Short Courses

20 Week Courses in the Social Sciences

20 Week Credit Courses in Social Anthropology, Politics and International Relations and Psychology.

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How short is a Short Course?

Well, that depends on what you are studying…

Here at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Open Learning most of our courses run over 10 weeks. But we also offer courses that run over a few hours, and, in the case of just a few courses, there is also a 20-week option.   

Our 20 week credit courses in Social Anthropology, Politics and International Relations and Psychology run for 10 weeks in Term 1 (September – December 2021) and for 10 weeks in Term 2 (January – April) and provide a comprehensive overview of these Social Sciences.

So why choose a 20-week credit Short Course?

The motivation of previous students of these courses varies – some have been looking to fully immerse themselves in the subject, others have been keen to get a taster for university study in a safe and supportive environment.

Students who enrol on these courses can expect, in addition to the scheduled teaching, at least 30 minutes of pre-recorded lecture content and fascinating academic readings (both classic and up to date research).

The weekly 90 minute live sessions are an opportunity for students to ask questions on the lectures and readings, participate in guided discussions, and share their own thoughts and ideas.

And the best bit?

Over the 20 weeks students get to know each other well and form a strong community of like-minded learners. In previous years students have even continued to meet up (face to face and virtually!) even after the course ended.

But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what some former students had to say…  


Having lectures and reading material in advance allowed us to use tutorials for discussion which was excellent. Getting the opportunity to listen to perspective from such a wide group of people was really stimulating and made me question a number of my views. Conversations were facilitated in a friendly and engaging manner and no comment or view was ever dismissed which encouraged everybody to contribute.

This course has played a major part in helping me get through the challenges of the last year. The course tutors made the tutorials highlights of my week and I feel better informed at the end of the course. Interesting, engaging, educational and fun.

Politics and International Relations Student

This course helped shape my ability to widen my perspective. Not only the theoretical, informative part of the course, which has been really interesting and varied, but it also has helped me to be more open to other opinions, worldviews and cultures because of the extent to which we discussed all different cultural systems and ways of life.

It has given me so much new knowledge about anthropology and all the topics that come with it, and also helped me develop skills like critical thinking and the ability to be more open minded. .

The combination of online lectures and live discussions was really helpful and gave the opportunity to better absorb all new information and to check myself if I had understood the theory by watching the recorded lectures before each live session. We had a small group of students which allowed for everyone to have a lot of opportunity to take part in the discussion.

Social Anthropology Student


Social Anthropology, Politics and International Relations and Psychology are now open for booking!
To find out more about the courses and the option to study for credit (or not!) click the buttons below. 


20 Week Short Course in Social Anthropology 

20 Week Short Course in Politics and International Relations

20 Week Short Course in Psychology 

Studying for Credit