Saint Andrews, United Kingdom
What makes the University of St Andrews special?
* Consistently high teaching quality within a strong research environment.
* Excellent retention rates.
* Diverse forms of teaching: web support and small group interaction.
* Flexible modular degree structure.
* Strong commitment to University-managed accommodation.
* Compact and friendly.
* A Scottish university with a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
* High reputation for an excellent student experience.
The University today
Founded in the fifteenth century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world.
Teaching began in the community of St Andrews in 1410 and the University was formally constituted by the issue of Papal Bull in 1413.
The University is now one of Europe's most research intensive seats of learning - over a quarter of its turnover comes from research grants and contracts. It is one of the top rated universities in Europe for research, teaching quality and student satisfaction and is consistently ranked among the UK's top five in leading independent league tables produced by The Times, The Guardian and the Sunday Times.
According to the Sunday Times, St Andrews is "now firmly established as the leading multi-faculty alternative to Oxford and Cambridge."
Its international reputation for delivering high quality teaching and research and student satisfaction make it one of the most sought after destinations for prospective students from the UK, Europe and overseas. It is Scotland's most cosmopolitan university a third of the student body of 7,200 is from overseas.
It has a staff of 1,800 and maintains one of the strongest records in the UK for teaching quality, good degrees and student support. In the four years it has entered the UK National Student Survey, St Andrews has ranked as the top mainstream university for student satisfaction.
In 2009 the University received on average 11 applications per place. St Andrews has not entered clearing for several years and sets highly challenging asking rates to attract only the most academically potent students in the Arts, Sciences, Medicine and Divinity.
As it prepares to celebrate its 600th anniversary in 2013, the University is pursuing a varied programme of capital investment, including a New School of Medicine, the refurbishment of its Main Library, a new Biological Sciences Research Centre and the provision of new student accommodation.
The University provides an invigorating intellectual climate in which staff have close contacts with one another and with colleagues in other UK and overseas universities and research establishments. All Schools in both the sciences and the arts are actively involved in pushing back the frontiers of knowledge.
Physically the University is closely integrated with the town; the modern purpose-built library and many academic Schools are located centrally. The growth in physical and mathematical sciences has been accommodated at the North Haugh on the edge of St Andrews. A modern sports centre with adjacent playing fields and halls of residence are also located in this area.
St Andrews is relatively small, despite being a "city", with a basic population approaching 17,000. The University population (staff and students) numbers nearly 9,000. On average one in three people you see in the street have something to do with the University. You start to feel very quickly that you belong.
St Andrews is one of Europe's most intellectually challenging and nourishing University environments, it is also one of the safest and most secure.
Student welfare and safety
The spiritual and physical welfare of our students is an institutional priority. We invest widely in our student support systems to ensure our undergraduates have the greatest opportunity of fulfilling their academic potential.
St Andrews' commitment to student welfare and safety is reflected in our consistently low drop out rate - at just over 1% it's the lowest in Scotland and the lowest in the UK behind only Oxford and Cambridge.
We're the most international of Scotland's universities - at any one time students from over 100 different countries are studying here and almost a third of undergraduates come from outwith the United Kingdom. We know a little about homesickness and parental apprehension!
All our students are given introductory talks at Orientation when they are informed of basic information on a number of issues including personal safety, and also how to access the support systems which the University provides. Students living in Halls of Residence (which is the majority of 1st year students) also receive health and safety talks from the Warden of their Hall.
The support systems that are in place include:
* Student Services provide a comprehensive support system for all students, with specialised advice and counselling in areas of finance, disabilities, international students, academic issues, health concerns, mental health issues, personal and emotional concerns, etc.
* The Wardens and their teams provide practical help and advice on welfare matters to students in Halls of Residence including at nights and weekends.
* Out of Hours Emergency Service provides cover for emergency situations, such as ill health or personal crises.
* The University's Police Liaison Officer gives information and raises awareness regarding safety issues, and can help with any other incidents.
The University provides a comprehensive computer service to all staff and students. Telephone and media services are also provided by IT Services.
In general, reports of hardware faults and requests for adviceon the use of computing service systems should be made to the IT Service Desk.
With approximately 100 societies affiliated to the Students' Association, not to mention the various sports clubs, there is something for everyone at the University of St Andrews. Student societies cater for all interests, from the theatrical to political, and from the charitable to the academic and religious. Some societies are linked to academic Departments and are an excellent way to expand your understanding and appreciation of your subject.
You can join up during Freshers Week at the Societies Fayre where all manner of attempts are made to persuade you to join particular groups. If, however, you are unable to find a society to suit your interests then start your own!
As befits a 600-year-old university St Andrews has many student traditions. Most famous is the red academic gown which students wear at formal occasions. St Andrews is also the home of the Academic Family, a spontaneous tradition where older students adopt first year students as 'children'. Parents can help guide the first years through life at St Andrews in a system of mentoring, which reaches its most outrageous at Raisin Weekend in November when children are dressed in embarrassing, flamboyant costumes by their mothers and are let loose in the central quadrangle of the University for an enormous shaving foam fight. Despite the silliness of Raisin Weekend academic families are often close-knit and very supportive. Children and parents become fast friends and siblings go on to become aunts and uncles to each other's children in a few years time, continuing the tradition.
As a matriculated student you have automatic membership of the Athletic Union and can join any sports clubs. The Athletic Union has over 50 clubs from the traditional (Rugby, Cricket, Football, Rowing) to the more off-beat. Why not try out the clubs you are interested in during our 'Give It A Go' week?
St Andrews has an exceptionally busy musical life with more than 500 students actively engaged in music. The main focus for the organisation and co-ordination of this activity is the Music Centre. Situated in the Younger Hall, it provides facilities for individual and group rehearsal and tuition by professional teachers in voice and a wide range of instruments.
The Student Music Society is one of the largest, oldest and most active student societies and welcomes anyone who is interested in music. The Society runs the University Symphony Orchestra, for which auditions are held each September, and the University Chorus and Concert Band. The Society also organises weekly Friday lunchtime recitals which are often given by students themselves.
Drama permeates St Andrews. There is always something going on, be it musicals, movies, plays, readings, workshops, dance, student writing or basically anything you want it to be.
The Mermaids Performing Arts Fund makes drama possible in St Andrews. Mermaids is not a theatre society, it is a fund. That means we do not put on shows, you do! If you want to do anything, just come along to us and we'll provide the finances, resources, guidance and support. We comprise a committee of 12 members, each specialising in a different area of theatre production, along with the presidents of our affiliated societies; Rogue Productions (Cinema), Dance Society, Gilbert and Sullivan Society, CMaD (Christian Music and Drama Society) and Just So (Musical Theatre).
Whatever your taste in performing arts, there's always something for you to get involved in.
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Many organisations offer scholarships or grants. Some of these might help you to study for a Master's degree at University of St Andrews!