Mature students
Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.


With such a wide range of subjects available, choosing which degree to study can be a very challenging decision. There are a number of things to consider when selecting your course.

Each student will have their own motivations for the choice they make. These may be:

  • Study related – a subject which is related to your Highers, HNC/D or Access course
  • Vocational – a subject which leads to a specific profession
  • New found – a subject you are interested in but you have never studied before

Whatever your own personal motivation, it is important to explore all the options and choose a subject area you believe you will enjoy and do well in.

You can find out more about the degree programmes we offer in the Degree Finder:

Degree finder

Once you have decided which subject you want to study, there are a few things you should investigate to help you understand what the degree programme will be like, how it will be taught, and what will be expected of you as a student. This will help to make sure that your choice is right for you.

Teaching methods

Teaching at university can be very different from teaching you may have experienced before, with a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab sessions, practical activities, placements and self-study.

If you are studying a practical science or a vocational subject you may spend most of your time in structured activities, while students taking humanities or social science subjects may find that there is much more self-directed study.

You can find out more about our different teaching methods here:

How you will learn

Assessment methods

It is also important to understand how you will be assessed during your degree. You may find that the methods used, and what is expected of you, are very different to what you are used to at college.

As well as final exams, most courses have a continuous assessment component. This can take the form of essays, lab reports, or research exercises.

The proportion of the final mark achieved by continuous assessment varies with each course. Information about how your degree programme will be assessed is included in the Degree Finder entry.

Degree course flexibility

The four-year degree structure offers flexible learning, allowing you to discover your preferred degree path.

In first year you will normally study three subjects. You continue two of these subjects in your second year, at the end of which you decide which subject to take to degree level.

Even if you know exactly what you want to do, you can study additional subjects alongside your core programme, adding depth to your education.

You can find out more about the four-year degree structure here:

The four-year experience

Studying part-time

There are a small number of part-time degree programmes available in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Applications for these programmes are made directly to the University.

Further information is available here:

Applying for part-time study


When choosing your degree programme you need to have a lot of patience and be prepared to investigate the University website and prospectus.

Jennifer SaundersHistory student

How do I find out more?

For further information and guidance on your degree course choice, there are many resources to consult:

  • Online degree finder
  • University of Edinburgh undergraduate prospectus
  • UCAS guide
  • Course leaflets
  • Open Days