Teaching and learning in 2021
University is a place to formulate your own goals, study independently and in groups, and reflect upon your learning throughout your degree. Here's our approach to teaching and learning in 2021.
This information is specific to the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC).
If you are a student on a joint degree programme, or are planning to take courses in other School, please ensure you refer to the latest information in that School too.
Like all Schools at the University of Edinburgh, LLC has planned for the maximum amount of in-person teaching we are able to provide in 2021/22.
We have made these plans on the basis that students are expected to be in Edinburgh in time to commence their studies.
We do understand, however, that some of you face very real difficulties arriving in Edinburgh for the start of the semester. In recognition of these difficulties, we will allow students to join us on campus up until the end of Week 3 of Semester 1 (Friday 8th October 2021).
We also recognise that students who have a disability, learning difference or health condition that may impact on their studies may benefit from support to study on campus. We encourage you to contact the Student Disability Service as soon as possible to discuss your support needs, and we will work with you and the Disability Service to ensure you can participate.
Please note that core teaching for your programme will be delivered in-person where possible within government guidelines, and any material online will not fully compensate for activities missed. We also cannot provide additional tuition for students who join our programmes after Week 1. Please do factor these points into your decision making carefully. If it is not possible to undertake your studies in the way that you would have hoped this year, then options may include a deferral of study or an Authorised Interruption of Study.
This information was last updated on 12th August 2021.
Learning and teaching at university may be quite different to your experiences at school.
There are different types of undergraduate classes within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC).
They fall into three categories:
- Practical classes (mainly in language subjects)
Our approach to learning and teaching is question driven and theoretical. So, in addition to these classes and to get the most out of your courses, you will need to read widely.
Lectures are taken by all students on a course and are delivered as interactive presentations which may involve audiovisual material.
Lectures are given by specialists in their field, and are designed to guide you through the background, questions and debates related to the topic you are studying.
Don’t forget to take notes: the information provided - as well as the approach taken by the lecturer (i.e. the angle from which he or she looks at the material) - will be very useful when it comes to writing your coursework essays later.
The material introduced in lectures is often discussed further in tutorials.
Tutorial groups are smaller and are led by an experienced academic (a lecturer or, in some cases, PhD students).
The emphasis here is less on what the academic says and more on what you think about the topic yourself.
You should prepare for tutorials by considering any questions or topics proposed in advance, by reading the recommended secondary literature, and by noting down your thoughts and ideas. You will then be asked to voice these thoughts and ideas in class discussions: student participation is most important in tutorials.
Seminars are quite similar to tutorials in set up, but are stand-alone classes and not linked to a lecture. Many option classes in the honours years are seminar-type classes.
In language courses in particular, you will have a number of practical classes: for example, conversation, applied grammar, text production etc.
Here you will have the opportunity to try out and further practice your language skills in a range of practical tasks under the supervision of an experienced language teacher.
You should prepare for the class by doing the required homework.
Make sure to use the opportunity to ask questions about anything you are not sure about.
You should expect to spend about 200 hours on ‘learning and teaching activities’ for a 20-credit course, and 400 for a 40-credit course.
As in all universities across the UK, only a proportion of this will be in lectures, or in tutorial or seminar settings.
You’ll spend the rest of your time on independent study and producing coursework, such as essays.
The feedback you receive in class and for assignments - both from lecturers and other students - will help guide your self-study activities, and the University's Institute for Academic Development (IAD) is a great source of advice and guidance.
Taught postgraduate programmes are MSc (masters) degrees, typically completed full time over a single year. Some can be taken part time over two years.
You will take 'courses' (often called 'modules' at other universities) worth a total of 120 credits, then write a dissertation worth 60 credits.
Courses are normally worth 20 credits each, so alongside the 'core' courses you must take for your degree, you may also have the opportunity to take 'option' courses.
In order to progress to the dissertation stage of your programme, you must pass at least 80 credits of coursework, with an average of 50% or above across the whole 120 credits.
If you are a part-time student, you will generally take the 'core' courses in Year One and the 'option' courses in Year Two. However, the part-time programme is flexible, in that you can agree which courses you will take in each year with your Programme Director when you start.
There are some taught MSc programmes that don't follow the structure above - you will be able to see this when you consult your Degree Programme Table.
Degree Programme Tables
Each degree has its own Degree Programme Table (DPT), which sets out your 'core' courses (those you must take) and those which are optional.
It is important that you familiarise yourself with your DPT so that you know exactly what you must and can study on your programme.
Your Degree Programme Table can be accessed through the University of Edinburgh's Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study (DRPS) pages.
How to choose an option course
One of the benefits of studying with us is having a wide range of courses to choose from.
