Study abroad in Edinburgh

Courses and credits

Find out what courses you can take as a visiting student, how many credits you need and what postgraduate options are available.

Course finder

Browse the full selection of courses we offer to our visiting students:

Course finder

Third year (level 10) course access

Visiting Students must have completed two full years of a four-year degree programme or one full year of a three-year Honours degree programme in order to be enrolled in third year (level 10) courses. Please note there is a higher English language requirement for 3rd/4th year level courses in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS).

Restricted courses

The following courses are only open to students who are coming on a subject-specific exchange in those subject areas (we must have a relevant exchange agreement in place with their home institution):

  • Veterinary Medicine

  • Medicine

While it is not possible to study Medicine as a visiting student, you may have the option to apply for a medical elective or other placement in Edinburgh Medical School.

  • Studio based courses in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Art and Design

However, you may wish to consider the range of non-studio based courses offered in Edinburgh College of Art, please refer to the Course Finder.

Popular subject areas and limited availability courses

Though we endeavor to ensure that majority of our students are allocated their preferred course choices, sometimes this is not possible.

The following subject areas cannot guarantee access to students who are not on a direct exchange in the subject area, either because these subjects are very popular courses with limited capacity and strict pre-requisites or because they have limited study options available for visiting students:

College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences:

  • Academic English for Visiting Students (AEVS) and English for International Business Communication (EIBC)
  • Archaeology
  • Art elective courses
  • Classics
  • Design elective courses
  • Education
  • English Literature
  • Health
  • History
  • History of Art
  • Law
  • Music
  • Nursing
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Sport

As spaces are extremely limited on these courses, students will often be limited to pre-enrol in one or two courses only (depending on the subject) and invited to fill any remaining spaces on a first-come, first-served basis upon arrival in Edinburgh. Check out our recommended courses offered in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences.  

College of Science and Engineering:

  • Geography
  • Informatics*

*Study Abroad students (coming to the University of Edinburgh on a non-exchange, fee-paying programme) will be restricted to enrolling in a maximum of 20 credits worth of Informatics/Computer Science courses, if eligible.


Students are expected to take full course load (60 credits per semester, or 120 credits for the academic year).

The below table will illustrate how our credits compare to those used in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

Normal academic load
Study duration University of Edinburgh Credits ECTS Credits
Single semester 60 30
Full academic year 120 60

The majority of courses are 20 credits each, however there are 10 credit courses and full year courses worth 40 credits.

We recommend that for every 1 credit you should aim to do around 10 hours of independent study. This means that for each 20 credit course, you should be putting in 200 hours of study per semester.

An example course enrolment for one semester
HIST08026                        Introduction to Medieval Europe 2 20 credits         
BILG09007 Immunology 3 20 credits
PSYL10002 Biological Psychology 10 credits

Intelligence, Personality and Health

10 credits

Postgraduate course options

Visiting undergraduate students are not permitted to take postgraduate level courses.

Students applying to study here at postgraduate level should not select their courses from our course finder. Please see the ‘Study options’ section of the website, which will provide more information about the postgraduate application process:

Postgraduate options