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University of St Andrews (UK)

Founded in the 15th century, St Andrews is Scotland’s first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world.

Although a relatively small university, with just under 9,000 students, St Andrews is a world-leading centre for research and teaching, and takes pride in its identity as a university with deep roots in Scotland and a global presence.

45 per cent of our students come to St Andrews from outside the UK, while staff and students come from over 140 countries. Our students enrich our community academically, socially and culturally during their time at the University and afterwards as part of our highly engaged international alumni network.

Civic Engagement and community service at the University of St Andrews

St Andrews is an outward-looking institution fully engaged with our local, national and international communities.

Our academics, students and staff share their knowledge in a coordinated programme of public lectures and research communication activities, and are active citizens. Much of our world-leading research tackles issues of fundamental global concern, from environmental issues to conflict resolution.

Alongside teaching and research, civic engagement is a strategic priority for St Andrews and takes many forms, from providing a platform for political debate on the issues of the day to supporting local community initiatives.

Local engagement

The university is an integral part of the town within which we are situated, sharing our facilities and expertise with the local community.

For example, we are committed to developing a new Music Centre to form the heart of a new cultural quarter for St Andrews alongside the Byre Theatre. The University formed a partnership with the local council to re-open the theatre, first founded in 1933, and to safeguard its future as a much-loved community asset.

Our Edible Campus project aims to benefit the health of the community and reduce the university’s carbon footprint by making university land available for community cultivation. 14 Edible Campus plots are tended by a large number of volunteers including students, staff, local residents and young children.

Find out more about Edible Campus.

National engagement

In Scotland, there is an increasing political and public expectation that universities should be readily accessible beacons of knowledge and agents for social change, and St Andrews gladly accepts this role.

One key priority for the Scottish Government is tackling the attainment gap between well-off and less prosperous students. St Andrews runs a number of initiatives which promote the idea of higher education to school pupils and college students, and encourage them to aim high in their educational choices.

One example is the Access for Rural Communities project. Working in partnership with secondary schools, educational authorities and local communities, this pioneering project supports learners in rural areas where access to competitive universities is limited, and supports research into the effect of rurality on access to Higher Education in Scotland.

Find out more about the Access for Rural Communities project.

International engagement

Tackling global environmental problems

The St Andrews Prize for the Environment is an international initiative by the University of St Andrews and the independent exploration and production company, ConocoPhillips.

The award recognises significant contributions to environmental issues and concerns. Applications are invited from individuals, multi-disciplinary teams or community groups. The winning environmental project receives funding of $100,000 USD and each of the two runners-up receive $25,000 USD.

Read more about the St Andrews Prize for the Environment.

Developing young people through sport

Involvement in sport fosters discipline, self-determination and drive, leadership, organisation, vital social skills and a deep-seated sense of responsibility for one’s own actions, as well as a sense of responsibility towards others. Our sector-leading international projects see student coaches from St Andrews travel to Zambia as part of the Wallace Group Volunteer Zambia project and Volunteer Zambia Tennis programme, and to South Africa with Volunteer South Africa programme. Working with local partners the student coaches deliver PE and coaching sessions and support local sports development programmes. In preparation for their placements, students gain invaluable coaching experience working with young people in the local St Andrews area.

Read more about student volunteer sports coaches.

Other Programs

Transition University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews is committed to becoming the UK’s first carbon neutral university for energy usage and supports a range of environmental initiatives towards this goal. Transition University of St Andrews is a hub for sustainability activity in St Andrews, supporting the whole community in low-carbon living and practical activities to make the town more resilient.

Read more about Transition University of St Andrews.

Dementia Friendly St Andrews.

This project was created by St Andrews researchers and community volunteers with a shared vision to improve the facilities and lives of those affected by dementia in and around St Andrews. This includes working with schools, community groups, businesses and public sector workers. Recent events include a dementia-friendly fashion show. The project has provided a model for new dementia-friendly communities across the world.

Read more about Dementia Friendly St Andrews.