New Students

Campus Life and Study

Understanding what is on campus and around Edinburgh in terms of places to study independently or with your peers, including what to expect from different types of teaching classes. Learn, explore and discover more to help you settle into student life.

It can take time to adjust to your studies and to university life. Discover more about what to expect from learning on campus and start to familiarise yourself with campus life, alternative places to study and places to go to socialise with friends on campus and in the city of Edinburgh. You will also find support and guidance throughout your studies, via your school, peer and professional support service networks in the University.

Studying on Campus - What to expect

It is important that you familiarise yourself with any guidance around ways of learning and teaching provided by your school. There are various types of teaching at University and each school will be different in terms of how there course structure is made up for students. Your School will be able to tell you more about how the teaching will work on your course.

Below is an outline of some different types of study you may expect to find at University. This provides you with some insight of what your timetable will be made up of. It is also important to emphasise that with all modes of study there will also be a level of independent study involved. We have highlighted a few popular recommendations provided by current students that you may like to check out.


Lecure class

Lectures generally provide (particularly in the social sciences they can be more discussion/showing based) an introduction to different topics. These can consist of talks or presentations, typically last 50 minutes (please note some subjects have double lectures) , delivered by an academic member of staff (lecturer). With up to 300 students in the room, you are usually expected to listen and make notes while the lecturer presents. Lectures will generally take place before seminars/tutorials.


These consist of smaller groups (approximately 15-30 students) and usually take place after a lecture in a less formal setting. It provides you with an opportunity to ask detailed questions and debate themes and ideas.  In seminars, you have the chance to develop a wide range of personal and key skills such as how best to communicate and present your views and to build up your confidence in speaking in front of others. The level of participation is not as interactive as a tutorial, but more involved than a lecture.


This is a small group of students, led by an academic tutor and is a great opportunity to get to know other students and to ask your tutor about the course.  A high level of participation is expected and students should have read about the subject/topic in advance, in order to exchange ideas and views with other students and the tutor.

Laboratory and practical classes

In subjects such as science, engineering and health-related courses, practical sessions are common. In these sessions, students have the opportunity to put their theoretical knowledge into practice.

Here the learning is very hands on and classes are designed to allow students to practise and develop a wide range of discipline-based techniques and personal skills.

Design Studio ECA


This is a dedicated work and learning space (and time) for Art, Design and Architecture students, where the focus is on project-based learning. Studios are not just a physical space but can also be timetabled. Studio spaces will vary in size and staff input or teaching. (Some studio time will be supervised, others won't be). 

Study Hub Learning Resources

You may or not be familiar with all the different ways you will be taught at the University. You may find what has worked in the past is no longer effective and you need to adapt how you study. Study Hub has lots of effective learning strategies and tips that you can use to make the most of your studies.

Great places to study and socialise

Being in the centre of the city, discover great places to study and socialise in Edinburgh. There may be times when you need to write up or read notes, do group work for courses or just take time to reflect both academically and personally with your fellow peers or by yourself.

The University of Edinburgh Events App for new students lists some fantastic places to start to explore to help you get settled into Edinburgh. We have picked a few below and recommend you download the UoE Events App, for more places to check out.

Edinburgh University Main Library - This is one of the largest of Edinburgh University's libraries, providing various options of ways to study either independently or within a group. There is also the Main Library cafe available for students to further engage in conversation and take a break. 

Main Library

Find out more about the various study spaces available for all students 

David Hume Tower Basement Cafe - A hub which is open to all staff and students, providing interactive learning and study environments. With the EUSA shop and the Cafe located here, this has been recommended as a great place to hang out, purchase essential stationary items you may require from the shop or get a bite to eat. 

Find out more about David Hume Tower Cafe 

Teviot, Library Bar - This provides an alternative more busy study space if you are looking for somewhere less quiet and prefer  a bit of background noise.  The Teviot, Library Bar is located centrally on campus. 

Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library - Based at Kings Buildings, the Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library offers a wide range of resources and facilities to support your studies. The KB Café is situated on the ground floor

Find out more about Edinburgh University Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library

Student Recommendations - Check out these student blogs with recommendations of there top places to go to study and why. 

Coffee Shop Study Spots  (Student Stories) 

My top 5 places to study (School of Geosciences) - This helpful website lists loads of places across the city where you can work with a laptop 

Get started on searching and exploring some great places to study across the city



Related Links

Stay safe on campus and in town - more information about contacting security 

To print or photocopy- find out more about the £4 free quota 

Institute for Academic Development (IAD) providing workshops, self-study resources and advice to help you succeed in your studies

Study Hub Learning Resources (IAD)