Robert Gordon University

2014 League Table Ranking 53
2014 Overall Score 622
View the 2014 league tables
Entry Standards 344 Help
Entry Standards
The average UCAS tariff score of new students entering the University.

Click here to read more

Student-Staff Ratio 19.7 Help
Student-Staff Ratio
The average staffing levels at the University.

Click here to read more

Research Assessment 2.06 Help
Research Assessment
The average quality of the research undertaken in the University.

Click here to read more

Academic Services Spend 933 Help
Academic Services Spend
A guide to how much the University spends on supporting services such as libraries and IT.

Click here to read more

Student Satisfaction 4.03 Help
Student Satisfaction
A guide to how satisfied students are with the quality of teaching they receive.

Click here to read more

Facilities Spend 298 Help
Facilities Spend
A guide to how much the University spends on supporting facilities such as the careers service, health and counselling services and sport facilities.

Click here to read more

Graduate Prospects 75.8 Help
Graduate Prospects
A guide to the employability of graduates on completion of their courses at the University.

Click here to read more

Degree Completion 82.0 Help
Degree Completion
The proportion of students expected to successfully complete their studies and gain a degree from the University.

Click here to read more

Good Honours 62.5 Help
Good Honours
The percentage of graduates achieving a first or upper second class honours degree – the class of degree achieved can impact a graduate’s employment prospects.

Click here to read more

Green Score 26.5 Help
Green Score
This environmental & ethical ranking of the University is provided courtesy of the People & Planet Green League - the only comprehensive and independent green ranking of every UK university. Choosing a greener university can reduce your carbon footprint and improve your job prospects in a global low-carbon economy.

Click here to read more

Request -1


  • Robert Gordon University was founded in 1750 as a technical college. The original college evolved into a thriving institution with two sites, one in Aberdeen city centre and one on the southern approach to the city, at Garthdee. This development has seen the incorporation of Gray's School of Art (1885), the School of Pharmacy (1898) and the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture (1957). Full university status was granted in 1992. See our history timeline.
  • From the outset, the University has focussed on delivering education that prepares students for the professional world: by working closely with employers at all stages of the students’ journey, from course development and accreditation to providing scholarships and work based placements and experiences. The benefit of this is seen in the high graduate employment record (see academic strengths below).
  • Robert Gordon University has invested heavily in the Garthdee campus and is currently in the process of implementing an exciting £170-million campus masterplan to further develop the learning and research environment. Read about the amazing campus transformation.
  • Robert Gordon University is a dynamic university with an international reputation for providing high quality education right through from undergraduate to postgraduate and PhD level , alongside high quality courses to support continuing professional and personal development. Find out more on the University's track record.

Location and transport

  • Aberdeen is situated in the north east of Scotland. Frequent, cheap air, rail and bus connections to Aberdeen exist from the majority UK cities, making the city a very accessible place. Aberdeen airport has flights to all major international destinations, via connections through London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. It’s easy to get to and from Aberdeen. Find out more about transport links.
  • The UK’s number 1 student accommodation website (, identifies Aberdeen as one of the best places to be a student, based on nearly 46,000 student reviews of 62 university towns across the UK.
  • All of the academic departments of the University will be located at the Garthdee site by September 2013, thanks to our significant Masterplan development. Have a look at the video fly-though of the new building (above), which will house Computing and Digital Media, Engineering and Pharmacy and Life Sciences and read about the amazing campus transformation.
  • Love the great outdoors? With two rivers running through Aberdeen, its picturesque sandy beaches, the Grampian Mountains and Cairngorms National Park nearby, Aberdeen attracts photographers, artists, birdwatchers, anglers, sailors, surfers, kayakers, kite enthusiasts, rowers, walkers, golfers, mountain, rock and ice climbers, snowboarders and white water rafters and has the perfect conditions for many, many more pursuits. It’s no surprise that Aberdeenshire was named the number one region for quality of life in 2010 (Bank of Scotland Quality of Life League, December 2012). Discover more about Aberdeen.
  • RGU has been ranked as the second best value university in the UK for students living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland in the Student Value for Money report 2012 by Simple Landlords Insurance. These rankings take into account university league table standings, average rental costs and tuition fees.

Entry standards

Student mix

  • The total student population is approximately 16,200 – this is split 61:39 between full-time and part-time students.
  • The total student population is 64% undergraduates and 36% postgraduates.
  • The male/female split is 44:56, and the home/overseas student split is 79:21.
  • The ratio of applications to places varies between courses: the most popular courses in 2013 had a ratio of approximately six applications to each place available.

