We know that many of our applicants have questions about what their experience at the University of Edinburgh will look like this coming year. While we don’t have all the answers for you yet, and even though the Covid-19 pandemic brings some uncertainties about the precise circumstances we will face in the coming months, this page provides information about how the School is responding to a situation that continues to rapidly change for our students, staff and society.
The new university year will start on time, with welcome week running from the 14 - 18 September.
Semester 1 teaching begins on Monday 21 September. Visit the semester dates website for full details.
We understand that many of our incoming students are wondering whether they should pursue study in 2020-21. Uncertainties about travel, campuses being open, and the potential for a second wave of the Covid-19 virus will be on your minds. The current situation can feel overwhelming – we can understand that.
Our School provides nurses, psychologists and counsellors for society. We provide additional education and training for mid-career professionals in health, social care, education and third-sector services. Our world has never needed our graduates more, and we are immensely proud of what our students go on to contribute to society. At a time when the employment market is looking fragile, we know that there will be demand for our graduates. Embarking on studies just now might feel risky, but the rewards are immense.
Making an active decision to continue your career plans by starting your degree is a positive step you can make towards taking control of your situation, and we will be here to support you every step of the way.
Whether this is your first experience of university or you are returning for postgraduate study, you are probably looking forward to the ‘whole’ university experience: meeting new friends, joining clubs and societies, having new experiences, learning about yourself and expanding your horizons. In the current climate, we are all adjusting to life with restrictions and new ways of interacting and socialising continue to evolve.
It’s a brave new world for all us to discover new ways of creating and maintaining social networks in this period of restrictions but as everyone is in the same position, there is a high motivation to find inventive ways of making friends and having a social life. Edinburgh is a compact city with lots of ‘hidden gems’ waiting to be discovered and easy access to green space – perfect for walking tours with a coffee in hand, or a meet-up on top of an extinct volcano!
The School of Health in Social Science is giving a lot of thought to how to provide this experience in the context of ongoing strict physical distancing measures. We know how important community is, and will be providing various opportunities to meet and make friends outside of timetabled classes, replacing some of the community activities we normally hold (ceilidhs, pub quizzes, coffee and cake, career development activities). We will be adding details to our School community web pages.
Accommodation Services are running regular events to keep students staying in university accommodation safe, connected and supported. Residence Life, the community that supports students in University accommodation has already risen to challenge by providing a wealth of online activities such as cooking, yoga and meditation. We expect that this will be continued and built upon in the coming academic year. You can find out more on the University's Accommodation website.
Details about our world-leading sports and exercise facilities can be found on the Sports and Exercise webpages. The Scottish Government has timetabled re-opening of exercise facilities for the end of August.
Our Students Association is well-prepared for the coming year with many on-campus activities moving online. You can find out more about getting involved in clubs and societies, volunteering, and other student services on their website.
We can’t promise that your start at university will be the same as in other years, but the whole University staff is working hard to give you the best possible experience.
For those of you able to join us in Edinburgh in September, our accommodation services are working within Scottish Government guidelines and UK government immigration rules to ensure that students can join us safely from elsewhere in the UK and overseas. You can get more information about what this means in practice and apply for on the accommodation website.
Edinburgh is a very safe city, with low levels of crime, and an open, welcoming atmosphere. The city has four universities and one of the largest festivals in the world. It values students and visitors to the city and is a vibrant place to be at all times of the year. It’s also exceptionally pretty! At the moment, the city is quieter than usual, and this reflects the Scottish Government’s careful approach to easing lockdown measures. When reading the news about the UK, please bear in mind that Scotland has its own route-map out of the pandemic. You can read more about this on the Scottish Government website.
Find out more about what the University is doing to ensure safety on campus.
Yes. We know that many of our applicants are in uncertain situations due to travel, health or other restrictions in the UK and elsewhere. We also cannot predict the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people are facing restrictions due to their own health or those of others in their household, school closures and travel restrictions. Therefore, we are preparing our teaching so that you can access it no matter where you are. The Covid-19 pandemic has restricted many opportunities, but we have and will continue to provide an enriching education experience for all our students, whether they are studying with us in Edinburgh or at a distance.
Some of our practitioner programmes have special arrangements around teaching on campus and placements to ensure that they meet professional accreditation requirements. Your programme director will be able to provide you with more detail about this.
You will receive details of the specific process for enrolling on courses from your programme director. Whilst programmes have different approaches to this, course enrollment has always been online, and will be unchanged this year.
The University is following Scottish Government guidance and rules which are focused on reducing the incidence of Covid-19. You can read more about this on the Scottish Government website.
We are preparing for the most restrictive scenario in which students cannot join us because of restrictions where they are, because of local restrictions in Edinburgh, or because individuals or groups are having to self-isolate as part of the test-and-trace scheme.
