Review of academic year launched

The University has launched a review to examine the structure of the academic year.

The decision to hold the review follows representations from Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) and academic colleagues about the amount of teaching and revision time currently available to students.

Preliminary assessment

A group of senior academic and administrative staff, together with student representatives, were asked to contribute to the preliminary assessment of the academic issues involved.

They have recommended that the University retain a modified version of the current basic structure of two semesters separated by the winter and summer vacation periods. Consequently, this review will consider potential modifications within the current structure, rather than looking to change the existing structure of the academic year.

Next steps

The initial work of this group now needs to be further developed with additional evidence on the non-academic factors potentially affecting the academic year, such as accommodation requirements. More detailed work also needs to be done on particular academic issues, including examinations and the management of Freshers’ Week.

It is expected that the project will report to Senate with outline proposals for debate in October 2008. After that, it is planned to share the proposed way forward with staff through presentations and other means, and to incorporate feedback from this process into fully detailed implementation plans.

Any modifications to the academic year will take place in 2010-11 at the earliest, but it is possible that the fieldwork may suggest that 2011-12 is more feasible.

The review is to be chaired by Simon van Heyningen, VP for Learning and Teaching.

Comments and questions

If you have any questions or comments at this stage, please email them to