University life after Brexit

The UK will change as a result of Brexit but the University of Edinburgh remains as committed as ever to European collaboration.

The University's Old College quadrangle

Rooted in Scotland and open to the world, the University of Edinburgh has deep and significant ties with Europe, through its research, teaching, cultural collaborations and commercial ventures.

The University is proud to be a truly global University. Our international students now represent 44 per cent of our community, coming from 180 nations, including more than 4,800 students from the EU. More than 29 per cent of staff come from outside the UK.

European Research

The University of Edinburgh is one of the most internationally collaborative research universities in the UK. In the past ten years, 30 per cent of our research outputs were co-authored with EEA partners.

This commitment to world-leading internationally collaborative research will continue. The EU-UK trade deal confirmed that the UK will associate to the EU’s flagship €80bn Horizon Europe programme, subject to the finalisation of association regulations.

This includes the highly prestigious European Research Council (ERC) grants where Edinburgh has seen considerable success in recent years.

European Exchange

Edinburgh has been one of the UK’s largest beneficiaries and top institutions for Erasmus+ mobility. We have more than 500 Erasmus exchange links with more than 300 partners in Europe, therefore it is regrettable that the UK will not participate in the 2021-27 Erasmus programme.

An alternative programme – The Turing Scheme – has been proposed. Details are yet to be confirmed but this new overseas study and work placement initiative is intended to offer students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, a period abroad at a range of global destinations.

The current 2020 Erasmus+ project has, however, been extended. This means that we can continue to exchange students and staff, and to provide Erasmus+ funding under existing agreements, for the duration of the 2021/22 and 2022/23 academic years, provided partners have also extended their projects.

Studying in the UK after Brexit

From the academic year 2021, tuition fees for EU nationals will increase in line with the international student fee across all levels of study.

Brexit will also result in new immigration and visa requirements for EU, EEA and Swiss students. Inbound students planning to study in the UK will now be required to seek immigration permission.

Visiting students staying for a duration of under six months will be able to arrive under the Standard Visitor route. However, it is prohibited for Standard Visitors to access medical treatment in the UK, other than private medical treatment. Students will therefore need to take out insurance to cover their time in the UK. Students will not be permitted to work when arriving in the country under this route.

Students staying for longer than six months will need to apply via the Student Route (previously called Tier 4).

All current students will have to have their right to study checked before 30 June 2021, and all students starting a programme in 2021 will need to have permission to study in advance of beginning their studies. For some this may require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies, which will be provided to students by the University.  

EU staff

Our staff are one of the University’s greatest assets. Edinburgh is a global University with a world view, therefore it is imperative that we look after and continue to recruit staff from Europe.  

Some 3012 EEA staff are currently employed by the University. We are committed to supporting all of them during this unsettling time.

The University of Edinburgh staff immigration service is available for free and impartial specialist advice on UK immigration matters for prospective and current staff, visitors and their accompanying dependants.

Continued collaboration

The University will continue to be the only UK member of Una Europa, a group of eight leading research universities committed to long-term cooperation and integration between members.

The group is focused on innovative research and teaching and boosting international study and research opportunities for students and staff.

Current joint innovative formats for cooperation include Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, European Studies, Sustainability, Cultural Heritage, and One Health.

Edinburgh is a founding member of the alliance alongside Freie Universität Berlin, Alma mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, Helsingin yliopisto, Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie, KU Leuven, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Brexit Information Sessions

Brexit Information Sessions for staff take place throughout January and will provide colleagues with the most up-to-date information on student-related areas of Brexit impact.

‘Brexit: What does it mean for our students?’ will run on the dates below. Colleagues can register to attend by searching for the event on MyEd.

Monday 11th January                  14.30-15.30

Monday 18th January                  10.45-11.45

Wednesday 27th January           10.30-11.30

The University of Edinburgh has a long history of building international partnerships and it will continue to be a beacon of excellence, with a determinedly international outlook, for generations to come. To this end we will continue to work with partner universities in the EU and around the world, recruit and support talented European staff and students who wish to work or study with us and ultimately deliver greater benefits for Scotland’s economic, intellectual, cultural and social wellbeing.

Professor Peter Mathieson Principal and Vice-Chancellor, the University of Edinburgh

Related links

Brexit FAQs 

Staff immigration service

The University & Europe

UNA Europa

ERC success

Edinburgh Global