St. Andrews or Stirling? Choose Your Study Abroad in Scotland

If you’ve got your heart set on trying to see the Loch Ness monster, adventuring through beautiful landscapes and Harry Potter film locations, then a study abroad in Scotland is calling your name. With two USAC programs in Scotland: St Andrews and Stirling, you can choose from two different Scottish experiences. Not sure which program is right for you? Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of our two program locations.

St Andrews


Located on the Fife coast, St Andrews is a small, medieval city with a college-town vibe. The first settlements in St Andrews date back to at least as early as the sixth century, so the city is filled with rich history, which can be seen in the ancient architecture on nearly every street. However, that doesn’t mean that St Andrews doesn’t have modern amenities and attractions. The city is world-famous for its golf courses and is peppered with shops, restaurants, and bakeries.


Students at University of St. Andrews during study abroad in Scotland with USAC

The University of St Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland and is ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world. That means you’ll be surrounded by the best and the brightest scholars and professors from around the world. The university is integrated into the city with buildings scattered throughout the city as opposed to situated on a single campus, so students will be able to integrate more into Scottish life.

Students studying at the University of St Andrews can take courses in a wide variety of subjects, including: art history, English, international relations, computer science, math, psychology, divinity, and more. And with a staff to student ration of 1:10, you’ll have all the support you need to stay on track!

Field Trips & Activities

Students on study abroad field trip during study abroad in St. Andrews Scotland

Through the University of St Andrews, USAC students can participate in nearly 150 student societies to get involved on campus and make friends with local students. You’ll also have full access to the library, advising, and computing facilities on campus. A bonus perk is access to the golf courses in St Andrews – students pay 170 GBP per year to play at all seven courses.

USAC students can also participate in a one day excursion and an overnight field trip (included in your USAC program fees). Possible destinations include a trip to the Scottish Borders, Stirling Castle, Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands.



A student explores Stirling, Scotland during a study abroad

Known as the “Gateway to the Highlands,” Stirling, which was once the capital of Scotland, is a small city in central Scotland. Like St Andrews, the city of Stirling holds onto reminders of the city’s ancient past. One of the most significant artifacts is the Stirling Castle, which can be seen for many miles throughout the city. However, Stirling has emerged as a leading cultural and business center, and its arts scene is booming. In fact, the city was granted “Golden Jubilee City” status by the Queen to recognize it as a setting for national and international events. It’s never hard to find something to do in Stirling!


Like the University of St Andrews, the University of Stirling is among the top-ranked universities in the world. In Stirling, USAC students have the opportunity to take courses in a wide range of fields, including biology, business and management, computer science, education, politics, sports studies, and so much more, taught by some of the best professors in the country.

Field Trips & Activities

Students on a field trip to the Highlands during

Outside the classroom, you can participate in university activities, sports, and student organizations. Whether you join the drama club or play a team sport, there are a million ways to get involved and make friends on campus. USAC students are also encouraged to participate in a number of immersive events, including Freshers Week, volunteering, and joining the international student society.

The Students’ Union organizes activities and field trips for international students throughout each semester in Stirling. These trips introduce students to Scottish culture by exploring historical sites that most students might not otherwise visit. Possible trip locations include Loch Ness and Scottish Highlands, the Scottish Borders, and St Andrews. The good news is that semester students have one day trip and one overnight trip included in your USAC program fee, so you’ll never miss a chance to explore!

St. Andrews or Stirling?

So, there you have it! Excited by your study abroad in Scotland options? In a nutshell, both cities offer a uniquely Scottish vibe while offering a mix of medieval history and modern amenities. Golf fanatics will find their home quickly in St Andrews, but culture junkies will likely gravitate towards Stirling’s never-ending calendar of events. When talking about school life, the university life in St Andrews and Stirling differ. While both universities rank highly, classrooms at the University of St Andrews are dotted throughout the city, whereas the University of Stirling is hosted on a traditional campus. The former option can provide more opportunities to explore the city and immerse in the local culture, but the latter gives students a more traditional university experience.

No matter which USAC Scotland location you choose, you’re sure to fall in love with your new home! Ready to do some research of your own? Explore USAC Scotland programs today.