Insight into our students

We have over 47,800 students – let us tell you more about who they are, what they study and how they could benefit your organisation.

Who are they?

Demand for places at Edinburgh is high and regardless of the programme applied for, all applicants must have a strong academic record to gain entry, so you can be confident about the intellectual rigour of our students and graduates. 

  • 61% are undergraduates and 39% are postgraduates
  • 62% are female and 38% are male
  • 19% of students have a declared disability
  • In 2018 nearly 13% of our UK domiciled undergraduate entrants declared themselves black and minority ethnic. For UK domiciled postgraduate taught entrants this was over 14% and for UK domiciled postgraduate research entrants this was almost 13%
  • In 2018-19, 11.2% of Scottish-domiciled undergraduate entrants  came from the 20% most deprived areas according to Scottish Government’s index of multiple deprivation, SIMD20

  • Students from over 110 countries study at Edinburgh: 51% of students are from outwith the UK – 12% from the EU and 39% from countries outside of the EU
  • We have 3 Colleges – Arts, Humanities and Social Science is our largest with 58% of our students based there; The College of Science & Engineering is home to 26% or our students, and the other 16 % are based in our College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine
  • Our 3 colleges contain a total of 21 Schools
  • 4,940 of our students study online distance learning, creating a truly global community
  • We have over 300,000 alumni globally

View our full school list, as well as our other sub-units, centres and institutes.

View all of our latest student statistics.

What are they like?

As we’ve established, they are a diverse bunch and each one is individual.  However, we have identified some common University of Edinburgh Graduate Attributes, which are a blend of mindsets and skills that we aim for our students to graduate with.


  1. Curiosity for learning that makes a positive difference as a result of their mindset towards Enquiry and Lifelong Learning
  2. Courage to expand and fulfil their potential as result of their mindset towards Aspiration and Personal Development
  3. Passion to engage locally and globally as a result of their mindset towards Outlook and Engagement

To be able to put these mindsets into practice, students have to develop skills and abilities in four areas: 

  1. Research and Enquiry: they are creative problem solvers and researchers
  2. Personal and Intellectual Autonomy: they are critical and reflective thinkers
  3. Communication: they are effective communicators
  4. Personal Effectiveness: they are positive and adaptable influencers

We actively encourage our students to develop these mindsets, skills and abilities throughout their time at Edinburgh.  We do this in a number of ways:

  • They are exposed to a large number extra curriculum activities (c. 250 societies, 65 sports clubs 2,000+ student volunteers work in the community and outreach in local schools – all of this giving them myriad development opportunities.  
  • Students experience living in an international creative and cultural centre – they are encouraged to embrace this.  
  • We actively promote study and work abroad opportunities for our students, providing enriching experiences that develop skills and employability.  
  • We run an extensive Edinburgh Award programme, which encourages and provides recognition for students' involvement in co- and extra-curricular activities.  The Award helps them make the most of these opportunities allowing them to reflect on their personal and professional development, enhancing their employability and preparing them for the professional world.

What do they want?  

Diverse opportunities:

Our students are interested in going into a wide range of career areas, and finding out about lots of different employers – from micro-businesses to large graduate recruiters spanning the private, public and third sectors.

Over 20% of our students go on to further study.

Work experience:

Students are interested in opportunities that they can undertake during their time at University (part time work, work shadowing, projects, internships, voluntary roles) and after their studies – graduate internships and full-time roles.

Our international students are interested in opportunities to work in the UK and in their home countries.  They are particularly keen to build up UK-based work experience whilst they are studying here.

Good timing: Our final year undergraduate students finish their course in May and look for opportunities starting in the summer.  Our postgraduate taught students finish their course in August and look for opportunities starting late summer/early autumn.  

Appropriate skill level: Students who have studied at postgraduate level are interested in roles where their extra level of education is an advantage – but they are also interested in applying for graduate level opportunities, so they should definitely be considered as part of your potential pool of applicants, regardless of the level of opportunity you can offer.