Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
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James Smith talks about his experience of studying at Edinburgh and why he chose to study education with us.

James Smith

James Smith

James Smith is a 2nd year student studying MA Physical Education.

"Throughout school, I had recognised the vast impact that particular teachers had on pupils by going above and beyond. This taught me the value of what a teacher can do with their position in a child’s life."

My programme

"I had been told by student teachers at my secondary school that the structure and delivery of the progamme was excellent for getting to know everybody and being collaborative throughout – which I very much agree with and am seeing every day.

When at an Open Day, I spoke with the Programme Director, who spoke highly of the programme, the University and the city, but also took a particular interest in me as a person: my experiences; my interests and what has driven me to be who/what I want to be.

This left a lasting impression on how the staff that run the MA Physical Education programme operate on a personal basis."

Settling in

"The introduction week was great for feeling welcomed. The accommodation staff were very welcoming – especially when they organised events to prompt us to meet others.

The introductory activities our tutors hosted were also excellent for getting to know each other and getting to know a few familiar faces before going into week one."

My student experience

"In first year I stayed in student accommodation. I chose this as I wanted to stay where I could meet other people. Now that I'm in second year, I live in a 5 person flat with 3 course mates/people I stayed in accommodation with.

My favourite place in the University is Paterson’s Land common room at the School of Education – that is where a lot of us come to have some downtime or have a chat.

For studying, the George Square Main Library is great for getting my head down to get work done but there are also areas to go to get away from work."

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Student life


My support

"If I every struggle with work, I turn to my friends and tutors. We are all very good with helping one another but the tutors are excellent for guidance. They will also distribute the answer of your question to everybody if it is relevant or frequently asked."

There are a few tutors that are great! The best ones get to know us and are always keen to have a chat – about anything! Many are very informative and really know what they are speaking about. I could also note a few that are very understanding – no question will go unanswered.

James Smith2nd year, Physical Education (MA)

My advice to new students

"For a start, everyone is in the same boat. Don’t be scared to be sociable. Take up every opportunity that sounds appealing. Take advantage of the city – there is so much going on.

Before I arrived, I joined a Facebook group for my accommodation – I found flatmates, got to speak to people in the same situation as me and got to know those that were also on my course.

Look at the weeks ahead: plan meals, nights out, travelling money etc. before spending money."

My future

"During holidays, I go home and work as a community football coach. This is great as I can transfer skills I acquire though my course to my job and vice versa.

Doing an undergraduate degree, the full four years of my programme will prepare me for the start of my career in the job that I will go directly into – in comparison to the postgraduate degree pathway which consists of one year of specified training as a PE specialist.

The programme values placements and professional experience, with block placements in each year. I have always viewed putting knowledge into practice as a great tool for learning; and having already completed my year one placement, I believe that it has played a huge part in my ongoing development."

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