They will need to demonstrate the following:
  • Proof of funding to cover a postgraduate course and living costs
  • A confirmation of acceptance to study (CAS) reference from a university with sponsor status
  • Adequate English language skills
You can find out more about visas at the UK Border Agency.

Life in Edinburgh

Living in Edinburgh as a postgraduate student will allow you to live in one the UK’s most exciting cities. Edinburgh is a creative hotspot, bursting with energy every August as the annual Edinburgh Festival brings thousands of tourists in.

However, Edinburgh is just as exciting a city the rest of the year round. As well as amazing culture, the city also offers postgraduate students some great scenery, being draped across rocky hills overlooking the sea. This is a compact city which is easy to explore on foot, so if you choose to study a postgraduate program in Edinburgh you should get to know the city intimately.

Edinburgh has two sides to it, best represented by its two nicknames. It is both the Athens of the North – a city of high culture, art and philosophy, and Auld Reekie – a much more down to earth place full of rowdy pubs, foul-mouthed comedians and late night parties.

Working in Edinburgh

Non-EU international students wanting to stay on to work in Edinburgh after their studies will need to apply for a work visa. You can find out more about the various visa options through the UK Border Agency.

Edinburgh has traditionally been one of Scotland’s twin economic powers alongside Glasgow and is one of the most prosperous parts of the city outside London.

Edinburgh’s economy has traditionally been based around the service sector, with tourism, financial services and banking being successful areas. The arrival of the Scottish parliament in 1999 also boosted jobs in the city, with may government departments and civil service jobs popping up in Edinburgh.


Postgraduate students can choose from halls of residence accommodation or private housing. Students opting to live in private accommodation traditionally choose to live in the following areas:
  • South Side
  • Newington, Marchmont, Morningside, Bruntsfield and Tollcross to the south west of George Square
  • New Town
  • Leith Walk/Easter Road area
Expect to pay around £250-£350 a month for a room in a shared tenement flat in Edinburgh. 

Weather and climate

Edinburgh has a surprisingly mild climate considering that it lies on a similar latitude to Moscow. Expect summer temperatures to reach around 18C on average between June and August, while temperatures hover around 2C through the winter months of December, January and February but rarely fall below zero during the daytime.

What to do next

Are you interested in studying a graduate program in Edinburgh? If so, you should sign up for our Free Application Service. We'll provide you with tailored information, courses to suit you and the option to apply online for the graduate program you want.