Our students explain the different ways you will learn at Edinburgh, including independent study, lectures, tutorials and labs.
Lectures are one of the main ways that you will be taught at university. These are talks or presentations, typically lasting an hour, delivered by a member of academic staff.
There may be anything from 50 to 300 students in the lecture theatre.
The lecturer will provide a guide to the topic and indicate important points and themes for you to consider. You will be expected to listen and take notes.
Tutorials are much smaller than lectures and consist of a small group of students, led by an academic tutor. In these classes you will develop a better understanding of topics and integrate ideas from your reading and lectures.
The key difference between lectures and tutorials is the level of participation expected from you.
For tutorials you will be expected to have read about the subject in advance and participate in the discussions, exchanging ideas and views with other students and the tutor.
In addition to lectures and tutorials, there are many other teaching methods used across the University.
Practical and lab sessions are common in many science, engineering and health-related degrees, whilst field trips or field work form an important part of other degree programmes. Through these sessions, you will have the opportunity to put your theoretical knowledge into practice.
If you are an art and design student, you will have your own studio space to develop your skills, mostly through project-based learning.
Many programmes incorporate a major project or dissertation in the final year. This will allow you to demonstrate your ability to organise and carry out a substantial piece of work linked to your area of specialisation.
You may also have the opportunity to be involved in research that will allow you to delve more deeply into your chosen subject. This will not only develop your analytical skills, it will help you to take your next steps whether that’s in industry or postgraduate study.
Learning at university will often be very different from school or college. You will need to get used to the different types of studying and the demands made of you as your programme progresses.
You’ll have to be proactive, manage your own time and develop your independent learning skills.
Don’t worry, we’ll provide help and guidance on how to study most effectively and how to succeed in this new environment.
We’ll work closely with you to help you become a confident learner and also develop the attributes required for success at University and beyond.