Universities Scotland


The higher education sector in Scotland is diverse. It is made up of 15 universities, the Open University in Scotland, an art school, a conservatoire, and Scotland's Rural College (SRUC).

Universities Scotland has produced briefing papers which give an introduction to the main areas of our work within the higher education sector in Scotland. There are also facts and figures briefings which contain current data about each main activity. If you would like more detailed information, please contact the relevant member of staff through the contacts page.

All the publications listed below are available to download in PDF format. If you are having problems viewing the publications, you may need to download the free Acrobat Reader.

Page 1 of 3  >
The introduction of Curriculum for Excellence in schools in Scotland is intended to result in changes to how pupils learn. New and revised qualifications are being introduced and there is a renewed emphasis on wider learning opportunities. Universities Scotland’s statement on Curriculum for Excellence summarises the individual statements on Curriculum for Excellence that higher education institutions have produced. Read the statement on Curriculum for Excellence.

Universities Scotland commissioned this literature review of widening access interventions which have been evaluated as successful, drawing not only on recent published literature, but also on the outcome agreements of the nineteen Scottish higher education institutions for 2012/13. Widening access has been made one of the policy priorities of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to be addressed in universities' outcome agreements for 2012/13. Read the report

Innovation and diversity help Scotland's 19 universities and higher education institutions take a leading place on the world stage. Download the new Universities Scotland infographic detailing why we consider a Scottish higher education to be one of the best in the world.


Universities Scotland has received legal advice from Anderson Strathern which explores the issue of residency in charging student fees and suggests it may be possible to rely upon a residency requirement for access to preferential fees and drants regimes as long as that requirement is applied to all students regardless of their nationality and can be objectively justified.

Download the legal advice here.

Commenting on the legal advice received, Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said:

“The legal advice we have received would appear to identify new ground upon which it would be possible for the Scottish Government to build a policy solution to the issue of rest-of-UK students coming to study in Scotland if Scotland were to become independent.  This will need to be developed further by the Scottish Government but this new advice is a positive step closer to finding a workable solution which is in everyone’s interests.

“Universities Scotland remains neutral on the issue of Scotland’s constitutional future: our job is to ensure that the proponents of all constitutional options are developing proposals which enable universities to support Scotland’s success. The legal advice which we commissioned is an important part of that process. It usefully indicates a new way to address a priority issue for universities, supporting our policy objective that we should welcome students from the rest of the UK and further afield but in manageable numbers, in a way that is affordable and sustainable and crucially, in a way that protects places for Scottish students at Scotland’s universities.”


This paper is offered as a technical information resource for the proponents of all constitutional options for Scotland, whether status quo, further devolution of power, or independence. It offers no judgements about the case for or against any particular constitutional option. Download policy issues paper

Scroll over the map below and click to view contact details for our members.

Scotland's twenty-first century research breakthroughs on show to the world

The ability to transmit the internet through a light-bulb, a low-cost, portable eye examination kit capable of preventing blindness in the world's poorest countries, new health advice for those with diabetes and the creative process behind the design of the medals for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. These are some of the research breakthroughs and innovations of Scotland's 19 higher education institutions, on show to the countries of the Commonwealth at an event hosted by Universities Scotland and Scottish Enterprise this evening (from 18.30 on Monday, 28 July). The event is part of the Scotland House business-to-business programme of Glasgow 2014, which provides a platform for Scotland's key industry sectors during the Commonwealth Games. The event will be attended by diplomats and dignitaries from over sixteen countries of the Commonwealth including Malaysia, New Zealand and Mauritius. Amongst the dignitaries, the hosts are delighted to be joined by the President of Mauritius as well as Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Russell MSP. Read the full news release here.


New analysis finds that more than one third of Team Scotland athletes are Scottish university students or graduates

Universities Scotland has today, Monday 21 July, thrown its full support behind Team Scotland for success at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and revealed the high level of Team Scotland athletes with a Scottish higher education background. An incredible 114 out of 310 Team Scotland athletes, some 36.77%, have links to Scottish universities as current students or graduates and have pursued a diverse range of academic subjects including accountancy, medicine, sport and recreation management, chemistry and broadcast production. The new analysis builds on the news that 73 Team Scotland athletes have been bolstered by Winning Students scholarship support, including the entire badminton team. Sixteen of Scotland's 19 higher education institutions can claim current students or graduates in Team Scotland. Read the full news release.

HE sector bands together to take on global competitors and support ambition for 50% export growth

Connected Scotland, a new collaborative approach to promote Scotland's higher education sector internationally, has been launched today [Monday 16 June] to support the ambitious goal of increasing the sector's export revenue by more than 50 per cent in six years. The partnership commits eight different higher education organisations, enterprise agencies and funding bodies,[1] as well as the higher education institutions themselves, to work more closely together to compete in a highly internationalized and fiercely competitive marketplace for higher education. Scotland's university sector has been acknowledged as an industry sector in its own right with annual exports totaling £1.3 billion in 2011/12; 60 per cent of which is from outside of the UK. Connected Scotland has come together to support the ambitious goal of growing the value of university exports from £1.3 billion to over £2 billion by 2017. Read the full news release. Visit www.connectedscotland.org for more information.