When choosing an 'option' course, important things to ask yourself include:
- Are there any entry requirements or pre-requisites? You may be required to have specific prior knowledge or skills.
- Is there a quota? Some of our courses are very popular and heavily subscribed. You should have a second option available, just in case your first option doesn’t work out.
- Is this a course that will be valuable to me in writing my dissertation?
Course descriptions (which provide details of the syllabus, reading lists, assessment methods, etc.) are available on the Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study (DRPS) pages.
Are you due to study abroad in 2021/22?
Disruptions caused by the pandemic may continue to affect study and work away activity throughout the 2021/22 academic year. The health, safety, and wellbeing of our students remains our priority and a series of supportive measures have been put in place to ensure the University’s duty of care to our students is not compromised.
During the academic session 2021/22, students will be considered for overseas travel. Where an exchange or placement forms a mandatory part of your programme, this would be categorised as ‘essential travel’ for the purposes of the University’s travel insurance policy. Additional conditions must be met for travel to be approved - these will differ from student to student and will depend on your host institution or proposed work placement, the country you are travelling to, and your degree programme.
Details of the conditions and process applicable to overseas travel are available on the University's Study and Work Away web pages.
If you are unable to travel abroad in semester 1, the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) will put in place an alternative activity to support your learning. Where you are studying a joint degree, we are working with our partner subjects to ensure a contingency plan is available for both sides of your programme. Where you are unable to travel abroad in semester 1, if the contingency plan is not delivered by the University of Edinburgh it will not be necessary for you to be on campus in Edinburgh - although you may choose to do so if preferred. See the contingency plans in detail for more information.
Here's what to expect in your subject areas(s) if travel abroad is not possible in Semester 1 of the 2021/22 academic year.
Activity for languages within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC)
|Language||Activity||Required to be in Edinburgh in Semester 1 if travel is not possible?|
|Arabic||Online language tuition with a host institution abroad selected by LLC.||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
|Chinese||Digital engagement with existing exchange partner institution, if possible. If this is not possible, online language tuition with a host institution abroad selected by LLC.||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
|French||Digital engagement with existing exchange partner institution, if possible. If this is not possible, online language tuition with a host institution abroad selected by LLC.||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
|German||Digital engagement with existing exchange partner institution, if possible. If this is not possible, online language tuition with a host institution abroad selected by LLC.||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
|Italian||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
|Japanese||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
|Persian||To be confirmed||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
|Portuguese||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
|Russian||Online language tuition with a host institution abroad selected by LLC.||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
|Scandinavian (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish)||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
|Spanish||No, but see the table below if you are on a joint degree with another subject.|
Activity for partner subjects on joint degree programmes
Note that this information is intended for students with a mandatory study or work abroad element in their programme.
|School||Joint degree partner subject||Activity||
Required to be in Edinburgh in Semester 1 if travel is not possible?
|Business School||Business||Completion of Year 3 courses within the Business School.||Yes|
|Business School||International Business||To be confirmed||To be confirmed|
|Economics||Economics||No change - as outlined in the Degree Programme Table.||No|
|Edinburgh College of Art||History of Art||To be confirmed.||To be confirmed|
|History, Classics and Archaeology||Classics||Completion of Year 3 courses in Classics within the School of History, Classics and Archaeology (HCA).||Yes|
|History, Classics and Archaeology||History||Completion of Year 3 courses in History within the School of History, Classics and Archaeology (HCA).||Yes|
|Literatures, Languages and Cultures||English Literature||No change - as outlined in the Degree Programme Table.||No|
|Literatures, Languages and Cultures||Scottish Literature||No change - as outlined in the Degree Programme Table.||No|
|Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences||Philosophy||No change - as outlined in the Degree Programme Table.||No|
|Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences||Linguistics or English Literature plus Chinese, Japanese, or Russian||
Either 40 credits of Linguistics and English Language courses at PPLS in the first semester OR
|Third Year Project in Language Sciences||No|
|Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences||Linguistics or English Language plus French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Scandinavian Studies or Spanish||
Completion of Year 3 courses within Linguistics and English Language at PPLS
Guided Research courses in Linguistics and English Language (possible to be taken remotely)
|Third Year Project in Language Sciences||No|
|Social and Political Science||Politics||
Completion of Year 3 courses in Politics within the School of Social and Political Science (SPS)
|Activity as outlined in the Degree Programme Table||No|
|Social and Political Science||Social Anthropology||No change - as outlined in the Degree Programme Table.|
|Social and Political Science||Social Policy||
Completion of Year 3 courses in Social Policy within the School of Social and Political Science (SPS)
|Activity as outlined in the Degree Programme Table||No|