Usher Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

If you need more support, please write to us at

How does online learning work?

Link to more information about online learning

What are the benefits of online learning?

Link to more information about benefits of online learning

Do online students get the same support as on-campus students?

Yes, absolutely!

Link to support and resources for online learning students

Will my certificate and transcripts mention I studied online?

Your final certificate doesn’t mention whether or not you studied online, but your transcripts would mention this, particularly because 'online' is often in the name of the course that forms part of the overall programme.

Can I speak to a programme team directly?

Our teams work flexibly from various locations and there may not always be someone in the office to answer the phones. It would be best if you could please email us your questions and we’ll do our best to support you in this way. We can be reached on

Alternatively, you can follow us on social media to see when our next online drop-in session or open day will be held. That's the best way to ask questions directly to our Programme Directors.

Link to follow us on LinkedIn

Link to follow us on Twitter

Link to follow us on Facebook

What's the difference between a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert), Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) and Masters (MSc)?

This is best summed up in our blog post here: Link to blog post

Can I register for a PG Cert and then transition to a PG Dip and/or MSc?

For the programmes that offer this, progression from our PG Cert (Year 1) to PG Dip (Year 2) is simple and you can always decide later on if you wish to do this (at the end of Year 1). In fact, we find that many of our students start in PG Cert, then continue on to the PG Dip and end up opting for an additional year to achieve an MSc. We've set up some of our programmes in this way to remain flexible and allow as many as possible to adjust this around their busy schedules and commitments.

Programmes that offer these study options include:

Where can I find more information about the Usher Institute's Taught Masters programmes?

What is the difference between Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD)?

The main difference is that CPD courses are stand alone courses that not part of a degree. They may or may not offer university credit. Learners should be able to pay easily through ePay, and won’t need to put in a formal application through EUCLID, although the course might require them to make some kind of application.

PPD is always credit-bearing and is a sub-course of a bigger thing, such as a 10-credit course from a degree programme, but you can take the 10-credit course on its own and without registering for the full degree.

Do you have more details about PPD?

The term 'PPD' is not a universal one. The University of Edinburgh uses this as a name to cover stand alone degree courses.

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year, you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September.

Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

You can find more information about available courses and course start dates here: Link to PPD offerings page

Is there dedicated support for students?

Our current students have access to contact our Student Advisor if they have questions about study interruptions, special circumstances, extensions advice and application guidance, or need support for mental and physical wellbeing and registering with the Disability and Learning support service. You will be connected to our Student Advisor once you've matriculated.