Guidance for current students
Frequently Asked Questions on the strike action and how it might affect you. These FAQs will be updated as developments occur.
Latest information (21 June 2018)
Following the conclusion of the recent industrial action by members of the University and Colleges Union (UCU), Principal Peter Mathieson has announced further investments in student experience funds and the launch of a new Student Opportunity Fund to support those students most impacted by the strike.
I have incurred extra expenses because of the strike – can I claim for them?
Some students will have incurred additional expenses directly as a result of the industrial action. For example, some students on part-time, blended or professional development programmes have borne the cost of travel, childcare and/or accommodation to attend a teaching event which was then subsequently cancelled because of the strike action. The University will reimburse such additional expenses incurred. Information about the processes for applying for reimbursement is available at:
Can I get a refund for any cancelled classes?
While the University (in line with its terms and conditions) will not be offering tuition fee refunds, it is offering a range of support to students who have been affected by the strike. These include the significant mitigating steps that the University has put in place to ensure – while maintaining academic standards – that students are not disadvantaged in exams or progressing to the next year; and the new Student Opportunity Fund which provides support for students' wider learning experience.
Assessment and feedback
How will my courses be assessed if any of my lectures/seminars/tutorials/ laboratory sessions etc. have been cancelled?
Where scheduled teaching time has been cancelled, steps will be taken to ensure that subsequent assessment for the affected courses (e.g. coursework, exams) does not address topics or issues which would have been covered by the missed teaching, unless the course has covered those topics in alternate ways, for example through reading lists and other course materials.
Boards of Examiners who make decisions regarding your performance will be aware of any impact the industrial action has had upon your learning, assessment and feedback, and will be able to take this into account when deciding upon your course results. The University has issued Boards of Examiners with detailed guidelines setting out a range of options available to them. The exact options available to a Board will depend on, for example, whether the School had been able to mitigate any cancellation of lectures and classes, whether all or only some of the students on a course were adversely affected, and whether any of the coursework or examinations for the course were entirely unaffected by the industrial action. Within these guidelines, Boards have been asked to take all reasonable steps available to them to avoid any students being disadvantaged, while maintaining academic standards.
You can read the guidelines for Boards of Examiners about taking account of disruption due to industrial action in the document below:
I have requested a coursework extension but not received a response from my School. What should I do?
If your Course Organiser or another member of academic staff has not responded to your request for a coursework extension, you should contact your School Teaching Office or equivalent. You should submit your work as soon as you are able to do so.
Will coursework and exams be marked on time?
Schools will continue to meet published deadlines for return of feedback to students wherever possible. However, the industrial action may mean that some feedback is returned later than expected. The University has however asked all Schools to prioritise teaching and assessment activities over other work where possible, in order to minimise any delays.
My preparation for assessment has been affected by the industrial action. Do I need to report this (e.g. to my Personal Tutor or through Special Circumstances)?
Where cancellation of teaching, or delays in returning marks and providing feedback affect your ability to prepare for your next coursework assignment, examination or another form of assessment, the School will provide the Board of Examiners with the relevant information to enable it to take account of the disruption when determining course results. There is no need for you to report the disruption to a member of staff or complete a Special Circumstances form for this specific purpose.
My Honours dissertation has been affected by the industrial action – will the deadline be extended?
Since they involve self-directed learning, and students would typically have started work on them well before the start of the industrial actions, dissertations are less likely to be affected by the industrial action than many other forms of learning. However, Schools have flexibility to extend reasonable and proportionate deadlines where there has been any disruption, for example to supervision. Given that the impact of the action varies considerably between areas of the University, with some areas experiencing less impact than others, it is likely that the length of any extensions will vary, with some Schools not needing to extend deadlines at all. You should work towards submitting your dissertation in line with the original deadline unless the School informs you to the contrary.
Will my exams take place as planned?
If you have scheduled exams, you should continue to prepare for them and attend them as required. The exam diet has been published and we do not expect this to change. Since the UCU has announced that it has suspended its industrial action and asked its members to work normally, we do not expect the running of the exams to be disrupted. However you should, as ever, not make plans to travel away from Edinburgh until the diet is over.
I am due to sit exams in the spring exam diet - can I book my travel home?
Yes. We have now published the timetable for the examination diet, and all centrally organised exams will be held within the period of 30 April to 25 May 2018. If you are an undergraduate student and the exams conclude your studies this session, you can book to travel home any time after 25 May 2018.
I am a PhD or MPhil student – will my viva or annual progression review take place as planned?
You should work on the basis that the viva (oral examination) or annual progression review meeting will go ahead as planned, and submit your thesis on schedule. Since the UCU has announced that it has suspended its industrial action and asked its members to work normally, we do not now expect any disruption to scheduled vivas or annual progression reviews. However, you are encouraged to contact your supervisor or your School’s Graduate School to confirm that your viva or progression review is going ahead as planned.
Graduations and progression
Will the University’s graduation ceremonies go ahead in the summer?
Yes. All of our graduation ceremonies are scheduled and expected to go ahead as planned.
I am an Undergraduate student - will the industrial action affect my ability to graduate or progress to the next year of my programme of study?
At this stage, we expect all eligible students to be able to graduate as planned, and continuing students to be informed of their progression status as expected. However, we will continue to review the situation as it develops. The University will take all available steps to enable eligible students to graduate or progress to the next year of study.
I am a Taught Postgraduate student – will the industrial affect my ability to progress to the Dissertation?
It is still a little early to consider whether the industrial action will have any impact on the timing of decisions regarding progression to the dissertation/research project stage. Typically, these decisions are made by the Board of Examiners in April/May. However Boards of Examiners have been given the flexibility to allow students to begin work on their dissertations without waiting for full end of semester results, if that is necessary. In the meantime you should continue to study to complete and submit work as usual.
Will my degree be devalued because of this disruption?
No. While the University aims to minimise the impact of the industrial action on students, it will continue to uphold high academic standards. Ultimately, Boards of Examiners will have the same type and quality of assessment information as always on which to make their final decisions. The standards for awarding credits for individual courses or for awarding a particular qualification will be no less rigorous than in previous years. The University has issued Boards of Examiners with clear guidance about the assessment of work in the context of the UCU action, based firmly on the existing regulatory framework.
I am attending the University on a Tier 4 student visa and am worried that I may not be able to meet all the required contact/engagement points for my visa. What should I do?
As long as you continue to attend all contact and engagement points wherever possible, your visa status will be unaffected by the industrial action. In the event that the industrial action leads to some of your engagement points being cancelled, your School may put alternative engagement points in place.
Who can I talk to about how the industrial action might affect me?
If you have any general questions regarding the industrial action you can also email:
Previous FAQs and background information are available to download below.