Course flexibility

  • All courses are based on a modular structure and offer a range of exit qualifications.
  • Many courses are made up of both compulsory and optional modules that allow you to tailor your studies to your interests and ambitions.
  • Over 90% of our undergraduate courses offer placement opportunities, increasing students' career prospects, and we are looking at ways of increasing industry exposure for all students, including those studying by distance learning and international students.
  • The University offers the flexibility of distance learning and part-time study options for some undergraduate courses and for most postgraduate courses.

Teaching standards

  • All courses are subject to initial approval and validation. Each course is then subject to a subsequent six yearly Institution Led Subject Review, which is conducted by a panel including external members from academia, industry and/or relevant professional and statutory bodies.
  • Course performance is monitored annually, using a range of indicators including student intake and achievement; graduate employment; student evaluations; external examiners' reports; outcomes from any internal and external review events during the year; examples of good practice/innovation; and a risk assessment of future quality and standards.
  • The University provides a range of training and support for all teaching staff, including a compulsory induction course for all new appointments. New staff who have no previous experience of teaching in the higher education sector are required to complete an accredited Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Learning and Teaching.
  • Each Faculty has Learning Enhancement Co-ordinators (LECs), who are academics with a responsibility to develop learning and teaching practice. They have a crucial role in supporting staff development to promote effective student learning and to promote academic quality enhancement.
  • The latest (2012) Enhancement-Led Institutional Review conducted by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) concluded that there was 'confidence in the University’s current, and likely future, management of the academic standards of its awards and the quality of the student learning experience it provides'.

Research standards

  • The last national Research Assessment Exercise took place in 2008. The University was judged to have world-class research in 8 of 11 categories that apply to our subject portfolio. Over 70% of research is classed as being of international quality. The University is in the top 20 modern universities for research in the whole of the UK.
  • The University is building on this excellence with the establishment of three multi-disciplinary Research Institutes. They focus on translational research in the areas of excellence. Membership of the institutes crosses organisational boundaries with each institute being thematic, rather than discipline based, carrying out research which is relevant to the wider community. Read more about research at Robert Gordon University.

IDEAS – Institute for Innovation, Design and Sustainability Research. Topics: Engineering; Environmental Science; Computing; Architecture & Built Environment and Art & Design.

IHWR – Institute for Health and Welfare Research. Topics: Pharmacy & Life Sciences; Health Sciences; Applied Social Studies and Nursing & Midwifery.

ImaGeS – Institute for Management, Governance and Society Research. Topics: Business & Enterprise; Governance & Society and Information & Communication.

  • The University achieved an outstanding response rate for the 2011 Postgraduate Research Student Survey (PRES) at 85% compared to the national average of rate of 32%. It outperformed or equalled all benchmark comparisons in the majority of areas, including supervision, skills development, infrastructure, goals and standards, thesis examination and the overall student experience. The University is committed to making further improvements and has set up a Graduate School Board within each of the Institutes to support and enhance the postgraduate research student experience.
  • All research students undertake a postgraduate certificate in research methods as part of their research degree programme and all research student supervisors participate in a supervisory training programme every three years.
  • In 2009, the University launched a dedicated venture fund for investment in intellectual property, RGU Ventures Ltd, which is managed by our commercialisation partner, Frontier IP Ltd.

Academic strengths

  • The vocational nature of our courses is borne out by our graduate employment rates – we are named consistently as one of the best UK Universities for graduate employment and have one of the lowest unemployment rates for graduates in Scotland. Read more about our graduate employability success rates.
  • In the latest independent National Student Survey the overall student satisfaction score increased to 87% from 846% in 2010–11 and from 84% in 2009–10, resulting in the University being ranked top of all modern universities in the UK. In the latest independent International Student Barometer the University was placed seventh out of the 64 participating institutions, up from ninth.
  • All undergraduate courses offer an effective combination of academic study and practical experience, with most including periods of work placement.
  • All of our courses are designed and developed in close consultation with the relevant professional bodies, and, where relevant, courses will carry accreditation by the relevant professional bodies.

Student facilities, including library and computing

  • Robert Gordon University aims to give students the best possible learning experience. The University has many state-of-the-art facilities, including a purpose-built Clinical Skills Centre, high-tech television and radio studios and a Green Screen Suite and works consistently to improve learning facilities across all academic departments and across all modes of study.
  • The University has a substantial student support network that includes study support, careers advice, medical advice (there is a GP surgery on the Garthdee site) and a counselling service staffed by qualified and experienced professionals (see also the separate section about disability adn dyslexia support). The support teams are in place to ensure that students' time at the University is as positive an experience as possible.
  • The University has 1,600 computer workstations: all halls of residence are networked and there is wireless access in all public areas and web access to studen services such as the virtual learning environment (Campus Moodle), student portal and electronic library resources.
  • A new, purpose built, library will open on the Garthdee site in 2013 offering IT/wireless equipped space for quiet and individual study, complemented by an extensive new study area designed to support collaborative and group activities. Expert library staff provide support and services including information skills training, which can be done face to face or at a distance. This helps students to make the best use of the print and electronic information resources delivered by the library.

