The new University year will start on time, with Welcome Week running from 13 - 17 September 2021.
Semester 1 teaching begins on Monday 20 September. Visit the semester dates website for full details.
How we adjusted to Covid-19 restrictions introduced in January
While we don't yet know exactly what September 2021 will look like, you can read about how we've adjusted teaching, assessment and support services for current students in response to Covid-19 guidance issued by Scottish Government in January.
View our presentation 'An Introduction to the School of Health in Social Science'.
We understand that many of our incoming students will be wondering what their study experience will be like in 2021-22. Uncertainties about travel, campuses being open, and the availability of the vaccine 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.
Over the past year, the school has worked hard to develop a digital community with a range of activities inside and outside the curriculum that give you an opportunity to meet others, make friends and have a social life. We hope that there will be more opportunities for in-person activities this coming year, but are also well-prepared for supporting students to meet online. 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).
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! Details about our world-leading sports and exercise facilities can be found on the Sports and Exercise webpages.
Our Students Association is well-prepared for the coming year with many on-campus activities moving online, and others adapting their activities to continue in-person activities in a Covid-safe way. You can find out more about getting involved in clubs and societies, volunteering, and other student services on the Students Association 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.
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 accommodation 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! 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.
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 will be conducted online. Course handbooks will contain detailed information of all assessments, and we encourage students to familiarise themselves with these details at the start of semester.
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 ongoing restrictions. We do not expect to be allowed to hold large-group teaching such as lectures in-person. Our teaching models and timetabling are designed to allow for changes in restrictions to minimise disruption for students.
These preparations involve providing a ‘hybrid’ model of learning. This means that we are making full use of our comprehensive suite of digital technologies, combined with small-group in-person teaching to ensure that students still benefit from a full curriculum. Some 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.
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 as we get closer to the start of semester.
Your lectures will be delivered through a combination of live and pre-recorded lecture sessions, depending on the structure and content of the course. 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.
Students will have the opportunity to participate with each other through various means including online or on-campus tutorials, workshops, collaborative group tasks, and hang-outs. 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.
We have prepared for this by breaking recorded lectures into smaller chunks and using digital methods that are less data-hungry. There are several study spaces around campus that can be used by students whose domestic wifi is weak.
Our campus-based courses already make use of online elements in terms of reading lists, pre-recorded lectures and online assignment submission. 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. We know that new students may be unfamiliar with the many ways in which technologies enhance student learning and can feel overwhelmed by the different platforms.
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 as well as on-campus 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 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. These services are all prepared for a return to on-campus provision once government restrictions allow.
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 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.