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Scotland Study Group

University of St. Andrews
Director Spring 2020: Jason Kawall, Department of Philosophy and Environmental Studies

Founded in 1413, the University of St. Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland, and one of the premier institutions of higher learning in Britain. The university draws over a fifth of its 5,700 undergraduates from overseas, representing some 75 different nationalities.

The town of St. Andrews — also known as the "home of golf" — is a beautiful burgh of about 15,000 people on the rugged east coast of Scotland. It has a vibrant town center filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants (plus the impressive ruins of the ancient cathedral). There is reliable train and bus service to nearby larger cities, such as Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Stirling. Edinburgh's international airport offers daily budget flights to European destinations.

Students explore cathedral ruins on Scotland Study Group Students and professor explore city on Scotland Study Group

Academic Program

Participants register as students at the University of St. Andrews and have the same access to all of its facilities as degree-seeking students do. In order to earn the equivalent of four Colgate credits, each student takes the course offered by the study group director and two to three courses from the St. Andrews curriculum. This study group meets the Global Engagement requirement.


Course Pre-Approval Form, University of St. Andrews

The Director’s course for 2020 will be “Virtue, Vice, and the Good Human Life (PHIL 343, Topics in Moral Theory), focusing on the relationship between our moral character and our happiness and well-being. For example, does a person need to possess traits like honesty and courage in order to lead a truly good life? What makes a trait a virtue or a vice, and what’s so bad about vices? Could a vice in one culture be properly understood as a virtue in another? In exploring these and related questions, we will engage with leading-edge philosophical and psychological works, while drawing on the writings of two key figures of the Scottish intellectual tradition: David Hume and Adam Smith. The course includes field trips to relevant sites in St. Andrews, Edinburgh, York, Oxford, and London, with guest lectures by leading experts in the field.

Students are expected to take 65-75 St. Andrews credits, which is the equivalent of 4.00 Colgate course credits. This includes the 15-credit director’s course. Exceptions to the standard course load must be pre-approved by the study group director, the director of off-campus study, and the associate dean of the faculty.

  • Students register for courses (or “modules”) the first week of the term at St. Andrews.
  • Students must notify the Colgate registrar’s office of final selections.
  • Course catalogues are available at: catalogue.
  • Students are expected to consult the online catalogues and meet with their Colgate advisers prior to departure to determine appropriate courses to best serve the student’s overall academic goals.
  • The Colgate philosophy and religion departments will award concentration credit for all philosophy or divinity courses taken at St. Andrews. Credit levels will be determined by the department chair.
  • Students are not permitted to take courses that duplicate or substantially overlap with previously completed coursework.
  • All courses outside of the philosophy or divinity faculties at St. Andrews require preapproval from Colgate’s registrar’s office and also, in some cases, the relevant department or program. Courses are expected to fit within Colgate’s liberal arts curriculum. If there are questions about a specific course, please contact the registrar’s office.
  • St. Andrews courses do not fulfill Core Curriculum requirements.

Living Arrangements

Students share a meal as a large group.

Study group participants live with St. Andrews students in the university's halls of residence. There are options to choose from (single or double, en suite or not, catered or not, etc.).  Colgate students enter the university's housing lottery along with everyone else.

Extracurricular Activities

In addition to local day trips, this study group includes three group excursions: a six day trip to York, Oxford, and London during the first week of the two-week spring break, an overnight trip to Edinburgh, and a weekend tour of the Scottish Highlands. Colgate University makes all travel arrangements.


Ideally, students should have taken at least two courses in philosophy or religion by the time they arrive in St. Andrews.  In order to be admitted to St. Andrews, students need to have at least a 3.2 grade point average.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.


The study group application will open on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, and will close on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.  Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study study groups’ websites and are submitted online at  The faculty director will announce their admissions decisions in late December 2018.

Passports and Visas

Scenic of a city in Scotland

You must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2020. Some students participating on the Spring 2020 Scotland Study Group will be required to obtain a U.K. student visa. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with U.K. visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study and International Student Services, 101 McGregory, to learn as much as you can about the regulations. For all students there are significant visa requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

The Departments of Philosophy and Religion Program at St. Andrews University program dates: January through mid-May, 2020

Informational Sessions

  • Thursday, October 4, at 12:15 p.m.
    101 McGregory Hall

  • Wednesday, October 17, at 7:00 p.m.
    101 McGregory Hall

  • Monday, October 29, at 4:30 p.m.
    101 McGregory Hall

More Information

For more information contact Professor Jason Kawall,