Postgraduate Study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary Futures Await

Choosing Between an Online and On-Campus Masters?

Whether you choose to study online or attend an on-campus course, it’s important that the programme meets your needs and priorities. Online vs On-campus Masters – here are some things to consider.

Online vs On-campus Masters – here are some things to consider.

Whether you choose to study online or attend an on-campus course, it’s important that the programme meets your needs and priorities. Both studying online and in-person provide high quality education experiences and offer different learning environments and styles to meet your needs. Here are some key things to consider when choosing between online and on-campus learning.


1. How much flexibility do you need?

With online learning you choose when and where you study and there is no fixed schedule. You can read textbooks, watch lectures and contribute to discussions at times and locations that suit you. Online learning allows you to study at your own pace and schedule your work around your other responsibilities.

While studying on-campus, you have access to a more ‘hands-on’ learning environment. Meeting in a classroom with your peers allows you to discuss your academic topics in real-time and offers you the opportunity for in-person engagement with your professors and peers. Studying in-person also comes with a set pacing for your work schedule and a more rigid learning structure.

2. Is cost a consideration?

As an online learner, you can save on all of the added costs that an on-campus student has to think about, such as accommodation expenses and transport. This is an important consideration and may allow you to more easily access your studies.

If you're worried about cost, you may qualify for a scholarship. Our scholarship search engine can be accessed here.

3. Is location a factor for you?

The University of Edinburgh sits in the heart of the city of Edinburgh, with access to all that Scotland’s capital city has to offer. One of Europe’s great cultural cities, Edinburgh continually proves to be an amazing place to study and is regularly voted one of the most desirable places to live in the world.

While studying on-campus you’ll have direct access to our state-of-the-art library, IT resources and study spaces. Click below to catch some of our virtual campus tours, or view an entire virtual map.

Virtual Campus Tours

University of Edinburgh campus virtual map

Studying online has its location advantages too! Studying online allows you to stay where you are or travel around the world while continuing your studies. The option to study without being required to relocate is a huge draw if you plan to continue working, taking care of family, or simply want to avoid commuting to class.

4. What is your study style?

Studying online is often self-paced and requires a level of self-motivation to keep on track with your studies. Studying in-person allows you to be tapped in to the classroom with fewer distractions while you are learning. It’s important to consider what your learning style is and what type of studies may fit your needs. If you require more structure and peer engagement, studying on-campus may be the choice for you.

5. Choose what’s right for you

The University of Edinburgh is now ranked 16th in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings 2022. And according to The Guardian Best UK Universities Guide 2021, Edinburgh Medical School is 3rd in the UK for Medicine, while the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is ranked 1st in the UK for Veterinary Medicine for the fourth year running. Whether you study online or on-campus with us, your quality of education will be top class.

While the pandemic has brought online learning to the forefront of many people's minds, it's actually been around for a very long time. When you're considering where to apply for a masters, try and get a sense of how long the university in question has been offering online learning. At the University of Edinburgh, we've been offering online degrees since 2005.

Hear from our students as they talk about their experiences in online and on-campus degrees.


Want more information? Browse our Postgraduate Study page to view all your options for Online, Taught, and Research postgraduate programmes.


Related Links:

What to Consider Before Applying to an Online Masters

How Online Learning Works

Is Online Learning for Me?

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