Disability service

  • The University's Disability and Dyslexia Service provides advice and practical support to students and applicants with disabilities.
  • The service undertakes Disabled Students' Allowance Assessments in-house and develops a package of support for each student according to their specific needs
  • Support available can include the loan of laptops and assistance with setting up examination provision for students who may require extra time, rest breaks, etc; a screening service for dyslexia with access to assessment by an Educational Psychologist; the engagement of note takers for eligible students; and the provision of a proof reading service.
  • All University managed student accommodation and all teaching and learning facilities meet DDA requirements and have a variety of facilities to support people with physical and/or sensory impairment. In terms of teaching and learning facilities, all accommodation has level access, passenger lifts, lowered counter sections at reception, wheelchair accessible toilets, comprehensive provision for safe egress in the event of fire, induction loops at reception areas and in the main lecture theatres and disabled parking bays.
  • For further information please visit the website.
  • See the Accommodation tab above for more information about student accommodation for people with physical and/or sensory impairment

Students' Union

  • RGU: Union is all about making a student’s experience the best it can be. The Union exists to support students by providing a number of different services and opportunities for them to get involved. It is run by students, for students. Elections are held every year to elect a team of full-time Presidents and part-time Vice Presidents, who are mandated to serve in the best interests of the student body to improve student experience at the University. The Union is a member of the National Union of Students (NUS). Find out more about all aspects of the Union from our website.
  • In September 2014, the Union will be based at the university’s Garthdee campus, along with all academic Schools and Departments.
  • The Students’ Union arranges a wide range of entertainment and social opportunities in Aberdeen. In addition, the Union will have a shop in the new building at Garthdee, which will stock a wide range of university merchandise and will be the location of Edgeworn, its secondhand bookshop. Gray’s School of Art will have a pop-up shop within the union shop, where students will sell their creations.
  • Wellbeing and advice – the Union acts independently from the University, offering confidential advice to students who may experience difficulties, whether academic or personal. There are trained staff members and elected students on hand to assist with any problems.
  • Representation by the Union – the Union represents students’ views on any issue to the University, the local community and at a national level. The Union acts on behalf of students to ensure that these issues, e.g. funding for education, cost of living, quality of a course or social life, can be taken forward.
  • Student representation and elections – in addition to this, students are represented at different levels of committees within the Union and the university. This is done through campus wide elections. Any matriculated students may stand for election into the three full-time sabbatical roles within the Union or to the various part-time opportunities that are available. Each year, an undergraduate and a postgraduate student is elected to the University’s Board of Governors. Each academic School/Department has student class reps and Student Faculty Officers. All representatives are trained and supported in their role by the Union and by the university.
  • Societies – there are more than 40 societies currently, which allow like-minded students to enjoy a shared activity. Societies range from course related ones such as the Law Society and the Business Society, to charitable ones such as RAG (Raising and Giving) or Tesseract (Humanitarian Architects), to fun ones such the Electronic Gaming Society and the Toast Appreciation Society. You can set up a society if your interests are not already covered and our staff can guide you through this process.
  • Sport – there are more than 30 different sports clubs, using the indoor facilities at RGU:SPORT and outdoor facilities throughout the city. You can set up a club if your interests are not already covered and our staff can guide you through this process. Clubs compete locally with the University of Aberdeen in the Granite City varsity competition, as well as nationally in the Scottish Student Sport (SSS) league and the Colleges Sport (BUCS) league.
  • Volunteering – the Union supports students in gaining experience through volunteering and is accredited as an Investor in Volunteering (IIV) – one of only two unions in Scotland to achieve such an accolade. In recent years, volunteers have undertaken activities such as skydiving, fire walks, sports coaching, youth work, fundraising and much, much more. The Union also takes a full part in the annual Torcher Parade – Europe’s largest student torch-lit parade. There are also opportunities to volunteer internationally, in this academic year (2012–13), 30 students will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Childreach charity.
  • Employability – the Union organises various programmes that enhance student employability, from volunteering in the local community to seminars and workshops that provide information to help reflect on career aspirations. The Union organises the annual Postgraduate Employability Symposium, along with the annual Student Achievement Awards.
  • Student Led Media Group – the Group comprises RGURadio, RGUTV and the student magazine. All three of these enable students to gain first-hand experience in media at the same time as acting as a voice for and means of communication to students, within the university community and within Aberdeen City and Shire.


