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.

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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.

 Vacancy - Universities Scotland Project Support Officer (Fixed Term 12 May 2014 - 4 July 2014)

We are looking for a temporary Project Support Officer to assist with the delivery of two upcoming public events.  This will include helping to develop web and printed communication materials. 

The successful candidate will be competent and adaptable with a calm, professional communication style. They will have experience of organisational and administrative support for project work, including complying with financial procedures. Excellent time management skills are essential to this role. This role would be particularly suitable for a student.

Closing date: Monday 28 April at midnight. Further job specification and details on how to apply can be found here.

 Recruitment of Board Members - Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland

The Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland are looking to recruit board members from a wide range of backgrounds who can work together to increase the opportunities open to all Scotland's learners. Further details and information on how to apply can be found here.

Universities Scotland publishes set of 12 recommendations on widening access to higher education in Scotland

Universities Scotland has today (Monday, 20 January) published Action on Access: Recommendations to achieve further progress on widening access to higher education in Scotland, containing a set of 12 recommendations on widening access for Scotland that we intend to take forward as a sector. The recommendations have been produced following a comprehensive analysis of the available evidence base. Every higher education institution is committed to widening access and giving everyone with the potential to benefit from a higher education the opportunity to do so. Read Universities Scotland's widening access recommendations.