These preparations involve providing a ‘hybrid’ model of learning. This means that we are making full use of our comprehensive suite of digital technologies to ensure that where restrictions prevent on-campus learning, students still benefit from a full curriculum. All learning will be available online through recorded lectures, online tutorials and interactive online activities. Where government rules and campus restrictions allow, students are able to join us in person for campus-based activities.
With the caveats above, we hope to be able to provide more on-campus experience in semester 2. If you still cannot join us then, you will be able to continue engaging through online study. Some of our practitioner programmes have special arrangements around teaching on campus and placements to ensure that they meet professional accreditation requirements. Your programme director will be able to provide you with more detail about this.
Prior to beginning their studies, some students may have concerns about how a programme delivered using digital means will be viewed by others. Across higher education, universities and colleges are working to ensure that they respond to the need to provide education safely, whilst maintaining the same level of quality that would be expected of a campus-based programme. Providing an online experience will allow all students to participate at a time when some cannot come to Edinburgh and when campuses cannot operate at full capacity. This means that students’ long-term career plans are not derailed by the pandemic.
In general, we will avoid live-streaming lectures as this can be problematic for students with weaker internet connectivity and those in different time zones. Pre-recorded lectures will be available in our main learning portal, Blackboard Learn and, following release, will be accessible for the duration of the programme.
We use a lot of small-group interactive teaching in our school, with different methods for different courses according to what works to help consolidate learning outcomes. All courses will have some interactive elements, typically delivered through digital means. We will try to accommodate different time zones in timetabling these activities, but where attendance isn’t possible, there will be written and other learning materials that students can refer to that cover the intended learning outcomes for the course.
Students will have the opportunity to participate with each other through various means including online discussion boards, online tutorials, collaborative group tasks. Some of these activities, like tutorials, will be live, whilst others will be ‘asynchronous’, which means you can engage at a time that works best for you, and which may not be the same time as other students.
Whilst we aim to offer some small-group teaching on-campus for people attending in-person, there are significant limitations on room availability due to physical distancing requirements set out by the Scottish Government. Further, we are prepared for individuals or whole groups not being able to attend due to Covid-related restrictions. We are therefore prioritising digital methods of teaching to ensure accessibility for all.
We understand that a poor internet connection may mean that sometimes you are unable to join in a live, online activity. We have tackled this by breaking recorded lectures into smaller chunks, and by making sure that all critical learning is available at a time of your choosing. This means that you can access learning when it works for you. This also means that students in different time zones don’t miss out.
If you want some advice about the equipment you will need for hybrid teaching, visit the guidance on recommended student technology page.
We have been offering online study for some years now. Students are often anxious at the outset but final feedback is invariably positive. The School of Health in Social Science has more than a decade of experience of providing a hybrid or fully online study experience. For example, students on programmes with placements regularly use online teaching for its convenience and ease of access. Students who are overseas have been able to study whole programmes online. Our campus-based courses already make use of online elements in terms of reading lists, pre-recorded lectures and online assignment submission.
We will provide lots of support to help you orient to the different tools we use, and will facilitate group work that gives you the chance to meet classmates virtually and start to build supportive networks and friendships. All our course organisers are experienced lecturers who will bring all their subject expertise, research and teaching skills to bear in providing you with an enjoyable and fulfilling learning experience.
The majority of our assessments are coursework-based with submission through Turnitin, an online assignment submission portal. This will be unchanged. Some of our assessments that are traditionally exam-based have been changed to coursework. A small number of exam-based assessments will remain as exams, but be conducted online. Course handbooks will contain detailed information of all assessments, and we encourage student to familiarise themselves with these details at the start of semester.
In the School, we have an experienced Student Support Team staffed by Lorna, Louise, Sergio and Anna. They have been providing an online and telephone service since March 2020, and are well-prepared to continue this remotely until a full return to campus is possible, when they will resume in-person support as well as being available via telephone/online.
The Student Support Team can advise on all student-life related queries outside of programme and course content. The team can direct you to resources, services and support within the University and local community and can help you with University processes. All specialist University support services have been operating fully online since March 2020, and include the Student Counselling Service, Student Disability Service, and Mental Health Mentors. These services and others are housed in the university’s new Health & Wellbeing Centre.
You will also have a personal tutor to provide you with academic guidance and support.
Providing materials in a way that you can access when you have time and in smaller chunks will make it easier for you to fit in studies around your other commitments. However, please think about how much time you will have overall to study. A full-time programme requires about 35 hours of study per week. You can spread this out as you need to over the week, however, the total hours required for study will remain the same. If you are a postgraduate UK/EU student, there may be a part-time study option that can offer more flexibility. Please get in touch with your programme director if you would like to talk through your options.