  • RGU: SPORT has a six-lane 25m swimming pool; nine-badminton-court sports hall; three state-of-the-art fitness areas including a strength and conditioning suite; three exercise studios where a wide variety of group exercise classes (including Les Mills BTS) are offered; Physiotherapy@RGU:Wellness; 11m-high lead climbing wall and bouldering room, and Starbucks café.
  • Wide range of memberships on offer to students and the local community and over 30 sports clubs for students. A sports scholarship scheme is available to support talented athletes.
  • RGU: SPORT is located in the centre of Garthdee Campus – within a 3 minute walk of all buildings and there is a regular bus service connecting the two campuses, which takes just 20 minutes.
  • Read about sport at Robert Gordon University, including more about the range of sporting facilities and the current sports timetable.

Recent/prospective new builds

  • Construction work is well underway on the £170-million development of the Garthdee campus. The current phase will consolidate all academic delivery on that site by September 2013.
  • Within the 24,000m2 facility under construction, will be housed some of the best teaching and research facilities in Europe. They include a major new library and learning resource centre along with tailored accommodation for the Schools of Computing, Pharmacy and Life Sciences and Engineering. The building will also have beautifully designed social and informal learning spaces.
  • As part of the overall campus development programme, upgrading works will be undertaken to the existing facilities within Aberdeen Business School and the Faculty of Health and Social Care to improve the location and accommodation for Student Services and to provide a better student study and informal learning zone.
  • A community Health Centre and a new Nursery are on the Garthdee campus and both facilities are open to students and staff.
  • Discover more about Robert Gordon University’s commitment to the substantial development of the campus through its Masterplan.

Availability of part-time work

  • The buoyant economy in Aberdeen allows students to enjoy a vibrant part-time jobs market in all sectors.
  • Students have access to thousands of opportunities through the online part-time jobs portal, which links to a wide range of part-time work opportunities
  • The Careers and Employability Centre organises an annual part-time jobs fair each September to promote opportunities to students. In 2012 there were over 30 employers at the fair, eager to recruit our students.
  • In addition to this, My Career, the Centre’s own online jobs and opportunities notice board, advertises a large number of local opportunities from local employers looking to fill part-time posts.

Notable alumni

Aberdeen Business School

  • Jennifer F Craw, Chief Executive, Aberdeen City Gardens Trust.
  • Heather A Kelman, MBA, 1992 – General Manager, Aberdeen City Community Health. Currently seconded to the post of Lead General Manager, Change Fund – Reshaping Care for Older People in NHS Grampian.
  • Michael Scott-Brown, Business Studies, 1991 – Director, Acquisition Finance, Clydesdale Bank.
  • Duncan R Skinner, Business Studies, 1979 – Chief Financial Officer, WGPSN.

Faculty of Design & Technology

  • Gordon G Benton OBE, Architecture, 1956 – Senior Exectutive/Director/Consultant, Lippo Group of Companies. Awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology by the University in 2010.
  • Ian G Cobban, PG Dip Offshore Materials & Corrosion, 1987 – Vice President, Gulf of Mexico, Subsea 7.
  • Neil Gall, Painting, 1991 – artist.
  • Jo Gordon, Fine Art, 1989 – knitwear designer.
  • Ola Gorie Tait MBE , Jewellery Design, 1959 (first graduate in the subject) – jewellery designer.
  • Mark J Griffiths, Computer Science, 1994 – Managing Director, Codify.
  • Duncan J Junor, MSc Oil & Gas Engineering, 2007 – Global Acount Vice President, Halliburton.
  • Aggelos Liapis, PhD 'Computer mediated collaborative design environments' – Director of Research and Development, European Dynamics.
  • Jonathan Speirs, Architecture, 1980 – Co-founder, Speirs and Major Architectural Lighting Consultants. Died 18 June 2012.
  • Keith A Taylor, Construction Management, 1997 –Managing Director, Robertson Construction Eastern Ltd.

Faculty of Health & Social Care

  • Kenneth J Black, Pharmacy, 1987 – Managing Director, Rowlands Pharmacy.
  • Therese Jackson, Occupational Therapy, 1988 – Consultant Occupational Therapist in Stroke, NHS Grampian.
  • Sharon Morrison, Physiotherapy, 1991 – Clinical Director, Sharon Morrison Physiotherapy Associates. Consultant Physiotherapist and Clinical Director for Dancing on Ice.
  • Robin James Wiltshire, MSc Remote Health Care, 1999 – Global Medical Affairs Lead, Pfizer.


For further information

  • Tel: +44 (0) 1224 262728
  • Fax: +44 (0) 1224 262147
  • The Robert Gordon University
    AB10 1FR
UCAS Code R36

Click here for more information about living in Aberdeen

Content was accurate at the time of compilation.

The most comprehensive, definitive and complete university guide