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Aberdeen for students

Scotland’s third-largest city after Glasgow and Edinburgh, Aberdeen is nicknamed ‘The Granite City’ for its frequent use of local gray granite across its buildings. A historical port city, Aberdeen drops nine places this year to rank 64th in the world.

Aberdeen’s frequently been ranked as one of the happiest and most livable cities in the UK, and, while it’s colder than much of the rest of the UK, it’s also one of Scotland’s sunniest cities.

Aberdeen’s been well-received by its current students, who commented in our survey that “Everything is very student-friendly” and it has a “Friendly atmosphere, very low crime rate, and pleasant weather”. One student noted, “you feel safe wherever you are.

Are you currently studying in Aberdeen? Share your experience.

Best ranked universities in Aberdeen – QS Best Student Cities ranking: 64th  

More about Aberdeen

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of Aberdeen (ranked 207th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student View rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Aberdeen?

Low cost of living

In comparison to other UK cities, such as London and Brighton, Aberdeen has a low cost of living, despite its low score for affordability.

Vibrant nightlife

The city is one of the only two places in Scotland that has earned the Purple Flag award, signifying that the city’s nightlife is entertaining, diverse and safe.

Historic landscape

The University of Aberdeen was founded in 1495 and is the third oldest university in Scotland. Aberdeenshire itself contains castles that were used as inspiration for Dracula.

Plenty of culture

With museums, theater, festivals, and galleries, there’s always plenty to do in Aberdeen.

Cost of studying in Aberdeen

While the city can’t be called cheap to live in compared to other cities around the world, it does have the best score for affordability in the UK, thanks to lower living costs than other British destinations.

For example, the average cost of accommodation (a one-bedroom apartment) in Aberdeen is £607 (approximately US$787 per month compared to Manchester where the average cost is £823 (approximately US$1,067) per month.

Life & culture in Aberdeen

Big enough to get the ‘big city’ study experience and have plenty to do, but not so large that it’s overwhelming, Aberdeen offers the ideal spot for mixing vibrant city life with exploring miles of nearby countryside and coastlines.

While Aberdeen’s position in the north-east makes it quite remote, it’s also very well-connected to other cities in the UK, with extensive air and rail links.

Aberdeen is the educational center of northeastern Scotland, and there’s a large population of students (about 22,500) from a variety of nationalities – 132 are represented at Robert Gordon University, which helps to give the city its strong score for student mix in our best cities ranking.

Career in Aberdeen

There are plenty of opportunities for students and graduates to find work in Aberdeen. The city’s been praised for its flourishing economy, with Paymentsense recently naming Aberdeen as the best place in the UK to launch a business start-up, thanks to its strong roots in industries such as fishing, textiles, and shipbuilding. 

Those looking to stay in the UK after university can apply for a post study visa (PSA) which allows you to stay in the UK and look for work related to your degree for up to two years after graduation.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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